The Gray Rock method of dealing with psychopaths

Editor’s note: At the request of readers, the Lovefraud member “Skylar” has contributed the following article.

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:Ӭ

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. Psychopaths are 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:Ӭ

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:Ӭ

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:Ӭ

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 become abusive. 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

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620 Comments on "The Gray Rock method of dealing with psychopaths"

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Grey Rock. This is brilliant. I love it and I can great wisdom in this. Thanks for sharing.

Rock on!



alohatraveler again i agree.

Thank you for the validation.

I have thought of grey rock and you, so many times when dealing with my ‘pet monster’ and it absolutely works. NO reaction works best. Completely. Become so boring that they think THEY are the one’s choosing to go away when in actuality, they are giving YOU what you wish. And, it’s a final kind of thing too. That is what is so amazing about it.

Thanks skylar, with love and hugs for giving me this tool.
It has helped me to find indifference.

I can soooo relate to you.

Love ~ Dupey

yes, brilliant piece.


This is one of those PRINT IT OUT, TAPE IT UP, AND READ IT EVERY DAY until the SPATH GOES AWAY articles.



Really, really good article and very well-written, Sky.

I know for my ex-spath, talking about my problems seemed to be a deterrent, even though a normal person would consider that drama. It seems to be a type of drama they don’t like. I myself have a low tolerance for people who have a lot of ongoing problems and issues, too. I would think that with a spath, the drama they want would be the drama that was provoked by THEM. They want to see you get upset by some game they played or have some reaction to something they did. They don’t care if you are upset about something that happened at work or in the news. Therefore, it would seem that if you just start telling them about all your problems not related to them, they’d get bored. I remember my ex-spath didn’t want to hear about my problems. He would just change the subject.

But that is also a catch 22 because they can use any of that information against you as part of their game if they wanted to. So maybe gray rock is making up trite and meaningless problems, such as, “I had such a hard time getting nail polish to stick to my nails today. I tried a new nail polish but the color and consistency just was not right…..” etc. You can go on an on about nail polish for an hour and still not capture all the fine subtelties of it. lol

Stargazer: absolutely talking about our own personal problems is a HUGE turn off for them because THEY want to be the center of that attention, NOT YOU.

I absolutely have an IMMENSE low tolerance for people who have drama and chaos in their lives. ANOTHER inspiration for them to multiply the drama and chaos. Hm?

For me, skylar absolutely hit the nail on the head.
It works! I am here to testify to that.

Perhaps her and I had a ‘different type and model’ of ppath…
I know mine was very violent/is still very violent/and very threatening and ugly. He has learned over the last year how to ‘tame’ that down, though, and has suddenly become quite charming…imagine that. They are masters at mirroring back to you all those things you want to hear and feel.

Thanks Star – you have been a huge support and I appreciate you. ~ Dupey xxoo

Skylar, thank you so much for this article and thanks to the tall, athletic man for inspiring you to come up with it!

This really does work.

Now that I’ve practiced it awhile (and am pretty good at it 😉 ) it occurs to me that it is something like some therapists have told me, to be less “emotionally reactive.” But try as I could, I just couldn’t stop reacting.

When you explained it, I got it INSTANTLY. So, you made more sense than those therapists.

It helped me that I could view it as “just pretending” rather than as actually toning down my emotions. That meant I could still feel my emotions but just shield them from him (like not throwing your pearls before swine — he didn’t DESERVE to see my naked emotions!!!)

So now I am better at not wearing my heart on my sleeve, and you helped a lot with that, Skylar, with this great idea.

I still have all of my emotions intact — but I reserve them for people who don’t abuse me. I reserve them for people who share their genuine emotions with me.

And so, like we don’t run around naked in front of the entire world (at least I don’t), I view this gray rock a bit like putting on a kind of rumpled, boring tan trench coat that hides my lovely figure.

With a bland expression on my face and vague look in my eyes, the spath does not get a window into my soul, or the gift of my smile, any flash of anger or desire. Nothing. He does not deserve any of it.


Very well written. Concise and insightful. It is good to see your grey rock method written out so clearly.

New people to LF will get a very good handle on what to do on top of NC to help themselves.

many thanks

20years: they absolutely do NOT deserve anything about us.
Absolutely nothing. To them, we should just dissipate.

Oh yes, grey rock works…it does.
It works even better, 20years, once you find that ‘indifference’…

Best wishes to you ~ Dupey

Aloha, Rock on! I hope you can use it in your future practice.
Dupey, if nothing else it does help to know why spaths need drama.
Athena, Yep. Encourage your spath to go away! His roller coaster is not needed in your life.
Star, LOL! ummm try gray nail polish. Spaths envy shiny things. My spath actually envied my fingers! because I could type so fast. And later, I found that he kept a box of chopped off fingers in the shed. They were fake but they looked sooo real!
20years, I’ll be forever grateful to that man in the sushi bar. He did save my life. Your perspective on Gray Rock is true. It is about protecting our emotions. In fact, it is about boundaries. We don’t have to share our emotions with anyone unless we want to.
STJ, I tried to be concise, but it is long. I wanted to convey everything about Gray Rock once and for all.

Thanks everyone, for reading it.

Sky, your comment about not having to share our emotions is such an important one. This goes for anyone and not just spaths. Some people do not deserve or have not earned the right to know how we feel.

I love your sense of humor too, comparing spaths to birds who love shiny things…… I remember when I had the first phone conversation with my ex-spath (obviously I did not know he was a spath), he told me how bored he was. It’s one of the first things he told me. I remember being perplexed by this. I was thinking of all the things he could do to fill his time – even going for a walk. He also told me he doesn’t sleep at night very well. Well, no wonder. If you were lying and scamming a bunch of people including the US army, would you be able to sleep at night? In retrospect, red flags.

Strangely, I’m craving sushi now….

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