Much like the fog can cloud a driver's view while on the road, so can Narcissistic Abuse obscure a victim's mind. So what can a person do to get out of the fog?
The term FOG (or fear, obligation and guilt) was first coined by Susan Forward in her book Emotional Blackmail. (Read my post on Emotional Blackmail for more information.) In the book, Forward details how an emotional abuser will use the FOG tactics to keep the victim in a state of dependence. This often triggers intense feelings of dread and hopelessness.
Like a wounded and defeated animal, victims will find themselves backed into a corner with no way out. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and powerlessness were all too real for me. I truly felt defeated. There were so many times that I had no more fight left in me. Why bother, I thought. It would just do more harm than good.
Break it down
In order to know how to get out of the FOG, each component needs to be understood.
1. Fear. It's a basic human reaction when confronted with a threatening situation. It triggers what many know as the "fight or flight" response. Typically, we are afraid of bad things happening. I would always notice that my heartbeat and breathing would become more rapid. As a result, my blood pressure would rise.
When the Narcissist makes threats against you, you are no doubt fearful that you're in danger. That's the fear response - that our senses are heightened to the possibility of extreme danger. Fear is a survival instinct that victims use to save their own sanity. I know I was in a constant state of fear. There were countless times that I thought the NX would make good on the threats he spewed out.
Because of the prolonged exposure to fear, I developed stress and anxiety issues. When a victim's body is in such a constant heightened state of fear (like mine was ), that victim will develop several long term health issues as a result.
2. Obligation. It is human nature to have a sense of moral duty and commitment to our families, friends, our workplace. But a Narcissist will exploit the victim's good nature and play upon the moral duties. The Narc will manipulate your sense of duty to the point where you will feel like you are withering. You cannot thrive and flourish in that kind of environment.
My NX successfully played upon my sense of obligation to my daughter when he hoovered me in late 2007. He said my daughter "needed her mommy." He KNEW the love I had for my daughter would pull at my heartstrings enough to trigger the sense of duty as a mother.
3. Guilt. When you don't do what the Narc wants when he wants it, he will do and say anything to invoke feelings of guilt within you. Narcs will want you to feel like it is your fault for letting them down. They will want you to feel you did something wrong!
Narcissists use the FOG technique because they feel it's the only way to acquire what they want or need. Narcs knows that in order for FOG to work, there must be something they can use against you or hold over your head. They need to keep you in the dark. They can't have you seeing through the fog! If you refuse their FOG tactics, they will make you pay dearly.
So how can you get out of the FOG? Below are several things I did to help me.
1. Keep doing the things that bring you joy. I kept writing in a journal. I kept listening to my favorite music. I kept talking to my mom on the phone. I kept going on Facebook every day to stay in touch with family and friends.
2. Educate. I learned all I could about Narcissists and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I wanted my eyes to be wide open when dealing with him. The more I learned, the more I realized that it was never me.
3. Learning to say no. For a period of time after the NX, I had such a rough time turning people down for anything. I had been trained to always say yes. Not anymore. You CAN say no to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Just because a friend invites you to a party, doesn't mean you have to say yes.
4. Support groups and therapy. I began therapy and joined several online support groups. I learned to start taking care of myself!
5. Find a silver lining. I have worked hard at finding one positive thing to counter every negative thing the NX ever said or did to me. Some days it's a struggle, but I do my best.
6. Learn to respond, not react. Particularly with emails, I've learned to read through them and absorb what was said before replying. I used to reply in haste, thereby creating a potentially volatile situation because he'd return with a nasty reply. Instead, I respond after I've absorbed his words. By doing this, it's giving me my control back. He's looking for the negative reaction from me in attempts to paint me in a bad light. When I calmly respond, he doesn't get the reaction he's looking for.
When you make your way out of the fog, you will be able to see more clearly, feel more freedom, and begin your journey of healing.
Have you experienced the FOG? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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Here you will find my most popular posts for easier discovery.
How Narcissists Make Sure You Never Solve Problems In A Relationship
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How I Lost My Identity
The Fake Apology
Effects of Emotional Abuse
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Emotionally Abusive Behaviors
Going No Contact: A List Of What To Do And What Not To Do
An Open Letter To All Survivors Who Just Got Out Of An Abusive Situation
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.