How To Use the Gray Rock Method
Co-Parenting with a Narcissist and Gray Rock Method
If you are like any other healthy and normal person who experienced the wrath and manipulation of narcissists as a misfortune, you would know that it’s impossible to make them taste their own medicine. You can never overpower narcissists’ emotional abuse. And you can never make them feel the pain you feel when you interact with them.
The only emotional revenge you can have is to stop being their narcissistic supply. But even after separation and divorce, you feel they have control over you. They still manipulate you through your children. They know all the triggers and you feel like a puppet whose emotions are being managed by a narcissist even after your physical liberation.
And going no contact is impossible. You are sharing child custody, after all. It seems that you will never get off this emotional rollercoaster.
Luckily, you still have a chance to live a peaceful and drama-free life. The gray rock method is the name of this chance.
What is the Gray Rock Method?
Gray rocking is the method of communication with a narcissist that denies them the emotional surge they get from creating drama.
The primary purpose that prompts narcissists to create drama is that they are addicted to the adrenaline rush they get from the chaos and suffering of their victims. Any response from you works for them – be it anger, frustration, tears, or even aggression.
Your response to their attacks makes up their narcissistic supply.
The gray rock method is a technique that cuts off this supply, by becoming the most boring person alive. You don’t retaliate, explain yourself, or complain. You stop showing any sign of emotional distress. You pretend that their abuse is bouncing off your back without affecting you in the slightest.
It works because by withholding your emotions, you have cut off their supply. And your primary purpose of being – for them – loses its meaning and they leave you on your own.
Gray rock has its pros and cons. But if you have already physically distanced yourself from the relationship and only interact occasionally to communicate custody issues, gray rocking will help you maintain your peace of mind.
Using the Gray Rock Method in Co-Parenting
The two sides of gray rocking include proactively reducing communication and denying emotional response. The first one will deprive the narc of the opportunity to use your words against you making attacks more difficult for them. And the second part will make them lose interest in you.
Here is the complete method with tips to apply.
Related article: Co-Parenting with a Narcissist
One way to make sure you only present facts – and not feelings – is by keeping things in writing. So, before you send the text or email, you can revise it to detect and eliminate those statements that – even subtly – give away your emotions.
Other than emotions, you want to minimize the duration of contact. You can do this by using minimum words. Be mindful of the agenda of interaction and only state relevant facts.
It may be hard for you but you have to state the facts without explanation. For example, don’t give reasons for why you want to stick to the original plan of keeping kids over for Christmas.
Even if you are keeping most of the communication with the narcissist co-parent documented, there will be times when in-person communication is the only way to negotiate custody matters. These instances are especially trying and you need to be extra cautious.
Begin every in-person interaction with the narc after revisiting your goal to detach from your emotions as much as possible. Make sure to remind yourself that gray rocking is a short-term exercise and you are free to feel and connect with your emotions once this interaction is over.
Once in front of the narc, use these techniques to successfully gray rock.
- Avoid eye contact. It’s an expression of emotional connection. And eyes give away emotions more than any other facial feature.
- Appear distracted. Include your mobile, a document, or even a pet in the conversation. Remember, on the surface, this distraction is – should be – more important than the person in front of you.
- Use single words to their questions if possible. Ignore the guilt trip, accusations, and threats in their statements and only respond to the reasoning part.
I repeat, don’t respond to emotionally charged statements.
Gray rocking is an effective technique that can deflect narcissistic abuse from you in the long run. It may lead to escalation of abuse in the short run, however. If the abuse and emotional attacks rise, as a result, don’t succumb to increased pressure. It should subside after some unyielding interactions.
Use the gray rocking technique only after ascertaining that you are at a safe distance from the narcissist and that you aren’t physically vulnerable to them.
Gray rocking is only an act. You take up the role of a gray rock for a small duration after weeks – or months – of independent living. These weeks of separation should have empowered you and re-connected you with your emotions. If you think that gray rocking is making you numb to your emotions and you don’t feel them after practicing this technique, the technique is doing more harm than good to you.
If the gray rocking is impacting your mental health or if you find yourself practicing it more than once a week, seek psychological help. The therapist will help you reconnect with your emotions while also giving you other tools to deal with a narc.
The Bottom Line
Co-parenting with a narcissist will remind you of the hell you lived in before separation or divorce. You know you deserve freedom and peace of mind. And you know that your children deserve a parent who is emotionally present and available to them.
But the never-ending push and pull of co-parenting with a narcissist makes you exhausted.
Your only solution is to detach yourself from the narcissist. While going no-contact is not possible for you because of custody issues, you can minimize contact and eliminate the emotional side of it using other methods like gray rocking.
Whatever technique you use to minimize narcissists’ influence on your life, one thing is evident; self-love and self-compassion are your biggest weapons as well as healers. Use these tools so your children can also learn to use them.