I have been in a fog. Swimming through it, trying to see clear. It has felt like being in my nightmares, where I drive without seeing anything. Trying to not crash.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious condition which affects an estimated 1% of the population. Narcissism is characterized by an extreme self-interest and promotion with an accompanying lack of concern for the needs of others.
Narcissism is named after the mythological Greek character Narcissus, an extremely handsome young man who rejected the love of Echo and, as punishment, was condemned to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to obtain he object of his desire, he died there in sorrow.
Narcissists often use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt (FOG) in Relationships
FOG is a type of emotional blackmail, which ruins relationships.
FOG works in the dark. It resides in the land of emotion, not logic. At the heart of it is this flawed reasoning: “It is permissible for me to push your buttons to get my needs met, but ifyou try the same thing, I’ll make sure you will regret your selfishness.”
That’s right: the emotional blackmailer’s reasoning is illogical; he lives by a double standard. That’s why emotional blackmail is never discussed outright: the minute you try to shine a light on it, by discussing it or asking pointed questions, it will scurry away like a cockroach. If you try to pin a blackmailer down—“Are you saying you will pout if I refuse to go to the party with you?”—he will project the FOG back onto you, deny its existence; or try to distract you by changing the subject, being dramatic, or getting angry. The supposed anger may have nothing to do with the particular topic—a combination of anger with a request to change the subject is designed to throw you off-balance.
Here are some other examples.
- Grant is fully aware that his wife is having an affair with a man named Trent. He knows because she talks about him and compares them sexually. But he’s afraid if he demands that she stop seeing Trent, she’ll just leave him. That’s fear.
- As an adult, Susan tries to avoid her mother’s rages, complaints about others, and contagious sour moods. But Susan feels compelled to call her mother Judith back when she leaves a message on the answering machine. If she doesn’t, eventually Judith will reach her and demand to know, “Where were you?” Judith has been living alone since Susan’s dad finally left, and Susan likes to think of herself as a “good person.” For her, this means that she has a tendency to put the needs of others above her own— something Judith is counting on. This is obligation.
- Jack and Ramona have a teenage daughter they think is borderline. She’s totally out of control; normal discipline doesn’t work. They don’t know where she goes at night, and they’re afraid she’ll get pregnant—or worse, contract AIDS. But they just can’t put their own daughter in a residential treatment center. She would hate it. Down deep, Jack and Ramona are worried that something they did caused their daughter’s disorder. They feel guilty.
We have all been in the space between light and dark. Trying to see what`s there, trying to get out of the fog. Sometimes the only thing we can do, is to look at our feet and remember that we are still here, no matter if we can`t see anything around us.
Out of the FOG Support Forum – Support for family members and loved-ones here at Out of the FOG.
Emotional blackmail by Susan Forward: How to get out of the FOG