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With a sociopath, when “no contact” isn’t possible, try the “grey rock method”

Husband Liar Sociopath

Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.

Chapter 45B: Whack-A-Mole Returns

In retrospect, I wish I had had the energy and foresight to move back East immediately, but I was too tired and too ashamed that I had made such a disruptive change in my life, maybe for nothing. Also, both kids seemed to be enjoying life in the mountains, and I did not want to uproot them again in such a short time span. That would hardly be fair to them. There would be time to move back East, just not now.

The game of Whack-A-Mole had returned, but now it was occurring in a place of great social isolation for me. I had no friends or family in the area, no job or volunteer activities to fall back on for validation, no outside human interaction. In that context, the game was desperately eroding, hacking away at my newfound strength and hopefulness. To create a life of my own, I started making new friends, tutoring, and sending out resumes.

Still, in case Paul was reacting to the upheaval from moving—a stressful life event—as well as to managing his company remotely (which I had always been concerned about), I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and “invest in my marriage” once again. I woke up every morning determined to show interest in Paul and express my love to him, to share my enthusiasm for our family’s new life in the mountains. But it was useless. Each interaction I initiated merely provided an opportunity for Paul to play Whack-A-Mole once more.

For the first time, in a flash of insight, it became clear to me how Whack-A-Mole really worked and what role I played in the abusive game. Although this was not necessarily happening at a conscious, purposeful level, throughout my marriage, to prove to myself as well as to Paul what a good person I was, I tried to engage Paul daily in some way, to share my life, my concerns, to learn more about his life, celebrate his successes, and to be supportive when he needed it (which he almost never did, because that would validate me and imply weakness for him). It was this active engaging of Paul that gave him the ability to play Whack-A-Mole with me. The mole (me) was constantly venturing out of its hole to interact with Paul, and by doing so I was (excuse me for mixing metaphors) a sitting duck. It occurred to me that Paul might never engage the mole in a positive, healthy interaction, nor let the mole run away. It was quite possible that Paul simply wanted the mole to keep poking its head out of its hole so he could feel the power, superiority, and satisfaction of whacking it back in. All the while, he encouraged the mole to blame itself for its miserable existence and to come out and play again, to try to show what a good wife I was by trying to have a meaningful interaction with my husband.

Finally understanding my role in the game, I stopped the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. After years of trying to figure out some way to interact with Paul that would help us connect or reconnect, I simply stopped. I decided not to interact with Paul at all unless he initiated a positive conversation or interaction with me. I decided to not even say “good morning” to him unless he said “good morning” to me first. If he interacted with me in a respectful way, I would respond in kind. But if he ignored me or was harsh with me, I ignored him. No negative reaction, no reaction at all.

I did not know it at the time, but I had stumbled upon a strategy other victims of sociopaths have used to get a sociopath out of their life when having absolutely no contact with the sociopath is not an option. It is referred to as the “grey rock method.” It involves turning yourself into such a boring, nonreactive person around the sociopath (psychopath, narcissist) that the sociopath loses interest and leaves you alone, because you are no fun to manipulate and control. Like a cat toying with a mouse, once the mouse stops squeaking, struggling, and running about, the cat is likely to find more exciting things to do.

The one exception to my new strategy was that I was upfront with Paul about my perception that our marriage was spiraling down again and that the situation had become unacceptable. We needed to either fix the problem or end our marriage. We had been married long enough to know that this was not going to fix itself, and that the change of venue I had worked so hard to bring about had had no impact on our relationship. I loved our relationship for the year prior to moving to Utah and was willing to work on our marriage to bring it back to that point, but I could not do it alone. I wanted to know which direction he wanted to go—to work on our marriage with professional help or to end it. Months passed without Paul answering the question or engaging in a conversation about our broken marriage and what he wanted to do about it.

Privately, I consulted two divorce lawyers, and to my horror learned that once I had lived in Utah three months, the State of Utah and its laws had jurisdiction over my children and their fate in a divorce. I was past the three-month mark. I was stuck. Without Paul’s endorsement or that of a judge (which I was told I was unlikely to get, because it is so important to keep families together in Mormon Utah), I could not relocate Jessica and Daniel to another state—even one in which we had lived for years up to a few months ago.

One night soon after that, without warning or any obvious trigger, Paul stomped into our bedroom at midnight and awakened me. “So this is it!” he screamed.

“Paul, I am happy to talk to you, but not by you waking me up and yelling at me in the middle of the night.”

The next morning, the next day, the next week, and the next month, Paul was silent on the issue. I felt the ball was in his court. I had made my position clear. I waited.

 

Start from the beginning:

Chapter 1

Go to previous chapter:

Chapter 45A

Notes

Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved



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12 Comments on "With a sociopath, when “no contact” isn’t possible, try the “grey rock method”"

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Because of reading one of the previous chapters posted here, I downloaded your book, O.N. Ward and I am more floored with each new part I read. I am up to the point of your divorce now and it is eerily similar. I won’t give too many details of my experience here for fear of my ex stumbling across it and exacting revenge. Like “Paul” my ex is a highly intelligent and high functioning path. Hugs to you “Onna” from one path survivor to another.

I do this with an obnoxious female neighbor.

Dear Onna,
After being terrorized to the point of having to flee my house I downloaded your book, and reading it relived my 10-year marriage to a sociopath/ASP. It’s creepy, the way the dialogues, the dynamics are identical, and the promise to ruin me in every way. Thankfully we don’t have children. Just started the divorce proceedings, I already collected evidence of his abuse – I audiotaped many of his rants and threats, and his crazy logic – sociopath math, as you call it.
Thank you for sharing your experience in hell with us, it has strengthened me and given me more confidence. I sincerely hope one day you will be really free from persecution by the devil who posed as your husband.

Love, Donatella

Hi Donatella. I also fled our home so I hear you. Just make sure that taping is legal in your Estate. I had taped my husband and then found out I couldn’t have done it. Hugs <3

Hi Adriana0718,

Thankfully, where I live, it counts as admissible evidence. However physical abuse is still incorrectly taken more seriously than emotional and psychological abuse. Thanks for your response, I hope you’re in a better situation now.

Love, Donatella

Donatella, glad you are escaping your hell. Look at the site One moms battle & do a search on Lovefraud for One moms battle. The site is for divorce court & child custody issues from a narcissist. It’s a very good site to learn how to navigate thru the divorce process.

Also see their Facebook page. If you choose to ask question there I would highly recommend that you open a fake email then a fake Facebook page so you can chat freely without your ex seeing or his family/friends.

Also if you go to your book box book store there is a section on divorce, read up on some books about “financially divorcing” remember the lawyers just want your money and really dont care about your financial future after divorce so read up on it & tell the lawyers what YOU want out of YOUR divorce.

Wishing you all the best. It’s hell to be married to a sociopath but the divorce is the bottom of hell as they dont want to let go of you or any assets.

Thanks Jan7,

My dad, God bless him, made a provision in his will excluding his in-law, any in-law, from his estate. So I think I have a good chance of escaping with a good deal of my assets, although I’m sure he’ll put up a fight, and he’ll get himsel a pro bono lawyer, whereas I have to fork out the money myself.
I found my lawyer through a local site on narcissitic abuse, and my first impression was very favorable. Still, it all remains to be seen..I’ll certainly check out the site and FB page you recommended. Also, I am forever grateful we were too old to have children together, something I used to deplore, long ago. God forbid!
Every day I feel myself getting stronger and more independent, although my nerves are very much on edge (now why would that be, lol). I’m hanging in, and only wish I could speed up the proceedings.

Thank you for your advice,

Love, Donatella

Hi Donatella, you’re so welcome! What the sociopaths of this world never counted on, is victims joining forces to lift each other up.

Ahh good thinking on your fathers part. Sorry that you lost your father.

Glad that you found a lawyer…my advise is to tell your lawyer what YOU want…remember they are there to take your money…and lots of it.

What my original post should have stated was check out divorce financial books at your local book store (Big box book stores). They are very helpful. For instance if you were married more then I think 13 years you are entitled to a portion of his Social Security. More helpful hints & guidance in those books. Maybe your library has some too.

Right…”now why would that be” (lol). During my marriage I became bed ridden, I believe now part of that reason was the stress & chaos my ex created on a daily bases fatiguing my Adrenal glands. After I left I found a doctor thru a friend who thru my test results understood that I had “Adrenal fatigue”. This is a very common occurrence for adults with a hectic life but also for those of us who endured a sociopath.

Most if not all victims of a sociopath have PTSD when then finally escape (and before).

Look at sites like DrLam. com & Adrenal fatigue. org and just google the words Adrenal fatigue.

Find a good Endocrimologist doctor to test you for vitamin & mineral deficiency, hormonal imbalance, cortisol levels etc. My result were off the charts bad. Took me 2 years to get my adrenal glands working correctly again = feeling normal again.

The adrenal glands regulate the body’s blood pressure, blood sugar, cortisol & adrenaline (fight or flight more) and over 50 hormones. They are a BIG deal and often over looked by most doctors as the root issue of illness especially if someone suffers from PTSD.

I had severe anxiety when I was with my ex. Once my doctor gave me Dr Wilson’s adrenal vitamins 3 times a day & progesterone hormone pills my anxiety was literally have within 4 days. very shocking that I suffered for many years under my ex h hell and not one doctor recognized my main health issue = adrenal fatigue.

Symptoms of Adrenal fatigue (long list heres the short list) anxiety, depression, sleep issues, panic attacks, mood swings, memory loss, brain fog etc etc. See the two sites I posted above for full list.

I equate my marriage as hell & the divorce process with my ex a sociopath the bottom of hell. Dont let your soon to be ex suck you back into his manipulative game. Let your lawyer deal with him & just walk away to take a 5 min break to catch your breath. The sociopath in court is a true nightmare & they love love love to manipulative all the court employees especially the Judge.

Wishing you all the best.

Take care. 💜

Hi Jan7,

So true, what you remarked on victims joining forces! The awareness of not being alone in this, and getting recognition means so much and gives us strength to carry on.
Our divorce laws here are pretty straightforward: married without prenuptials means you split everything in half, and the one with the highest income pays alimony to the other. So I could end up having to pay my future ex alimony, he’s counting on it I know.
Sadly he made the mistake of sending libellous emails to my employer, which they forwarded to me at my request. They are now with the police. Having sent those emails may just cost him the claim to alimony. My lawyer will be going for that, in any case.

On the health issues I agree, I’m determined to have a thorough check-up shortly. So sad that you were bed-ridden, but I can understand, I think – many were the days when I just didn’t want to get up at all and would rather have stayed in bed with the duvet over my head, only to get up exhausted. Having to drag myself up a flight of stairs. Since I’m in fight mode, I’m feeling fine, razor sharp actually. All instincts geared for survival. But it’ll take its toll, and I’m pretty sure I’ll have to see about the issues you were warning me about.. probably will need a trauma therapist too.
Thankfully I’m normally a good sleeper, although this morning had me waking up with my heart racing – I’d spent the evening before preparing the tapes for the police and my god, was it confrontational! It took me over a week to get myself to do it, and listening to those rants and threats again, and him stonewalling me, I found profoundly unnerving. This was psychopathy talking, sheer and undiluted evil, terrifying! I was surprised to hear my own voice trying to be as calm and ‘normal’, because all I felt at the time was intense fear, mixed with anger. I was terrified, but somehow succeeded in not letting on.
My laywer sent me the draft of the letter he’s going to be sent, it’s a beauty! So is the request to the court to reinstate me in my home and evict him, and to issue a restraining order.
Can’t wait till he gets it.

Keeping up spirits,

Love, Donatella

Donatella, when I first started to research “sociopath” after my counselor told me who my husband was just after escaping his grips, I was shocked & comforted that others were out there who endured the hell that I did. Still to this day, I am saddened by how many of us victims exist. And also the fact that there are text book terms to go with their behavior. Thank goodness so many on this site & others were able to help me out to understand the 12 years of hell I put up with.

My ex was shocked when I told him who he was, because he already knew this fact as he had dropped some hints in the beginning of the relationship & throughout the marriage that he knew i.e. “I have psychology books in my home library” (which by the way when I was packing to leave him I looked = zero books on this subject) and also telling me “I’m not a good person like you” (boy was he correct!!!).

They really are pure evil. They want to destroy us after we finally escape….him sending your employer emails wanting you to get fired so you would be either destroyed and/or come back to him because you were dependent on him financial. Their thinking is absolutely crazy. Glad your lawyer is astute & knows the law but more importantly willing to fight for you. Not all of them are…the ones I had just want my money…like vultures.

The continual stress of all his chaos & abuse just wear out my adrenal glands. I still got out of bed to go to work but was so exhausted mentally & physically I was not functioning well. On anther support site the site creator asked the question “how many had health issues during their relationship & what symptoms did you have”…over 400 responded with almost identically symptoms and all symptoms of adrenal fatigue. By then I had found out that I had adrenal fatigue so I was very knowledgable on the subject so it was shocking. As they say “stress kills” and that is what they wanted to do, wear us out so we were ealsiy controlled so they could do what ever they wanted = cheat, steal etc.

Their ranting is crazy. My ex would come into the bedroom screaming at me saying the tv was to loud. I was also terrified by his behavior = control over me. Once I left I realized (maybe at the time too) that he was only doing that to control me from leaving the bedroom so that he could chat (have phone sex) with all the women he was cheating with at the time (3-5 women which I found out about after i left but I’m sure there were more). I had to stop reading his ranting texts after I left because not only were they brain washing me but also triggering me with PTSD issues. So it’s good that you did your notation over the week so that you could give you mind a rest & also have your brain process all that he was saying.

You should like you are in a good place mentally & have a great lawyer to help navigate your divorce. Wishing you all the best in your new found freedom!!

Take care.

I called this ‘gray rock’ method..playing dumb. It seemed to slow down some (not all) of his rants/ravings/yelling, when I just stood there, saying nothing, no angry response(s) in return. Often it seemed, all he wanted to do, WAS to provoke me into a yelling/raging/blaming episode/fight with him, it didn’t seem to matter WHAT or WHO the issue was. When I chose not to answer, with don’t care attitude of mind/body, he would still rage and carry on, but with no response from me, usually sooner than later, he’d just shut up. It was usually me, who left the room. Trying to reason with him, was useless, anyway. It just shut him up sooner, when I didn’t react or respond.

Onna, powerful book you have written. No doubt it will help so many victims understand that they are not crazy, that the real crazy person is their mate!

Just wish books like yours & Donna Anderson’s would make it to the NYTimes best sellers list. Every good person needs to hear the truth about the evil in this world.

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