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Author Topic: SELF-AWARE: What it means to be in the "FOG"  (Read 20956 times)
Randi Kreger
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2009, 12:22:01 PM »

The boundaries workshop is at http://bpdfamily.com/content/values-and-boundaries  

Author, The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, Stop Walking on Eggshells, and the SWOE Workbook. Coauthor, Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

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« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2011, 12:30:21 AM »

I wondered if this workshop on FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) might be of interest to this board.

Do you recognize the role of FOG in your life? What has it been? How have you worked on reducing it?



What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else.
                           --Lucille Clifton

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« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2011, 10:45:47 AM »

Thanks Black&White for putting this here.

Any other workshops that could be helpful here would be WELCOME too.

FOG, eh?

For me, the FEAR of what could happen was in the forefront.  The what if's. The consequences of MY actions.
Fortunately, I learned in Nar-anon that I can't stop a train from derailing.  I had 2 choices, either jump off the track or die trying to stop said train.  My bpd/bipdd is always having suicidal thoughts and verbalizes them.

I've just said, "You're gonna do what you're gonna do.  Nothing I can do to stop you"

This always leads to the "you don't love me, you'd be happy if I die, yada yada.

OBLIGATION...now that's the sticky wicky.  We are her parents.  She IS sick.  She can't seem to take care of HER.
Then there's the kids.  This obligation piece has gotten us stuck for 2 years now.  My dh is finally seeing he is no longer obliged to DO.  She is 26 almost 27 already.  this same piece had us stuck for our AS though we got over that one.
We got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

We're there again...I can only DO so much.  Period.  It is what it is.

GUILT...ya got me here.  DNA is one of those things we cannot change.  In my case, I had no family history on my dad's side. 
Wish I did about 26 years ago.  I got it about 3 years ago.  Mental illness abounds.

That said, I would have been looking at things way differently many years ago.  s28 was dx'd adhd/odd when he was very young.  I think he's bpd too.  JMO.  He's got all the behaviours including addiction. 

Could I have done something sooner?  Could I have intercepted this?  Could i have forced treatment on them?  Should I have even had kids?  Oh the list could go on and on.

I harbor no guilt for my son's addiction.  I didn't cause it, can't control it and definately can't cure it. 
I'm over the DNA guilt too.  I know I didn't cause BPDd's illness, can't control it and definately can't cure it.

I live by a saying that frees me from guilt...


I'm working on boundaries now.  My big one for bpdd is you do your part we're good.  You don't..you gotta go.

Fortunately, my son's addiction tought us all about boundaries.  I forgot to apply them to my daugher  ?

Love this acronym.  I'm all about acronyms. 

I use QTIP(quit taking it personally) when she rages at me.
I use KISS(keep it simple sister) when giving instructions to her.
I WILL use FOG to keep me on MY mission to regain MY serenity, sanity and peace.
I use JFT(just for today) I can do this.  Ok, sometimes it's JFM's.(moments).

So happy to have an outlet for this illness too.  Love thought provoking topics.
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2011, 12:06:46 AM »

Hello serenitygone,

You are most welcome. When I read your analysis of Fear, Obligation, and Guilt it strikes me how strong these are for a parent of a child.  Empathy

I live by a saying that frees me from guilt...


Can you talk about that a little more? What does this saying mean to you? What goes on in your head when you say it, and how does it help you ease the guilt?

I also had the thought that the opposite of FOG in some ways is radical acceptance.

Radical acceptance was developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD. from the University of Washington (see article) and is based on the ancient Zen philosophy that each moment is complete by itself, and that the world is perfect as it is. Zen focuses on acceptance, validation, and tolerance instead of change.   Mindfulness is “allowing” experiences rather than suppressing or avoiding them. It is the intentional process of observing, describing, and participating in reality non-judgmentally, in the moment, and with effectiveness. Ethereal l as it may sound, Linehan's methods have been independently studied by clinical researchers and shown to be effective.
The prime dissatisfaction for many of us is the sense that we are unworthy according to Tara Brach, PhD. We aren’t enough, we don’t do enough, we don’t have enough.  We live in a trance of unworthiness. It’s a trance because the pain of KNOWING the unworthy feelings is rather deep. So we keep really busy, so there’s no time to sit and know. We embark on self-improvement projects to try to be good enough. We avoid risks to avoid more pain. We withdraw from knowing our current experience.  We become self-critics. And like most self critics, we also become critical of others.  The trance of unworthiness involves being in close touch with a self that’s fearful, wanting, feeling alone and separate.  The self caught in desire, aversion , delusion. It means losing sight of the self who’s connected, whole, in the ‘fullness of being.’

“When we learn to face and feel the fear and shame we habitually avoid, we begin to awaken from the trance.”

Further thoughts welcome.  smiley


What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else.
                           --Lucille Clifton

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« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2011, 08:28:16 AM »

Great thread and I plan on going through this workshop myself...  Today will be a hard day as I meet with d25, her treatment team and then her therapist.  Im not sure what to expect.

Fear:  They are going to ask me to do something I dont want to do.  They will think Im a bad mother when I enforce my own boundaries and limits.  D25 is going to target me and they will believe her.

Obligation:  I am her mother, I "should" be willing to do whatever it takes and whatever they suggest.  I should do "more"

Guilt:  I havent done enough, I did something to cause this.  My boundaries will trigger her. I get to come home... she doesnt.

These are words in my head, although I know they arent true...  So, I hand them over to you guys today and choose not to take them with me.


bpd/dpd/edD 25
me (working to not become an alphabet soup myself)
xh (dd's adopted dad)

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« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2011, 10:10:48 AM »

I think for a parent you experience the FOG regardless of any particular attempt by the pwBPD to inflict it on you with emotional blackmail.  Below is an example of the FOG we've experienced:

1. What will become of our son's life?  Will he ever "recover" from BPD?  Will he ever be able to hold down jobs?  If we "let go" completely, will he spiral further downward into a life of crime, drug addiction, etc.?
2. We hesitate to crack down on hit behavior, because he might rage and cause damage or physical harm to someone else in the family.

He's our son.  We should do all we can to "fix" the problem.

1.  We must have made mistakes as parents to bring this on.  So much of the information on BPD talks about children who were not properly nurtured.  What could we have done to make him feel unloved or abandoned?
2. Why didn't we catch this earlier?  There were some signs when he was younger but we did not get him in therapy.  Could we have done more as parents to address personality issues while he was a minor?

Wife and I
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« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2011, 10:58:44 AM »


As human beans, regardless of anything else, we only know what we were taught. 
The rest comes from living. 

I knew NOTHING about personality disorders, adhd, bipolar, the legal system, etc.

I've made tons of mistakes...some real, some imagined over the years.

I knew nothing about mental illness due to my upbringing.  It was NEVER discussed.  In fact, they think it's a joke.
There is NO such thing...self will cures all.  don't ask.

ADHD was my first experience.  I learned what I could at the time.  Computers weren't around then.  I had unreal expectations of my son.  They led me to do all the "wrong" things.  When I learned WHAT the illness was...I could make better choices.

So when I knew better I did better.

Same thing with my bpdd...I now KNOW she can't STOP herself...and it's not just her being defiant, lazy and a few other adjectives.  I've changed MY expectations.  Again...I know better I make better choices.

I've also been fortunate to learn the difference between helping and enabling. 

Guilt is a FEELING...it's NOT a fact.  I've had to learn to FEEL the feelings.  Seperate them from the facts.

My new reality is this...

My daughter may not ever be a productive citizen in the "normal" sense.
My dreams for her have been squashed...I had to grieve this.  Dead.  Buried.  Gone.
My life has forever been altered from what I THOUGHT it would be.
My plans HAD to change.  I could no longer keep those ancient dreams of retirement, travel.  Not all of these are due to mental illness either. 

I could really go into a dark place and focus on all the losses.  I could choose acceptance.  I could make a conscious choice to be happy NO MATTER WHAT.

I can't change DNA.  I can't change the past.  I CAN learn from it.  I choose to use it as a learning experience.

Guilt only keeps me stuck...I can never be happy if I'm stuck.  I'd always be fighting.

I hope this explains what I meant Black & White.  Cuz life is all GRAY!
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« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2011, 09:22:52 AM »

I only have time to read through some of this again very quickly.  The last post said you have learned the diff. between enabling and helping. 

I think I am beginning to understand and apply some of all of this but a couple quick questions.  When my g sons are not here I will read more in depth.   

1.  When do we get to the point we feel dd is affecting the children. she loves them so much but I think I have to love them enough to protect them even if it could possible destroy our dd.  She would be devastated if we caused her to loose partial custody. 

2.  How do you keep from saying things...  even when I think I am validating her feelings she takes it wrong twists things and then I am caught up in trying to apologize or explain which only gets me deeper in..
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« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2011, 10:07:43 AM »

My experience is that I have a pattern of thinking up new ways to make things better and then believing my w will work with me. Each time, over 20 years, I have been disappointed in the result. I find I keep overlooking the bpd. What I mean is I continue to find ways to help but they assume a rational partner is in there. They aren't. I know that yet I keep trying. I think that is the fog--it prevents me from seeing objectively. It has taken a long time but now when I find myself 'discovering' a new idea of how to help, I simply do not try. I feel that nothing will ever work.

A mind stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension; 'the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know, the more I realize I don't know,...the more I want to learn.'AE
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« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2011, 01:46:53 PM »

Yes, yes,  I do that,  I imagine what I can do to actually make it better despite what I read here.  I imagine surely there is that special way of saying something that will make it click for her.  I play it out in my head.  I even think about being blunt and just tell her, she is acting like a child, or you children are going to pick up on this and behave in the same way.  I struggle when i do wonder if saying something like, is this what you want your children to grow up doing.  I know they see these outrages sometimes...  What to do in that case?   
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