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Author Topic: SELF-AWARE: What it means to be in the "FOG"  (Read 21861 times)
blackandwhite
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« Reply #10 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.
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« Reply #11 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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peter chu
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« Reply #12 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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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2009, 12:22:01 PM »

The boundaries workshop is at http://bpdfamily.com/content/values-and-boundaries  
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2011, 10:45:47 AM »

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...

WHEN WE KNOW BETTER, WE DO BETTER

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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blackandwhite
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2011, 12:06:46 AM »

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

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

WHEN WE KNOW BETTER, WE DO BETTER

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.

Quote
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.”

B&W
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« Reply #16 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.

NTB
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me (working to not become an alphabet soup myself)
xh (dd's adopted dad)
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« Reply #17 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:

Fear: 
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.

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

Guilt:
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?
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owdrs


« Reply #18 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.
owdrs
 
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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 #19 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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