Narcissism in Action: A Real-Life Example of Sneaky Gaslighting

Narcissism in Action: A Real-Life Example of Sneaky Gaslighting

Meet Tom and Ava. Tom is a raging narcissist who is married to Ava. Fortunately, Ava has figured this out and has been attempting to stop falling for the gaslighting tricks that make her feel crazy.


She’s been employing the gray rock method and he’s been really hating it. He is always trying to figure out ways to keep her feeling insecure and uncomfortable in their relationship.

 

For example, he knows it bothers her when he makes it clear he’s attracted to other women, so one night after he particularly fails to make her feel crazy all day, Tom takes his manipulation up a notch.

 

He tells a story about a hot girl he met at the gas station on his way home. He tells Ava how the girl practically got naked in front of him (all lies, of course) and goes into what he would’ve done had he been single.

 

Related Reading: Take Back Your Life: 103 Highly-Effective Strategies to Snuff Out a Narcissist’s Gaslighting and Enjoy the Happy Life You Really Deserve

Ava realizes what he’s trying to do, and she remains quiet to avoid his inevitable claims that she’s always finding something to complain about, and that she should just blindly trust that he’d never do anything to hurt her (despite the fact that he verbally abuses her daily).

 

This is where it gets scary.

 Warning SIgns You Are Dating a Narcissist

When Tom notices that Ava isn’t giving him the narcissistic supply that he seeks, he takes it up a notch, claiming that he can sense that Ava is upset, even though she showed no signs of it.

 

Eventually, he manages to draw her into the argument and she is left reeling. She can’t believe that he’s done it again.

 

But this is how a narcissist works. He consistently and systematically tears down his victims, forcing them into these predefined roles  (he defines them, of course) that place him in a position of power while she struggles to prove herself to him in some way.

 
Does this situation sound familiar to you? If so, you are being gaslighted and you might just be involved with a narcissist. Don’t feel bad – even very intelligent people can fall victim to the manipulation of a narcissist. 
 
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Let’s discuss. 
Narcissistic Abuse in Relationships: 10 Commonly Missed Signs of Gaslighting

Narcissistic Abuse in Relationships: 10 Commonly Missed Signs of Gaslighting

So, you’ve figured out that you’re involved in a toxic relationship with a narcissist. And you want to know exactly what you need to look for when it comes to being relentlessly mentally and emotionally tortured by the narcissist – you need to know the signs of gaslighting.

Why should you educate yourself on the signs of narcissistic manipulation?

You want to know because knowledge and understanding are the first step to changing your situation into something better. Once you know the signs of gaslighting, you can work toward putting an end to the behavior before it gets out of hand – or even toward going no contact (NC) with your narcissist if necessary.

You can read all about the top warning 10 signs of gaslighting, in detail right here, or you can right-click and download this free and easy-to-use chart of the top 10 warning signs.

Related: Inside a Toxic Gaslighting Attack

Top 10 Signs You Are Being Gaslighted

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Surviving the Narcississt: How to Stop Toxic Thoughts

Surviving the Narcississt: How to Stop Toxic Thoughts

How Toxic Thinking Can Affect Your Health

Being in a good frame of mind helps keep one in the picture of health. ~Unknown

You know all about toxic families and toxic friends, but have you ever considered that your own thoughts can become toxic?

This is especially true if you love a narcissist–and even more especially if you live with the narcissist.

We’ve talked before about why it’s important to keep an eye on your thoughts–because you bring about what you think about. So, if you’re focused on all good things, then more good things will come your way. But, if your thoughts become toxic, they can and will draw negativity and toxicity into your life, and can even cause physical side effects if left unchecked.

Research has proven that the way we think can cause a wide variety of chemical reactions in our bodies. When we’re thinking happy thoughts–forgiving people, feeling patient and maintaining self-control, for example–our bodies will release chemicals that make us feel peaceful and healthy.

But when we’re feeling negatively and thinking toxic thoughts–like feeling and nurturing rage, holding grudges or wallowing in guilt or self-pity–our bodies release damaging chemicals. This makes us more susceptible to illness and disease.

Narcissistic rage can further complicate the situation, especially because narcissists typically aren’t aware that they have the ability to BE wrong–and if they are, forget about it–you’re going to have a cranky person dealing with a severe narcissistic injury.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of the book Who Switched Off My Brain, says that “stress and anxiety harm the body in a multitude of ways; patchy memory, severe mental health issues, immune system problems, heart problems and digestive problems.”

Serious stuff, right? The way you think can literally affect not just your day-to-day quality of life, but also your long-term health. (Check out my book on gaslighting.)

gaslighting quote

So how do you stop thinking toxic thoughts?

Listen to Yourself Talk

You may not even realize how often you complain or lament about the things in life you don’t love. Maybe you are frustrated because you had to wait in line for a half hour at the grocery store, or the traffic on your way home from work was so terrible that you actually got out of your car and sat on the hood to get a little sun. Perhaps you found out that your kid failed Science or you didn’t get into the college of your choice–or your dog ate your knitting project.

If you’re a narcissist, you’re probably not reading this anyway–but those of us who are dealing with you are likely to get the brunt of your toxic thoughts. So hey, if you love us, why not try to get a brighter perspective? We’ll love you for it.

And honestly, does it really help you to rehash and focus on these negative things? Nope, it actually hurts you. So, while you should absolutely feel comfortable telling the people you care about what happened to you during the day, try to focus on the positive side of things, even when there doesn’t seem to be one. 

For example, if you waited in line at the grocery store, maybe you talked to someone who really needed a good conversation. If you sat in traffic too long–maybe you needed the solitude or you heard your favorite song. You get the idea–find the silver lining in every cloud.

How to Stop Toxic Thoughts: Use Mind Control (On Yourself)

I can’t stress enough how important it is to recognize and monitor your thoughts. You may not even realize how often you think negative thoughts. For example, if your friend wins an award that you wanted, you may think “she must be better than me” or “I deserved that award, not her!” But if you can bring yourself to genuinely congratulate and feel happy for your friend, you’ll not only do her a favor, but yourself too. 

If you find yourself FEELING negatively, take a minute to listen to your thoughts. You might be surprised to find out that you may be subconsciously thinking toxic thoughts. 

Take control of your mind, because you can. All you need to do is mentally cancel those toxic thoughts and replace them with positive and healthy thoughts that reflect your true desires. (Because whatever you think about and focus on is what you’re drawing toward yourself–so why not think about and focus on what you really want?)

Change Your Scene

When I feel like my thoughts are getting a little toxic, sometimes it helps me to just change the scene around me. Maybe that means just going into a different room or taking a walk–or maybe I need to get in the car and go somewhere. But inevitably, if I make the effort to change my scene, it changes my mind pretty quickly. 

Try going out for coffee with a friend, taking a walk or a bath, working out–or even busting out the Wii for a little karaoke or golf. Whatever works for you–just get away from the spot in which you started thinking toxic thoughts for awhile.

What do you do to control and eliminate toxic thoughts? Tell me in the comments section, below, or hit me up on Facebook

Check out my latest book!

take back your life coverAre You Being Gaslighted?

You’re at a party and you notice your husband getting a bit too close to another woman. After the party, you confront him. He tells you to stop being so insecure and controlling; that he’s his own man and if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t have acted like that in the first place. After arguing all night, you end up begging for forgiveness and apologize for the trouble.

Maybe it’s your mom – she’s picking on you like it’s a sport. She’s worried about what you’re wearing, what you’re eating – who you’re hanging out with – but it’s unhealthy. Instead of fighting back, you just suck it up and take it – maybe you’re too sensitive, or perhaps you really are crazy after all. Who can’t take a bit of criticism, anyway?

Or it’s your boss, who told you you had his support on your latest project, only to backpedal when it’s time to present it to the team. Suddenly, he criticizes you for your poor choices and he’s jumnped ship – but when you talk to him later, he tells you it was wrong from the beginning and you need to be more careful in the future. You find yourself wondering if your judgment might really be flawed, after all.

Maybe this stuff doesn’t happen in your life, but for many people, it’s an everyday reality. If you think it could never be you, think again! Some of the most intelligent and capable people are living in painfully toxic relationships with narcissists, and they’re plagued by regular bouts of gaslighting, an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that can be crueler than more obvious forms of abuse because it sort of sneaks up on you.

Because of its insidious nature, gaslighting is one form of emotional abuse that is hard to recognize and even more challenging to break free from. Part of that is because the narcissist exploits one of our greatest fears – the fear of being alone.

This book offers a comprehensive plan for dealing with gaslighting and other forms of narcissistic abuse. TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE starting right now when you download this book and instantly start reading. 

Toxic Relationship Recovery: Using the Gray Rock Method (Safely)

Toxic Relationship Recovery: Using the Gray Rock Method (Safely)

Communicating with a narcissist can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it matters that they comprehend what you’re saying. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt exasperated when trying to have simple conversations with narcissists who have become agitated and who are actively gaslighting.

Gray Rock method explained

Using the Gray Rock Method Safely

So a while back, I wrote this post about the only way to effectively communicate with a narcissist, and in my experience, it’s the truth. In the post, I mentioned the Gray Rock Method, so I thought I’d offer a bit of background and explanation on where it came from.

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a pervasive and highly effective manipulation tactic used by most narcissists, meant to manipulate you by psychological means into questioning your own sanity. It is pure brainwashing. In addition to toxic narcissists, many abusers and cult leaders use this tactic, not to mention dictators. They do it slowly and subtly – so it kind of sneaks up on you before you realize it’s happening.

How do you recognize when a narcissist is gaslighting?

So, how do you know when to use the gray rock method? It’s going to be most effective when the narcissist is gaslighting you. They will be thicker than concrete walls, intentionally trying to misunderstand you and assume the worst of you, in every single word. You find yourself feeling hopeless like you’re unable to make your point – and if you’re like me, it’s especially frustrating because you probably have no problem communicating with literally everyone else in your life.

I mean – honestly, this has happened to me more times than I  can count during conversations with narcissists – and I am a writer who communicates for a living.

What is the “Gray Rock” Method?

The gray rock method is a powerful strategy to shut down any kind of narcissistic abuse, behavior, or attack by anyone, without violating your boundaries. It allows you to disengage from the narcissist and refrain from making him or her wrong. It’s all about appearing to be somewhat indifferent to narcissists’ behavior. When you’re using the gray rock method, you’re supposed to act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. Essentially, you don’t give them any of your energy or emotion; you literally act like you’re as boring as a gray rock. This helps you to become less attractive to manipulative people such as narcissists. While the gray rock method will not fix the situation in the long term,  it can help you regain some control and keep things calm when you do need to deal with a narcissist. The gray rock method is highly effective but also infuriating for narcissists to experience.

Who invented the “Gray Rock” Method?

As far as I can tell in my research, the “Gray Rock” method was so named by a person named Skylar in this p0st, written in 2012.

In part, Skylar says the gray rock method is, “primarily a way of encouraging a narcissist, psychopath, stalker or another emotionally unbalanced person, to lose interest in you.”

How does the Gray Rock Method differ from the No-Contact rule?

Skylar says that the difference is “you don’t blatantly try to avoid contact with the disordered individual.”

Instead, she advises, “you allow contact but only give boring, monotonous responses so that the mentally unwell person must go elsewhere to get their need for drama gratified.”

Skylar adds: “One might say that Gray Rock is a way of breaking up with a psychopath by using the old, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ excuse, except that you act it out instead of saying it and the psychopath comes to that conclusion on his own.”

Why does the Gray Rock Method work?

According to Skylar: “There are gray rocks and pebbles everywhere you go, but you never notice them. None of them attract your attention. You don’t remember any specific rock you saw today because they blend with the scenery. That is the type of boring that you want to channel when you are dealing with a psychopath. Your boring persona will camouflage you and the psychopath won’t even notice you were there.  This method strikes at the heart of the psychopath’s motivation:  to avoid boredom.”

What are the most important components of successfully using the Gray Rock Method?

  • Rule number one when it comes to practicing the Gray Rock Method is to never tell the narcissist you’re doing so. If you do, he’ll definitely figure out a way to use it against you.
  • Never ask questions of the narcissist and don’t offer any “committal” responses – just say things like “hmm” or “mhmm” – keep it casual.
  • If possible, discuss only “safe” topics, such as the news, social media – fashion, cooking, etc. Nothing that would be personal – even if the narc begs you for it. Drama-free is the way to be!
  • Try to be distracted during the conversation so that you don’t have to directly look the narcissist in the eye the whole time. Make it something simple like doodling in a notebook or checking your text messages, or something more complicated such as knitting a scarf or working on a document for work. If you focus a bit more on your activity, you won’t be as directly affected by the narcissist’s attempts to manipulate you during the conversation.
  • Most importantly during this practice, keep your head in the game and don’t allow the narcissist to get inside your head. Narcs are expert “guilt-trippers” and have no qualms about making you “feel bad” so that you’ll try to justify or defend your intentions – don’t fall into the trap.

What else should I consider before I try the Gray Rock Method?

One important thing to know about the Gray Rock  Method is that there is a level at which it can become unsafe for you psychologically – and that’s when you begin to experience symptoms of dissociation.

A lot of people don’t realize that these two are connected, but here’s what happens.

When you learn to use this method and you find out how effective it can be when it comes to dealing with your narcissist, you may find that it is a great way to deal with EVERYTHING that is an issue in your life.

The problem with this is that you begin to truly stop caring – and your ability to feel your own emotions diminishes. This is a major issue because you don’t just stop feeling pain and anxiety – you stop feeling the good stuff too.

If you think you’re dissociating, it’s time to take further action to deal with your narcissist – you can start here, with this resource page.

Now it’s your turn – have you ever used the Gray Rock Method? How did it work for you, and what tips would you offer for someone who’s trying it for the first time? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

how to control a narcissist

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

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How to Expose a Narcissist: 3 Easy Steps to Bring Out a Narcissist’s True Colors

How to Expose a Narcissist: 3 Easy Steps to Bring Out a Narcissist’s True Colors

3 steps to expose a narcissistSo, you want to know how to expose a narcissist in your life? And my guess is that you feel this way because you want to show everyone around you that it’s really NOT you – that you’re not the crazy one.

Why would you want to expose the narcissist? 

You might have a few different reasons to expose the narcissist. Maybe you are tired of being the one who everyone “worries about” or “feels sorry for,” or worse – the one everyone thinks is pure evil, thanks to the lies and half-truths the narcissist spreads about you.

You’re tired of “taking the blame” from the narcissist for everything that goes wrong, real or imagined, and you’re tired of covering up for his lies, indiscretions, and general manipulative behaviors.

If you suspect someone has narcissistic personality disorder, you may want to warn close friends and relatives. You may want to have evidence of the narcissist’s behavior in case you need it.

Maybe the narcissist in your life has been on a smear campaign and you’ve just had enough.

Smear Campaigns: Why does the narcissist lie about you to everyone?

He does this, of course, because it helps him to isolate you and gives him more control. He constantly puts your credibility into question with his gaslighting, manipulation tactics, smear campaigns and even with the use of his various flying monkeys.

So listen – I feel you. I have been right where you are – heck, I have even felt the need to give a narcissist a taste of his own medicine now and again. Who hasn’t, right? We’re all human, after all.

But, before we get into the thick of it, let me just put this out there: sometimes, the best solution is to just walk away – the narcissist will eventually expose himself to anyone he allows to be close to him. You’ll see the tell-tale eye rolls, feel the tension and hear the strained tones and fake cheer in the voices of anyone who has been exposed to his true self.

Even his flying monkeys might have their moments of weakness in which they reveal the level of manipulation to which he has subjected them.

Still, if you’re looking for the most effective ways to expose a narcissist and force him to show his true colors to those around him, look no further. These are exactly the steps you need to take to help others see the true face of the narcissist.

How to Expose a Narcissist in 3 Steps

Here are the three fail-proof steps to expose a narcissist.

1. Expose a Narcissist By Understanding What You’re Dealing With: Educate Yourself on Narcissism.

I always say that knowledge is power – and in this case, that couldn’t be truer. You need to understand the concept of toxic narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder before you can expect to help anyone else understand who and what you’re dealing with. So, educate yourself on the symptoms of NPD, the causes, the effects of narcissistic abuse on its victims, the longer-term and more serious ones included.  Find out how doctors diagnose NPD. Learn what manipulation tactics are common to most narcissists, and take some time to understand how to manage and cope with those behaviors.

While you’re at it, make sure your self-esteem is unbreakable, because if you know anything about a narcissist, you know that they fight dirty, and they don’t concern themselves with the emotions or well-being of others, especially when it doesn’t serve them to do so. And if anyone threatens their illusion and inflated sense of self, as you’re about to do when you expose them for who they are, they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want.

So be prepared.

2. Expose a Narcissist by Stopping Helping the Narcissist Hide: No More Excuses.

You probably don’t even realize that you’re doing it, but after you’ve been involved with a narcissist for a while, you fall into certain co-dependent habits. You find yourself coddling him, accepting certain conditions and behaviors out of habit. So one simple way to make a narcissist show his true colors is to literally just stop helping him hide them.

Don’t make excuses when he flakes out on your plans with others, and don’t cover for him in any way when the mask begins to break away. You may find this incredibly uncomfortable at first, but it’s a very effective way to open the eyes of the people around the narcissist.

3. Pull the Trigger on Exposing a Narcissist By Being Honest: Telling It Like It Is.

This one’s really pretty simple. In order to expose a narcissist, you simply tell it like it is. Just say something that triggers narcissistic behavior and don’t take it back. That’ll cause him to expose himself because he won’t be able to hold back if you don’t do your customary two-step around the issue to help him save face.

Tip: Be strong – you’ll need a will of steel to be able to stick it out here – especially if you’re in a toxic codependent relationship.

But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Think about what kinds of things typically trigger the narcissist’s rages and boldly use those to your advantage – but be fearless or it won’t work. Don’t feel bad about it – this is literally you turning his own behaviors back on him. How often has he said and done these kinds of manipulative statements to you?

For example:

  • A statement of fact that contradicts the narcissist’s inflated perception of his/her grandiose self. (i.e. “I thought you said you got a promotion – I’m shocked you’re still driving that old beater! You must really have a lot of expenses.”
  • Any open criticism, disagreement, or blatant exposure of fake achievements, made-up stories, or other lies and deceptions.
  • Belittling the “talents and skills” the narc believes or pretends that he has (i.e. “your rap skills need to go back to the 80s!”).
  • A statement that would indicate that he’s “less than,” somehow “not good enough,” in any way controlled, owned, or dependent upon someone else – even you (i.e. “I don’t know what you’d do without me!”).
  • Describe the narcissist as average and common, “just like all the others “(i.e. “You’re a typical woman. All women are crazy” or “Men are pigs – you’re just another oinker in the pigpen of life.”)
  • Any indication that the narcissist is weak. (i.e. “Oh, let me help you! You’re clearly in need. You’re (insert adjective here – weak, slow, lazy, in any way not perfect)! Poor thing!”)

Why This Works to Expose a Narcissist

See, the narcissist literally believes he is different and better than everyone else – that he is so special, in fact, that other people should recognize this and treat him accordingly. So, while he’s really good at making people believe he’s cool, fun, laid back, or whatever he’s trying to make them think, the truth is that the best possible way to expose him is to simply make him do it himself.

When you use the three steps I outlined above, you will almost definitely expose the narcissist and make everyone see who he really is – and fast. But be prepared for the very strong reaction that is sure to come from the narcissist – it will come and it will be unpleasant. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be able to handle it.

Related: This free toolkit might help – it’s called PERK: Post-Emergency Gaslighting Kit.

One Last Thing: Before You Try This At Home

Honestly, while exposing the narcissist to the people in his life may help some of them to get a clue and stop allowing themselves to be his narcissistic supply, it’ll only temporarily slow the narcissist down.

In fact, it’ll give him the proper fuel he needs to get his next supply on the line – his very own savior. Because, of course, in his version of the story, you’ll be just the crazy bitch who was so mean and hateful to him and who tried to make his family and friends hate him.

You feel me? It’s a cycle.

Exposing the narcissist is not worth it – it will only further serve to make you miserable.

The best and only solution to dealing with this kind of person and remaining or becoming happy in your life is to take back your power and choose to create the life you really want, with or without the narcissist – most likely, without. Going no contact or low contact is statistically the most successful way to do it and the only “sure-thing” kind of answer you can find.

Here are some helpful videos on exposing a narcissist to their family and friends.


What do you think? Have you ever made a narcissist expose themselves? What were the results? 

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

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