(the term ‘psychopath’ is used here but can be interchangeable with narcissist or sociopath)
When dealing with malignant narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths,
borderlines, drama queens, stalkers and other emotional vampires, it’s
commonly advised that no response is the best response to unwanted
attention. This is often true and No Contact (the avoidance of all
communication) should be used whenever possible.
There are some situations however, when No Contact is not feasible,
as in when you share child custody with a psychopath. As another
example, if you are being stalked by an ex, a restraining order can
infuriate the unwanted suitor, and refusing to respond to him or her is
seen as an insult. They might become convinced that they can MAKE you
respond and in that way satiate their need for power over you.
Furthermore, many of us have tried to end a relationship with a
psychopath several times, only to take them back, each time. They turned
on the pity ploy and the charm, and because we didn’t understand that
this is what a psychopath does, we fell for their promises to change.
They know all of our emotional hooks. For them, it’s easy and fun to
lure us back by appealing to our emotions. But a psychopath can’t
change. In fact, when you leave a psychopath, he becomes determined to
punish you even more severely for thinking you could be autonomous.
Even if we don’t take them back, the most dangerous time for a person
is when they first break up with a psychopath. The psychopath feels
rage at being discarded. Losing control or power over a person is not
just a narcissistic injury for them; they feel profoundly empty when
their partner leaves them — even if they had intended to kill their
partner. The reason is because they have lost control. Psychopaths need
to feel in control at all times.
For all these situations, we have Gray Rock.
What it is:
So, how do we escape this parasitical leech without triggering his
vindictive rage? Gray Rock is primarily a way of encouraging a
psychopath, a stalker or other emotionally unbalanced person, to lose
interest in you. It differs from No Contact in that you don’t
overtly try to avoid contact with these emotional vampires. Instead, you
allow contact but only give boring, monotonous responses so that the
parasite must go elsewhere for his supply of drama. When contact with
you is consistently unsatisfying for the psychopath, his mind
is re-trained to expect boredom rather than drama.
addicted to drama and they can’t stand to be bored. With time, he will
find a new person to provide drama and he will find himself drawn to you
less and less often. Eventually, they just slither away to greener
pastures. Gray Rock is a way of training the psychopath to view you as
an unsatisfying pursuit — you bore him and he can’t stand boredom.
What it’s for:
Making a psychopath go away of his own volition is one application of
Gray Rock. One might say that Gray Rock is a way of breaking up with a
psychopath by using the old, “It’s not you, it’s me.” excuse, except
that you act it out instead of saying it and the psychopath comes to
that conclusion on his own.
Another reason to use Gray Rock is to avoid becoming a target in the
first place. If you find yourself in the company of one or more
narcissistic personalities — perhaps you work with them or they are
members of your family — it’s important to avoid triggering their ENVY.
By using Gray Rock, you fade into the background. It’s possible they
won’t even remember having met you. If you have already inadvertently
attracted their attention and they have already begun to focus in on
you, you can still use Gray Rock. Tell them you are boring. Describe a
boring life. Talk about the most mundane household chores you
accomplished that day — in detail. Some people are naturally lacking in
dramatic flair. Find those people and try to hang around them when the
psychopath is nearby.
If you must continue a relationship with a psychopath, Gray Rock can
serve you as well. Parents sharing joint custody with a psychopathic
ex-spouse can use Gray Rock when the ex-spouse tries to trigger their
emotions. I acknowledge that any threat to the well-being of our
children is overwhelmingly anxiety provoking. Here is where Gray Rock
can be applied selectively to draw attention away from what
really matters to you. In general, show no emotion to the offending
behaviors or words. The psychopath will try different tactics to see
which ones get a reaction. With Selective Gray Rock, you choose to
respond to the tactic which matters least to you. This will
focus the psychopath’s attention on that issue. Remember, the psychopath
has no values, so he doesn’t understand what is valuable to us — unless we show him. Selective Gray Rock shows him a decoy.
When protecting our children, we can take a lesson from nature: Bird
parents who have fledglings are known to feign a broken wing when a
predator is in the vicinity. They fake a vulnerability to detract the
cat’s attention from their real vulnerability, their babies. In this
example, Selective Gray Rock fades all emotions into the background
except the ones you want the predator to see.
Why it works:
A psychopath is easily bored. He or she needs constant stimulation to
ward off boredom. It isn’t the type of boredom that normal people
experience; it’s more like the French word, ennui, which refers
to an oppressive boredom or listlessness. Drama is a psychopath’s
remedy for boredom. For drama, they need an audience and some players.
Once the drama begins, they feel complete and alive again. They are
empowered when pulling the strings that elicit our emotions. Any kind of
emotions will do, as long as it is a response to their actions.
A psychopath is an addict. He is addicted to power. His power is
acquired by gaining access to our emotions. He is keenly aware of this
and needs to constantly test to make sure we are still under his
control. He needs to know that we are still eager to do his bidding,
make him happy and avoid his wrath. He needs to create drama so he can
experience the power of manipulating our emotions. As with any
addiction, it is exhilarating to the psychopath when he gets his supply
of emotional responses. The more times he experiences a reward for his
dramatic behavior, the more addicted he becomes. Conversely, when the
reward stops coming, he becomes agitated. He experiences oppressive
boredom and he will counter it by creating more drama. If we stay the
course and show no emotions, the psychopath will eventually decide that
his toy is broken. It doesn’t squirt emotions when he squeezes it
anymore! Most likely, he will slither away to find a new toy.
The Gray Rock technique does come with a caveat: psychopaths are
dangerous people, if you are in a relationship with one that has already
decided to kill you, it will be difficult to change his mind. He may
already be poisoning you or sabotaging your vehicle. Take all necessary
precautions. In this case, Gray Rock can only hope to buy time until you
can make your escape.
How it works:
Psychopaths are attracted to shiny, pretty things that move fast and
to bright lights. These things, signal excitement and relieve the
psychopath’s ever-present ennui. Your emotional responses are his food of choice, but they aren’t the only things he wants.
He envies everything pretty, shiny and sparkly that you have and he wants whatever you value.
You must hide anything that he will notice and envy. If you happen to
be very good looking, you need to change that during this time. Use
makeup to add bags under your eyes. If you aren’t married to the
psychopath, any money or assets he covets should disappear “in a bad
investment decision” (consult with your attorney on this). Your shiny
sports car has to go, get a beater. If you have a sparkling reputation,
anticipate that he will or has already begun to slander you; therefore,
don’t allow yourself to be put into any compromising position or pushed
into erratic behavior. The reason he wants to take these things from
you, is not necessarily because he wants them for himself, it’s because
he wants to see the emotions on your face when you lose them. He wants
the power trip associated with being the one who took them from you. By
preemptively removing these things from his vision and not reacting with
emotion at the losses, you continue to train him with the idea that you
are the most boring person on earth, someone he would never want to be.
Origin of Gray Rock:
In 2009, I left my psychopathic partner after 25 years, but I didn’t
understand what was wrong with him. I sat in a sushi bar, lost in
confusion, when a tall, athletic man introduced himself. To my own
surprise, I instinctively poured out my story to him. This complete
stranger listened to my story and then he explained to me that I was
dealing with a malignant narcissist. He advised me, “Be boring.” He told
me that his girlfriend would come home each night, begin drinking and
They were both professionals who traveled in the same
professional circles. He knew that she would stalk him if he broke up
with her and he didn’t want to risk the slander and drama which could
leak out and damage his professional reputation.
His solution was to be so boring that she would simply leave him. He
declined to go out on evenings and weekends. He showed no emotional
reaction about anything, no interest in anything and responded with no
drama. When she asked if he wanted to go out for dinner, his reply was,
“I don’t know.” After a few months of no drama, she simply moved out.
Why is it called Gray Rock?
I chose the words Gray Rock because I needed an object for us to
channel when we are in an emotionally charged situation. You don’t just
practice Gray Rock, you BECOME a Gray Rock. There are gray
rocks and pebbles everywhere you go, but you never notice them. None of
them attract your attention. You don’t remember any specific rock you
saw today because they blend with the scenery.
That is the type of
boring that you want to channel when you are dealing with a psychopath.
Your boring persona will camouflage you and the psychopath won’t even
notice you were there. The stranger in the sushi bar showed great
insight when he advised me to “be boring.” He struck at the heart of the
psychopath’s motivation: to avoid boredom.
In nature, there are many plants and creatures that show us how to
survive in a world of predators. Among others, birds feign injury to
protect their babies and mice play dead until the cat loses interest.
Both of these tactics can be useful and they can be channeled when
applicable. Yet, it’s difficult to calculate each and every move that a
psychopath will make and to determine the best course of action each
time. Instead of trying to out-think him, channel the gray rock. This
simple, humble object in nature has all the wisdom it needs to avoid
being noticed, it’s boring.
Copyright © 2012 Skylar