Gray Rock: Dealing with a Narcissist
Updated: Mar 12
What do you do when your spouse lies, cheats, belittles, tells everyone you are crazy...then blames you?
This is what happened to me. This is what some of my clients are dealing with. Is it happening to you, too? You’re not crazy, you aren’t imagining it, and it’s not your fault. It really is as bad as you think…don’t make excuses for them. You need to know that no matter how unfair and unwanted this behavior is, they are not going to change for you. You have to DECIDE: Do you want to spend the rest of your life trying to fix them at your own expense, or do you want to cut your losses, deal with the aftermath, and move on??
Maybe you’ve read about narcissists, narcissistic abuse, codependency and PTSD. Maybe not. Men AND women exhibit different characteristics of narcissism and to different degrees. But, when someone lies, cheats, insults, controls, acts irrational and irresponsible, trash-talks, and then blames you…does it really matter if they’re a narcissist or not? It hurts really bad; the wounds are deep and usually invisible. Trust me…I know. It’s emotional and psychological abuse and it can happen so slowly and insidiously that you’re completely unaware until it is WAY TOO LATE and you’re all tangled up in it.
Now, you need to protect yourself and distance yourself. The best way to do this is “GO NO-CONTACT”. BUT…in a divorce when children are involved, some contact is going to be necessary. So, then what do you do?
Use a strategy called “GRAY ROCK”. In general, take on the personality of a boring gray rock and attempt to make your soon-to-be ex lose interest in you:
•Become uninteresting and unresponsive,
•Show no emotion – no ranting, cursing, insulting, etc.
•Only respond when absolutely necessary
•Use facts only
•Do not give any personal information
•Do not feed the need for attention and drama
•Use written communication (do not talk to them in-person or on the phone) and as few words as possible
This is so much harder than it sounds. They will likely try their best to make you angry and out-of-control…remember, they're not going to change for you, and they ARE trying to upset you. Never respond right away – there are very few actual emergencies, no matter how urgent they make the situation sound. It’s always a good idea to talk it out first with a trusted friend or a professional who understands Gray Rock and narcissistic personality traits.
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By Rebecca Wolf
Divorce Recovery Coach
Certified Life Coach
Founder of Her Divorce Project and The Divorce Project