At the last family dinner there was a big blow up.
When Ann got home, she pulled out a piece of paper
to write her mother a letter, but
what she didn’t realize is that gray rock always beats paper.
Even though she poured out her heart on paper, Ann got no response–not a phone call, letter or email. She’s still waiting for a reply, but all she hears is crickets. That’s because her mother refuses to acknowledge she even got a letter from Ann. Ann knows her mother is up to something because her favorite saying is that typical narc mantra, “I don’t get mad, I get even.”
And Ann was right. While Ann is waiting for a response to her email, her mother was calling the rest of the family to talk about Ann and using Ann for the family scapegoat. That’s when some of Ann’s siblings began to turn into flying monkeys. They started calling Ann to warn her to make peace with Mom. While most of Ann’s family was caught up in the narc’s drama, Ann’s sister Lucy stayed out of the picture.
Lucy hates family dinners because of her mother’s crazy-making, but she wants to stay in relationship with her nieces and nephews and other siblings. The difference between Lucy and Ann is Lucy knows her mother is a malignant narcissist so she refuses to give her any power. While Ann was writing her heart out to their mother who doesn’t care enough to respond, Lucy went Gray Rock, because she knows Gray Rock will always beat paper when you’re dealing with a Narc.
How do you handle the family drama? If you too, have been tempted to pull out a piece of paper and write a letter, it might help you to recognize how rock beats paper.
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’s used when dealing with a personality disordered person.
Gray Rock is not a lifestyle—it’s a survival strategy for a day or weekend.
Gray Rock is not a form of manipulation—it’s a way to avoid being manipulated.
Gray Rock is not a way to treat anyone who gives a damn—
it’s only used when the 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 but 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 even realize they have hurt us.
Lucy never goes gray rock with anyone capable of listening and responding to honest communication. Gray rock is the last resort before no contact.
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 Ann still hasn’t received an answer—her mother continues to ignore her letter, This leaves Ann all the more frustrated because she was vulnerable with someone who was unsafe to share her feelings with. If Ann fully understood narcissism, she would have realized writing a letter is useless with a Narc because they 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 Ann wants to go gray rock, it’s a very simple procedure–all she needs to do is pretend she 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 should be off limits.
When dealing with a malignant narc, your only option is to stop letting the Narc to know how you feel. All the cutting remarks made by the Narc which can destroy your paper letter or your heart, can’t harm a rock because a rock has no feelings. (Of course you have feelings and there are places to share these feelings, but just don’t share them with the Narc.) Your honesty and feelings will only be used against you if you share them with the Narc.
The reason going gray rock works is because it doesn’t give any ammunition to the narcissist. It’s like winning the ultimate rock, paper, scissors game because scissors can’t cut rock and gray rock beats paper every time.