Fear, obligation and guilt (FOG) are powerful forces that are regularly wielded by narcissists to manipulate their victims. Narcissists employ fear tactics in order to make someone feel threatened or scared. They impose obligations upon them to keep them in line and control them. And they invoke guilt by manipulating their target to believe that they they should meet the narcissist’s often unreasonable demands.
This post will explain how narcissists use fear, obligation and guilt (FOG) to manipulate their victims and what you can do about it.
Narcissistic FOG – 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. The loss or pain that could occur as a result of the victim not complying with the narcissist’s demands or desires.
Narcissistic FOG – Obligation
Narcissists are highly skilled manipulators and often try to make their victim feel indebted to them. They will go out of their way to highlight how selfless they are and the sacrifices that they have made for the benefit of their target, doing so in as public a manner as possible in order to increase the pressure on their victim.
The victim then feels obligated to repay this debt by complying with the narcissist’s demands – this is what we call “obligation”. By creating an environment where the victim perceives such a debt and obligation, narcissists can manipulate their target into following through with their wishes.
Narcissistic FOG – Guilt
The next step is to make the victim feel guilty for not complying with the narcissist’s demands or desires.
This stage is where the manipulative FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) 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.
Making their victims feel ungrateful
A narcissist will bring up past favors and express disappointment when their victim does not show appreciation. This is a way of guilt-tripping the victim into fulfilling their demands.
Claiming that any criticism or disagreement is an attack on the narcissist’s character
By presenting themselves as feeling personally hurt by the victim’s words, a narcissist can lead the victim to feel guilty for causing such pain and do whatever it is that narcissist wants, to make things right again.
Belittling victims’ opinions and beliefs
A narcissist may try to devalue the victim’s thoughts and beliefs to convince them that their opinion doesn’t matter, which can lead to feelings of guilt in victims that worry they may be wrong in some way.
Saying things like “If you really loved me, you would do this…”
This type of statement implies that there is something wrong with their love if it isn’t accompanied by certain actions from the victim. This creates an obligation on behalf of the victim to fulfil the demand otherwise it would mean that they didn’t love enough or care enough about the relationship.
Playing off of social norms such as “You should always help your family first”
Depending on one’s culture, family or religion there may be certain expectations placed upon people which can be manipulated by narcissistic people who use this kind of thinking to put pressure on someone else by saying they should do something out of obligation rather than free will.
Bringing up past mistakes and asking why those same mistakes are being repeated
By bringing up old issues, a narcissist can make a person feel guilty in the present.
What can you do about it?
If you are concerned that 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:
Acknowledge your feelings
It is important to take the time to recognize and acknowledge your emotions. Doing so will give you an understanding of why you are feeling the way that you do and allow you to start processing these emotions in a healthy manner.
Reassess the situation
Step back from the situation and think about all potential angles objectively. Once you have done that, determine what it is that truly needs to be done, or if any action needs to be taken at all.
When beginning any interaction with a person who may be manipulating you through fear, obligation and guilt (fog), it is crucial that you set clear boundaries as to what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour from them. This will ensure that they know that certain things are not okay with you or up for discussion and will help make sure your feelings remain respected and protected.
Talk to trusted friends or family members about your situation so that they can offer some objectivity and provide support during this challenging time. Having someone else there on whom you can rely can help provide clarity and strength when dealing with difficult emotions related to a fog state.
Take care of yourself first
It is important to remember that your wellbeing should always come first, no matter how much pressure there may be from others trying to manipulate you into doing something through fear, obligation or guilt (fog) tactics.
Taking care of yourself means making decisions based on what makes sense for YOU as opposed to what would make someone else happy at your expense. So take the time needed to understand this before committing yourself to any agreement or course of action which may not serve your best interests in the long run.
Final Thoughts on Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG)
Fear, obligation and guilt are powerful emotions that can have a huge impact on our lives. They can create feelings of unease and discomfort in relationships, lead to difficult interactions with others, and prompt us to make decisions which are not necessarily the best for us in the long run.
However, by taking the time to recognize, acknowledge and process these feelings, we can come out of situations involving fear, obligation and guilt feeling more empowered and in control.
Understanding that it is okay to set boundaries, and asking for help when necessary, gives us the strength needed to confront such situations head-on.
Posts About Narcissistic Abuse Tactics
Abuse by Proxy – How to Identify and Deal with this form of Psychological Abuse
How to Detect and Escape Ambient Abuse – A Survivor’s Guide
Blaming the Victim – The Narcissist’s Insidious Strategy to Avoid Responsibility
Divide and Conquer – A Strategic Way of Isolating Victims
Enmeshment in Narcissistic Families – Trapped in the Narcissist’s Toxic Web
The Fauxpology – a devious weapon of the Narcissist
Flying Monkeys – the narcissist’s army of goons
Future Faking – Narcissists make hollow promises about the future
Narcissistic Grooming – How Narcissists Brainwash and Condition their Victims
What is Narcissist Discard and what are the signs?
Narcissist Hoovering – How to Deal With It
Narcissist Triangulation – What it is, why Narcissists do it, and how to deal with it
Narcissistic Abuse – How Narcissists Manipulate and Hurt their Victims
Narcissist Gaslighting with Examples – How to Identify this type of Narcissistic Abuse and what to Do About It
What is Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and How Can I Get Better?
Narcissistic FOG – How Narcissists use Fear, Obligation and Guilt as Weapons
7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
What is Narcissistic Projection? The Narcissist’s toxic blame-shifting tactic
What you need to know about Narcissistic Rage
Love Bombing – The Narcissist’s Trick to Keep You Hooked
Narcissistic Smear Campaign – How To Spot It and What To Do About It
Narcissistic Word Salad – One of the Tools in the Narcissist’s Toolbox
The Definition of Triangulation in Narcissistic Abuse – A Closer Look
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