The Betrayed Spouse Fog
is a term primarily used to describe the state of mind and actions, or lack there of, of a BS who is struggling with accurately sizing up the situation before and/or after the affair is discovered. Much of this is an attempt to reduce the pain they are going through.1. Denial
Initially the BS finds recent events so traumatic to comprehend; they will take refuge in denial. This denial can be as small as an immediate burst of anger and crying out "no, no, no!", to a complete refusal to accept that there is an affair at all. This self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument.
In its more moderate and commonly seen form, it is represented by a BS who will Google infidelity and other affair terms compulsively, until they eventually register on a infidelity help forum. There they will post a story with a many red flags; including catching their spouse in lies, yet will continue to believe much of what the Wayward Spouse tells them. In one known incidence the BS caught the WS and the OP coming out of the marital bedroom together. The WS insisted that he was just showing the OW a picture that had been on the wall in there for years. In another a WS was caught in the act of sex, and yet insisted to the BS later they had imagined what they had seen. In both these cases the fog was so powerful the BS needed others to point out to them the reality of the situations.
Foggy Betrayed Spouses are often reluctant to utilise tools in the BS's arsenal such as exposure, citing that it is only for the bitter person out for angry revenge. They will expend a great deal of effort shooting down sound advice from people with many years experience, citing that their WS is not like other WS’s, despite all the evidence to the contrary. In general what they are actually hoping for is a magic bullet which will stop the affair and return their spouse as quickly as possible to the marriage, with the least amount of effort and stress. Their preference is for MC, reading self-help book, doing dishes more, giving their WS foot massage etc - actions that have very little effect except to keep the BS from focusing on the actual problem - the affair itself. They hold on to the belief there there is a magic bullet that will fix all things.
Some BS’s will rely on denial. "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me." Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. Denial can be a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or the reality of the situation. Denial is a defense mechanism and unfortunatly some people can become locked in this stage.2. Self-Blame-shifting
The BS often presumes the worse case scenarios. Many find the standard advice unpalatable, and feel only fear as they envision what may happen as the future unfolds. They have a tendency to re-write the history of the marriage and the WS, idealising both unrealistically. They may take the blame for the affair immediately after D-day, with statements such as "I may not have been the perfect spouse", which as we know, there is no such a thing. They make take the blame for the WS’s actions. Some BS can say the most irrational and inappropriate things, such as declarations of undying love to an active wayward. Some BS’s take refuge in feeling totally helpless.3. Befriending OW or OM
In some cases the BS tries to make friends with the OP. It can be an attempt to get the OP to realise that you as the BS are a 'nice person', and a way to appeal to their 'better side' to let the WS go and for everything to 'return to normal'. Unfortunately most BS's initially struggle to grasp how very little the Affair Partners’ are considering, let alone caring about the BS, the BS's feeling or opinion of the affair. A big part of the BS fog is lack of understanding of the WS and OP mindset - The Wayward Fog.
Another reason a BS may try to befriend the WS's Affair Partner is to try to educate him or her. This is primarily motivated by a hope that if the BS can help heal the AP's own marriage, the AP may chooses to stay with his/her spouse and stops pursuing the BS's spouse. A secondary definition of Betrayed Spouse Fog is the physiological response.
The BS is often in two minds over advice and can waver madly from agreement to rejection of it. A. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
There may be a sort of haze that permeates everything for the first few weeks, causing decreased mental acuity. This is caused by a depressed limbic system. The neuro-transmitters in the brain become affected by stress, which is one reason that thinking straight becomes so difficult, often nearly impossible. In times of stress, the limbic system has the capacity to shut down the 'thinking brain'. It doesn't stop working, it just stops working effectively. More detail on the limbic system and how it responds during periods of trauma can be found on the PTSD
guide here.B. Other Physical & Mental Health Affects
There can be physical responses as well. It's not unheard of a BS losing 25-30 pounds very rapidly. It is also common to hear of a BS going 48 hours without sleep or food. It is difficult for the mind to function during periods of stress that lead to the body falling apart. Some of this is cause by a conflict in the learned behaviour of trusting this individual for a considerable period of time, and some of it is fear. Fear that the marriage is over, and fear that any action they take will drive the WS to their Affair Partner. The BS also loses faith in their thought processes and decision making, often erroneously assuming that they were wrong about the state of the marriage, ergo they cannot trust their judgment in any area..C. Deception, Truth Bias
A third interpretation describes a BS with a 180 degree view of actual events. Wikipedia - Deception, Truth Bias
The truth bias significantly impairs the ability of relational partners to detect deception. In terms of deception, a truth bias reflects a tendency to judge more messages as truths than lies, independent of their actual veracity. When judging message veracity, the truth bias contributes to an overestimate of the actual number of truths relative to the base rate of actual truths. The truth bias is especially strong within close relationships. People are highly inclined to trust the communications of others and are unlikely to question the relational partner unless faced with a major deviation of behavior that forces a reevaluation. When attempting to detect deceit from a familiar person or relational partner, a large amount of information about the partner is brought to mind. This information essentially overwhelms the receiver's cognitive ability to detect and process any cues to deception. It is somewhat easier to detect deception in strangers, when less information about that person is brought to mind.
Their fog is in regards to their own flaws and how that may have influenced the marital breakdown -"I've been such a great spouse - a perfect little angel - and I accidentally married a manipulative hell raising fornicator..." They can be abusive, disinterested and/or controlling, unable to accept their own contribution to the breakdown of the marriage. Many indulge in feeling victimized and wallowing in an extended pity party.SUGGESTED SOLUTIONSI. Reality Check
BS Fog due to denial is best overcome when you are slapped in the face with reality. As cliche' as it sounds, "the first step is admitting you have a problem." The BS fog is nowhere near as intense as the WS fog, and can much more easily be overcome. But, as with any problem, the solution lies only within you, yourself.II. Defense Against Succumbing to Over-Dramatization
Things that will only add to the fog is the BS allowing themselves to be sucked into the drama that often surrounds an affair. This means the BS’s progress in moving from a foggy state to a clear headed one, has to performed over and over again. This will only add to the hurt and trauma, and may become more difficult to break with each cycle as the habit of capitulating becomes ingrained. The BS is the one responsible for breaking this cycle. Either by strengthening boundaries, by separating themselves physically from the WS by plan B, or some form of no contact. Sometimes this regress is referred to as clock resetting. The theory is that any contact with the WS resets the internal recovery clock of the BS back to zero, sending them back into a state of panic and dismay. Refusing to take charge, or allowing the WS to woo the BS just enough to get the BS to stop with exposure or filing, or continuing what ever cake eating opportunities the WS wants, could mean that any progress the BS has made in personal recovery falters.III. Anti-depressants
Anti-depressants may help. Anti-depressant medication does not numb the betrayed spouse to the crisis, it helps raise them above the emotional reactions that otherwise prevent clear-headed thinking. Why risk suffering, and the consequences of poor choices when medication is available to help ease pain and improve concentration in this time of unprecedented crisis? Additionally they will help the BS cope with day to day activities, as life always continues and waits for no one. The BS will still need to get up, go to work, take care of kids, aging parents, etc., even in the midst of infidelity. IV. Stages of Grief
Whether the marriage recovers or not, there are normal stages and progressions of grief the BS must go through. The following is a description of these stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA. While this describes the grieving process in terms of a persons death, the death of a marriage is no less traumatic, and DABDA is equally relevant.Denial
—Denial is initial defense for the overwhelmed betrayed spouse.. It can be a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept the facts, information, and/or the reality of the situation and some people can become locked in this stage. They say things like: "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."Anger
—During this stage, the betrayed spouse comes to recognizes that denial cannot continue. However, because of anger, they often have misplaced feelings of rage and envy. These include feelings of: ”Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?". The anger can also manifest itself in other ways, such as feeling angry with themselves, or with others, and especially those who are close to them. This lashing out is an expression of the deep hurt the betrayed spouse is feeling. There is an old saying – Hurting people, hurt people. Bargaining
- this stage involves the betrayed spouse hoping that they can somehow stop the affair, or postpone/delay the end of the relationship. There may be a negotiation for with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. The betrayed spouse may attempt to enter into negotiations, or bargain with the wayward spouse eg "Can we still be friends?.." Unfortunately due to the nature of the wayward spouse fog, the betrayed spouse fog, and the dynamics of the affair itself, this rarely works, or leads to a long term, mutually satisfying solution.. Depression
— By now, the BS/LBS begins to understand there is a possibility, that the marriage may end. Because of this, they may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows them to disconnect from wayward spouse, as well as accept the death of the ideal they had regarding the marriage and their spouse. It is an important stage that must be processed. Depression can be a type of dress rehearsal for the 'aftermath', and shows the betrayed spouse is beginning to accept and cope with the reality of their situation. It's natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stageAcceptance
— By now, the betrayed spouse has begun to come to terms with their reality, and accept they cannot change it: "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." It is at this point where they can enact and move on with a plan and a purpose. No longer entirely at the whims of the WS, they can look to their own future with, or without the WS, and make good solid decisions. Paradoxically, it is at this stage that the WS will make some attempt to connect with the BS – however, as the BS now has more confidence and strength, the BS is able to realize if this attempt is genuine or not, and respond appropriately.V. Seek Support, Research & Evaluate Options, Learn about Tools, Make a Plan, Take Action
The BS doesn't need to try to do this alone. There are many books, web sites, and forums dedicated to infidelity, and helping the BS get through it. Forums such as Marriage Advocates
are made up of people who have experienced infidelity on one side of the coin or another, and are more than happy to offer support and encouragement to those that come here.Marriage Advocates
has many resources freely available for Betrayed Spouses, Wayward Spouses and Couples just wanting to make a good marriage great.
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