Do you know someone who is a narcissist? If so, then you know how controlling they can be. The narcissist often uses a technique called Narcissistic FOG, an acronym for Fear, Obligation, and Guilt, to control their victim.
Narcissists use fear to keep their victim in line, obligation to make the victim feel indebted to them, and guilt to make the victim feel guilty for not complying with their often unreasonable demands.
In this blog post, I will discuss how the narcissist uses FOG to control their victim and what you can do about it.
Narcissistic FOG – Step 1: Fear
Narcissists wants their victims to be afraid of what will happen if they don’t comply with their demands or desires.
Fear of abandonment – Many narcissists invest a lot of time and effort into isolating their victims. This destroys the victim’s support network and makes them dependent on the narcissist. The narcissist then uses this dependency to control the victim.
Fear of retaliation. The narcissist may threaten to hurt the victim or their loved ones if they don’t comply with the narcissist’s demands. This is a very effective form of control because the victim knows that the narcissist is capable of carrying out their threats.
Fear of being exposed. The narcissist may threaten to expose the victim’s secrets or embarrassing information if they don’t comply with the narcissist’s demands. This is a very effective form of control because it leaves the victim feeling vulnerable and exposed.
Fear of being shamed or ridiculed publicly. The narcissist may threaten to expose the victim’s secrets or embarrassing information if they don’t comply with the narcissist’s demands. He could also unleash his flying monkeys to abuse the victim by proxy, or launch a smear campaign against the victim if they don’t comply with the narcissist’s demands. This is a very effective form of control because it leaves the victim feeling humiliated and exposed.
Once they have instilled this kind of fear into their victim then it is easy for them to use obligation and guilt because now there is something else at stake: loss or pain that could occur as a result of the victim not complying with the narcissist’s demands or desires.
Narcissistic FOG – Step 2: Obligation
Narcissists are very skilled manipulators and often try to make their target feel indebted to them.
They will go out of their way to highlight how selfless they are and how much they have sacrificed for the victim.
In many cases, they will try to do so in as public a manner as possible to ratchet up pressure on the victim, who will feel judged by others if they do not comply.
The victim then feels obligated to comply with the narcissist’s demands in order to repay this debt.
This is what we call “obligation” – where someone feels obligated to do something because of some perceived debt that has been incurred by another person.
Narcissistic FOG – Step 3: Guilt
The next step is to make the victim feel guilty for not complying with the narcissist’s demands or desires.
They might say things like “I did this for you, but now I’m going to do something else because you didn’t appreciate it” (threats), “We can’t be friends anymore unless…” (guilt-inducing statements), etcetera.
This stage is where the manipulative FOG created by the narcissist comes full circle. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants, gaslighting the victim to believe that it is their duty to comply. The victim is left feeling scared, obligated, and guilty – all emotions which the narcissist has expertly exploited in order to control them.
What can you do about it?
If you feel like your partner is using FOG on you then try to identify what kind of fear, obligation or guilt they’re instilling into your life and how they are doing so.
Narcissists know exactly what buttons to push, but there are some things that you can do to regain your power:
- Get grounded in who you are as an individual. Develop a strong sense of self so that the narcissist’s tactics no longer have an impact on you.
- Set boundaries with the narcissist. Let them know what behaviours or actions are off limits for you and enforce these boundaries consistently.
- Stand up for yourself. When the narcissist tries to put you down or shame you, don’t back down. Let them know that their behaviour won’t be tolerated and they need to change it or leave your presence immediately.
- Seek professional support from a licensed therapist who specializes in narcissism. They will help you learn how best to deal with this type of person in your life.
The most important thing is to value yourself. Nobody has the right to manipulate you or to control you in any way. You deserve to be treated with respect.
For Further Reading:
You might also want to check out the following posts about the different abuse tactics in the Narcissist’s toolbox:
- Abuse by Proxy
- Ambient Abuse
- Coercive Control
- Divide and Conquer
- Flying Monkeys
- Future Faking
- Love Bombing
- Narcissist Discard
- Narcissist Hoovering
- Narcissistic Triangulation
- Narcissistic Abuse
- Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
- Narcissistic Family Roles
- Narcissistic FOG
- Narcissistic Grooming
- Narcissistic Projection
- Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic Smear Campaign
- Narcissistic Word Salad
- Parental Alienation
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
- 13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help
- Flying Monkeys in the World of Narcissism: What They Are and How to Deal with Them
- Gaslighting Defined – How Can You Tell If Your Partner Is Gaslighting You?
- Why Narcissists String Along their Exes and Never Cut Them Loose
- Understanding the Cycle of Emotional Abuse – The Red Flags of a Toxic Relationship
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.