One very effective way to deal with a narcissist is known as the Gray Rock method. Simply put, Gray Rock is becoming as boring to a narcissist as a plain gray rock. In other words, you provide the narcissist with no narcissistic supply, which bores narcissists. They not only want people to provide them with supply, they expect it. When someone fails to provide them with this narcissistic supply, they quickly lose interest in that person. At this point, either the narcissist contacts the victim less frequently, or cuts ties entirely. This is why Gray Rock is such an effective weapon for victims.
Since the purpose of Gray Rock is to deprive the narcissist of that narcissistic supply, you need to be aware of what that is. Narcissistic supply is anything that…
- makes a narcissist feel unique and/or special.
- props up a narcissist’s self-esteem.
- makes a narcissist feel powerful.
- keeps them at the center of attention.
There are scenarios that accomplish such things. Some examples are:
- When someone admires a narcissist’s looks, this makes narcissists feel special.
- If a narcissist is known for having a specific talent or is known for helping other people, this props up a narcissist’s self-esteem.
- Being able to make a person love or hate the narcissist, or make a person furious or obsessed with them gives narcissists a false sense of being very powerful. After all, they can influence a person’s emotional state drastically. That must mean they are powerful, right?!
- Anything that gets a narcissist attention is good in their eyes. Even if that thing makes them look foolish or disgusting, that is not important. What is important is that all eyes are on the narcissist.
Since you know your particular narcissist best, you will know what provides this person with supply. Think about it, and I have no doubt you can come up with some things that provide him or her with narcissistic supply. No doubt you have noticed many times when you said or did something, this person responded with a specific look or response. That is a sign of a narcissist receiving their supply. I remember when my narcissistic mother would say things that cut me to the quick. As soon as I got angry and started to react out of that anger, she would get a smug and satisfied look on her face that I saw at no other time. My ex husband did the same thing. My late mother in-law was a bit different. She would immediately morph into the innocent victim, completely shocked I was upset with her when, according to her, all she wanted to do was help.
Here are some scenarios that might help you to stop providing your narcissist with supply:
- Show NO emotions around a narcissist. If you are happy, a narcissist will ruin it. If you are angry or sad, a narcissist will make you feel worse. Your best bet is to maintain strict neutrality in the presence of any narcissist. It is hard at first, but it gets easier once you realize just how much your emotions are feeding this person. You will come to appreciate a stoic manner, and be able to maintain it when you see that not doing so only causes you pain. (Of course, once you are away from the narcissist, then you need to vent. Holding emotions in is NOT healthy, beyond doing so for the short time you are around a narcissist.)
- Respond, never react. Reactions require no thoughts, and happen immediately while responses take thought and wisdom. Reactions only show a narcissist that he or she has power over your emotions. Rather than do that, take a moment to react instead. When you struggle with this, and we all do sometimes, take a deep breath. Release that breath slowly. This act helps to calm your body down while giving you a moment to collect your thoughts. It is a simple yet effective tactic. Come up with some good, non-committal responses to say in these situations, such as, “You’re entitled to feel that way.”
- Consider your conversations with the narcissist. Are you divulging personal information? If so, STOP!!! Keep all topics of conversation off of you and superficial.Talk about the weather and other completely neutral topics, but do NOT discuss anything about you with a narcissist. Do NOT tell any narcissist anything even remotely personal about you. I do not care what the information is, stop sharing it. Even if it is something innocuous like you have a doctor’s appointment, do not share that with a narcissist. If you do, that person will want to know why you are seeing the doctor, what medication you are on and even what time and where your appointment is. They probably will tell you that your illness is all in your head, or they knew someone who had that once but they got over it fast so there is no reason you should still have it. While such details may seem innocent to share, nothing is innocent with narcissists. They can twist anything around to make a victim look bad, and I do mean anything. That doctor’s appointment example? A narcissist could tell people that you have it because you contracted a terrible sexually transmitted disease due to your promiscuous ways, when the truth is you have a simple sinus infection and only need an antibiotic. If the narcissist in question wants to know things about you, do not give up that information! Change the subject. A good way to avoid sharing personal information is to turn the topic back to the narcissist. Ask him or her something about his or her interests. How is that person’s favorite relative doing? How are things going at work, church, the club that person belongs to? No narcissist really wants to pass up the chance to talk about his or herself, so you might as well make that work for you.
- Also refuse to discuss other people with the narcissist. By discussing someone with a narcissist, you are giving that narcissist the opportunity to lie to that person about you. Think of this scenario as an example: Someone you both know recently bought a new car. You casually say you were surprised, because she did not say anything about looking for a new car. The narcissist easily could tell that person you said you were shocked she wasted so much money on such an ugly car. This would start trouble between you and that other person, which would provide the narcissist with supply. When the narcissist tries to talk to you about other people, do not comment.
- Remember, many narcissists love shock value. This means they will do anything to bring attention back to them. During a conversation with other people, if they are being ignored, they may do something outrageous such as loudly start talking about some unrelated and inappropriate topic. They also may burp loudly or even break into song (my mother has done this). When this happens, your natural reaction will be to pay attention to the narcissist. That is why they love shock value. Instead, stop yourself from reacting, and continue with whatever you were doing as if the narcissist did nothing.
- Narcissists will use the telephone as a way to garnish them the attention they crave. If you do not take their call, you can expect them to call you 7,000 times in a row followed by another 8,000 texts. OK, maybe that is an exaggeration, but not by much. This sort of behavior is an attempt to force you to deal with the narcissist. I also think of it as bullying. Basically it is someone saying, “You WILL take my call and I will make your phone ring until you pick up that phone, no matter how long it takes!” It can be incredibly hard not to take their call or respond to the texts just to make it all stop, but I am telling you, do NOT do it! Any time you give in to a narcissist, it shows them that this tactic will work. Once they realize that, they will use said tactic repeatedly to get whatever it is that they want. Do NOT give them that power! Instead, ignore your phone. Shut it off or turn off the ringer if it helps. Only respond when and if you feel up to doing so. When you do speak to them, do not explain why you did not take their call. If they demand an explanation, just say you were busy (true – you were taking care of your mental health by avoiding them!) or did not hear the phone (hard to hear it if you turn off your ringer, is it not? lol).