What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?

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p123

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2019, 06:28:14 AM »
P123, absolutely agree. It's the martyr position and also breeds a lot of sympathy and self-pity and righteousness which feeds their denial of bad behaviour.

I've also wanted to scream leave me alone, but I think that would just feed the narrative. Then again, could be good for assertiveness.

Instead, I just let tons of time pass and don't feed the anxiety.

Also, my mother blaming me for my father's feeling ill goes way back... When I was a kid and I was acting in a way that was undesirable to her, she would always say, "stop doing/being so X, you're going to give your father a heart attack!" This scared me into submission and also made me feel directly responsible for their feelings/health/well being.

Oh yes Dad has got it down to a T. Hes an expert at it. I'm sure its he likes to be in control of everyone.

I remember taking him away for trips at the weekend. You honestly could not go to the bathroom more than once a day - he'd be counting. If you had a bit of a jippy tummy that was it - he'd be counting. I remember once, he announced loudly in a crowd of people (sitting watching the cricket) that was I OK because I'd been to the bathroom a lot (i.e. twice). I whispered that I was OK  and not to worry. But he wouldn't leave it. Kept on for about 5 mins with people looking over giving us funny looks.

I spoke to him later and said I did not appreciate having this sort of thing discussed loudly in pulblic, and, if I say I'm OK, then leave it. He did not see what he did wrong - as far as he was concerned he was worried about me. Crazy or what?

Hes still the same now. I get hayfever. If he detects any sort of sniffle on the phone, I get a lecture about visiting the doc to get antibiotics.

Sounds funny but honestly, its like being smothered, with someone holding a pillow over your face stopping you from breathing

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daughterofbpd

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2019, 07:54:44 PM »
My M had been hospitalized 20+ years ago for a psychotic break. She had become very paranoid and was acting unusually strange. She was in a mental hospital for a week and back to "normal" after she got out. After that incident, I could see more clearly how her version of reality was very different from everyone else's. My dad took me to one visit with a therapist (who he had been seeing) and she basically told me the problem was my M and not me. At one point, a few years after that, my dad confided in me that my M had been diagnosed with something. I thought he said bipolar (which didn't explain much) but now I suspect he told me BPD. 3 1/2 years ago, my M started some drama with my Sis over holiday plans. She started raging at my Sis on a holiday with my 6 month old daughter there. I was having flashbacks, got sick from stress, and I didn't want my daughter around that hostility. I asked my M to "drop it" (sister was crying and apologizing) but she just kept going on so I took a stand and said I was sick and had to leave. I'd never done that before. She tried to bully me and call my bluff to which I held my ground, even though I was terrified. I always felt like I was required to stay until things got resolved. Not this time. We hadn't even had a chance to eat dinner.

After going home very upset and realizing this was a repeat occurrence, I googled something like "narcissistic low self esteem rage" and this site came up along with some others. BPD fit my M to a T. Since then, I've learned to set boundaries, use MC, etc. and I've healed a lot. Things have been tolerable and my new tools help a lot. I'm so thankful for this site for helping me get to this place.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
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HeadAboveWater

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2019, 01:28:49 PM »
Everybody in this thread needs a hug and high five... Holy guacamole.

Indeed!  :grouphug:

Interestingly, it was an experience with my mother in-law that made me realize that things weren't right with my family of origin either.

I had just celebrated Christmas with the in-laws. In my head I had categorized their behaviors during the holiday celebrations as off-putting and strange, but I felt like it was my job to put on a happy face and cope. After all, there's that trope that few women get along with their MiL. But during the Xmas celebrations, my developmentally disabled SiL opened a gift, which was a pair of earrings. Immediately after my SiL opened the gift and thanked the giver, my MiL snatched the earrings from her, held them up to her own head and declared that she would look better in the earrings. Even though late 60's MiL was smiling and "joking," it was shockingly mean spirited and tacky, especially when directed at her own daughter who does not have full agency over her life :barfy:. It left me cold, so I was replaying the scene in my mind a few days later as I drove back to my hometown. As I mulled over my feelings, the word "narcissist" popped into my head (likely because this word was often being used by the American press at the time to describe our recently elected president). I didn't know the clinical meaning of it, but I wondered if it fit. A few weeks later, I headed back to therapy to explore my questions around the meaning of narcissism. I thought I was talking about my MiL, but within two sessions I had discovered this website and I was reading all I could about PD. Then I realized that I had known many PD individuals. I started to see that the reason MiL's behaviors stung so much was because I had been raised with someone who had some form of PD. By the end of January, things started to click for me. 

It's interesting too because I had been in therapy for a decade prior, much of which time I spent talking about interactions with family members. I had taken antidepressants and never felt much better, so I wondered if I had treatment resistant depression or bipolar II. Up until the epiphany about my MiL and ensuing explorations of healthier boundaries, it had never occurred to me that it was my relationships with family members that were making me feel sick. I guess that's the definition of FOG; I thought it had to be that way and I was broken for not being able to tolerate it happily. 

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NotFooled

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2019, 05:58:55 PM »
I found this forum about a year and a half ago.  I recently married into a family that was severely dysfunctional and I found myself becoming enmeshed in their problems along with DH.     The situation with inlaws was becoming incredibly stressful so I started researching mental health issues online (which MIL is diagnosed with) to understand what DH and I were dealing with better.  I found this forum.

I started to realize that the problem was me and my continuous need to fix other peoples problems that helped get me in that situation.  The realization that I have been doing this in one form or another my entire adult life that has led me to understand other problems I've encountered with people are due to me getting enmeshed with unstable people then trying to fix them or their problems.   I'm not completely Out of the FOG because I still find myself getting drawn in and I don't understand how I got this way. 

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p123

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2019, 08:05:07 AM »
I remember one thing that basically sealed the deal for my wife with my Dad. He'd been mildly annoying for years but she put up with him.

It was his 80th birthday so we took him out to a restaurant. My kids (11 and 1) had bought him (ok 1 year old didnt really know) one of those balloons in a box that you open and the balloon pops up with "happy 80th grampy" on it.

So he opens it in the restaurant. I remember how excited my son was. He sees it, rams it back into the box, looking around to see if anyone else in the restaurant had seen it. My son went to take it and he snatched it off him, shoved it under the table and said "whatever you do, don't open that in here!".  Of course, my son burst into tears and he didnt care. My wifes face....

God forbid anyone should know it was his birthday in the restaurant. To this day, I dont understand why it mattered if the waitress or someone had come over knowing it was his birthday.

When we got home, I took the box/balloon in. He said "I dont want it - put it in the bin". Never told my wife this last bit.

From that day (and hes done much more since as well) wife has had nothing to do with him. Can't blame her.

I'll never forget this awful behaviour to be honest. Lets just say if he makes 90 I dont think my family will be there to celebrate...

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AnneH

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2019, 06:03:14 PM »
The first time I had a clue was in college.  I was "required" to call at least once a day.  The preference was twice a day.  It was supposedly because she "loved" me "so much" and was worried that something might happen to me.  I literally went to and lived at college just miles from her house in a community that had basically no crime what so ever.  I wasn't allowed to go any further away to college, because she was so concerned and
loved me so much.  :stars: Yeah right. 
Well my friends convinced me that this was crazy that I was running back to my dorm room (before cell phones) to call her at the demanded times when we were out doing fun things.  Enough, they said.  I went a whole weekend without calling her.  I wasn't a drinker or partier.  Didn't do drugs.  Just hung out with my "theater nerd" type friends at Denny's, sporting events, plays, dinner, etc.  Had the occasional drink.  She flipped out. 

Wow, Sidney37, I committed the *exact* same crime as you in college and still remember it! uNM described herself as a "professional worrier" and I was supposed to "take care of her" by calling every day. Like you, I was an extremely responsible college student (straight As, half-time job at 7 a.m., meeting friends for movies and doughnuts, not drinking or smoking, etc.)  And like you, I took a couple days off "taking care of her." All hell broke loose and I believe our Resident Assistant (a grad student who lived on my floor) had to dissuade her from filing a missing person's report. When I called her, she launched into such a nasty personal attack that I cried...but didn't let it show in my voice. So she got even angrier and, when she continued her attack by email (this went on for weeks) she further laid into me for "sounding so uncaring."

The whole thing happened again a couple of years later, when she INSISTED on coming to stay with me ...the entire weekend before final exam week. When I suggested that this might not be a good time, again, I was "not taking care of her" the way I should, which was a mortal sin in the entire FOO's eyes. So I had a visitor instead of studying. And while she was there, she nearly got me fired from a very prestigious overseas summer job by INSISTING on accompanying me, several times and uninvited, to the program office (the director was furious). I had not yet learned to say "no" and put my foot down.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 06:06:34 PM by AnneH »

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SerenityCat

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2019, 06:19:42 PM »
It took me decades to de-fog myself concerning my horribly behaved uNPD father. I gradually limited contact with him because contact equaled me feeling trashed for days (weeks, months).

Eventually we only exchanged holiday cards. Even that became too much of a trigger for me. Small gifts of money from him triggered feelings of shame, guilt,obligation. This took too much of a toll on my emotional well being.

The final straw was when he sent me a letter with insults about my sister. My sister was the GC of my mother, not him. Several deaths in our family had rearranged family dynamics and for whatever reason some of my father's covert abuse became overt. Although I was not close to this sister, it was definitely not okay with me that he bash her in this manner.

I sent him a letter in return directly telling him to never do that again. I then cut off contact. In a way I was relieved that he had been so overt. I was not able to languish in the fog anymore.


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StayWithMe

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2019, 05:55:07 PM »
Quote
Hes still the same now. I get hayfever. If he detects any sort of sniffle on the phone, I get a lecture about visiting the doc to get antibiotics.

giving out advice, even untested, unsolicited useless advice, is one way that people make themselves feel wise and important.

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Dinah-sore

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2019, 08:36:29 PM »
Wow, this is an excellent topic for discussion. It is so nice to be able to read all of your stories. Wow.

For me, it was really slow. I had problems with my in laws, that were so severe and I felt so powerless. I realized that there was something seriously wrong with that family and I actually came here for help. I had no idea that there was something wrong with my family too. In fact, I even remember my mom telling me that she thinks that my childhood (she was an alcoholic when I was a kid) might have affected me. I remember telling her that I am fine, that there is no way there are any problems with how I was raised. That yes, bad things happened, but there was no negative impact in my life. But I almost wonder if I said that to her because growing up I was always concerned with making sure she never felt bad about anything. So I was trained to make sure she never felt like she did anything wrong. Also, I truly still believed at the time that all the bad things she did were from a good place. I believed that she did bad things to me because she loved me and because she was a good parent who had to control me and hurt me to get me in line. She had to say bad things to me so I didn't get too big for my britches. She did it for my own good. That is what I thought. I thought I was lucky for some of the things she had done. That she was this badass person, who did bad things, because she was trying to do good things.

I had no idea how much she controlled me through fear and shame and FOG, at that time. What finally woke me up was one day I was on the phone with her and she was in a fight with my dad. The stuff that came out of her was some of the scariest stuff I had ever heard. Her screaming rage, the ugliness and hatred in her words, it was foul. If I could be figurative, it sounded like it came out of the pit of hell. I remember setting the phone down and thinking, OMG what is happening to her?

It wasn't the first time I had seen her lose it (heck I had seen MUCH WORSE over the years), but it was the first time that I thought that it was "weird" and that there was something wrong with her.

I came here for the first time to talk about thinking she might have a problem, and man it was an awakening. When I started talking about her I felt so much fear. I had to qualify everything by writing about how she is my "best friend" and how she would "die for me." (all part of the programming). It took about a year to start seeing all the layers of abuse and then I started having severe panic attacks, as my brain began to confront the cognitive dissonance. It got worse, before it got better. But having the support here, and people to bounce my feelings and observations off of was validating and empowering. I couldn't have come Out of the FOG without this forum. I wasn't strong enough.

Thank you all for sharing your stories too. My heart goes out to all of you. It is amazing to see what we came from and compare it to who we are now. <3 Best wishes all of you. <3
« Last Edit: August 11, 2019, 09:12:54 PM by Dinah-sore »
"I had to accept the fact that, look, this is who I am. I have to be who I am, and all of us have a right to be who we are. And whenever we submit our will, because our will is a gift, our will is given to us, whenever we submit our will to someone else's opinion a part of us dies." --Lauryn Hill

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p123

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2019, 08:44:05 AM »
The first time I had a clue was in college.  I was "required" to call at least once a day.  The preference was twice a day.  It was supposedly because she "loved" me "so much" and was worried that something might happen to me.  I literally went to and lived at college just miles from her house in a community that had basically no crime what so ever.  I wasn't allowed to go any further away to college, because she was so concerned and
loved me so much.  :stars: Yeah right. 
Well my friends convinced me that this was crazy that I was running back to my dorm room (before cell phones) to call her at the demanded times when we were out doing fun things.  Enough, they said.  I went a whole weekend without calling her.  I wasn't a drinker or partier.  Didn't do drugs.  Just hung out with my "theater nerd" type friends at Denny's, sporting events, plays, dinner, etc.  Had the occasional drink.  She flipped out. 

Wow, Sidney37, I committed the *exact* same crime as you in college and still remember it! uNM described herself as a "professional worrier" and I was supposed to "take care of her" by calling every day. Like you, I was an extremely responsible college student (straight As, half-time job at 7 a.m., meeting friends for movies and doughnuts, not drinking or smoking, etc.)  And like you, I took a couple days off "taking care of her." All hell broke loose and I believe our Resident Assistant (a grad student who lived on my floor) had to dissuade her from filing a missing person's report. When I called her, she launched into such a nasty personal attack that I cried...but didn't let it show in my voice. So she got even angrier and, when she continued her attack by email (this went on for weeks) she further laid into me for "sounding so uncaring."

The whole thing happened again a couple of years later, when she INSISTED on coming to stay with me ...the entire weekend before final exam week. When I suggested that this might not be a good time, again, I was "not taking care of her" the way I should, which was a mortal sin in the entire FOO's eyes. So I had a visitor instead of studying. And while she was there, she nearly got me fired from a very prestigious overseas summer job by INSISTING on accompanying me, several times and uninvited, to the program office (the director was furious). I had not yet learned to say "no" and put my foot down.

Wow cant believe people are like this....

I remeber going to college and Dad was a bit annoying like this. Not as bad. He got worse as he got older with his "worrying".

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p123

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2019, 08:45:35 AM »
Quote
Hes still the same now. I get hayfever. If he detects any sort of sniffle on the phone, I get a lecture about visiting the doc to get antibiotics.

giving out advice, even untested, unsolicited useless advice, is one way that people make themselves feel wise and important.

and honestly more clueless advice you couldnt ever have from him!

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Sidney37

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2019, 09:39:09 AM »
The first time I had a clue was in college.  I was "required" to call at least once a day.  The preference was twice a day.  It was supposedly because she "loved" me "so much" and was worried that something might happen to me.  I literally went to and lived at college just miles from her house in a community that had basically no crime what so ever.  I wasn't allowed to go any further away to college, because she was so concerned and
loved me so much.  :stars: Yeah right. 
Well my friends convinced me that this was crazy that I was running back to my dorm room (before cell phones) to call her at the demanded times when we were out doing fun things.  Enough, they said.  I went a whole weekend without calling her.  I wasn't a drinker or partier.  Didn't do drugs.  Just hung out with my "theater nerd" type friends at Denny's, sporting events, plays, dinner, etc.  Had the occasional drink.  She flipped out. 

Wow, Sidney37, I committed the *exact* same crime as you in college and still remember it! uNM described herself as a "professional worrier" and I was supposed to "take care of her" by calling every day. Like you, I was an extremely responsible college student (straight As, half-time job at 7 a.m., meeting friends for movies and doughnuts, not drinking or smoking, etc.)  And like you, I took a couple days off "taking care of her." All hell broke loose and I believe our Resident Assistant (a grad student who lived on my floor) had to dissuade her from filing a missing person's report. When I called her, she launched into such a nasty personal attack that I cried...but didn't let it show in my voice. So she got even angrier and, when she continued her attack by email (this went on for weeks) she further laid into me for "sounding so uncaring."

The whole thing happened again a couple of years later, when she INSISTED on coming to stay with me ...the entire weekend before final exam week. When I suggested that this might not be a good time, again, I was "not taking care of her" the way I should, which was a mortal sin in the entire FOO's eyes. So I had a visitor instead of studying. And while she was there, she nearly got me fired from a very prestigious overseas summer job by INSISTING on accompanying me, several times and uninvited, to the program office (the director was furious). I had not yet learned to say "no" and put my foot down.

I'm so sorry you went through it, too.  Mine would have been too embarrassed to file a missing person's report because it would have made the news in her home town.  All of the church ladies would have seen it!  Other than that, we seem to have the same mother.  I left a job at a prestigious university just after grad school before getting fired because she demanded that I call her every day during my work hours.  She finished work an hour before I did.  I couldn't call her at work or she'd be fired!  She didn't seem to care that I could be fired from my job.  She started cooking dinner and doing her evening activities around the time I was leaving work. She demanded that I call her daily or there would be consequences (financial threats, threats not to tell me that my grandmother had passed, and ever escalating threats until I complied).  I called every day during the last official 30 minutes of my work day (her only approved window for calls), worked an extra hour after out of guilt and my employees who needed my attention at the end of the day were furious.  They were complaining to my boss and I was about to lose my job.  I quit rather than cut her off or get fired. 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2019, 09:41:57 AM by Sidney37 »

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SaltwareS

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2019, 05:12:26 PM »
Was anyone in this forum ever all the way in the FOG? I think many in this forum absorb too much blame. I always knew something was "off" with my foo and parents and tried to shield it from friends. Sometimes I meandered back into the FOG when someone with a lot of certainty in life but little experience with NPDs would prescribe some solution like "sit your [npd] down and talk with them" as if that would solve anything but my momentary FOGginess had me believing I'd been doing life wrong this whole time.

I've had therapists who were in the FOG.

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AnneH

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2019, 07:05:17 PM »
I called every day during the last official 30 minutes of my work day (her only approved window for calls), worked an extra hour after out of guilt and my employees who needed my attention at the end of the day were furious.  They were complaining to my boss and I was about to lose my job.  I quit rather than cut her off or get fired.

Sidney 37, I am amazed. We do seem to have had the same mother. I'm so sorry you ended up leaving a job due to your mother's demands. Mine was big on demanding the impossible as well. One particular incident stands out: when I was just about to begin my Master's program, she demanded that I translate a 40-page scholarly article from German to English (she promised to pay). I speak three languages but German is not among them and she knew this. (This was before the era of online automatic translation services). Or else I would need to get someone to translate the article for her (I do not live in an English or a German-speaking country so finding someone to do that would have been incredibly time-consuming). After about a week of back-and-forth emailing where she kept insisting that she *KNEW* I could do it, she found someone on her end to do it...and found a way not to pay them. Today, I would have just plugged the whole 40 pages into Google translate and served her up whatever gibberish it spat out, but at the time it would have meant weeks of full-time work...and that is if I spoke German in the first place!

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HeadAboveWater

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2019, 03:43:42 PM »
Was anyone in this forum ever all the way in the FOG?

*Raises hand*

I knew about depression and anxiety (and knew that I had experienced them). I also knew that there were people who were so mentally ill that they could not distinguish wrong from right. However, I didn't know that there was a huge area of mental illness in between. I had never, ever heard of personality disorders or the idea that some people were chronically manipulative. Without a "box" to put PD people in and with the constant family messaging that it was my job to fawn to make things right with others ("You will go, and you will dance," was a common metaphorical expression when I didn't want to do things), I really, truly believed that when I was unhappy with the state of my relationships that it was because I had failed people. I would use humor, favors, and gifts to try to ingratiate myself. I had a therapist through about a decade of my young adulthood who kept urging me to listen to my anger and my fear because it was telling me something. But I was so convinced that family relationships and employment relationships were obligations that I had no idea what that "something" could have been. I kept asking for recommendations for self care and CBT strategies to help me cope. For a decade of my adult life.

In retrospect, there were certainly signs that my family of origin was not quite right. I list them on this forum all the time. But when I was younger, I did not see these things as connected; there was no bigger picture. In fact, I was so isolated, that much like Dinah-sore, I saw my mother as my best friend.

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StayWithMe

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2019, 05:28:00 PM »
Was anyone in this forum ever all the way in the FOG?

*Raises hand*

I knew about depression and anxiety (and knew that I had experienced them). I also knew that there were people who were so mentally ill that they could not distinguish wrong from right. However, I didn't know that there was a huge area of mental illness in between. I had never, ever heard of personality disorders or the idea that some people were chronically manipulative. Without a "box" to put PD people in and with the constant family messaging that it was my job to fawn to make things right with others ("You will go, and you will dance," was a common metaphorical expression when I didn't want to do things), I really, truly believed that when I was unhappy with the state of my relationships that it was because I had failed people. I would use humor, favors, and gifts to try to ingratiate myself. I had a therapist through about a decade of my young adulthood who kept urging me to listen to my anger and my fear because it was telling me something. But I was so convinced that family relationships and employment relationships were obligations that I had no idea what that "something" could have been. I kept asking for recommendations for self care and CBT strategies to help me cope. For a decade of my adult life.

In retrospect, there were certainly signs that my family of origin was not quite right. I list them on this forum all the time. But when I was younger, I did not see these things as connected; there was no bigger picture. In fact, I was so isolated, that much like Dinah-sore, I saw my mother as my best friend.

My experience exactly.  it takes hurt and anger from inside and disdain from those who are hurting to understand that it doesn't have to be that way.

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: What happened that helped you finally get Out of the FOG?
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2019, 10:11:51 PM »
Was anyone in this forum ever all the way in the FOG? I think many in this forum absorb too much blame. I always knew something was "off" with my foo and parents and tried to shield it from friends.

I've known about PDs for years. In college, I wrote a 25 page paper for my psych nursing class on the topic of Borderline Personality Disorder. (I had a roommate/friend at the time that fit the criteria, so it was a topic of special interest for me.) It still took me nearly 15 years to see it in my mother.

I knew there were issues with my FOO, but I internalized them. I wondered why I had such a hard time being honest with my mother even as an adult. I could trace the urge to hide things from her to times when she was intrusive or overreacted during my childhood, but I wanted to "get over it." I blamed myself for being too sensitive.

When she was critical or mean, I learned to tell myself she was joking or didn't mean it. I was so successful at gaslighting myself that sometimes I wouldn't even realize she'd said something hurtful or offensive until days later, when I replayed the conversation in my head.