This is always such a difficult subject because so many WS's use "the fog" or something similar in order to excuse or justify their behavior to their BS, especially shortly after D-day. As others have mentioned, sometimes it's family members or "other people" that also offer it up as a reason for the BS. The problem with this isn't the fog itself, it's the fact that it is linked to an excuse, thus insinuating that the WS has limited or no culpability in the affair. So it is perfectly reasonable to see many BS's on this site with the staunch opinion that the the fog is made up, or that it's just a diversion tactic, or a CYA, whatever. That's THEIR experience with it and so it's hard to open their minds enough to see that they are blaming the cart for the direction the horse is going in.
As others have said and I will shout it from the rooftops myself, IT IS NOT A JUSTIFICATION FOR INFIDELITY. I'm sorry that your WS used it that way if they did, and that was wrong of them. Understanding what the fog is and how it affected the decision making process for the WS is a key element for most WS's to understand and work with if they are ever to "get it", and so labeling the fog as "fake" and "a lie" and "an excuse" is really harmful to the efforts of WS's and BS's alike who are fighting to save their marriages and need to understand what happened in order to address it and build new, healthier lives and outcomes for themselves.
In my opinion, the biggest problem that SI has with "the fog" is something I've addressed in other threads, and that is simply that this is an infidelity forum, so we tend to see everything through the eyes of infidelity. The fog that we are describing is NOT an infidelity issue. For example, a person might get drunk and then have a one-night stand. And if you come to this site, you might see a lot of stories that start with, "I was drunk and then...", so it becomes easy to say that people are just using being drunk as an excuse, which is true to an extent. The problem comes in when people start to say, "There is no such thing as being drunk, it's just an excuse to cheat". And that's just not true, at all, not even a little. And it also is not a logical conclusion that anyone who is drunk is also cheating.
If you grab a copy of the DSM-5 and look for a condition labeled as "the fog" you won't see it. That's because "the fog" is an SI term, much in the same way that looking up "CoW" will get you a "moo" and not "co-worker". However, if you start to look up trauma responses and the way people are damaged by emotional trauma, things will start to make sense.
Let me ask you this. Suppose that one day, you wake up to find that your spouse has painted themselves purple, shoved a broom up their butt to look like a tail and is running down the street introducing themselves as Barney the Dinosaur and asking people to sing kids songs with them. What would go through your head at that moment? Would you think to yourself, "OMG, my spouse has secretly been hiding the fact that they are actually a dinosaur! They never loved me, they just wanted to humiliate me!" My guess is, that would not be your response. Instead, you'd probably think that your spouse is insane, have them committed, and then work with doctors to determine what caused the mental break and how to repair it. That's a normal response to your spouse doing something totally insane and completely out of character for them, and which came on seemingly "overnight" so to speak.
And yet, when our spouses suddenly start acting coldly and secretively, and completely out of character from the person that we knew, loved and married, we don't ask why/how they changed into a monster seemingly overnight, we just assume that they've always secretly been a cheater and a liar and just "hid it well". Again, this makes a lot of sense from the perspective of a BS who just got cheated on. But if you can take the personal trauma out of the equation for a moment, you might notice that in both cases (Barney and infidelity) the spouses did something "not mentally stable" and out of character for who they are. We react differently and come to different conclusions because in one instance the behavior ended in betrayal and in the other it didn't. But that doesn't change the behavior, it only changes our perspective of it. Our perspective has nothing to do with the cause. Mentally unstable is mentally unstable regardless of the outcomes.
Some here might say, "Fine, I get that, but my spouse didn't change 'overnight', they cheated on me for years and years". Which is a good thing to note. However, trauma is not a time-limited state of mind. If for example, a person grew up in a house where they weren't shown unconditional love and weren't protected by their parents, that person would grow up missing what most other people have. For example, they don't understand what a healthy relationship looks like or acts like, not because they are assholes, but because they were never taught healthy relationship skills to begin with. They never developed healthy boundaries to begin with. They never learned how consequences work and how to grow from challenges instead of just folding. In other words, they've been broken their whole lives... they just were able to mask their brokenness because we always assumed they were mentally healthy to begin with.
At the end of the day, "The fog", however it manifests itself, is an inability of a person (our WS's in this case) to deal with reality and with relationships in a clear and healthy way. They ARE selfish and they ARE liars, but not because they are full of hate and evil, but rather because they are broken and those are the tactics that have allowed them to survive in a world that they aren't built for.
The really, really wonderful thing about all of this, as awful as it sounds at first, is that it means there is a path to actually "fixing" the person who is broken. Once they can realize, and ACCEPT, that they are broken, steps can be taken to build what was missing or broken in the first place. Healthy boundaries. Self-love and dignity. Empathy and respect for others. The ability to own our choices. So on and so on.
I speak from experience here. This is MY life story. This the experience that we've shared, and understanding this has opened up new paths and opportunities for my wife and me to not only understand what happened, but how to prevent it from happening again, and how to grow closer by working on the rebuilding process together.
There is no entry in the DSM-5 for "lying, cheating, POS asshole" either. How would you feel if you were accused of "making up infidelity as an excuse to just hate your spouse"? You'd be pretty pissed I imagine. Well, it feels the same on this end. When people say it doesn't exist, it diminishes the 56 years of emotional pain and trauma that I've suffered through, it diminishes the pain I put my wife and family through, and it demeans every person I know who is clawing and scratching their way through therapy in order to heal. I just needed to say that, because I don't think people "get" how much it hurts and how much damage it causes to be labeled as a liar when you are doing everything humanly possible to own and understand yourself, your choices and actions. Call the fog whatever you will, it doesn't matter. Just understand that your spouse might be broken in a way that may make them seem like an uncaring asshole, and if you can see this as "a broken person" and not "a natural born asshole", then you have options, rather than lacking them.
[This message edited by DaddyDom at 8:08 PM, Saturday, April 23rd]