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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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I know I’m about 4 yrs late on this article. I stumbled across this late last night, could not have been more perfectly timed. I have mediation with my soon-to-be ex today. This really helped reaffirm my approach that I have been taking with him over the last 2 months. He has been trying to regain control by using our toddler. I still continue to refuse to engage him. Thank you so much for posting this. And I am so very grateful for this website.

Mediation is dangerous. I would never use mediation except in some small, very unusual situations Here’s why it’s dangerous. In many cases, such as dealing with a sociopath, psychopath, or otherwise vicious person, what we have here is: one honest person who truly wants to work out the problems the two are having. The other person is dishonest and malevolent. He or she will USE THE HONEST COMMENTS against the honest person. The sociopath, or etc., will use his/her suave and convincing persona to manipulate the mediator. After the session — sometimes IMMEDIATELY UPON WALKING OUT THE DOOR of the mediation our counseling room (as my ex- did) — to attack, emotionally abuse, guilt trip things the honest person said/”revealed” in the session. Hushmommy, can you cancel your mediation session today? If not, at least be very private in what you “reveal.” Make sure the sociopath does not learn anything new about you!

It’s true that it’s not possible to negotiate/work things out/mediate with a spath. However, it’s often necessary to go through the motions or the victim will be labelled uncooperative, etc. If the mediator is aware of spath behavior and spath motives and is not manipulated by the spath, the mediation process can be a forum that exposes the spath. It can also turn out badly for the victim.

Sounds like your ex spath twisted everything around to use against you. It might not be in Hushmommy’s best interest to cancel mediation at the last minute because she may be labelled uncooperative. Good advice to keep the spath’s motives in mind and be very careful to protect from the spath’s subtle and overt attacts.

Hushmommy,I think this board is always active despite the years gone by. Lol.

My spath is very abusive to our son but ok with me. He actually confessed his evilness that me as his supposed “confidant” I.e killing two people and chopping them up and ok with it.

Mine was baker acted in psych ward 2 times and fortunately so afraid she f going back that he has agreed to give me full custody. We r still waiting legal divorce.

However my problem and advice needed would be….

My son loves having a dad, loves his dad despite abuse. We r Mennonites so there is no divorce, all have daddy’s. That care. So when my son is away from dad, he feels rejected or something, like to only kid without a dad. And starts getting depressed.

What r ur all thoughts? I was going to leave the state to another fellowship but because of this. I wander if he will become unstable.

Pjmommy, my son is 2 and a half. He sees his dad maybe 1 day out of 14 since he was 1. He loves his dad, & I want his dad in his life, but I won’t allow him to have a chance to learn this manipulative behavior from him. I am lucky, my dad has stepped in & my s.o.& he have a very strong bond (instantly, from the moment they met.) As much as I want to create as normal of a childhood for him as possible, as his mother I will do everything to protect him, even if that means not seeing his father said much. He may not like it & be mad at me sometimes as he’s growing up, but hopefully he’ll understand why when he’s an adult. That’s just my view for my situation.

Hushmommy,You sound very wise, to (mostly anyway) separate your small son from his dad. You wrote: “I won’t allow him [your son] to have a chance to learn this manipulative behavior from him.” I wish a close relative of mine had had your insight. She stayed with her then-husband for 22 years. I don’t know if he’s a spath or not, but he’s a serious alcoholic, emotionally abusive, watches low level porn on TV a lot of the time, and anti-social . At work, I guess he’s a different person, because he retired from a very, very good, highly paid Federal government job. Anyway, my relative wanted her two boys to have a father, and a family. Little did she suspect that her sweet, loving sons would grow up to be very much like their dad….disrespectful of her, rude, uncooperative, are the least of it. One of her sons did a master’s degree video, showed it publicly as part of his finals before her graduated. The video had photographs of women’s vaginas, and masturbation. My relative, who loves her sons in spite of it all, said with a sigh, “Well, he IS his father’s son, too.” One more thing about her, though — probably she turns her sons off, because she over-parents them, even though they are over 40 years old and making good livings for themselves and their families.

That sounds like a very difficult decision to make, and very hard to discern what to do. I don’t think there is an easy well defined answer as to which choice is best. There are so many variables that it’s difficult as to what will be the best for your son in the long run. You might make a list of the pros and cons of your son continuing contact with his Dad, and moving away. Consider all the possible outcomes you can think of and the pros and cons for you as well as for your son.

If you continue where you are and your son continues to have contact with his dad, you can make an effort to keep communication lines open between you and your son so that he will feel comfortable telling you about anything his dad is doing or saying that is wrong. The spath dad is likely to use his relationship with his son for some manipulative purpose if he can.

Consider that if you move away, your son may recover and do ok, but if you see he’s not doing well and you feel he would be better of having contact with his dad, you can always move back, or schedule visitation or whatever. If you are a single mom and your son’s dad is not around, other men in the community may step in and spend time with your son and take him under their wing. They are not likely to do that as long as his dad is around.

So many variables…. I’ll pray for your decision. Take care.

Dear AnnettePK, From your Comment, you wrote: “other men in the community may step in and spend time with your son and take him under their wing. They are not likely to do that as long as his dad is around.” Please be very, very, very careful about “other men in the community,” including well recommended programs! My ex was a “big brother” through the YMCA. That only reference he had was my dad! So in fact, Daddy — while believing he was doing the right thing — was the first crack in a chain of events and actions, that enabled my ex- to get his teaching certification years later! Had my dad not written the recommendation, this sociopath would never have gotten the YMCA volunteer job, which led to a college degree, student teaching where he shook a child and was suspended, then reinstated, then got his teaching Master’s Degree.

The Little Brother and my ex-went on a train trip across the country to visit ex-‘s family. I am sure that the child was present in pot-smoking parties or family events where pot was smoked.

Then, for some unknown reason, he cut the child completely out of his life, when they returned from the train trip.

Another (shorter) thing about the Big Brother program at the Y. A man friend of mine had entered the program when a boy was young. When I knew the man, the kid had “turned on him,” was stalking him and scaring him.

I hope the Big Brother program at the Y has improved its security by now. These events were 20 years ago, but they show you how things could turn out in any stranger-to-child interaction.

Synergy,

What a nightmare experience, but sadly it happens. Thank you for your advice to caution.

I was referring to PMJMommy’s Mennonite community, which may have a decreased risk due to long term stability and day to day transparency and accountability related to the community lifestyle and structure.

In my experience being widowed and raising a son, adult men and teens who mentored my son backed off when I married the spath and my son now had a ‘step father.’

One always needs to be careful in every situation. My ex psychopath operates in a church community. However the members are spread out geographically, and there is no day to day contact outside church services and activities, so it’s easy for him to put on his mask for a couple of hours each week.

I was very trusting before I encountered my ex psychopath. I really didn’t think people like that really existed. Now I am very suspicious of anyone I know and some I have known for a long time – to the point of being a bit paranoid. I hope to find a balance of caution and vigilance that still allows me to have meaningful interactions with people. I have shut myself down from being close to anyone I don’t already know who is outside my little circle.

That is exactly my tactic Annettepk I go along with everything so I don’t look combative. He’s the one that has agreed to 3 separate agreements then changed his mind right before court.

I am at mediation right now. My lawyer is an hour late (he’s stuck in court,) I am about to walk out. At this point with “D” (my ex) I know to never reveal anything. I do want to work our problems out, however, I was a very strong, independent woman before we got married. He turned me into an overweight shell of the woman that I use to be. In the last year & a half I have lost 40 lbs, acquired a very understanding s.o., gained a lot of who I use to be back, & I am in college. He has acquired another victim, they are ‘engaged’, & they are trying to replace me with her. Being detached from him over this time I am able to look at the bigger overall picture. I want to make this painless as possible, however, I am not moving an inch. He’s throwing out wild accusations now & I’ve just been silent, saving every text & email. I have photographs of his drug abuse & alcoholism. He has no proof of anything he is saying about me & I can prove that everything he is saying is inaccurate. I always told him that he thinks that he is smarter than me, but he isn’t. He’s messed with the wrong woman this time, because momma bear don’t play that & I am standing up to him. He has met his match with me, he just doesn’t know it yet… Sorry this is so long. I’m ampt up & feeling strong.

Hushmommy, how did it go?

Hushmommy I heard a woman say, if she didn’t react to her abusive husband, he would go after the children so keep that in mind.

O, “D” has threatened me with that. But I know he has nothing to use against me. “D” is a nonviolent sociopath. He enjoys the (pardon my French) mind-fucking games.

Keep in mind that all spath disordered people are potentially physically as well as emotionally violent. They do not have the moral and conscience restraints that prevent normal people from harming others. Spaths will do and say whatever they think will work for them in any given situation, if they think they won’t get caught.

Spaths will do whatever they think will work. My ex spath got the most mileage hurting me by harming my minor son.

Making your ex spath think you won’t be so bothered by your children being harmed may help protect them. From the greyrock article above:
“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.”

My divorce won’t be done till Feb / march. Till then I live down the street from him. But I’m hoping he gets tired of ” playing Mennonite” or to move myself, soon after that.

Typo correction to my post about my relative’s sons: Regarding his master’s degree final video, it should read “before he graduated.” not “before her graduated.”

Annette PK there was no Reply button to your post on 061716, so here are my comments on that one: You wrote, “I was very trusting before I encountered my ex psychopath. I really didn’t think people like that really existed. Now I am very suspicious of anyone I know and some I have known for a long time ”“ to the point of being a bit paranoid. I hope to find a balance of caution and vigilance that still allows me to have meaningful interactions with people. I have shut myself down from being close to anyone I don’t already know who is outside my little circle.” I can sure relate to that. Here’s a solution to protecting myself, right up front. Any man I got out with, after a very few interested/interesting date, I look right at him, and tell him in a somewhat cold, slow, and absolutely meaningful voice, “NEVER yell at me. Anyone who yells at me, I walk away, and never look back.” Those are the exact words, and the ONLY words I say about this. If he wants me to say more, I just say, “I’ve spent too many years of my life being yelled at, and yelling back. I don’t do that anymore.” If he wants a big discussion on that subject, or tries to engage me in one, maybe this not the right man for me. Fortunately, I have a 5-year relationship with a guy who understands me on this point. He has told me his previous 15-year relationship had a lot of strife and yelling. I’ve given him my spiel about yelling, twice, once early in our relationship, once more recently, because I wanted to be sure he remembers. Both times, he said, “I can’t imagine yelling at you. You don’t push my buttons.”

I’ve also said this to some new women friends, and once put my promise into practice when one yelled at me. End of story! We’d been friends for 3 years, and no matter how long I know someone, one yelling spree, and I’m outa there.

Thanks for sharing. I can’t imagine anyone arguing about being told yelling is unacceptable, and expecting to continue to date. I also hope that the guy you’re seeing wouldn’t yell at you (or anyone else) even if his buttons were being pushed by someone. You are not responsible for causing someone else to yell or not to yell at you.

I would say it’s totally unacceptable for someone to yell at a friend, unless maybe a once in a lifetime extreme duress about another matter, like their house is on fire or something.

Being yelled at wasn’t even on my radar – I never encountered that behavior until the psychopath. For me it was lying. When a relationship was getting serious I would tell a guy that honesty was very important to me and that lying was unacceptable. The honesty warning worked well with my late husband who was a very good man in every way. He got it.

The pathological lying psychopath heard me when we were dating (when he was targeting and manipulating me), but it meant nothing to him.

I didn’t recognize the red flags with the spath. I doubted my own perception and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I’ve since learned to look for patterns of behavior. For example one lie might be a mistake, a second may be a misunderstanding, but a third lie is a pattern of behavior – the person is a liar.

Good to hear that you’re in a stable and happy relationship with an understanding guy. That is a blessing.

Hi again, AnnetePK. Thank you for your nice comment. You wrote: “You are not responsible for causing someone else to yell or not to yell at you. ” Heh, that’s how I was brought up — “you made me mad,” “That makes me SO MAD!!!” That was my dad, who was not a spath at all but did likely have clinical depression and maybe bipolar disorder. His dx was anxiety disorder, and the pdoc re/x librium (not lithium, librium) which did not do anything at all to help me with the same pdoc rx/d it for me. This was in the 1950s. There was one thing that really helped my dad — it was outpatient group therapy. Mother said he got much easier to live with when he was in a group, but he never stayed in the group for long.

So being yelled at, and yelling back was what I thought everyone did! I just though other people hid it better than I did. I was the only member of the family who dared to disagree with my dad on anything at all. He was ALWAYS RIGHT, at least that was his belief. Well, it was pretty easy for him to believe that at home, since at work that was true. He was, for 25 years, a corporation lawyer; then he was an administrative law judge — what he said on his judge job WAS THE LAST WORD. And he had a lot of power as a corporate lawyer, I suspect. So not only did I grow up angry and combative, most of my several marriages were that way, too. Even after I went to an abused female partner/wife group, I still got into one more relationship like that. It was about 6 years ago. Not that long ago, really.

Sounds like you had a lot to overcome, and sounds like you have done a lot of hard work to get where you are now.

Thank you, Annette PK — very nice of you to say those things….xxxooo It means a lotto me.

ANNETTEPK and a Synergy,

Yes, there are great men here who would take hr. Under their wings. I would never let a stranger with my son alone. Actually, where we are now, jrs best friend is our lead minister and lives next door. He had 10 sons, all remained in the church, one is a minister too.

If you met this guy, you would know why God gave him 10 sons.

He is the he glue keeping me here, if I take Jr. To another state, he would miss his dad and this minister greatly. He often says this guy is a better dad then his own and wish he can call him “dad”..

One of my fears is not getting such a great adult male figure, like the one he has.

one/joy_step_at_a_time

Man, this is an old post! I fondly remember practicing grey rock on lovefraud when the spath trolls came strolling in.

I want to say Merry Christmas and send best wishes to all who all are here, or have been here in the past.

May we all find safety from spaths, security in our own hearts, perceptions and values, and love in our lives.

all the best for 2017!

OneJoy

One/joy_step_at_a_time All the best to you too!

Onejoy Interesting you practiced this here.

Onejoy Interesting post.

This is helpful in some situations.

This type of situation can happen in an apt building . sociopath lives next door and wants to talk or attention you ignore him. He gets agressive . it happens , happened to me more than once.
the end results , was devastating to me.

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