Gambling addiction – relationships
Gambling addiction often creates considerable trouble in personal relationships, particularly through damaged trust, mainly due to the contradictory behaviour in phases of active gambling. Untruths are meant to hide gambling or provide money for gambling, or to put moral pressure on relatives. The outward self-confident demeanour, however, often contradicts an inner feeling of weakness, inadequacy and the need for protection. In this way, behaviour in personal relationships can lead to loss of trust, alienation and, under certain circumstances, separation. Shame and feelings of guilt, which may arise as a result of gambling behaviour, are often additional reasons for gambling.
Gambling addiction – relationship motives
We all have key basic needs that should be met in relationships. Bochum psychology professor Rainer Sachse names six different such basic needs, also referred to as „relationship motives„:
- Importance (being important for others, to have value)
- Recognition (also: love, care, positive definition, respect)
- Reliability, reliable relationship
- Autonomy and
- Inviolability of borders, territoriality.
These basic needs are there – to different degrees – in every person. We align our actions in relationships in such a way, that our relationship partners can meet these needs. Our relationship motives are then mostly recognizable for the respective counterpart, so that she recognizes our goals and can react to them. Acting overtly according to these original needs and motives is called »acting at the motive level«.
In childhood we have many different relationship experiences. These lead to deeply rooted beliefs about us and our relationships. They can be positive, for example: „I am good“, „I am important to others“ or „I get attention in relationships“. They can also be of a negative nature, such as: „I am bad“, „I am unimportant,“ or „Others are not interested in me“. The more negative, deeply rooted beliefs we have, the less trust we develop in our own abilities. We also have no confidence that other people will meet our basic needs in relationships.
If an important basic need is violated again and again, the person concerned becomes very sensitive. The longer it remains unsatisfied, the more it comes to the fore in individual experience. We become more and more dissatisfied and put more and more energy into its satisfaction. In case of disorders with numerous negative beliefs about ourselves and about relationships with other people, a temptation may arise, to create an image of ourselves and to develop actions that indirectly manipulate other people into satisfying at least some of our needs. The basic need itself is not recognised or outright denied. This behaviour is called „behaviour at game level“ or “strategy”. This relationship behaviour, therefore, is under a double control of action: the „motif level“ of the basic needs, which is masked by the strategies on „game level“, e.g. outwardly grandiose behaviour, which is meant help to satisfy the secret need for recognition and loving care. However, behaviour at the game level, even if it works, leaves us dissatisfied. We notice that our counterpart is reacting as planned. But we also notice that we are not really meant as a person. When interaction partners find out about us, they feel manipulated and influenced and react with anger, rejection and deprivation of trust. The person acting at game level then feels confirmed in her negative beliefs about relationships. Trusting, honest and open relationships are becoming increasingly difficult.
Gambling addiction – Excel folder „Relationships“
The first worksheet contains a summary of the model. Before starting the next step, be sure that you understand the “model of relationship motives”. Conceive for example possible behaviours at game level and identify underlying relationship motives.
The next step requires reflection about yourself and personal relationships over a longer period of time: how am I in relationships? What positive, appreciable traits do I find in myself and in others in relationships? What do I find critical in relationships? Try to also take the outside perspective, the view of others on yourself. (Talking about this with three to four people in your immediate environment can also be very informative.)
Finally, it is about changes: Which characteristics would you like to build, develop or further develop in yourself? How do you want to achieve the intended changes in concrete terms?
Premper, Volker. Pathologisches Glücksspielen (German Edition), S.116 ff. Beltz. Kindle-Version.