Being stuck in that ‘FOG’ or confusion from the emotional and psychological abuse with a Narcissist.
From my Book: From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist.
Many targets/victims often have difficulty after ending their relationships with an abusive Narcissist. They torture themselves with self-doubt and with the many questions that reflect the doubt. Did I do the right thing? Why am I so stupid? Why did I put up with his/her behavior for so long? Why did I have kids with that sadistic lunatic? If only I would have done this or what if I would have said this or that? It is all self-recrimination and second guessing for sure! Without proper closure and all of that blame and shame that was dumped onto you, where else would you go with your thoughts? This is what is described as being in the fog – or better yet the confusion that the abuse has trapped you into. This relationship has slowly but surely destroyed your self-worth and basically erased your personality. This love you once believed in has turned into what can only be described as a desperate love.
This isn’t just ending a relationship, this is dealing with the psychological abuse that was administered to you daily. The human mind needs to process things and organize thoughts, especially as it deals with us on a personal level. But in an abusive relationship there is no rhyme or reason, or organization in a manner to accept or understand the reality of the situation because it is all built on lies and deception AND so much despair to deal with that it becomes your normal. It is also the trauma of the new reality of your situation. It is the fog that the abuse created that has your mind in so many directions and questioning everything and trying to find its way out or back home to reality. There is no past experience to draw from, nobody has ever taught you or I about this abuse and how to deal with it realistically? It is the constant managing down that you are accustomed to that makes you want to blame yourself and your natural empathy to want to believe and find real answers. Your mind goes back to the Narcissist and what they manipulated you into believing that you were the problem, worthless, had many issues, AND you have to kick those thoughts to the curb. It is what you BELIEVED verses the reality of the truth that you are finding out that this was abuse from a personality disordered person. Your head goes back and forth between these two processes and you never seem to find any semblance of order to create real closure.
These questions, thoughts and feelings are a natural byproduct of being in an abusive relationship. Narcissists condition their targets to take their abuse. They do this through a variety of methods, BUT in order for any of their unconscious and conscious manipulations to work, they first need to create or envelop you in FOG of confusion, one in which you question your reality and not theirs and of course this started off in such a positive manner with the love bombing to gain your trust. This confusion or FOG is the intangible glue that keeps targets/victims stuck in abusive relationships.
This explains why it is easier for outsiders like family and friends NOT to see what is going on because they weren’t personally caught up in the disorienting and invalidating aspect of the emotional and psychologically disorienting FOG or the abuse so your story seems incredulous to them as you reach out for help.
Think about real fog, and how difficult it is to see what’s right in front of you. You get turned around and maybe walk in the wrong direction. Objects seem further away than they are or even invisible until you are right up on them. Even sounds can be disorienting. This is very true with the psychological and emotional FOG created by a Narcissist. It basically blinds our reality and seduces us into a destructive game one in which we get lost in this fog and even lose ourselves.
In time, the FOG (confusion) may start to feel normal and being out of the FOG may feel abnormal and unsettling. Once the FOG (confusion) is the norm, leaving the FOG becomes difficult because of the self-doubt and second guessing INDUCED by the abuser. If the FOG is combined with ‘love’ it is extremely difficult for the target to break free because of the emotional attachment
For the FOG (confusion) to be effective, Narcissist instinctively know to isolate their targets/victims from friends and family members who will help them see reality and get out of the FOG (confusion.) Once you get out of the FOG for a length of time, your head will start to clear and you will, hopefully, see things more objectively, which is precisely what a predatory abuser does not want to happen. They want to control you, the narrative, your feelings and your perceptions.
Nobody can stay in a role where they are constantly devalued, reduced to constant blame, restricted in their capacity to grow, constantly lied to, extorted, betrayed, etc. But as simple as it seems to identify these traits as negative and to run for your life and away from this Narcissist there are complexities from the abuse that keep the target/victim coming back for more. The Narcissist has conditioned their target/victim to basically identify totally with the fake love by using it to make the target/victim vulnerable and they take full advantage of that to manage us down more and more. Simply put it is a form of behavioral modification or brain washing! It is subtle but effective and the target/victim gets caught up in this horrendous cycle of abuse. Love connects us at the hip to this disordered creature. The Narcissist utilizes very strong manipulation techniques to break us down and keep us down and that essentially destroys our spirit over time. When that day comes that you are abandoned, discarded or if you are able to leave your abuser, that is the day that the fog will start to lift and clarity will start to return to your life. We must experience the pain, withdrawal, confusion and everything else to get to this clarity and then to our recovery. We must break the cycle of this abuse with no/minimal contact to get off of this destructive and emotional rollercoaster or be stuck in that fog forever. Greg