The term ‘grey rock’ is a popular term used to described a method of contact, and a way of being when dealing with a psychopath or malignant narcissist. Psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists thrive off narcissistic supply. As soon as they wake up in the morning they are off to get their narcissistic supply (attention, good or bad) just like a junkie goes out to find their drug of choice. Without fuel, the narcissist feels weighed down and energy-less; which is why these crazy-makers feel a desire to conjure up so much drama, and use other people’s reactions to play the victim. They need the drama and emotional reactions from other people to survive. Any attention, good or bad lifts the narcissist out of their chronic feelings of emptiness, and gives them the energy to get on with their day. Without constant supply a narcissist becomes what is considered a dilapidated narcissist.
”Narcissist’s need narcissistic supply like a junkie needs their drug of choice.”
What is the grey rock method of contact?
The theory behind ‘grey rock’ is that grey rocks are boring. They fail to attract attention, which means they are more unlikely to be bothered, and sourced out by those attracted to sparkly objects . Their unappealing, boring look, and ability to blend in makes the grey rock unique, and really quite beautiful from the point of view a man or woman wanting to escape a dangerous narcissist who keeps baiting them for a reaction.
What’s so great about the grey rock? Grey rocks remain untouchable.
The shiny, colourful rock on the other hand, stands out, and is far more appealing to the eye. The grey rock in all of its beauty gets left alone on the banks of the river to sit in solace, while the colourful rocks attract visual attention, which leaves them ripe for the picking.
Malignant narcissists love shiny, sparkly people. They love charismatic individuals, sensitive souls, exuberant people, hilarious people, highly reactive people, and those who pull the narcissist up on their terrible behaviour. Its a double edged sword, they also hate these people for their giftedness, and usually end up becoming very jealous of them. However, they love the A grade narcissistic supply they can get from these people.
What is the attraction to these personality traits? People with these personality traits stand out, and attract a lot of people (supply to a narcissist). This could be very beneficial to a narcissist.
Reactive people, emotionally charged people, and those who pull the narcissist up on their vile behaviour particularly stand out to the narcissist as potential sources of supply. Why? Because they engage. They challenge the narcissist, won’t stand for the narcissist’s rubbish, and will often lecture and prescribe advice; advice which goes in one ear and out the other over and over again.
An empath with too much patience will try to teach the narcissist (whom they often love dearly and wish the best for ) how to become a decent person. Patient co-dependent types are fantastic sources of supply, often do not know that they are being played for narcissistic supply, and fall hook line and sinker to the narcissist’s crazy-making behaviour over and over again until they finally have enough. Anybody who has fallen victim to the narcissist has engaged at one time or another, only to be told by the narcissist that their reaction is the problem, not the abuse itself.
After many years of practice, trial and error, I have learned to disengage from narcissists and have become quite skilled at using grey rock as a tactic to get them out of my life. It takes an incredible amount of practice and self-control to hone in on this skill. It truly is a skill, and takes a lot of refining to get it down pat.
The desired result
The idea behind the grey rock method is that once the victim has proved to the narcissist how boring and non-reactive they are, the narcissist will most likely move on and leave their victim alone. The victim is no longer useful and has officially become a broken toy. This is a great method to use when dealing with a narcissistic ex with whom you don’t have children. It does have successful results in co-parenting situations with a narcissist as well. However, it doesn’t fully rid the victim with children to a narcissist, of the narcissist forever.
The grey rock method can drastically reduce the impactful behaviour. Although, it can be a constant battle to keep the grey rock method of minimal contact in place in a co-parenting situation; especially if the narcissist is relentless, or is low on fuel supplies, and knows their target is capable of giving them A grade fuel supply in the form of a reaction.
So many empaths don’t even know that the person they are dealing with is a narcissist
Buying into the crazy-making is what we do when we don’t know we are dealing with a narcissistic sociopath. Victims often think they’re going insane and that they may in fact be the crazy one. It is how one thinks when they are constantly being poked and prodded to the point of feeling as though they’re about to become hysterical.
A victim rarely figures out their ex partner is a narcissist until they go in search of answers. It is in this moment that they may realise that this was all one big game, that they have been losing at the game because they didn’t know how to play the game to their advantage, and that they must now stop giving the narcissist ammunition to scapegoat them with.
I was once given the advice below from a good friend mine.
‘Its like this, the narcissist puts a hole in your boat. Then you have to go and plug it up again. Once you’ve plugged up all of the holes, the narcissist can no longer take control of your boat.’
Anybody co-parenting with a malignant narcissistic ex is going to feel as though their boat is being destroyed, which is why the grey rock method is often one of the only ways a non-narcissistic parent can plug up the holes in the boat.
Malignant narcissists in a co-parenting situation use their exes reactions against them to scapegoat them
If a malignant narcissistic ex knows they can get a reaction out of their target because they have many times before, then they will keep trying until they give them what they want. They are relentless in their pursuit of narcissistic supply. The narcissist doesn’t see their target as a person. They see them as an opportunity for fuel, which is why they may never entirely stop goading, baiting, and provoking their target into giving away a reaction, even with grey rock in place.
How does a narcissistic parent use their ability to goad you against you?
The narcissistic ex will constantly accuse their non-narcissistic ex of being unfair, mistreating them, and doing everything they can to make the narcissist’s life hard. It is just what they do. They need the narcissistic supply that playing the victim role gives them. The narcissist will turn everything around, accuse their target of doing to them what they are actually doing to their target, and will smear their ex-partner (who is probably quite a lovely person) to everybody they can.
I have heard so many stories where the malignant narcissist has used the co-parenting situation to pay the other parent back in any which way they can at every given opportunity. They usually try to turn everybody they possibly can against the non-narcissistic parent, including the children. Very often, everything the parent does with the children, for the children, or in regard to discipline with the children is put down in front of the children. This sets the parent up for negative treatment from the children, who unknowingly act out the narcissistic parent’s angst against the alienated parent.
It is all too common for a sociopathic parent to set the parent up over and over again for big reactions right in front of the children. One narcissistic parent I knew of, would call the non-narcissistic parent while in the car with the children, and leave speaker phone on for the children to hear the conversation. If the other parent became rightfully distressed over being baited and goaded on the phone, then the narcissist would use the incident to scapegoat the parent to the children. This narcissist would use manipulative body language (rolling their eyes, looking sad. and distressed) in the hope that the children would go into bat for them while the narcissist was on the phone. The alienated parent couldn’t understand (until they realised they were dealing with a narcissist) why a parent would deliberately involve the children in adult issues.
The same narcissist would show the children private emails from the other parent. They would manipulate the children into believing that the very assertive, non-abusive email was, in fact, abusive; which would again, ignite the children’s protective instinct over their dangerous parent. The children would unknowingly go against the innocent parent to protect the person in the wrong, the narcissistic perpetrator. Every opportunity possible was used by this dangerous narcissist to scapegoat the other parent to the children.
Other opportunities for narcissistic supply at the non-narcissistic parent’s expense
For example It is not uncommon for the non-narcissistic parent to be smeared to people in positions of authority by a narcissist wanting to infiltrate the children’s circle with a smear campaign against the other parent. Narcissists this malignant almost always pull out the mental health card and suggest that this parent is seriously mentally ill and has major problems.
It is not uncommon for a smeared parent to get the cold shoulder from people they don’t even know, including but not limited to, a child’s music teacher, a child’s counsellor (if they go to one), or even the child’s doctor. A narcissist wanting narcissistic supply will feign victimhood to anybody they can with a smear campaign aimed at turning everybody against an innocent victim for sympathy and allies.
What can one do? One thing a parent dealing with a sociopathic narcissist can do is to become a grey rock and take grey rock to a whole new level.
The problem with grey rock?
I’m writing this article for a friend who has been going through similar scenarios to the ones above with an ex-partner who is claiming my friend is unstable and is infiltrating their children’s circles with lies. We were discussing some of the confusion around grey rock earlier this week.
Grey rock is designed to completely starve a narcissist of their fuel supply so they can no longer affect you, or scapegoat you to such an extent that it affects your mental health and overall quality of life. When the witch was starved of narcissistic supply in the Wizard Of Oz, she melted. When a narcissist can’t get fuel from their victim, they will have no choice but to find someone else to feed off.
When implementing grey rock most people co-parenting with a malignant narcissist drop all phone contact, get a family member (if they can) to do changeovers, only engage in email contact, and only respond to the messages that they absolutely have to. These parents have as little to do with the narcissistic parent as possible. They give simple dull responses and refrain from reacting at all costs. However, a lot of people think this should be enough, and that by remaining dull and boring the narcissist will eventually stop the smear campaign and leave them alone. This is not true. Unless a victim never has to see a narcissist again, grey rock is merely a way to limit contact, and therefore reduce abuse.
When co-parenting, grey rock can be used to gain back some control over the smearing if used correctly. A victim of narcissistic abuse has to think quickly with a narcissist. Especially when it comes to utilising grey rock; because wherever they look the narcissist is trying to turn everyone against them, including the children.
How to cut the narcissist’s fuel supply
When co-parenting with a narcissist, a non-narcissistic parent must never forget that the narcissist wants to destroy their reputation at any given opportunity; which is why it is better to try to get in first before the narcissist in a grey rock kind of way when needing to organise and attend appointments such as the doctors, councillors, or an instructor. This way individuals in positions of power can make their mind up about the non-narcissistic parent without the malignant narcissist’s immediate influence. This is dependent on the situation and is easier when the children are living with the non-narcissistic parent.
A non-narcissistic parent will save themselves a lot of heartache if they plug up the holes straight away, and accept that they have to take back control of their own lives, before the narcissist has complete control over how others see them. Grey rock is all about keeping the boat leak free.