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Daughter confronted with her Dads OW when she arrives unexpectedly

S Updated
I think my girls and I are experiencing that horrible replacement family thing that Vaster wrote so movingly about recently. My ex has though been very secretive about his new relationship, partly I think because he is denying it in court but it has not escaped my daughters that the ow has twin daughters just a little younger than them. Anyway my younger daughter spontaneously caught the train down to the coast to see her father...he had no time to disappear the ow so she was at his when my daughter arrived (8 am). After being introduced, one of her girls turned up too for breakfast. Although we know it's going on, it's still very painful to witness the reality. I have been protected from that but what makes me feel really sick is how bloody marvellous he seems to be to the 'replacement' family. I hope my youngest is ok - she has broken through the secretiveness I guess and maybe they will all be a happy family. I guess I don't know what to think at the moment but felt the need to write about it.

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Thank you wikis for your great words. It's really great to be understood and I blogged not quite understanding why I blogged but now I know. I am carrying all his crap as the scapegoat which he has tried to leave behind and I am struggling so I'm going back to Al Anon in the search for peace and letting go of my internal fixer. This is why I am keeping away from dating....I am still an addict waiting to find an addict to 'help' .
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The fact you are experiencing this type of scapegoating means that he is not really in recovery. Quite often the addiction just takes a new form and pattern. My ex swore blind as he left me that his problems were now over because the problem was me. He was extremely convincing. 6 weeks later a phone bill drops on my doormat, our phones were in my name at the time and I saw from the phone bill that the addiction was continuing it had just taken a different form. He was acting out in a different way but still acting out all the same.

Al-Anon might say for example there is a difference between an alcoholic being dry and sober. Very few addicts stop without serious help.

I needed to know back then that the addiction hasn't magically stopped because I had been blamed and scapegoated for so long that I struggled very much with the thought that he has got better and thus was it my fault? Of course logically we know we don't make people drink or whatever the addiction happens to be but when you've been around this stuff for years their denial and self delusions distort perception somewhat. I felt like I was going insane in my marriage half the time.

My ex wasn't in recovery, but I found recovery for myself. Not as an addict but as someone who tried to fix an addict for years. Because I found a way to let my addict go and understood what recovery really means, I have been able to see through my ex's claims of recovery, understand that delusions and denial are still present. So I have cut the ties. He has to go on his own path. Tragic, but that's active addiction for you.

This scapegoating is what addicts do. In all the years my ex has been loudly proclaiming his recovery lifestyle, after thousands of pounds spent on therapy, he still has never been able to say to me "shoe girl my addiction wasn't your fault" he's never properly apologised and seems to be on a path of going from woman to woman as over time the mask slips etc.

This is why I have let my ex go and needed to get support for me to do so. I can not be around his insanity, it's toxic. Refuse to be the scapegoat and my advice would be to access every last bit of support you can. Codependency has its own challenges and I found support critical to let my ex go. He wasn't a drinker or drug addict but he had serious addiction issues.

Today my life is peaceful. I live an authentic life and things are relatively simple. The life of treading on eggshells and feeling constantly not good enough has gone. Letting him go was hard but it was the only way forward. He may have gone SG but now you have to find a way for yourself to let your addict go. It takes a long time to stop obsessing, worrying, feeling less than because of the projections of blame. My best advice is to access support.
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It sounds as though (amongst other things) what you are finding painful is that you and your children got the drunk and abusive him and OW and her kids get the sober new version, all sweetness and light and happy families by the seaside. It's a bit like when you stand by your man while he works long hours and struggles, then as soon as he makes any money, he walks off with his gorgeous and adoring new secretary who hasn't let herself go and never criticises him and steps into the life you were working towards and looking forward to. It happens all the time.

He may still be drinking. Or maybe he has stopped. In a way it doesn't make any difference. It doesn't alter the past you shared and it doesn't alter the fact that he's gone. Either way it was his weakness. Either way he did not treat you well.

Try to hold your head up. It wasn't your fault he behaved as he did. So many if us in a similar plight and all we can really do (it seems to me) is try to emerge the best we can and know that we are good people to whom bad things happened. Yes it is painful, but the fact that it hurts tells us something about ourselves - you wouldn't want to be the sort of person who experiences all this without it hurting, would you?

Xx
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Addiction wasn't part of our relationship problems (unless you include STBX's workaholism!), but I work in the drug and alcohol field and the excuses are part of the denial as you would know - "I started drinking because of X then relapsed this time because of stress with Y and it's really Z's fault". Great if he has stopped drinking, but I wouldn't necessarily believe his claims of sobriety. The very fact that he is blaming you (and to your kids - not cool!) shows his lack of insight, and when people are in prolonged recovery they usually take more responsibility for their own lack of control with alcohol.
Al-anon sounds like a great idea. I'm sorry he is bad-mouthing you, it's doubly cruel to be left for OW and then blamed for it as well. My sins include insufficient makeup, wearing yoga pants and ponytails too often, and not being musical. My friends have been kind enough to spare me the nastier details of the character assassination which I'm sure has done the gossip rounds. But it still hurts I know.
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Thanks Shoegirl. I am glad you reinforced the fact that he has done a geographic which I looked up as you suggested. My GP has given his new romance 2 years. I think he stopped the booze as it had got so bad he wouldn't have been able to sustain a new relationship when drinking but I must admit I don't know what's going on. I think I have been scapegoated by his family, his work and the new gf and it's very powerful. His story now (told to our daughters) is that he drank in such a destructive way because of me. Very convenient. I think I will go back to Al-Anon again as I feel the need to talk about all of this again. Shoegirl, I have read your entries over the past months and you have experienced the whole co-dependency/ addiction dance but broke free.
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I think it is well worth touching base with Al Anon somehow as they support the families who have been affected by drinking. I just feel that if you can explore some of that, you might be able to make more sense of what has happened here and why.

I recognise a lot of what you write, I lost my husband to addiction which in his case was a progressive disease where he chose not to pursue a recovery path. Different addiction same type of behaviours.
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You don't know for sure he's given up alcohol SG. Yes he might work from home but I suspect this is about what suits him. Perhaps he now drinks through the day. Thing is you don't know anything for sure. Generally if people have an addiction or dependency on something, it doesn't just magically disappear.

It wasn't your fault he used to drink or was abusive. It therefore doesn't follow that he leaves and stops. Yes he might appear to be marvellous. That doesn't mean that's what is really going on. He has run away, not found himself. What he has is not real it is based on a fantasy. The fantasy is run away from your problems and they magically go away. Does that sound like a great strategy to you? Wherever he goes there he is. Problem is he is running away from himself so longer term these affairs rarely last for that reason.

If your ex was dependent on alcohol then quite often they project blame for their use of alcohol or their behaviour on to those closest to them. Your ex isn't going to be a different person with someone else. He might want to play a game of let's pretend but the mask will slip.

Refuse to be a scapegoat for his problems. He's done a geographic, look it up, it is a well documented response to dependency issues.
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Vastra, you have summed it up so well. It's what they give the ow and her kids which they denied us. My ex too worked long hours, rarely at home during the day. Since he has been down on the coast, he works from home most of the time so around and my girls have only spent 5 days with him in 10 months. He can never find a convenient time and says he can't afford to visit them (went to Gambia in December with ow). The worst of it though is that he was often drunk at home and abusive - now he has given alcohol up...that's the worst part of it for me.
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I realise your ex hasn't been deliberately flaunting it as he lives far away, but they seem to have no comprehension of how painful it would be, at any age, to have your parent run off with another parent and take on their kids directly after the separation. My ex as you know has zero sensitivity to how hurt and awkward my boys must feel right now. When he was with us he was always off at work/ conferences & unable to come to any school stuff - until he became uncharacteristically enthusiastic about the school music and picking my son up from lessons.
I have no doubt mine will be far more involved in his new family and that my boys will notice that and incorporate that into their sense of self-worth.
It must feel threatening to your daughter that OW's daughter is similar age, did she know them before, as I think you said it was a family friend? I can't imagine that bodes well for a happy family ending. I don't know what to say to mine either - other than comments that it must be a bit weird having OW and her girls living with their dad so soon, and that most kids would find it hard.
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