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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 narcs who have become agitated and who are actively gaslighting.Gray Rock method explained

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.

So awhile 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.

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 other 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.

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

  1. He gets mad if I look away at anytime when he is speaking to me. He tells me I am the bad communicator that he never has a problem communicating with anyone else. After all, that is what HE does for a living. It’s difficult for me to use the Grey Rock method because it makes him angry. I can’t have “No Contact” because we have a child together.

    • Hello Renea
      I completely understand what you are talking about and especially since you have a child….If you are not safe then you can go too a shelter even if it is not physical abuse for mentally abuse which he is doing too you and in front of your child is not healthy either; The Grey Rock Method can be helpful at times if you are still dealing with him on a regular bases but the problem with that is you do not want too be a robot and only discuss things the Conversation Safe or you Safe…And drive him away; Women want too be Loved and Feel Love So it just depends what goals you want too achieve; But if he still abusing you Renea I would seek Safety for you and your child, God Bless You Richly Renea

  2. Renae, so what if he tells you you are a bad communicator. Remember, it’s about embodying “it’s not you, it’s me” to make them go elsewhere for drama. So, look away, and let him tell you you are a bad communicator. When he does, say hmmm. or just shrug. Or emotionlessly agree with him.

    The point is, that it’s okay that his response is anger (unless it’s going to rise to unsafe levels), because eventually the anger will turn to boredom, and he’ll look for fights/emotional drama elsewhere.

  3. So that’s what that’s called! I figured this out a long time ago with the narcissist in my life. It was so satisfying (and so sad, really). I’d tamp down all my enthusiasm and act pleasantly bored. He couldn’t really ask for more, because I was paying attention. Or I’d act suddenly distracted, like something else was really important and I was frantically bumblehanded, making myself either look like a fool, or just as dramatic as the narcissist, only pointed in a different direction. You find their weak spots – their buttons, and then play them. It’s so sad.

  4. I think this is pathetic, to self diagnose a partner, and then to actually justify narcissistic techniques with that, when the (selflabeled) “narcissist” is under distress over a break up it’s not because they actually loved you, no they have no feelings, they are not human. You realize you’ve become one just thinking that way. Everyone has separation anxiety. it’s funny how projection works, who dealt it, smelt it 😛

    If you are not narcissistic you state what you want, space, you can ez block them and then move on, but that wouldn’t give you any supply now would it. Damn internet psychologists >_<

  5. I am also concerned about the internet psychologists who give advice like this, and the proof of bad advice is in the caveat about “dissociation” at the end of the article. If you are dissociating, then you need professional help…not internet help.

    If you have diagnosed your partner as a narcissist, then you will see all their behavior through that lens. As the commenter above mentioned, it is normal have distress during a break-up. When the “gray rock” method is used in relationship, then of course an emotionally average person who is not aware of this manipulative technique will try harder to connect…which the manipulator will then interpret as more “drama” from the “narcissist.”

    The “Gray Rock” method is manipulative and abusive on the part of the person who uses it, and that is why the person using it will experience dissociation. Relationships are about connection, and when you use a method that enforces lack of connection then you are not in relationship. No wonder you have Cognitive Dissonance! As Blimp99 mentions above, healthy relationships are about naming what you want and dealing with the consequences. If miscommunication is happening, then you can get a real trained therapist to help with communication. You might still need separation from each other, but at least both of you will know what is going on. Emotionally healthy people can do this…separate, grieve the relationship, and move on with their lives…when things don’t work out.

    I think the commenter is also correct in naming the dynamic of projection. Healthy persons in relationship communicate about feelings and set boundaries. Is it the “narcissistic” partner (diagnosed by the non-professional) who is using a manipulative technique? Or is it the person who claims to be healthy using the manipulative technique? If you are using the manipulative technique, then you are the person who needs help understanding how to be in relationship.

  6. I’m a cluster B personality, mostly BPD but also showing slight comorbidity with cluster C. My ex..the other way around,Avoidant Personality Disorder and occasionally showing covert narcissistic traits. I got dumped by the so called “victim” on a bright sunny day, after spoling this person in every possible way, romantic trips, breakfast in bed, lovely phone calls..too much to handle right, disgusting love bombing. I got grayrocked in a very polite manner after that. When i tried seeking for closure on my own terms, either friendship or goodbye, in order to stop my so dreadful hoovering (aka “I miss talking to you”), i’ve been told the relationship was all in my head and ultimately got blocked. Boom! Co-dependant may have an ego the size of a mountain. The person had “scars” you know, those ugly, bad narcissists they can’t forget anyway, she sure learnt how to handle us monsters. What you teach on here and anywhere else is gaslighting, manipulative tactics that only help you becoming the narcissist and hurting people who may be seeking a normal relationship and love. To share love and to be loved without mind games, so they can heal. Without countermanipulative tactics, with just plain honesty, linear thoughts, it’s very likely relationships would work. Pure sociopaths are rare, pure narcissists are rare. Even though in your masochistic fantasies they exist all around you. But no, a poor avoidant who lies and builds a succesful facade to lure partners in is perfectly fine, a co-dependant who cries crocodile tears in order to make you provide validation and intimacy, only to discard you later when the schizoid traits kick in..they’re perfectly fine. Narcissistic supply is sick, co-dependant supply is a legitimate request. So we become stories to tell your next partner, and over and over. My sense of empathy may be distorted, that’s true, but our disorders come with a gift, we can spot the insincere and you know what: i’d rather emphasize with honest monsters rather than with covert ones.

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