I just discovered this site after googling "My mother is addicted to video games, what should I do?" But none of the answers or suggestions were feasible options for me. The addiction not only affects my mother, but to some degree my brother and father as well. But neither of them are as bad off as my mom.
Some background on my mom and dad, their marriage wasn't that great after I was born. I don't remember them being in love or being happy even before videogames came into our home. My mom was overweight before she started playing, but I feel like she's never really focused to lose weight because she is addicted to gaming.
I remember being around 6 years old (1996) when my older brother introduced my mom to Gemstone. If you're not familiar with it, its one of the first MMORPGs and it was a text-based game. Just a black screen and you played the game by typing responses. My mom, dad and brother started playing this game online together. My dad even brought in computers from his office so they could play at the same time. I remember my mom putting me on her lap and showing me how to play. I was too young to care and also found it extremely boring, especially since there were no graphics. I never got into it. I don't remember when the excessive gaming started, but it got bad. Really bad.
My mom was a nurse, and when she wasn't working she was gaming. When she stopped working in the hospital, and was home more, she spent probably 85% of her time online. If she wasn't driving me to school or sleeping, she was gaming. My dad and brother played for several hours at a time, but they would go and do other things. My mom seemed to center her life around gaming. I remember going days and days without having a full conversation with my mom. I made my own food (not very good, I was a kid. Gordon's Fish Filets and Popcorn for many many many dinners.) and was pretty much by myself all day. My brother was a teenager, off doing something. My dad was working. Mom was gaming. I would get incredibly lonely, I still feel a pang in my chest when I think about the solitude. She was talking to other people online, but she couldn't even respond to my questions. I would say things like, "Today I jumped off a bridge." and she would mutter, "Uh-huh." I would get so frustrated and lonely that I would cry at her for attention. I would beg. I would scream. All she did was yell at me to go away. She would snap at me.
After a few years of this, I was maybe 9 or 10 she finally admitted in serious conversations that she thinks she had a problem. She would instead watch tv with me or something for an hour, then go back to gaming. It wasn't really enough.
After my parents divorced when I was 12, my mom had continued gaming. She began to have a romantic interest with a man half her age that she met online before the divorce. Eventually, he moved down and lived with her. They would game together, hours and hours and hours. Probably 12-15 hours. But they would take breaks. we would go out to eat. They stopped dating and he moved out when I was 14 or 15. My mom continued to game and game and game in the same pattern as before.
I never knew how to do something to legitamely get her to stop. I thought because of the pain in her life that gaming was the only outlet she had. I couldn't make her happy. I realized I could never be enough to make someone happy. I couldn't compare to graphics and hundreds of people all over the world.
I was the weirdo who didn't game.
I suffered major depression during my teen years. I attempted to kill myself when I was 17 and this really wrecked my mom. I still feel guilty about the worry I put her through. I compounded more pain on her when she already had enough to deal with.
She did cut back on video gaming. She started socializing. I hope it was not a direct result of my selfish teenage dark years. I moved out of her house when I was 19. She works from her home computer now so she sits on the computer literally all day. She works from 9 or earlier to 4 or 5, then she games sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. Even when I go down to visit her she still games when I'm there. We'll go out to eat or watch a movie, and then she games for the rest of the night. It hurts that even now I can't keep her company as well as Lord of the Rings Online.
If my mom forgets to bring her lap top with her when she visits me, it's wonderful! We go to movies, go shopping, just sit around and chat.
My brother just recently moved back to the US from China, and they visited me just a few weeks ago. They did not forget to bring their laptops. Every time I came home from work they were gaming. Constantly. That's almost all my mom did when she was here. She did have the flu, but still. It was morning til night. Like when I was little.
I want to help. She's getting older and gaming has taken a severe toll on her body. But I don't live with her and I worry it might be too late. I should have done something years ago but I didn't know what to do. I didn't know that other people knew what living with a video game addict was like. I thought I was alone. Is it too late? What can I do?