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Author Topic: SELF-AWARE: What it means to be in the "FOG"  (Read 19228 times)
faux
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2008, 12:32:15 AM »

FOG is the most frustrating, interesting aspect of a BPD relationship.  It changes depending on where you are on the road out of Oz.  when I was in the center of oz and undecided the FOG was so think I could not see anything.  I could not see the way out. 

I Feared...being alone, being a single mom, what others would think, what it would do to my D, staying with him, what he was doing to my D
I was Obligated...to be a good wife, to do everything to make him happy, to do everything "right", to keep my wedding vows, to do what he wanted me to do, to follow Gods will
I felt Guilty because...I wanted to leave, I did not want my D growing up in a broken home, he might hurt himself, this was going to hurt him, God hates divorce
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hopethereishope
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2008, 02:50:45 AM »

Fear that I was a horrible person for wanting more than I had, fear that such ungratefulness would leave me all alone and without anything.
Obligation to put up with all kinds of behaviour and to make myself believe that I was the root of it and that I was responsible, therefore I had to suffer and rescue those people.
Guilt that I wanted more, that it wasn't enough, guilt that I didn't see only the good things in people around me, guilt that I was a burden, guilt for believing that there had to be more to life.
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geroldmodel
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2008, 04:10:07 PM »

FEAR:
When I was in a dysfunctional relationship I used to fear a future of being alone; I feared change in general.
I'd rather stay an sit in my own filth then to take a step aside & find a new spot...
I feared the moment my partner came home. Was I all-good today or all-bad?
"Hello honey, how was your day?"  barfy

OBLIGATION:
I was a responsible adult & had to take care of my partner, as if she was my helpless infant daughter. I had to prove myself that I was no longer the irresponsible teenager I once was. I can take care of someone. She doesn't have a father...I should compensate  barfy

GUILT:
Maybe it was me. Maybe I actually did something wrong and I wasn't aware of my mistake. There is no other possibility: I must have done something to get
my partner to scream & shout. Nobody reacted to my behaviour like this...ever.
 barfy
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JoannaK
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2009, 10:13:44 AM »

Great Workshop topic!

I think it's important to remember that most with bpd are not intentionally engaging in emotional blackmail.  Their brains work differently from the non and they actually believe that the non (or others) are hurting them... that the non "should" do whatever or is responsible for whatever.  That's why trying to talk about the emotional blackmail won't work.  

If you are still with the partner or still in touch with the family member and you want to work through the Fear Obligation and Guilt, you may want to check out Lessons for members who are staying in their relationships.  If you are out of the relationship or in limited/no contact with the family member, but you are still being psychologically hammered by your own FOG, it's important to remember that you are doing this to yourself...  
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blackandwhite
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2009, 03:42:10 PM »

I'll give a personal example of obligation. My mother is uBPD. She became growingly abusive toward me in the last few years. Although I was providing her a great deal of support, I was clearly in the "bad" category in her black and white thinking, and she's treat me very disrespectfully, callously, and critically, coupled with some creepy stalkerish behavior. My line of thinking about this abuse went like this:

1. With anyone else, I'd set boundaries and refuse to be treated like this.
2. With my mother, if I set any boundaries or put a halt to any mistreatment, she will become enraged and/or rejecting.
3. If she's enraged, that's okay, I can take it, even though I won't like it.
4. However, if she becomes rejecting, she may cut me off.
5. If she cuts me off, I won't be able to support her anymore, and I am obligated to help her.
6. Therefore, I must accept the mistreatment, because otherwise, I may not be able to help her.

I took years of abuse not so much out of a hope that things could be better for us, but out of obligation to take care of her.

Among the resources that have helped me release this terrible and destructive sense of obligation (and fear and guilt) are the books Toxic Parents, Understanding the Borderline Mother, The Narcissitic Family, and Surviving the Borderline Parent. These are all geared toward adult children of dysfunctional families, as the titles make clear.

Also very helpful to me was an exercise my therapist did with me to get at the beliefs behind the feelings of fear, obligation, and guilt. Here's an example of how the exercise works, from an exchange between me and another member, lightanddark:

Does anyone struggle with the (in my case constant) fear that you'll be "busted" for bad behaviour? The result being subjected to a rage or sobbing accusations that you've done the wrong thing and how could you do this after all they've done for you. But the bad behaviour is, like, having your dad over for dinner and not telling momster (divorced), or not defending her when she's being "attacked" by dad. Or being caught talking about her to pretty much anyone, even when you're just venting after a fight or you've been hurt by her actions.

I'm a grown woman and I'm sick of being afraid I'll get in trouble for making the choices that feel right to me. I'm sick of coming up with "feasible" explanations in my head for almost every scenario in anticipation of the moment I get busted doing the "wrong" thing.

But then, how do I know when she's making a valid point? How do I know if my attempts at setting boundaries have become cold and selfish? How much am I meant to give, because she is my family?

I'm just always scared.

lightanddark,

Yes indeed, I know that feeling well. Your fear is the internal mother. I've experienced this as well.

Something that might help is Tools: US: Do not allow others to 'rent space' in your 'head'. Another thing that helped me was to get at the beliefs I was unconsciously holding that led me to the fear. For example in your post I read:

Quote
But then, how do I know when she's making a valid point? How do I know if my attempts at setting boundaries have become cold and selfish? How much am I meant to give, because she is my family?


If I break that down:

Quote
How do I know when she's making a valid point?
(My view and instincts are not valid. Hers outweigh mine.)

Quote
How do I know if my attempts at setting boundaries have become cold and selfish?
(Having my own point of view and making choices about my own life is cold and selfish.)

Quote
How much am I meant to give, because she is my family?
(She determines how much I am supposed to give. Family means sacrificing your autonomy.)

Once you identify the beliefs, you start to work on them, because they're not really that logical.


 xoxox

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


HeartOfaBuddha
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2009, 03:55:50 PM »

My uBPDp says I "owe" her because she stayed home with our daughter.  But, the reason she was the one to stay home was really that she couldn't hold a job.  I would much have prefered that I be the one to stay home.  She got the job I wanted and now I "owe" her.   ?
So, I have to stay with her or "I'm just like any other person who decides to walk out once the kids are grown."  Very twisted thinking.  Yet, it works to a degree.  I know that I would have a more peaceful life without her.  Yet, I would feel guilty walking out right now.  It's almost like she's set me up.  She won't be the one to leave no matter what.  If I leave everything is lost - home, pets, etc.  If she leaves - I could afford to maintain the home daughter is used to.  She has enmeshed daughter so that d would have to chose between BPD parent and her home.  I don't want d to have to make that choice.  So, I stay out of guilt and obligation.
Peace & Metta
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peter chu
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2009, 08:42:58 AM »

Hi eeyore,

It is good that you brought up this topic - FOG so that the nons are more aware of what they are into if they just started the relationship not too long or drag on so long for over a year or two.

Anyway, you might have finally found out where you stand now. For most of the BP relationships, in my opionion, both parties are losers.

Wish you well.

Peter
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wannabefree
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2009, 03:11:49 AM »

My line of thinking about this abuse went like this:

1. With anyone else, I'd set boundaries and refuse to be treated like this.
2. With my mother, if I set any boundaries or put a halt to any mistreatment, she will become enraged and/or rejecting.
3. If she's enraged, that's okay, I can take it, even though I won't like it.
4. However, if she becomes rejecting, she may cut me off.
5. If she cuts me off, I won't be able to support her anymore, and I am obligated to help her.
6. Therefore, I must accept the mistreatment, because otherwise, I may not be able to help her.

Wow, blackandwhite - that breaks it down just about accurately for me with my uBPm, with the possible exception of #3. It's not "ok" that she becomes enraged; it just "IS" and as if millions of tiny fleas were zipping around my head, I begin swatting -- fighting back. Or trying to wave the smoke screen away, not to get clouded again by the craziness and confusion. I begin declaring my right to be treated respectfully, at least appreciated for all that I do. And as my blood pressure rises and my voice gets louder I FEAR I am making my uBPm "right" -- which in effect I am, because I have fallen into her trap.

I have told her many times that were she anyone but my mother, I would be GONE. It is OBLIGATION that keeps me stuck, as well as love. She is my mother; I believe that I love her.

She needs to regain some semblance of control, she uses me as the outlet for her rage, fear, hurt, crazies and pushes every button knowing full well that I will "blow" and then she can reel in all those crazy emotions and point the wagging finger of blame at me for upsetting her.

And despite my own anger, I am then filled with GUILT for not being able to control my reactions and behavior. Guilt because I know intellectually that I cannot change another person -- particularly one who does not recognize the reality of the situation -- and that the change must come from me. But the perpetual FOG keeps me from seeing clear, or rather steering clear and keeping my mouth shut.

I think it's important to remember that most with bpd are not intentionally engaging in emotional blackmail.  Their brains work differently from the non and they actually believe that the non (or others) are hurting them... that the non "should" do whatever or is responsible for whatever.  That's why trying to talk about the emotional blackmail won't work.

I believe that my uBPm is in her own FOG, so to speak. Her own FEAR of life, abandonment, loneliness creates resentment in her for the OBLIGATION she feels to her family and to her own misguided needs; and she acts out because the world doesn't play by the script in her head. I'm at a loss to find a G for guilt, however. If it is true that they are unaware of the organic root of it all, then I suppose guilt is not possible for them. And that if there is any inkling it is far too uncomfortable for them to process and the entire scenario must play itself out again and again.
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DorothyFromOz
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2009, 10:51:16 AM »

This is a wonderful workshop. I thought I fully understood F.O.G., but now I'm seeing how it affected me (and still does, even though I'm NC with BPD/NPD mother) in more ways than I knew.

I think I did suffer more from obligation and guilt than fear, though I did (and still do, in my head) think like B&W's sister who's first thought was, "Don't tell Mom," and I did used to prepare my explanation for whatever thing I knew was going to raise her ire, such as having dinner plans with someone else and not including her.

I have been thinking that something that may be related to F.O.G. is gaslighting. I think it definitely adds to the guilt part, when the BP makes the non feel like they are the one in the wrong, or overreacting, or whatever particular "crime" the BP claims one is guilty of. This, along with projection, really does make you feel like you are in a thick, pea soup fog, and don't know which way to go.

I found these threads really helpful:

On Gaslighting: http://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=65549.0
On Projection: http://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=99096.0
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peter chu
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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2009, 11:55:57 PM »

Hi,

The way I handle FOG is to leave everything out of yr head - the so-called "Don't rent any space out for those bad things in yr mind".

Anyway, it does not come easy but you have to condition yourself to do it.

Stimulus - Response Psychology - just don't react to those stimulus. Once you get used to it, it will disappear sooner or later.

In short, the expert says : be non-judgemental.

Peter   
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