Dale’s mom is a Narc. She doesn’t care how other people feel when she hurts them. This last Thanksgiving there was a big blow up at the family dinner and she said all sorts of terrible things to Dale and his wife. When he got home, Dale decided to sit down and write his mom a letter. Even though he poured out his heart, he’s gotten no response–not by phone or letter or email. That’s because his mother refuses to acknowledge she even got his letter. If someone crosses her, she says, “I don’t get mad, I get even.”
Meanwhile, she is turning Dale into the family scapegoat by calling up his siblings to complain and turn them into flying monkeys. Two of them have called Dale to lecture him. Most of Dale’s family is caught up in the drama with the exception of his sister Lucy.
Lucy hates family dinners, but she wants to stay in relationship with her nieces and nephews and other siblings. The difference between Lucy and Dale is that Lucy knows her mother is a malignant narcissist so she refuses to give her any power. While Dale is writing his heart out to someone who doesn’t care enough to respond, Lucy will go Gray Rock, because she knows Gray Rock always beats paper when you’re dealing with a Narc.
So what is Gray Rock and how do you know when to do it?
For starters, let’s realize what Gray Rock is NOT:
* Gray Rock is not a personality type—but it is used with a specific personality type.
* Gray Rock is not a lifestyle—it is a survival strategy for a day or weekend.
* Gray Rock is not a form of manipulation—it is a way to avoid being manipulated.
* Gray Rock is not a way to treat anyone who gives a damn—
it’s only used when a proven Narc has shown no respect for you and others.
* Gray Rock is not a form of No Contact–It’s a way to cope
when you can’t go No Contact and still need to be around the Narc.
Lucy never goes Gray Rock with her husband because he is NOT a Narc and he is willing to listen to her point of view when they have an argument.
Lucy never goes Gray Rock with her children or nieces and nephews because while kids might act narcissistic, they are still kids and they deserve the chance to learn and grow.
Lucy never goes Gray Rock when someone says something she doesn’t like—that would be lame and immature like a Narc.
Lucy never goes Gray Rock with people at church or work who offend her because much of the time people don’t realize what they say that hurts us.
Lucy is a very caring person who shares her heart with trusted friends and people worthy of her friendship, but she learned a long time ago that her mother (who is a malignant Narc) is not someone she can trust. Lucy realized she had two options–to go No Contact or go Gray Rock, for her Gray Rock has been the better choice.
It’s been three weeks and Dale still hasn’t received an answer—his mother has ignored his letter and that makes Dale all the more frustrated because he poured his heart out. If Dale fully understood narcissism, he would never have written that letter because most Narcs don’t care about other people’s feelings. The only scenario in which a Narc might write a letter back would be to correct a letter written to them. It needs to be underscored that Narcs do not care about relationships as much as they want to be right.
If Dale wants to go Gray Rock, it’s a very simple procedure–all he needs to do is pretend he is a gray rock. It’s simple to explain but hard to pull off.
Gray Rocks blend in.
Gray Rocks don’t ask for attention.
Gray Rocks don’t move.
Gray Rocks don’t speak up to defend themselves or others.
Why? Because all logic is lost on the Narc.
Gray Rocks know you can’t reason with unreasonable people.
If a Narc asks how a Gray Rock is doing, it’s usually a trap for information. The Gray Rock knows this and responds with as little information as possible. You can’t share your accomplishments or the Narc will be jealous. You can’t share your pain or the Narc will exploit it next time he wants to cut you. The only appropriate information to share with the Narc is the weather. And if for some reason the weather is adversely affecting your life at the moment–for instance if you are snowed in, then even the weather is off limits.
It’s like winning the ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors game because Scissors can’t cut rock. So all the cutting remarks made by the Narc might destroy your paper letter or your heart–but scissors can’t harm a rock because a rock has no feelings. Now of course you do have feelings and there are places to share these feelings, but just not around the Narc. Narcissistic thinking is selfish thinking and if someone is high on the Narc scale they will never show empathy to you. Your honest human feelings can only be used against you if you share them with the Narc.
The more narcissistic a person is, the less they will care about how you feel. If they are truly a malignant Narc, they will try to control you and manipulate your feelings. The only option is to stop letting the Narc know how you feel. This is why Gray Rock beats paper every time.