Fear Obligation Guilt

psychology, Uncategorized

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Fear Obligation and Guilt is a type of emotional blackmail which is commonly referred to as ‘FOG’, a contrived acronym- a play on the word fog which describes something that obscures and confuses a situation or someone’s thought process.

This emotional blackmail typically involves two people who have established a close relationship and the abuser uses fear, obligation and guilt in the relationship, ensuring the other feels afraid to cross them, obligated to give them their way and swamped by guilt if they resist. Knowing that someone close to them wants love, approval or conformation of identity and self-esteem, blackmailers may threaten to withhold them or take them away altogether, making the person feel that they must earn them by agreement.

The innermost fears of the abused and an unreasonable sense of obligation are manipulated by the abuser to coerce the former’s compliance. The blackmail may take these forms:

  • Threats (more on this later)
  • Punishments
  • Self-Harm
  • Self-Pitying
  • Hysterics
  • Passive Aggressiveness
  • Light at the end of the tunnel (somehow fostering a belief in the abused that all this is temporary and will get better)
  • Labelling (The abused always comes out as the ‘bad guy’ and is pathologized as sick or crazy)
  • Enlisting (The abuser turns other people against the abused using negative comparison)

Although all the above-mentioned tools are used by a FOG abuser, the most potent and widely used tool of such an abuser is threat. Here are the different types of threat used by FOG abuser:

  1. Punisher’s Threat – Eat the food I cooked for you or I’ll hurt you.
  2. Self-punisher’s Threat – Eat the food I cooked for you or I’ll hurt myself.
  3. Sufferer’s Threat – Eat the food I cooked for you. I was saving it for myself. I wonder what will happen now.
  4. Tantalizer’s Threat – Eat the food I cooked for you and you just may get a yummy dessert.

The essence of a FOG blackmail, is the abuser making different types of demands from the abused and using threat as a weapon, while it is essential to recognize threat being employed it is also essential to recognize when and what type of a demand is being made; these are the different types of demands a FOG abuser makes:

  1. Demands of little consequence
  2. Demands that risk the victim’s personal integrity
  3. Demands that affect major life decisions
  4. Demands that are dangerous or illegal

While FOG abuse is more prevalent than it is given credit for, there are some demographics and situations that foster such abuse more than others.

  • Addicts

They often believe that being in control is how to achieve success and happiness in life. People who follow this rule use it as a survival skill, having usually learned it in childhood. As long as they make the rules, no one can back them in to a corner with their feelings.

  • Mental Illness

People with mental conditions are predisposed to controlling behaviour including those with paranoid personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. People with borderline personality disorder and particularly likely to use emotional blackmail (so are destructive narcissists), however, their actions may be impulsive and driven by fear and a desperate sense of hopelessness, rather than out of a conscious plan.

  • Co-dependency

It often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. This can lead to emotional abuse. Co-dependency can occur in any kind of relationship, including family, work, friendship and also romantic, peer or community relationships.


Did this help? Would you like more such content? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments!


Bunny Boiling



Bunny Boiling is a reference to an iconic scene in the movie “Fatal Attraction” in which the main character Alex, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, kills the family’s pet rabbit and boils it on the stove. Bunny Boiling has become a popular reference to how people sometimes exhibit their rage by behaving destructively towards symbolic, important or treasured possessions or representations of those whom they wish to hurt, control or intimidate.

In a reddit post user anon_girl shares how she was a victim of bunny boiling growing up. This is her post:

“So I recently started doing some research on emotional abuse and one tactic that abusers use is called Bunny Boiling and it basically means that the abuser takes something the victim cherishes, and destroys it in such a way that it causes psychological damage to the victim. Throughout my entire life my dad had no problems taking away my things but some things stick out more than others.

1) We had a small shoe rack in our laundry room and my sister and I were only allowed to keep 3 pairs of shoes on the rack at a time and the rest had to stay in our rooms. If my dad found more than 3 pairs of one of our shoes on the rack he would take our favorite ones from the extra and throw them in the trash without telling us.

2) When my dad was going at it with my sister one night he took her alarm clock radio and threw it on the ground as hard as he could, shattering it to pieces, then took her ipod, threw it into the sink and turned on the garbage disposal, tearing it to shreds

3) When my dad got mad at me once he went to my room, brought back my hair curler and straightener, held them above his head by the plugs, then cut the cords and let them both clatter to the ground

I only just now realized how much worse that was than if he had just taken those things away for a week. Now I’m very possessive of my things and get angry at people when they ask me to share”

In an extreme case of bunny boiling, Sarah Williams murdered 60-year-old businesswoman Sadie Hartley by first paralyzing her with a stun gun and then stabbing her 40 times, her only crime was that she was dating Sarah Williams’s ex-boyfriend Ian Johnson. Psychological abuse can taper into violence and take extreme forms. It is more tough than one may think to decipher abuse when it is happening. Most of the times the abuser denies he is indulging in abuse. It is important to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse especially since it can take such dangerous forms as ‘Bunny Boiling’.

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Fail Above Everybody’s Success

Learning from Books, Uncategorized


When I read, I underline and mark and stick highlighter flags all over the book, and my girlfriend hates it. She is a purist and she likes her books in mint condition; I on the other hand love worn out, highlighted books. The book I am reading these days is called ‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferris. It is a mammoth 650 page read and I’m barely half way through it. I am going to share some of my highlighted things from whatever I have covered of this book. It includes quotes and passages that struck a chord; so, here goes.

  • “If you find yourself in a fair fight, you did not plan your mission properly.” -Colonel David Hackworth
  • “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you’ll fail above everybody’s success.” – James Cameron
  • Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
  • “It’s always the hard part that creates value.” – Seth Godin
  • If you can’t generate one good idea, generate 20 bad ones. Occasionally a good idea comes to you first, if you’re lucky. Usually, it only comes after a lot of bad ideas.
  • “Losers have goals, winners have systems.” – Scott Adams
  • “Great men have always shown themselves as ready to obey as they afterwards proved able to command.”- Lord Mahon
  • “Discipline equals freedom.”- Jocko Willink
  • “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of Non-Essentials.”-Lin Yutang
  • “The first principle is that you should not fool yourself, you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman (MUST READ: Surely you’re joking Mr’ Feynman and What do you care what other people think? By Richard Feynman)
  • “Better to have and not need than to need and not have.” – Franz Kafka

These are some of the things I got out of this book. As I read on, expect more posts!

Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash

One Good Day

Self Elevation, Uncategorized

One good day, when I am having a string of bad days, the psyche feeds itself constant negativity and that creates a downward spiral with me in the middle. Then, I have realised all I need is one good day, that is all it takes to plug the whirlpool. This continuous downward trend comes from not being able to take life one day at a time, one moment at a time and instead seeing it as a cluster of days, months and years. If you look at it, the time that best describes life is the present. If we are doing our present well, we simultaneously take care of our past and the future.

If one can understand and appreciate the enormity of this statement, a good, happy and positive life beckons. All anyone needs to do is ask themselves every time, all the time these three questions:

  • Am I living this moment well?
  • What can I do in this moment to make it more productive?
  • Will I be able to look back at this moment in the future and feel happy and satisfied because of it?

It is as simple as that. If the focus is one the basic building blocks of life, the gestalt would automatically fall into place.

Having said all that, I understand how taxing it can get when we lose all the spontaneity and tax ourselves with the stress of living every moment, every minute, every hour well. So, to that I say, departures would come, every now and then we’ll automatically let off some steam and when such moments of chaos come, don’t let them bother you; embrace them and incorporate them into your being. The aim is not to live all our whole life being perfect, the aim is to just incorporate enough perfection into our lives so that we can live the life we want to.


Things People Say



So here are another four barriers that impede effective communication.

  • Language

The language we choose to use depends (or at least it should) on the person we are talking to, the situation we are in and the task at hand; in the case of ineffective communicators instead let things like emotions or personal feelings about the listener to determine the language they use. PRO TIP: Whenever you can, use E-mails instead of speech; they give you greater time to think about the language you can use.


  • Silence

Silence can be interpreted as a tool to get your message across or can mean simple withholding of communication. Silence can also mean keeping quiet about issues that worry you for one reason or another. Silence is rarely, if ever beneficial. PRO TIP: When you feel like giving someone the ‘silent treatment’, write everything down, honest to the core and send it to them. It is easier to say things, without face to face confrontation.


  • Communication Apprehension

Some people experience experience undue tension and anxiety in oral communication, written communication or both. This can adversely affect their job or even personal relationship. While some shyness or nervousness while meeting new people is okay, it can get pathological and start affecting various spheres of one’s life. PRO TIP: Imagine them naked.


  • Lying

The worst part of lying is that we all tend to have different definitions of lying, we tend to have different degrees too, those which are acceptable and those that aren’t. Lying simply put, is misrepresentation of information. In other words, lying is lying. PRO TIP: Anticipate and try to avoid situations that might require you to lie. Once you’re in such a situation you rarely get out without lying.


So that was about communication. Do you have anything specific you want us to right about? Leave your suggestions in the comments!


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When you nod your head yes, but you wanna say no; What do you mean?



I have always believed that communication is one of the most important pillars that makes our transition through life smooth. Be it the organizational set up or relationships, communication is the absolute essential that underlies these complicated human structures. Then it is baffling that we spend so little time educating ourselves to communicate better. So today let us get a little technical and discuss the major barriers that impede the communication process.

  1. Filtering

Ever heard too many ‘umm’, ‘you know’, ‘so’, ‘aah’ or any such filler words in someone’s speech; that either means that the speaker is not too comfortable with the language or worse, he is purposely manipulating the information so that the receiver sees it more favourably. Perhaps it is a direct result of the humanity’s natural tendency to come across as likeable. We all filter information, sometimes without knowing; but remember this PRO TIP: you will never gain anybody’s trust by manipulating the content of your speech.


  1. Selective Perception

The world is a mirror of our thoughts, motivation, experiences and other personal characteristics, in other words what we see or hear, we colour that with these things before we actually perceive it and we have gotten so good at this over the course of human evolution that the process is now automated and our brain genuinely believes that what it is processing is the actual information that is being relayed, when it seldom is. The world is not what you see or hear, the world is what you make up as you go!


  1. Information Overload

One reason why I feel that our quality of communication has degraded in the recent years is that we have so many sources of information and the quantity of information is way more than our finite ability to process it. The result is that we tend to select, ignore, pass over or forget information which directly leads to less effective communication skills. Our brain is a fantastic piece of human anatomy, but it is not a machine, don’t treat it that way.


  1. Emotions

Aah, emotions! Another shade that we use to colour our day to day interactions. When we are in a negative mood (angry, sad, anxious etc) our brain goes into overdrive, we start scrutinizing in depth every communication and start analysing every action. We become insecure, irritated and annoyed. Whereas in a happy mood we take every communication, every action at face value; we feel we belong in this world and it is NOT out to get us. Here’s a PRO TIP: Never make any decisions however small or big, when you’re feeling negative, chances are, your overworked brain will take a shitty call.


These are the 4 barriers I am doing today; and the next 4 I am going to do in the next blog post. Because, like we just talked, I do not want to overload you with information.


Hope you find this useful. Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments!


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No! No! Nooooo!



This blog post was supposed to be a review of a chapter in a book. And although the chapter was titled “saying no when it matters the most”, it turned out to be more focused on investing rather than daily life. So, I will in addition to this book, draw from personal experience and talk about how saying no is the most important skill we can ever learn.

Here, let’s start with this quote from the chapter I mentioned at the start.

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of the non-essentials.” -Lin Yutang

The main reason why I find myself saying yes to things that I would rather say no to is that I am a little vary of offending the person who is putting a request across. While over the years this instinct to say yes just to keep the other party happy has died down a little bit, it still resurfaces every now and then. This in no way is the only reason why we say yes to things we’d rather not do. Another reason is sometimes we are not able to gauge correctly whether we really want to do a particular thing or not.

Tim Ferris, in his book ‘Tools of Titans’ mentions a fantastic tool he learnt from Derek Sivers. Sivers says the choice is never between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, the choice is between ‘Hell Yeah!’ and ‘No.

His point is this; whenever you’re unsure about whether or not you want to do something, you should probably not do it; because unless something makes you go ‘Hell Yeah’, it does not stir your insides up enough to warrant your time and attention.

Off course when one is starting off, things are different; at that time, we don’t have the liberty to say yes or no to things. We have to take what we get. So, first we have to work for that liberty, to be able to say No to things, and then we have to use that liberty well.

A long life is far from guaranteed, nearly everyone dies before they are ready. So, whenever you are doing something, or you want to do something; ask yourself these three questions:


Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of?

Are you doing what you were placed on the earth to do?

Can you be replaced?
I will leave you with this quote from the only physicist I love reading, Richard P. Feynman:

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Photo by Jaie Miller on Unsplash