Hi Gilbert,

I chanced upon a post by Alice who was struggling with her husband’s gambling addiction. I am facing a similiar situation and i dont know what to do.

It took me a lot of courage to write this email, please bear with me for this long email.

I am 25 this year, a fresh graduate.

I am facing tremendous stress and it all come from my family. My family is like a tower that has broke down completely.

My parents are in extremely bad terms and my brother is a compulsive gambler.

I really love my brother, afterall, iIknew deep within that he dotes on me a lot. We are 7 years apart, i used to rely on him whenever, my parents quarrelled and fight. But over these years, he started to disappoint me, time after time.

He is addicted to gamble, 4D, TOTO and mostly on soccer.

My brother was in sales line and i can say he is a smart talker, he actually can earn money, and if he had spent his money wisely, he would lead a stable life now.

But instead, he chose to spend his time and money on gambling. Over these years, he has earned quite some money but he ended up with no savings because of gambling.

He is a serious debts issue, borrowing from friends, my parents and banks. My dad helped him twice and for the third time, my dad refused to help him, cause he understand that this will only harm him.

Because of that, my dad and my bro relationship turned sour.

My mum on the other hand cant bear to do so.

Everytime he lost, my mum will try to help him (there is once my mum pawn her accessories to help him), and she will only tell him things like “stop for a while”.

While in actual fact, i felt that she should actually asked him to STOP GAMBLING!

While not only my mum is soft-hearted, me too. 3 months back, my brother used my name to borrow bank loans amounted to 17.5k (twice within a month, I borrowed with 2 banks).

He said that his commission is still not in and he need money to pay his expenses but I knew the real fact is he gambled that’s why he doesn’t have the money to pay his bloody expenses.

He promised to return the loans when he get his commission in upcoming feb/march. I knew that will never happen (he borrowed from me $500 and $700 during my temporary job and never returned).

I am so afraid and in fact, I am getting ready to shoulder this debt my own in the near future.

My parents doesnt know abt this debt. My brother asked me not to say, and i am afraid that if i told my mum her blood pressure will be out of control.

The problem is my brother doesnt realised he is not  leading a NORMAL LIFESTYLE.

He stay up late at night to watch soccer and slept till late afternoon every day.

He is leading an extremely unhealthly lifestyle and he smoke heavily and doesn’t drink plain water.

He always has his own weird logic like “some ppl dont smoke also got cancer”.

He spend most of his time in his room watching soccer or movie. Because of his unhealthy lifestyle, his gout problem always came. His leg is always in pain and I have to take care of him.

When he has the money, he will spend a lot, I am extremely guilty of this.

There is one year where he has won some money and he always spend on good food and buy eletrical appliances for our home (some under installment plan).

I felt guilty, I should not be involved in it, instead, I should ask him to save up or return the debts. And the vicious cycle got bigger & bigger.

My brother has a girlfriend and they are planning to get married soon. I am so worried for thier future, in actual fact, i dont even feel like moving to the new house with them as i can forseen there will be serious conflicts.

My mum doted on us a lot but I really felt she doted in the wrong way. She still trying to bluff herself that my brother will think, will be better or will plan for the future of marriage and life with kids.

But the truth is, he is out of control and my mum dont realised it or maybe she does just that she is hoping for some miracle.

I used to tell my mum that he need help and we need to help him the real way, i dont mind to suffer for years to help clear his debts if he could quit gambling and restructure his life to be a better person.

But everytime I tried to tell my mum, she scolded me.

In came to a point that I am so disappointed with them that I kept quiet.

As I mentioned earlier, my parents arent on good terms, nor is my brother with my father. I can only say that my family are selfish, which only care of their own feelings.

For years, I am struggling to keep this family together but no one attempt to make an effort. Everyone just blame each other. I am always sandwiched between them. Every bloody drama has happened in this family, quarrelled and attemption of suicide.

This had led to me attempting to commit suicide few years back. Lucky for me than I managed to plug myself up by myself, i ended up in hopsital and my family knew abt my attempts. They were crying and promised they will work things.

I am so guilty of doing such a silly thing to hurt my family especially my poor mum. But I am silly enough to think that things will turn better, they will change, they will try to work things out.

But the real fact is they never change a single bit, situations have even worsened.

My parents terms have worsened, not to mention about my brother who only bothers his own stuff and never ever tried to attempt to patch this family.

I am so tired, tired of being worried, tired of being the middleman, tired of always being the one trying to plan for family activites and coordinate everyone who doesnt even bother to show interest.

There are times, I am really on the verge of scolding my brother and breaking ties with him.

But I am afraid of facing him, I am afraid my mum will break down. I am so scared so afraid that I chose to ignore or run away from the problems I am facing.

I once tried to arrange a counselling session for my mum on marriage issue but she rejected, she told me to give her self esteem but what she expects me to do. She will sometimes break down or always asked me questions on my dad which I couldn’t answer.

And my dad will always complain to me about her and my brother.

There are many times I felt like leaving this family, going out to rent a room and don’t bother this family but I didnt do so.

One reason is I don’t have enough money, but the prime reason is I dont bear to leave my mum alone.

Ever since her relationship with dad turned soured 12 years ago, I am all she clinged on for support.

Because of that, I isolated myself from friends during my secondary school life and am a 24 hrs stay home kid just because I dont wanna to make her worried or angry and  think I chose friends over her.

It was only after my attempted suicide that i opened up myself and meet up with friends cos i cant find any form of happiness and laughter in this house. Even so I didnt forget my mum, I always make it a point to meet on my friends on weekdays or saturday when she is working.

I leave my Sunday aside to accompany her. But she doesnt uds, there are times when she will say “why you always go out with friends?” ( wheni only meet one day per week) or “you got friends can talk, i no friends talk to who?”

I am so tired of all this crap, it came to a point that I no longer have the respect for my family especially my brother. I still love him but the great disappointment isolated myself from him.

I really don’t know what to do, I am so scared & worried, I dont know what the future will be like. My friend told me to be like her ignore them and live my own life.

But I cant bring myself to do that, i dont even dare to confront my brother cause his hot temper will flare up and my mum might even blame me and i may not able to stay in this family anymore.

But I know if things dont change, one day I will become a selfish person, will go crazy, flare up and take my luggage and go and never return.

I am so afriad it will end this way but the scary part is I am beginning to think it this way.

I begin to take money as an important asset for me to leave this home.

That scares me, I am not such person, I don’t want to be but i am actually thinking of it!

I really dont know what to do, who can i turn to, who can i rely on. I am so stressed up than I almost have nightmares every night.

Please can you tell me what to do, where can I find the courage to stand up and voice out?!



Editor’s note: We have assigned the writer a counsellor and permission was granted to post this mail here.



Gilbert Goh

Transitioning.org - A website that helps jobless Singaporeans find a brighter hope in life.