FOG =Fear, Obligation & Guilt. FOG is hard to see through, hard to walk through, and easy to get lost in. But you don’t have to.
It can be hard to understand how to break free from the FOG created by harmful relationships or unhealthy relationship dynamics. It can be equally hard to understand why we at times feel so stuck. There can be times when we know it’s not healthy, we can see the harmful behaviors, know we are being lied to or manipulated, but feel powerless to chart a healthier course for ourselves. Not all scars are visible. Sometimes the most painful wounds can be well hidden, even from ourselves. But we can overcome them. We can take back our power when we learn how. When we learn what is holding us back, we can overcome it all. Our relationships don’t have to hurt.
But to do so, first we need to understand Coercive Control, Gaslighting, Traumatic Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome. Fancy terms that all boil down to the invisible psychological bonds that keep us enslaved in relationships that we know are hurting us. Traumatic Bonding is very powerful; it is intermittent positive reinforcement that we cling to, in the hopes that the bad will never happen again. Once we understand these concepts, then we understand how manipulative people exert their subtle and unseen control over us, and even others around us.
Coercive Control Collective “Coercive and controlling abuse impacts a survivor’s sense of safety, identity, autonomy and their attachments to others. Without understanding this dynamic and its full impact, victims who have survived this particular type of trauma continue to be isolated by the complexity of their experience and their needs for recovery are misunderstood and unmet.”
11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting “Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. ”
The Place of Stockholm Syndrome in Narcissistic Victim Syndrome “Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological term used to describe the paradoxical phenomenon of the relationship that develops between a captor and its hostage. In such a relationship, to the amazement of onlookers, the hostage expresses empathy and positive feelings towards their abusive captor, and often they will display a desire to defend them.”
5 Signs You’re In A Dangerous Trauma Bond With A Toxic Person “A trauma bond is a bond that forms due to intense, emotional experiences, usually with a toxic person. Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, it holds us emotionally captive to a manipulator who keeps us “hostage” – whether that be through physical or emotional abuse. According to Dr. Patrick Carnes, these types of destructive attachments are known as “betrayal bonds” and can take place in any context where a relationship can be forged. They can occur in romantic relationships, friendships, within the family, and the workplace.”
10 Steps to Recovering From a Traumatic Bond “Trauma bonds occur in very toxic relationships, and tend to be strengthened by inconsistent positive reinforcement—or at least the hope of something better to come. Trauma bonds occur in extreme situations such as abusive relationships, hostage situations, and incestuous relationships, but also in any ongoing attached relationship in which there is a great deal of pain interspersed with times of calm (or maybe just less pain). I liken it to a heroin addiction—the relationship promises much, gives fleeting feelings of utopia, and then it sucks away your very soul.”
Boundaries and self-care are important, healthy and necessary. It’s not selfish to love and value yourself!