If you are personally or professionally involved with a narcissist in a toxic relationship and due to the circumstances, you aren’t able to take the most effective action for dealing with it (going no contact), you might find yourself struggling to have a reasonable conversation with him or her. This is because, by nature, the narcissist is wired to instigate drama, manipulate, and they generally do their best to make it all about them. This can be both exhausting and frustrating for anyone trying to deal with a narcissist in a toxic relationship.
So, how do you go about communicating with a narcissist effectively? You start by learning how their mind works. And then you follow this one rule.
The One Rule You Need to Use to Effectively Communicate With a Narcissist
A narcissist’s toolbox is full of manipulative tactics – you would not believe how many different ways they’ll try to get what they want (not to mention how “low” they’ll go). 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 on that level.
The Gray Rock Rule
Some people refer to this rule as the “gray rock” rule of communication. Basically, you deal with the narcissist if you have to, but you only give boring, monotonous responses. This way, the narcissist can’t get the narcissistic supply they seek from you during gaslighting and manipulation – and they must seek it elsewhere.
The gray rock rule is a technique that was named and first published by a writer called Skylar, who advises that you act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. The tactic is not only highly effective for use in disarming the narcissist and shutting down their gaslighting, but it is also incredibly infuriating for narcissists to experience.
Please note: While some people might want to get revenge on the narcissist, I recommend that you’re very careful here – and definitely avoid use (or at least use with caution) if you are dealing with any physical abuse as the narcissist may not react well. If you are dealing with physical abuse of any type, you should not use any tactic except those which keep you safe, and you should do everything in your power to find a way out. Start with this domestic violence resources page.
By sticking to the gray rock rule, you can bet that your narcissist will lose interest quickly. That’s because it’ll retrain his brain to consider you “boring” and essentially, you’ll no longer be an effective source of narcissistic supply. This will cause the narcissist to move on and find someone else to torture if all goes as expected – and with a narcissist, it generally does – they’re not especially unpredictable, believe it or not.
Now it’s your turn. What are the most effective ways you’ve found to deal with a narcissist? Have you tried the “gray rock” method before? Does it work for you?
Find 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. Here are a few to consider.
- Free: Join one of our online support groups!
- Low-Cost: Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Reasonably Priced: Get private, one-on-one coaching!
- You might enjoy my book, Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.
You might also find these videos helpful:
- Going No Contact with a Narcissist (What NO ONE Tells YOU) -**NEW**
- The Narcissist Underestimates You
- When You See the Narcissist After No Contact
- Narcissists Make You Feel Lonely (THIS is WHY and HOW)
- The #1 Thing a Narcissist Will NEVER Give You (No Matter What)
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.