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. Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Think you might have C-PTSD but you’re not sure? Take our free C-PTSD Self-Assessment.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- 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.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
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)