Gray Rock Tips: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Gray Rock Tips: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

The gray rock technique is a valuable tool to help diffuse negative exchanges with a narcissist as well as limit the amount of narcissistic supply you are giving to them. Angie Atkinson explains the basic rules of gray rock in this article.

Angie explains:

“There’s one simple rule when it comes to communicating effectively with a narcissist – and it’s so basic that you’ll be shocked when I tell you what it is. 

The rule is: do not engage the narcissist.

What do I mean by this?

It’s simple: keep emotion out of it. When the narcissist tries to manipulate and provoke you, which he or she inevitably will, you have to maintain an air of professional-type detachment. Try to see the narcissist as almost a stranger and communicate with him /her on that level.”

Using gray rock can protect you from emotional turmoil and allow you space to see the toxic abusive exchanges for what they are. This can help reduce your own feelings of cognitive dissonance and abuse amnesia because it limits their own part in any abusive outburst the narcissist is using against them and gives perspective on what’s really going on.

If only limited information is given and done so in a flat, boring tone, you have the opportunity to observe the narcissist’s behaviors and even see the manipulation tactics as they are happening (instead of reacting to them) and losing yourself in the exchange.

But remember: gray rock is a technique, not a lifestyle. It can serve a purpose in many areas of life for sensitive people and empaths because the sensitivities can tend to be used by others to draw us in and then manipulate us.

If you are with a narcissist, this tool can help to both calm the situation, give you space to feel what you actually feel instead of what you are being manipulated to feel and create a low supply situation the narcissist may bore of. To live this way long term is not the ideal, its a tool, for now, as you cope.

For some survivors, gray rock can be a struggle because the urge to react is so strong. There are ways to lighten that feeling and I hope to share some with you in this article.

One area gray rock can seem, well, grey to some people is the feelings of no closure to an argument or the feelings of being misrepresented by a narcissist and wanting to defend one’s own position.

It can leave some feeling like it does not work well, or they are not doing it right because all of the inner feelings they have are not being expressed.

Validation is a basic human need.

We all want to be heard, validated and seen, that is basic human nature and health but with a narcissist, during a manipulative abusive situation where they are projecting, gaslighting, outright telling lies – well, this will not happen.

Generally, with a narcissist, unless the topic swings back to them, they are not hearing anyone else in a deep and meaningful way anyway and certainly not when they are in a rant needing to prove their own ego is what is superior or right.

So what can we do with these feelings of not being heard or validated?

How can we feel strong and maintain our voice by such a technique that at its core is truly empowering, but in practice can feel like giving in or even like you are biting your tongue?

What else can be added to this brilliant technique to help those of us that are feeling slighted and misrepresented or devalued by an abusive exchange with a narcissist?

Here are a few tips that can help you.

Hold your truth.  

One idea to try that works well is holding your own truth within yourself. Keeping hold of yourself while the narcissist continues to gaslight or project. This can be done with silently repeating to yourself exactly what you are seeing, name SILENTLY the behavior you see, then add a phrase that grounds you to your truth.

  • For example, during a situation where a narcissist is projecting their own issues onto you then using gaslighting to convince you it is true, and you stop to gray rock that, before the feelings of wanting to react even start you can look at what is happening. In your silent mind,  “ I am gray rocking this because he/she is gaslighting me. I see they are projecting because they are the one that does that thing.”
  • Then, and remember all of this is silent, to self, only your inner dialogue, never spoken directly to the narcissist, “I know my truth, I know the facts that I have lived and this is their fantasy.”
  • Another simple one could be “I validate my own truth in this, the manipulation is just noise.”

Keep a private journal.

Another tool to add to the gray rock toolkit is after the abusive happens and you have used gray rock technique, write down what happened. Keeping even a simple private log but even better a journal on the manipulations can really help reduce the abuse amnesia many of us have happened.

  • One thing that can happen with prolonged grey rocking is getting so good at it that it becomes part of the dynamic of the relationship with the narcissist, especially if it diffuses the abuse somewhat, THE ABUSE IS STiLL THERE and is happening even if it’s being diffused.
  • A journal can help map the abuses and allow us to see, in list form all that goes on when we are busy managing things to keep us safe from emotional abuse. It can keep it from seeming just part of how life is if the abuse is pulled out from the situation and shown on paper to oneself.
  • With the ultimate goal being a life free from abuse, seeing pages and pages of the same cycles of abuse over and over can help free oneself from the hold those manipulations have over you. If you do this, keep it private, locked away and safe from being found by others.

Seek Support

The last tip I have is to tell a narcissistic abuse trained therapist, life coach or support group what you experienced. Look for the patterns the narcissist has that you see in your journal and share those with a person or group that is either trained or has experienced similar. This will give you more of that validation we need so much after emotional abuse. It can help you to see it even deeper as well to write or speak with SELECT others who truly understand.

Questions for You: Have you felt the need for validation and support after an abusive situation where you used gray rock? Do you ever struggle with not reacting and following through with the gray rock technique? Are there things you can tell yourself that might help throughout using the technique which give you support and reclaim your own power?

Thanks for reading this post! My name is Lise Colucci and I am one of the certified life coaches at QueenBeeing. Learn more about me here or schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me here.

Moving On With Your Life After Narcissistic Relationships (Advanced Healing With Richard Grannon)

Moving On With Your Life After Narcissistic Relationships (Advanced Healing With Richard Grannon)


Moving On With Your Life After Narcissistic Relationships (Advanced Healing With Richard Grannon)

Self-Esteem Test, Plus 10 Self-Confidence Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Self-Esteem Test, Plus 10 Self-Confidence Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery


Self-Esteem Test, Plus 10 Self-Confidence Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

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7 Steps to Social Confidence

7 Steps to Social Confidence

Narcissistic abuse takes away your confidence on every level. And often, redeveloping your self-confidence can feel completely impossible after going through such intense ongoing trauma. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse also find themselves struggling with social anxiety and even agoraphobia.

This makes life so much harder, right? After all, your ability to interact with others impacts your self-concept, career, social life, and personal life. And once you’ve left the toxic relationship and started your life over, you find yourself flailing and feeling both lost and alone. Plus, so often, survivors feel anxious about developing their self-confidence, fearing that they themselves might become narcissistic. Can you relate?

How do you rebuild self-confidence after narcissistic abuse?

Okay, so we know that life is more fun and a lot easier if you feel confident around others. And when you’ve been through a toxic relationship that has completely wiped your self-esteem out, it might feel really difficult to make it happen. But the good news is that the skills that make this possible are well-known but can be uncomfortable to develop. And, if you’re willing to be a little bold, you can start rebuilding confidence immediately. To start, watch this video, which offers tips on how to develop rock-solid self-confidence after narcissistic abuse.

Want additional self-confidence tips for narcissistic abuse survivors? Watch these videos, and read the following additional tips on how to do just that.

Level-Up Your Post-Narcissistic Abuse Confidence

Talk to people.

You become more comfortable with something when you do it a lot. Most confidence issues are based on fear – ESPECIALLY for narcissistic abuse survivors. By talking to a lot of people, you’ll show yourself that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Fortunately, there are people everywhere.

  • Tip: Consider getting a part-time job that involves speaking to people. You could be a waiter, salesperson, customer service rep, or any other job that requires interacting with others. You’ll earn some extra money, too.

Schedule your social life.

Be sure you have a few hours of social activity planned into your life each week. Get out of the house and have a little fun with others.

Study confident, powerful characters in movies.

Look at movies with strong characters and note how they stand, move, and use eye contact. What is it that makes them appear so in control and formidable? Which movie character do you wish you could be like? Study them. Check out this list of best movies for narcissistic abuse survivors if you need a little inspiration.

Have controlled emotional reactions.

Think of James Bond. You could tell him he has mustard on his shirt and a satellite was about to fall on the building. He might wink at you, say something funny, and then take another bite of his hotdog before taking any action. The most confident people underreact. You might also recognize this as a version of the gray rock technique.

Maintain confident eye contact.

Look everyone in the eye with great confidence. You’re not in a staring contest, but you can’t lower your eyes in deference if you want to be viewed as a powerful person. Practice your eye contact with everyone that crosses your path.

Stand up straight!

Slouching and appearing smaller than you really are can make you feel less confident than you need to feel. Seriously! Imagine you are a famous person walking among your greatest supporters. How would you stand? Try to maintain that same posture whether you’re addressing the masses or taking your trash cans to the curb.

Create social opportunities for yourself.

There are many ways you can make yourself the center of attention (in a good way!). For example, the following.

  • Have a party.
  • Start a meetup group, or join one. Check out meetup.com for ideas!
  • Join Toastmasters.
  • Inform your peers of one of your goals, such as losing weight.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Get a group of people together to go out to the movies or to dinner.
  • Get some friends together for a poker night.

Expect success, nothing less!

Remind yourself of your successful social interactions in the past. Visualize success in the future. Have high expectations for interactions in all social situations. Imagine entering a room full of strangers and boldly speaking with the most attractive or influential person there. The world would truly be your oyster. That confidence would overflow into other parts of your life.

As you continue your recovery from narcissistic abuse, developing your self-confidence will be an important way to level up. When you get a handle on this important part of your life, it will change everything – in a very good way.

Thinking about dating after narcissistic abuse? You might want to check out my guide to dating online safely. 

Get Support in Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

Need help dealing with a narcissistic relationship?  Start with your friends and/or family members who may understand and be willing to support you. If you don’t have supportive or understanding people around you, which is often the case for survivors of narcissistic abuse due to the fact that narcissists have a tendency to isolate you, you may need to look at some other options. Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

Related Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Resources

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