Out of the FOG: Information & Support for those with a Family Member or Loved One who Suffers From a Personality Disorderby Gary Walters
Personality disorders are serious mental-health conditions which affect millions of people but which often go undiagnosed and misunderstood. Personality disorders often deteriorate the quality of
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Out of the FOG was written by a group of people who have experienced a relationship with a family member, spouse or partner who suffers from a personality disorder.
Personality disorders are serious mental-health conditions which affect millions of people but which often go undiagnosed and misunderstood. Personality disorders often deteriorate the quality of life not only of the people who suffer from them, but also their family members, spouses, partners, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
The acronym FOG stands for Fear, Obligation & Guilt - feelings which often result from being in a relationship with a person who suffers from a Personality Disorder. It was first coined by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier in their book "Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You."
It is the goal of this book to help inform and encourage family members, spouses, partners, friends and caregivers as they try to work their way out of the confusion, out of the chaos and out of the FOG.
The emphasis of Out of the FOG is to describe personality disorders from a Non-personality-disordered individual's point of view. In other words; what is it like to live with a person with Narcissitic or Borderline Personality Disorder? What’s it like to have a parent with a Histrionic or Dependent Personality Disorder? How do you cope when confronted with the prospect of caring for someone with Obsessive-Compulsive or Avoidant Personality Disorder?
The descriptions of personality disorders given in this book are based not only on the clinical criteria used for diagnosis but also on the experiences of people who have cared for someone who suffers from a personality disorder; what it feels like, what works and what doesn't.
We often think of people in simple terms such as good and bad, friends and enemies, loving and hateful. Personality disorders are not so simple and the people who suffer from them often exhibit behaviors which are at times constructive and at other times destructive. This often creates confusion for those who come into contact with them.
If you have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, it is our hope that the information contained here may help you understand these behaviors better and navigate out of the FOG in your own life.
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Meet the Author
Gary Walters is a professional photographer, amateur musician and retired CSI cop who also happens to be a "Non-PD". A "Non-PD" is a non-personality disordered individual who has lived in a relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder. Having survived abuse and neglect as a child, Gary found himself in adulthood involved in a relationship with someone who suffered from borderline personality disorder. He struggled to make sense of the way he had been treated until he met others who had gone through similar experiences. Gary is now the site owner of OutOfTheFOG.net - a support community for Non-PD's.
A number of people have collaborated as authors on the Out of the FOG project who, for confidentiality reasons, cannot be named. This is to protect the identities of children, parents, spouses, siblings extended families and friends. These people have chosen to contribute anonymously in the hope that others will benefit from the lessons they have learned.
The Out of the FOG Team is the most experienced group of it's kind in the world. We operate a website and online support group at www.OutOfTheFOG.net to assist family members, partners and friends of those who suffer from personality disorders.
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I am a psychology student in Tennessee and found "Out of The Fog" very handy to have today. All the computers were tied up in the library and I had the resources I needed right there on my tablet and iPhone with me all the time.
Absolutely Fantastic and without equal to the mass audience whom have to suffer these traits - often totally unaware that most people close to them may in fact have a PD which is giving them fleas as if they are in the stages of developing one themselves. The author points to INTENT as key in the complex problems PD situations create and has advice like a 51% rule over your own state of mind/ looking out for yourself so not to break and go into abusive mode yourself. In fact a simplified version would be better for a pocket guide then you can beef it out on the website. Some of these academics talk about tit for tat - which is unavoidable in many ways - for sure there is ZERO help available for most people and ZERO advise to wise them up. FULL MARKS to the author for getting OUT THERE amidst the FOG people keep smoke screening us with. Psychology students note: Millions are NOT top 5% academics. Also note: some of them are the worst PDs on planet Earth! Good Job Out Of The Fog!
The Out of the Fog forum has been a lifesaver for me, and this book compiles the information, tips, and tools in one place (that I can consult discreetly on my Nook in occasions where browsing the website is impossible or inadvisable). If you have someone in your life with a personality disorder, this book is a must-buy.
Hi. This book is a collection of web pages from an online forum where members share their frustrations about their estranged mothers and former spouses who are suspected of having mental illnesses that have not been diagnosed. This book, which focuses on how damaging and hopelessly incurable mom or ex-husband are, dedicates fewer than 4% of its pages to the subject of how the reader can rise above. Most telling are the contributing author statements at the beginning of the book. One by one, they explain how they were victimized. Not a word is mentioned about how they overcame. This book lacks a recovery map or a pathway to success. And the psychology theories presented are not at all conventional. There is little insight. There is little perspective. The book just wanders from page to page and from one list after another. The greatest weakness of this book is its avocation to blame relationship problems on the mental illness of others in your life. In the book there is no questioning ¿if they are mentally ill¿, it is more a matter of which mental illness. And the words ¿self awareness¿, ¿self analysis¿, and ¿self discovery¿ do not appear anywhere in the book. For some reason, the author abandons the conventional definitions of the ten DSM personality disorders / mental illnesses and attempts to describe them using 100 common relationship problems. The problems include such things as picking fights , blaming, anger, entitlement, favoritism, false accusations, mood swings, name calling, shaming, and silent treatment ¿ the presence of ¿some¿ are indicative of mental illness. The logic is something like ~ If people with personality disorders often get into circular conversations (arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no real resolution), ~ And if you find yourself repeatedly engaged in circular conversations with someone, ~ This is an indication that they a have a personality disorder. Of course, by using a scheme like this most anyone can be labeled as mentally ill. That pretty much sums this book up. I should mention that the book contains an abundance of data, but most of it is not directly relevant to the topic nor is there any attempt to explain why it is included in the book. There is a data table, for example, from a 1996 US study on perpetrators of abuse to people over 60. There is a data table from 2002 survey of 15-16 year British school children that had suicidal thoughts. There is a 1999 table on missing children statistics. There is also a chapter dedicated to assigning personality disorders to fictional movie and carton characters. Did you know that, for example, the Charlie Brown cartoon character, Lucy, has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Why not? The book cover shows a car driving in a deep fog. It's sorta how I felt after reading the book.
I have read several books looking for advice on handling a couple histrionic individuals in my life. Several books describe personality disorders and harm that may be done to others as a result of these disorders. But I haven't seen any offering this quantity and quality of practical advice and guidance. Thanks so much for writing this!
There is something going on that is very, very wrong at the forum called "Out of the Fog." The "big cheese" there who runs the place bans people at the drop of a hat. Then if you ask "why, what rule did I break," he responds with "You have x number of days in the chiller to figure it out." What kind of "help" is this? No, even the administrators of that site are afraid of the "Site Custodian" and it is not a safe place to be. What good could a book be when it comes from mentally ill, cruel and vicious people that run the site?
4.5 stars. "Personality Disorder" is a phrase that unfortunately sounds like someone CHOOSING to be a jerk. Not so; people with these mental illnesses have been shown to have different brain wiring than neurotypical people. (Although, like most mental disorders, there is not nearly enough clinical research on record.) With an estimated 8-12% of the population having a personality disorder, this means if you know more than 10 people, YOU know someone with a personality disorder. An in-law, a neighbor, a co-worker, an ex or current partner, a sibling, a parent, a child. Possibly yourself (in which case, this book may be uncomfortable reading for you, though it may be helpful in finding ways to deal with the people in your life who ALSO have PD's). Like most mental disorders, there are spectrums and cycles - someone may show severe symptoms, others may show symptoms only occasionally. Where this book excels is in the descriptions of what each personality disorder is, how it presents from the neurotypical's point of view (this would be especially helpful to a writer who wants to include a character with a personality disorder), the descriptions of what each PD is from the DSM-IV (although there is now a somewhat controversial DSM-V that is out) and sometimes from the World Health Organization's criteria for that PD. What works, in dealing with someone with a specific PD, and what DOESN'T work. (Bringing home flowers as a surprise can actually cause distress and suspicion for people with certain PD's, rather than delight and gratitude.) Where support and resources can be found. The book is packed with links that take you to other sections of the book. For example, if you are reading the "Top 100 Traits" section, which includes the term "Engulfment," with a snapshot definition of what that means, clicking on the underlined word will take you to an expanded section on what "Engulfment" means. The downside to this feature is that, should you choose to read the book cover to cover, there appears to be a lot of repetition. The current edition of this book does NOT have a chapter of contents, which would be handy, and there are also minor typos and occasional formatting glitches, which is why I'm subtracting a half star. This book is fully excerpted from the Out of the FOG website - so why buy the book? #1, odd as it may sound, people don't ALWAYS have internet access, and you may want to check something when you don't. #2, if you have found the website helpful, it is an easy way to support it. I recommend this book to anyone who has a problem relationship in his/her life (maybe it's NOT you), and to all writers, because we love to create characters who are damaged from a prior relationship or from their family of origin. This book will help us describe the long-terms damage and/or create flashbacks or backstory more realistically.
This book personally helped me a lot to understand dysfunctional dynamics. I wish I'd had it when I had contact with my mother. It would have been my bible.
The members of this support group are obviously very hurt and angry and exiting emotionally troubled relationships. Oddly this book, rather than focusing on processing of hurt and rebuilding of lives, attempts to recast information from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual into a tool for some kind of a modern day Salem witch trials. It is a very perverse use of a body of professional work intended to help people suffering from debilitating mental illnesses. From reading the website, the author appears to be well intentioned. The book is just poorly researched and the subject matter not well understood. There is no acknowledgment that people tend to enter into relationships with their emotional equals. Imagine going to an Al-anon meeting to find the members complaining and demonizing alcoholics and writing a book warning others to stay away from anyone that goes to a bar. The book isn't any deeper than this hypothetical comparison. In this book there are the "PDs" (bad people) and the "Nons" (good people). The author calls himself a "non". The author has blogged about a history of childhood sexual abuse, alcohol dependence, and cheating in relationships, events that would qualify him as having a personality disorder sing the formulas in the book. I'm not suggesting that the author has any mental issues. I am suggesting that the book has some weaknesses.