The Grey Rock Method!
When you can’t go no contact, you need to do what is called “detached contact” or “grey rock.” This is where you stay emotionally distant from the narcissist. By using this method, it helps you to not be continually triggered and by not engaging with them, you are able to emotionally protect yourself.
By using the grey rock method, you become boring to the narcissist. You blend into the background and you do nothing that the narcissist can use as emotional supply.
This means communicating in an uninteresting and boring way when you have to interact with abusive or narcissistic people – this could be an ex or a family member. You will limit your interactions and keep them brief, by giving short or one-word answers to questions, and only communicating in a factual, and unemotional way.
The first step is to never tell them that you are using grey rock to communicate with them, in fact, don’t tell them anything about yourself. Keep all communication about the children and them alone.
Try to limit how much access they have to you, so for example only have one way they can contact you. So, block them on WhatsApp, Facebook, and phone calls and have it so they can only text you or email you. That way when you get a notification you are not stressing that it might be them, as you will know they can only text or email.
If you need to reply to a text or a call, don’t do it straight away. Give yourself time to calm down and not respond to their emotional emergency. Remember, they want to suck you in so they can emotionally hook you again – they want an emotional reaction from you.
Don’t talk to them unless you have to. Make it clear that you will only talk about things relating to the children; if they go off-topic, don’t respond.
When you do respond, give them very boring, one-word responses. This will make you feel like you are being rude, but what you are doing is not giving them anything they can use against you at a later date. An example of this is you deleting the entire paragraph you have typed in response and texting back “OK”.
Don’t have them come to your home to collect the children. Do this in a public place. Get in and out quickly, without having to engage.
Grey rock can be challenging to learn as we have often been conditioned to react emotionally to the abusive person, and grey rock is all about being able to respond and not react. Here are a couple of tips on how to start responding and stop reacting:
- Collect yourself: Before reacting, pause and allow your initial emotional reaction to pass. Then address the opportunity again, and see how you respond differently. Repeat this process, giving yourself time to work through your old conditioning.
- Tune in to your feelings: Clarity is tough when you’re under pressure, so never make an important decision when you’re feeling anxious. If you’re not physically or emotionally up to the task, put off making a move until you’re in the right state of mind.
So, remember when you have to communicate with a narcissist or abusive person, to do the following:
- Be brief when answering any questions
- Avoid responding with emotions
- Be as boring, uninteresting, and non-responsive as possible
- Don’t give them an emotional supply
- Don’t give them details about your life
- Remember to be factual, but impersonal
- Remember to KISS (Keep it Short and Simple) and only say: Yes, no, I don’t know, OK, see you then.
- Don’t believe anything they tell you about being a reformed character or loving you – it’s all manipulation designed to get an emotional response.
Remind yourself that all they want is a response from you. Everything they do is to get a response because when you respond emotionally, it makes them feel like they are in control. A narcissist will intentionally provoke you in order to manufacture the reaction they desire because this then validates the beliefs they have about you.
Thank you, Zoe, for sharing your informative article!
Zoe is a Domestic and Narcissist Abuse Recovery Coach and Counsellor, and she offers 1-2-1 video coaching sessions, so no matter where you are, you can receive the support you need. If you would like to have a chat with her about how her coaching can help you heal, or help you deal with the narcissist in your life, she offers a free 15-minute consultation. If you want to book a consultation with her, use this link to schedule a time.