Calling psychiatrist about husband

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    husband has an impulse control problem and I. am. livid.

    I suspected he was planning to go to a casino yesterday and he confirmed it when he called me on his way there after working on chores with his sibs at his parents' house. I've had discussions with him about our finances so he knows how I feel about throwing money away when we can't afford to do that. He didn't ask me how much was available for him (none) when he called. It was just an FYI call.

    The amount we had in our checking account would have "just" covered a credit card payment I made on Friday which will likely hit our account tomorrow (Monday). Fearful that he would go to an ATM and see that amount and think he could tap whatever he wanted, I transferred most of it to our savings account, which I only maintain $25 in as a requirement of being a member at this credit union (the interest is negligible so I keep other savings elsewhere). That left about $142 available in checking.

    He withdrew $100 (plus the ATM fee) when he got there as far as I could see when I logged into our account. I went to bed around midnight.

    husband rolled in around 4am. That was annoying as it is because he's supposed to drive with me to pick up difficult child 1 from camp this morning and it's 100 miles each way. How did he think he'd be fresh enough to drive that far on 3 or 4 hours of sleep?

    I just checked our account, and that dastard withdrew an additional $280 plus fees from our SAVINGS account where I'd stashed the money!!! :grrr:

    I am so flaming angry I am tempted to take his ATM card away AND his credit cards. But I'm not going to do that. I AM going to call the psychiatrist and rat out husband and I'm going to INSIST to husband that he discuss this issue with psychiatrist when he goes for his appointment on the 9th.

    Meanwhile, I transferred back what was left of the money and have had to transfer MORE money from my emergency account held elsewhere and cross my fingers it gets there before the credit card payment posts to our account. I'm going to kick his proverbial **** if we get hit with overdraft fees (to the tune of about $28 per transaction) because of this.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Do you think he's developed a gambling addiction at this point?
  3. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Even if you discuss this with him or the p-doctor, which you should, how will you know he just won't do it again? You'll be stressing about "what if" for a long time. Make part of your discussion be that YOU will be "in charge" of all monies, his name has to come off the account, he can have a small allowance. He can't just ruin your lives. Don't let him, do more than discuss. You need to take the cards away. I know he's not a child, but he is causing serious problems. The sweet talk and "I'm sorry" doesn't mean jack you-know-what when the bills can't be paid. ((((hugs)))
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I really think that he's got a gambling problem at this point. It sounds like he's gone far beyond just being a little careless with money! His gambling is putting you in financial jeopardy and he doesn't seem to care. I would be taking the bank card and credit cards and put him on an allowance. And either take his name off your bank accounts or open other accounts that he can't access if you can do that. When his gambling problem has reached the point that it's threatening both the family's financial security and his marriage, it's time to discuss it with the psychiatrist.
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    I agree with upallnight. I'm just guessing that he either does not know about this other account or he has no access to it, otherwise that may have gotten tapped as well.

    I had smaller similar issues with my husband. Fortunately when I got firm with him he would not use any of his cards without checking with me. For the most part, it worked.

    What I failed to do, and I hope you are doing it, or consider doing it, is handling the family budget together. Not making him responsible for any of it, but on a weekly or monthly basis, creating a report/spreadsheet of sorts that shows what's coming in and whats going out in DETAIL. If there is any "extra" you can discuss together what will be done with it. This month he gets a casino trip, next month you get a spa treatment, or whatever. If only one person handles the finances,and the other has no clue, well, the other has no clue. Simply stating what's going on isn't sufficient. They have to see all the numbers in black and white (and red)

  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    So when you "save" our bacon with your "supposed" mystery account - JUst where does he think the money comes from?

    You borrow it......From?

    You have it stashed to save his bacon? And thus perpetuate his ability to occasionally think it's okay to withdraw funds because wifey will "somehow always fix it?" like difficult child gettting chance after chance? (none of my business - just food for TOUGH LOVE thought.

    You don't discuss funds with him and allow him to think there was just that much available and now you are broke - really broke - with over draft fees ect?

    I'm curious because DF has done this on (not gambling) but does the mystery swipe at the ATM ala the convenience store thinking it's his teller of good/bad fortune before and thought he had a window to the world of finances also. I too was inflamed because 1.) I will discuss anything with you. 2.) It was in my humble opinion sneaky I don't do sneaky even if you swear you were just 'curious' - because I have curiosities too and they are far more reaching than swiping an ATM for a balance inquiry - so when my curiosities pique - shall I bundle them up under the [meah I was curious] adjustment and all is forgiven or are you going to see my side of this is sneaky? He conceded and now will ask - also the account is set so that I can see every activity and balance inquiries were $2.00 a pop from a non account ATM. DUH. (groan) UGH.

    And like you? I have the hardest time explaining - THIS HAS NOT CLEARED ----but when I pay something I subtract it in the ledger - and I promise MY balance is a much more accurate representation of OUR actual balance than the banks. SO when he wants to know DO WE HAVE MONEY NOW? He asks. No more swiping - lest HE find out what MY curiosities are....and a Stars curiosities are NOT about money - I assure you.

    Hang in there Chickey.
  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    G, he has a gambling problem, which could be fueled by an underlying and under treated mood disorder..........just like my husband has a substance abuse problem which is fueled by his mood disorder and under treated (due to his own stupidity) pain.

    For your husband? It might help to get to psychiatrist and get help. Has he had persistent problems like this before?
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    My ex did this -- which is one main reason he is an ex. This is very distressing. in my opinion the only way to survive is to take over all control of finances and he will have to agree to an allowance... and most importantly no access to the account. I don't know another way to take care of yourself in this regard. I'm so sorry.
  9. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member


    When I was reading your post yesterday about your husband and the casino, I had a feeling it wasn't going to be good. I grew up with a gambler and red flags were going off. What struck me about your post, though, was it wasn't being confronted head on. I suppose that is what I would have done, but I didn't want to comment on your marriage or what you should or shouldn't do. You're a smart lady and have been married to this man a long time. In my case, I would have smacked down going to that casino so fast. Especially considering that he blew off going on an important marriage ritual for you as a couple.

    As far as I'm concerned, he has jeopardized his family and shows signs of a compulsive gambler. He should be cut off from the joint money that is used to pay bills, feed, cloth, and house children, pay medical expenses. Open his own checking account of which he gets an allowance. Whatever you think is reasonable. Period.

    My brother keeps all the money he makes separate from my sister in law because she has "money problems". She's a lovely lady in many ways, except money and being on time (that's another story). I completely control the money in my house. It was one of the conditions husband agreed to when we got married. My Dad gambled so much money away and destroyed businesses doing it. What it put me through as a child left a huge mark, so I was upfront and said I have to control the money. You'll have access, you can ask questions and I'll be happy to answer and show you, but I control. He agreed.

    This is a huge issue that cannot be danced around. psychiatrist or not psychiatrist, this is something you need to deal with directly with husband also.

    I guess I'm not quite understanding not confronting husband.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member sorry to hear about this. I also had a sinking feeling when I read the other post about the casino. Sigh. I do think he has a gambling issue. I think you need to protect your money and if he doesnt agree, well tough. I realize he is the one earning the money but he cannot put the family at risk. He has that responsibility.

    I do think part of this is a mood disorder thing. I love to spend money. I wont allow myself to even consider a credit card. Tony keeps most of the money he makes as cash but we put it into my checking account if there are items that need to be auto drafted. I also get my check each month for my bills and my fun money. I made the mistake a couple of times in the very beginning with Tony of trying to run all the money and I sunk us into a hole very fast. He found out that wasnt good. He tries to never say no to me unless we just cant but then I understand if he does say no, its because we really cant.
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I agree with the earlier suggestion to get the main accounts just in your name and change the current accounts to "husband's allowance".
  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Want to thank everyone for their comments/feedback. Haven't had time to read it all but just wanted to post a quick update. Suffice to say, we've had a Come-To-Jesus meetin' and long story short, which I'll happily elaborate later, there is a tail tucked firmly between a certain husband's legs and I do believe he heard me this time. We shall see. I do not have rose-colored glasses and will refrain from any breath-holding. Still calling psychiatrist when I get a chance tomorrow.

    More later...
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay here goes:

    I emailed my concerns to psychiatrist, specifically that husband's depression is not under control (he spends most of his free time upstairs watching TV and playing Spider Solitaire), and the impulse control issues, the fixation with going to the casino the past few months, the reckless spending, etc.

    I confronted husband that morning about his behavior and the financial impact. I wish I could say I was calm and non-emotional about it, but I do think he got the message loud in clear. He started off getting defensive, indignant, self-righteously entitled, tried to deflect and change the subject, and in pretty much got in my face about everything, but once I started throwing facts at him and pointing out patterns and the obvious consequences, he backed down and did apologize. It is unfortunate that the kids were around and heard every word. Part of me feels bad that I didn't handle it more calmly for them, and part of me is glad they heard about his mistakes -- good-time-Charlie is not the perfect person he'd like them to think. I insisted he talk to the psychiatrist about all this at his appointment on the 9th. I (right or wrong) compared him to his sister who has a gambling problem and who wisely did not accompany him that night to the casino, telling him she didn't want to get a divorce, and I told him he should've listened to her. I learned the next day that he took that to mean I wanted a divorce, to which I said he misunderstood and left it at that.

    He's feeling bad (as he should) and been walking around here with his tail between his legs the past few days. He says we have a different view on debt, that I refuse to have ANY. I corrected him saying I don't have a problem with debt for things that are necessities like the house, a car, medical bills, emergency repairs, etc. What I do have a problem with is debt for impulsive things that are NOT REQUIRED -- like buying 100 used dvds because they are on sale for "only" $5, giving other people money for things they WANT to do (like supporting his parents gambling habit), etc. He agreed to get more involved in our finances AND... last night he made his lunch and took it to work for the first time in YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS!!! He also checked with me first about a golf outing he was invited to for this Friday, to find out if we could afford for him to go, which is a big step for him.

    We narrowly averted the NSF situation thanks to some fast financial maneuvers on my part over the weekend. Someone asked why I didn't just tell him no on Saturday when he called to tell me where he was going -- well, I guess part of it is me not wanting to be his mother or the nag. When I tell him "no" to things it usually starts a big fight and I'm accused of ruining his "fun". Like the time he wanted to buy a spa and as I was doing the mental math for how much we'd have to spend to get ready for it to even be installed (running the electrical, preparing a base/foundation for it, erecting a fence around it to cover city codes, etc.) and realizing we didn't have the money to cover it all, I tried to tell him, I tried to show him and he wouldn't listen and pushed harder. So when he gets like that I've learned to let him have what he's asking for and let the natural consequences teach him what he refuses to hear. When he got home after signing the spa contract he started figuring out what needed to be done and was shocked at what he realized: we couldn't afford to do it! Suddenly it was MY fault for LETTING him sign the contract!!! Fortunately, he was able to cancel the contract. What else can you do with someone who thinks this way?

    My hope is that the psychiatrist will take into account my email and that husband will discuss with him what's been going on and maybe a medication adjustment is in order. I don't think any efforts husband makes on his own will hold for very long without better medication supports.
  14. keista

    keista New Member

    Not much.

    Thanks for bringing back 'fond' *cough* memories of all the spa conversations I've had with husband. Those and turning the pool shed into a "guest house" for his mom simply because the previous owner put a toilet in there, are my favorites. You are 100% correct there is nothing else you can do.
  15. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Ah yes. Money.

    When we wed (the first time = and that's another story) my wife had some small debts that went back a long ways and were in collection. Small because her income was small and no one would lend her anything.

    She is of the "there's a check left in my check book so I must have money in my account" variety of ostrich. Now you would substitute "ATM" for check.

    Our arrangement is simple.

    She gives me everything she earns through direct deposit to a joint account.

    She gets an allowance. Until recently it was $20 a month - that's how strapped we have been. Now she gets $100 until she runs out and then, if we can afford it, she gets another $100.

    We have worked our way up over 18 years to her having an ATM card and credit cards to joint accounts but she always ****** always****** checks with me to decide if the purchase is OK before spending more than $20 out of the joint accounts or incurring any credit card debt at all. It's largely unspoken that if she doesn't and she bought something that was a non-essential item there could be disastrous financial consequences for our family because I keep us balanced on the head of a pin. Without having credit card debt, which I absolutely refuse to incur except in truly desperate circumstances because I do not know how we would be able to pay it back.

    We recently set up a separate account for her and she gets her allowance put in there along with gifts she gets from family for birthdays etc.

    When she has an exact and small amount to manage - she is as frugal as frugal can be.

    When she has "unlimited" funds - frugality goes out the window and we're back to "I have a check therefore I have money."

    I sometimes get really angry about this otherwise smart person who can manage a multi-million dollar unit budget yet still insists she can't understand or do the math needed to manage anything more than $100. It doesn't do any good of course and I remind myself to be grateful for her willingness to not fight me about managing our private finances.

    Separating your finances so he cannot take money out without your express agreement and active cooperation seems not only sensible but the only responsible thing for you to do.

    I get that you are struggling to walk a tightrope - balancing holding marriage and family together against protecting yourself and your children from the consequences of husband's instability and shortcomings. I can easily see that taking such a step might be interpreted by him as a rejection etc. and provoke a crisis that would be very difficult to resolve without serious damage to your marriage.

    on the other hand he may be relieved to know he no longer has the power to destroy his family financially.

    And if he did provoke financial disaster - what would you do then? Not only would it be likely you would have to take these same actions, you would be in a much worse position to protect your children and yourself.

    I am so very sorry you have to bear this and I hope you will take this as just my 2 cents. You know best how to care for your family and set your priorities.

  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The subject of allowance did come up. I've always assumed he'd feel degraded by this, but it sounds like it might be a good option. Either that, or I lower his credit card limit to $500 and take away his ATM card. Lord knows I've pounded into his head that he is NEVER to take another cash advance off a credit card again. Years ago when we were living the high life and could afford lavish trips to Vegas, he would often blow through his cash and then just go get an advance on a credit card, not realizing the enormous price tag that comes with it.

    As it stands now, his payroll check is auto-deposited to our checking account. But I manage all the bills, the investments (ha! like we have money for that anymore!), taxes, etc. He does some grocery shopping, but rarely if ever uses a list based on what we need or already have, and almost NEVER uses coupons -- and he buys on impulse. So he'll come home with things that aren't on sale or things that we already have enough of, or he'll buy a lot of something perishable (like meat) and get home to discover that there's no room for it in the freezer. And guess who has to figure out what to do with all this? Maybe if he was the one doing the cooking he'd have a better idea of what we needed and what we have. But he doesn't really cook (thankfully). And he's impulsive about gift shopping as well. Doesn't stick to a budget and always goes too far. Like for Mother's Day this year, instead of getting me just ONE bottle of shower gel and maybe ONE bottle of lotion, he gets me TWELVE because it was a Buy-3-Get-1-Free sale. :rolleyes:

    Except for today, he never takes his lunch. Ever. Or at least hasn't in about 17 or 18 years. He says he has to get out of the office and would go nuts if he sat at his desk or in the break room to eat every day. He needs to get out. And when he goes to lunch, that's all he does. He doesn't multitask or run errands. I remember when I worked full-time I spent my lunch hour eating my lunch AND getting my oil changed or picking up dry cleaning or doing Christmas shopping or mailing my bills (back before we had the internet and online billpay ;) ) or reading or some days I'd even find time to go for a walk! But not him. Which is amazing to me because he is the supreme multitasker with the type of work he does (data analysis).

    For now, we are in a holding pattern. I suspect this will last at least until his psychiatrist appointment because right now, he's still licking his wounds and hiding (spent the last three evenings upstairs, as usual, watching TV and playing Spider Solitaire while the rest of us hung out downstairs acting like a family). Depending on how next Tuesday goes, we'll see where we go from there.
  17. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Part of my sister's agreement when she finally came clean with her H (and the rest of us) about her impulse control issue concerning gambling (away all her daughter's college savings and thousands of dollars in payroll, including some of my mom's ss money) was that she was no longer allowed to have a credit card or ATM card or Debit card or checks. Her H had to hold all the money and he had to learn how to pay the bills and when, etc., all matters concerning banking. It was a very difficult year for them, but ultimately, it forced them to face the matter head on and work together with full disclosure. My sister was extremely stressed by learning to live on a budget - I should add that her H us is a softy and when she asked for money, he just gave it to her, but she still had to be held accountable for where it was spent.

    Anyway, I'm thinking that your H needs a shorter leash in regards to access to your money. The thing is that promises are rarely kept, but the bills still need to get paid. Irresponsible behavior at any age needs to be dealt with in a natural consequence way, imvho. Best of luck.
  18. seriously

    seriously New Member

    One of the consequences of living in California is that it is a community property state.

    The implications of this for married couples (and registered domestic partners too) is that half of his is yours and vice versa. Unless it meets the test for separate property - which would be property acquired before marriage, social security income from work prior to marriage, and income from separate property acquired before marriage.

    Otherwise - it's shared whether you want it that way or not. I believe that it may be possible to draw up a legal agreement that makes some income or assets separate but I am not a lawyer and have not consulted one on this issue.

    One of the potential downsides to this is that half of any debts he incurs *may*also be yours. There are always exceptions of course but it's another reason to limit his ability to charge or acquire unmanageable debt.

    I don't know if you are familiar with but it has some very helpful and reliable articles and financial tools covering a wide variety of financial topics. It IS a commercial website and it makes money by referring visitors to resources like lenders and debt relief counseling companies but you have to take the initiative to fill out a form asking to be referred - they don't just pass on your information because you stopped by to read an article.

    And here's a link to a list of 12 step programs for various issues including gambling and spending.

    I totally agree that getting his mental illness accurately diagnosed and appropriate treatment begun is very important. Realistically, we both know that just getting an accurate diagnosis doesn't ensure that the problems will respond quickly or well to drug treatment. And the problem behaviors developed over a lifetime of "self-medicating" (in this case gambling and spending) don't just go away because the underlying mental illness has been successfully treated. It does make it easier to confront and change those behaviors - but that does require acknowledgement that there's a problem and commitment to change the behaviors. That can be very, very hard - speaking from personal experience here.

    Hope this has been the wakeup call husband needs.

    I think it would not be unreasonable for you to set some "house rules" about his spending time with the family every day rather than completely withdrawing. Just a thought.

  19. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The community property law typically does mean his debts are mine, should we ever split, unless I can somehow prove I had no access to the account (I think?). Actually, I have access to every account he has, but not vice versa. And virtually ALL of our assets were acquired while we've been married, with the exception of the majority of a 401K rollover account that I have, the bulk of which was invested by me before we met. But this law is another reason I contacted the company of the one card he does use and asked that the limit be lowered by more than 1/2. He doesn't even know I did it, and I doubt he'll ever notice. He just doesn't pay attention to details like that.

    He got another wakeup call from the dentist today (separate thread) which seems to have snapped him out of his pity party. He was talking about changes he could make and pointed out the fact that he took his lunch to work for the first time in 15 or 20 years and asserted that he could continue doing that, and that it would likely save us $200 a month or more. But like you said, behaviors only change when there's recognition and acknowledgement. I don't believe he's completely there yet with seeing the big picture.
  20. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Actually, you could probably make a pretty good case for any gambling debts to be separate debt. The premise of community property shared debt is that the debt was incurred to benefit the "community" - i.e. your family or you as a couple.

    Clearly, gambling debt does not benefit the community.

    But 'nuff said. I hope things will get better soon. Would be really nice eh?