I was reading Janeinspain's post asking members if they ever used the 'grey rock' method with aging family members/siblings with personality disorders.

I also posted awhile ago about my narcissistic mother's upcoming surgery and how to keep the peace. Because I also have a narcissistic sister who is a '10' on the extreme side of the scale; back in May she put her hands on me and I had to teach her a lesson. What makes it worse, is that it had to do with me and MY friend and wasn't even about the welfare of our mother or grandmother (the two elders who have issues from time to time), I was driving at the time, and my mother who has neck problems (the reason for this particular surgery) was also in the car at the time of the attack! So, I had to pull over and literally take her down. All this, and my mother mostly cared about her welfare, not to mention she wouldn't admit my sister's fault (kept saying we were both at fault instead of seeing her sickness). In other words, they have been going along like all this was just one of 'those things' and all is back to 'normal', while I went grey rock ever since.

The problem is, my mother's surgery is next week and I feel my anger bubbling back up (this is years of buildup because of their recklessness), because though she claims she will be receiving after surgery care from the hospital, I asked her about it the other day and she is saying she hasn't spoken to them about it. Mind you, she has all her mental faculties, and she doesn't like for me to talk to her doctor issues (blames me for having my own life and thinks she is proving something with me). Trust, I don't want anything to do with any of it, especially after that last incident with her and my sister, but when she asked if I can bring her clothes the day of the surgery, I said 'Ok'. I also emphasized that I am very busy with both work and school, so post surgery care would need to be arranged. My problem is I let myself go to 10 when she said she still hasn't talked to them about the after care, even though she has been saying this is what would happen.

I believe she is still in the mindset that I am supposed to be doing it; not being realistic that I have a life separate from her. So, I believe she is thinking I'm supposed to fill in all the caregiving blanks for her. While the crazy sister lives down south (her next trip has to do with bringing her and my grandmother to a stupid Broadway show around New Year's with all this happening!), and the other sister is 100% grey rocking it.

Knowing this and that now she wants me to pick her up, made me feel like I'm being reeled in again, though I've been setting boundaries. Unfortunately, I yelled in the phone the to my mother (also after learning she still hasn't talked to the doctors about the postcare) that I have a lot on my plate; something about teamwork at both work and school, so I have alot of people to make arrangements with (she said sarcastically, 'teamwork'); this is why I can't stand trying to support them; I won't be in the same room with my sister should she ever show because I have to be worrying about my welfare while all I've been trying to do is support, etc. I forgot all about my mother was coming from one of her doctor appointments and was sitting in their waiting room, which is probably why she went silent. Then she asked for just having peace. I told her I agreed, but peace and silence are two different things (I honestly think it's been too much the opposite she and my sister have been doing to trust this). And that I wasn't angry, just being real with her.

So, once again I feel the dread of not just her upcoming surgery, but though she said her care will be taken of, she is starting to add things on my plate. While what I want to do is support more from a distance (like visit here and there). My only reason for agreeing to anything is I'm the only relative, and one with a car, who lives nearby. But I am also tired of the disrespect (cont.)

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Thank you so much Isthisrealyreal. You truly have great advice!

I really can relate to alot of what you said and I like this in particular: "Okay, I'm the problem, see your problem leaving, bye!" Definitely using that on especially the troubling sis; that is, if I find myself having to speak to her in the first place!

For an outlet, I actually use a punching bag. I will also use the yelling things out on my own, while trying the grey rock method on them again.

I want to say thank you again. I hope you continue to be around, as both you understand and are very wise.

Have a blessed one!

Oh yes, love the avatar of whom I am guessing is your dog. They are so gorgeous and I had my furry baby for almost 17 years (in heaven now). Miss him so much! They are also wonderful in helping us to heal. 🐕

Thank you for updating us on everything.

That she asked you, then brought her stuff could be a game or her slipping mentally. That is the hardest part dealing with narcissistic people, what is their normal jerky behavior and what is disease.

I totally understand saying to much, I have always felt the truth is best, yet narcissists only use the truth if it serves them better then the hustle.

You do have to say what you need to, but you need to know that the response received may only cause more anger. Believe me, when I was finished I had lots to say and it shut them down for a bit. I was pizzed and I didn't hold anything back. The only thing that made me feel bad was knowing that I will never have a reasonable two way conversation with them, it's about them or I'm having a hissy fit. Okay, I'm the problem, see your problem leaving, bye!

You got this and you are on the road to having your life without all of the garbage they dump on you. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself when you do the very thing you said you wouldn't and keep your boundaries.

Can I suggest getting a stuffed animal and naming it mom and sister and telling it off, slap it around, stomp up and down on it. Whatever makes you feel better. This will empower you and get things out, that said to them only give them ammo. I used a nerf bat and went hoarse giving me relief. I still laugh at some of the things I said, it felt so good and not one hurtful word spoken back.



Yes, agreed! Fast forward a little; I did visit her after her surgery. I went ahead, especially because of two things: 1) to speak to the doctor and make it clear she will need both in-hospital and at-home care, as she also lives alone and 2) being it was my day off, Veterans Day-God bless the vets.

After I spoke to his assistants about it, because he was naturally busy, I couldn't believe the doctor left me a message on my cell phone that he wants her to go home to have it done and the 'ol not catching germs in the hospital syndrome as the issue. Not to mention right before that, my mother was about to read me the riot act for saying that to the assistants (probably upset that she was too out of it to argue with me, which was a point for my going to speak to them).

However, I was hoping the reasonable seed I planted in all their heads would work, and it seems to have, because my mother texted the next day that she is to receive 5-10 days of hospital therapy; currently awaiting approval.

Specifically speaking, she had neck and spinal surgery with metal inserted to alleviate compressed discs and lack of bone structure in the neck can't recall the procedure)! And is 80! Still can't believe these doctors are deciding to let them go like that. I don't care about the germs compared to a colossal accident happening and me having to end up dealing with it in some capacity...again. It's all a risk, anyway.

Now I'm going to her house because she forgot to take care of her mail issue. Once again, don't want anyone knowing she's not there and then there's a robbery or something.

My plan is to leave it all, but can't without moving both home and work, which is too close and too accessible. I know how to say no, but feel I need that fresh start from afar for things to really change.

Right now, I'm trying limited contact first, as well knowing my priority is to me. I noticed how much "nicer" these narcissists are when I do that. The extremely narc sister tried texting to see if I came to the hospital and I just ignored it; she went away, when once she would start something.

If the limited edition doesn't work out, no contact will have to be next, along with the moving--more complicated, but may be necessary.

Thank you

Write this out in big block letters and post it where you can see it:
"A lack of prior planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" Repeat to yourself as you morph into gray rock. Think about it: the gray rock has all the power in an interaction. Strong, bland, immovable, nonflammable!!!

Sorry, meant to answer everyone, including closetenvy's question about 'Rainbow Rock'.

I see you basically found out, but I should have said in the beginning that the term 'grey rock' is about being 'boring', or ignoring the narcissist altogether.

I also wondered about it at first and forgot that I found out about it through research about narcissists, and it is not always talked about here.

As mentioned, I've been trying to practice it but as you see I'm not always successful at it. So I came up with the term 'Rainbow Rock'.

Those who understand the 'grey rock' term would most likely get it right away.


Thank you for the continued and great responses! It warms my heart, because I am sitting here thinking about it all and like Isthisrealyreal (your name is spot on!) says, it ain't gonna happen with these people. Yes, they are family. But no, they are not here for me, the way I was for them; in a real healthy sense.

In fact, it's been downright toxic for too long. I am really not the right person to even step in for my mother and grandmother anymore, and not just because I'm busy. I'm angry and just want to be left alone to heal and live my life. Realistically, I think that will only happen once I move further away; both job and home wise (though it will quite some time to get both together, I'm working on it).

Just a little while ago, I called to let my mother know I would be there after her operation to bring her clothes, as asked. As I have a day off tomorrow, my plan was to just come by so I don't feel all the way bad, then go my way.
Come to find out, she already plans to bring her stuff. I should have said ok, but my rainbow rock kicked in again with feeling disrespected. I told her thanks for letting me know, and then said ok. Because all weekend I've been working ahead of time to clear things up before getting that together for her. But actually, I'm glad to know she is taking responsibility for herself; and at the same time, she could be playing games.

As a result, I went on to say I'll still stop by after the surgery and asked if the troubled sister would be there (didn't say it like that; said her name). When my mother said the usual bit about telling her not to be bothered with having to come (into town), I said how she never cared about expecting me not to do these things for her. She said the same 'ol spiel how I live close by. I answered that I'm not hearing that anymore; there are other factors involved too like my own life; and my other sister lives in town too (the one who is never in touch), so how does that make any sense?

Went on to say I'm the one who's been there for her and my grandmother for years while they (sisters) had time to do their thing. It's time for me to do the same, as I feel violated and wish I knew then what I know now in how she (my mother) felt about everything. Plus, that I told my grandmother that I doubt if I'd be doing anything this Thanksgiving (mother said something sarcastic about that). Said that I called to let her know I'll stop by, and wished her the best tomorrow. Bye, I have to go take care of my stuff.

So basically, I rainbow rocked it...again. But you know what? I'm tired of beating myself up about if I should have said this, or not said that. I have to get these things out, and I did. I feel better for it, even though her surgery is tomorrow. Not trying to stress her out, but every time I talk to her or any of them, I cannot hold my tongue any longer.

The "Oh, I'm busy right now. Gotta go", worked for a bit, but the problem is it's not really how I speak. I'm very vocal (can you tell the way I write?) when I communicate, and tend to say too much. Don't know if to keep working on that, or just accept I am this way; just like the narcissist is how they are. Though I'm naturally vocal, living amongst too many (including an almost 10 year relationship with one) might have rubbed off on me a bit, too.

But the difference between me and them is my desire to support, grow, and do better.

By the way Isthisrealyreal, I love this: " A relationship is a two way street and if it's not, well, all one way streets eventually lead to a dead end." Will remember that one.

Thanks to you and everyone, immensely!

what is rainbow rock?

isthisrealyreal . Just wanted to comment that was an amazing response!

So, you already agreed to do it. Has she ever backed out on you?

If you feel you have to do it, show up before she goes in, tell her you brought her stuff and hope it goes well, bye. If she flaps her jaw, just smile, I did what you asked, hope it goes well, bye.

She will use any excuse to get you under her thumb.

She doesn't have anyone because of her, it doesn't make you responsible, in fact you have every reason to be part of the no ones.

When my dad starts on the poor me, I don't have anyone, oh me oh my, boohoo, I just say, man I bet you are wishing you raised me differently, to be a nice person! Because being a doormat is not happening any longer. His choices have consequences and I'm not paying the price for him. I don't mention my mom much because I have minimal contact with her and its been 5 years since I have seen her. She has her husband who is 89, almost bedridden and very sick, no one else. She's toxic and that is the reason, not because of me in any way, shape or form. I can not be chewed up on a regular basis, it is to hard. It doesn't mean I'm a bad person or uncaring, it means I'm not a fricking scratching post. A relationship is a two way street and if it's not, well, all one way streets eventually lead to a dead end.

Holidays, I go skiing and let them enjoy their pot of poop. If I can't manage that, I volunteer to serve others on those days. I just can't tolerate saving up all your garbage and dumping it at the family gathering, this is their tradition and I refuse to participate. This started 15 years ago, I had 4 days off, 2 of which would be traveling, I was so sickened that the 2 days I had were spent being chewed on that I said, never again. I have never participated since that time, no presents, no phone calls, no contact, nada. At first they were crying, what do we do with your presents, I had told them not to get any, so you feel the need to do something, adopt a family and fill their pantry, that put a stop to it.

If you need to do something for grandma, take her to brunch the weekend before or send a card.

I can read in your responses that you long to have a family relationship, but it is not going to happen with these people. The sooner you stop owning all of their issues the sooner you will find your family, it is love, not blood that makes people our family in this world.

You can do this!

Practise saying "I can't possibly do that".

Tell her the nurses at the hospital are there to keep track of her possessions while she's in surgery.

If she hasn't talked her doctor about after care, that's on her, isn't it, now?

I'm 65 years old. when I go in for a procedure, I arrange to take someone with me if it's told to me that it's a necessity. I ask my husband to take a day off, or I ask a retired friend. I wouldn't dream of burdening my adult children with this.

Just some reality testing for you.

Thanks everyone! I happened to check back and glad to see all this great advice.

Isthisreallyreal, I love this: "If you stumble or fall, get up and try again, it doesn't mean that you have to change your end goal because you goofed. It's like a diet, you over ate today but that doesn't mean you have to do it tomorrow. "

I will look to try again; my mistake already is I took her spare keys and said I'd pick up her clothes and bring them to the hospital on the day of her surgery. She claims she doesn't want to bring them and lose track of them when she is out of commission.

All the while, I barely am calling her. Wondering every day how much I want to get involved, while knowing this lady is my mother, she's old, and really has no one else right near by. Wish I never moved so close; not to mention I work even closer. This is making me feel "trapped."

Plus, how do you handle the holidays? I don't want to do it with them anymore, but there's also my grandmother who I fluctuate about.

Thank you again for all your help. ☺️

Since your mother is competent, is there any reason for simply going low or no contact? And it is wise to avoid explanations - after all you do not owe them, and they may be interpreted as a reason to argue.  Just because mom expects this or that-- does not constitute any obligation on your part. Practice ignoring and try low contact or none.

Okay, so now I get it.

I didn't even know about this technique but I use it on my parents all the time.

I just read an article that said if you slip, take full responsibility publicly, not necessarily inside of you. Then move back to grey rock.

I see you give reasons why you stay in contact, are they valid or just guilt. I know how hard it is to come to the reality that there is no reason to have contact with your mom and every reason to steer clear.

You know she is trying to hook you, so don't bite. Oh gee mom, I screwed up and I have a prior commitment that I can't get out of, here's a couple of numbers for a ride.

From what you said, you explain way to much. Remember, NO, is a complete sentence. You do not owe her any explanation of why you are not available. If she presses, oops, gotta go, talk later. (Not!)

She can only violate your boundaries if you let her, stop letting her. If you stumble or fall, get up and try again, it doesn't mean that you have to change your end goal because you goofed. It's like a diet, you over ate today but that doesn't mean you have to do it tomorrow.

Best luck getting back in your boundaries and not biting her bait.

You can do it!

Shinebright, your situation sounds insanely stressful!! I can totally relate. I have PTSD from dealing with physical attacks and verbal abuse from a few of my father's minions. And that happened a few years back. Now I'm dealing with glaring and insults from others and I find it very triggering.

I've done the grey rock method with father, mostly successful, but then he does
something so underhanded and disrespectful, adding a ton of chaos into what
is already a stressful care situation, and I guess I go rainbow rock, or maybe I'd
call it lava rock lol and start getting mad. I hate myself for it and I'm sure he feels
very satisfied that he can play victim to his mean old daughter. Ugh.

You have to find someway to protect yourself. And keep your sanity. These types
of folks seem to thrive off the drama, chaos and poor me narrative. You can take
care of them like kings and queens and they'll still be dissatisfied. And they
also seem to attach to grifters, users and other exploitative/impulsive people.
They seem to mutually use each other, with you there in the middle doing all the
real heavy lifting. (ie. my father mentioned that he just uses people for various
tasks, it also seems that slandering me as the bad guy to his caregivers, he then enjoys VIP treatment from them). He absolutely thrives with all the chaos and heartache as he feels vindicated for feeling like a victim, as well as feeling important and in control.

My impression has been that much of the aggression directed towards me has been purposeful and basically boils down to getting me out of the way to gain access to money, assets, or sometimes just having control. Only you can decide if you want to keep having a starring role in your mother's deliberate toxic drama. Your health, finances, happiness, family and even your life can be put at risk in dealing with these types. I very much regret not bowing out sooner. Dealing with
my father's deliberately created toxic dramas has cost me so much.

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. Best of luck. Let us know how it goes.
Wish I had better advice right now for you, I think I'm kinda stuck in similar and
looking for the exit.

I just saw it, I need to look up your terms and I'll be back.

A bit disappointed I didn't receive any replies. Maybe the post was too long and too much in it. Thanks anyway.


After saying all this, I felt good for getting it out (again) but then remembered I might have given her too much ammunition. Therefore, I feel I 'rainbow rocked' it. Is it too late to go back to grey rocking? And how to avoid getting pulled into all this? 

P.S. Please excuse the length; didn't have time to edit it due to school work.


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