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Taking this topic up from Jasmina's reply in another thread...


I had the same reaction as Momshelp - I've been doing this for a long time (like since childhood really!) with my brother (who APS believes to have undiagnosed mental illness) without knowing that the technique had a name. However I think there are some unique considerations that complicate its use in a situation involving an aging elder and an abusive sibling. I can and have made myself boring and non-reactive, however I still feel responsibility for watching out for my parents so unfortunately that means some interaction. And unfortunately because of his personality/illness, that escalates immediately into irrational and abusive territory. Jasmina/others can you share more about how you used this technique within your family? Any thoughts about situations where you can't be fully "Gray" - has it still worked? And how do you keep from becoming too gray in other parts of your life? The work it takes to contain the emotions and buffer against the abuse can be so draining, sometimes I feel in danger of becoming an automaton!

This is fabulous feedback. Thank you all for offering up your personal lives. So great to not be alone with this!
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Had to look up the term and as I understood what it is I realized I’m a frequent user, just wish I’d thought of it much earlier in my life.

I’m the caregiver for my mom, who struggles with narcissism yet is out of touch with this reality; it wasn’t until I became her caregiver that I started applying this approach and it was only because I saw the signs of anxiety and depression out of control mixed with the narcissism that really made me conclude she is ill (psychologically, aside from physically) and therefore I should not take what she says or does personally. When you realize this you take charge as the “adult”. Almost as the parent in the sense of protection. Therefore my main motives are very different than for most people, I didn’t start applying this technique to protect myself, but mainly to protect her; that is my main goal.

See, aside from pointless, engaging in arguments with her would lead to her (and me) getting hurt, mad and not allowing me to help her, and I need to be able take care of her over anything else, she truly needs it. That is my main goal as a daughter, not because I feel obligated or because anybody told me to; simply because I want to.

The key is to remember that what the narcissistic person is saying or doing truly has no fundamental truth, doesn’t define us and it is coming from an *ill mentality* that CANNOT process thoughts nor act differently. Once that is truly understood and accepted, the grey rock approach becomes almost the only approach possible because no one in their right mindset will be arguing with someone that doesn’t even speak the same language. Narcissism implies a fundamental difference in terms of how actions and feelings are interpreted.

In in other words, once the bottom line problem is understood, the approach comes naturally and doesn’t require major effort. At least in my case I don’t apply it with resentment or “on the surface kindness”, I do it with true desire to be able to be there for my mom, and I will report that after about two years of doing this her behavior has changed. I think she realized that you need two to tango, and I’m not willing to dance. The only thing I’m willing to do is to try to give her the love and help she needs at this point in her life.
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janeinspain Oct 30, 2018
Thank you for your reply, sounds like you are a "gray rock" expert! THIS is so true: "no one in their right mindset will be arguing with someone that doesn’t even speak the same language." And kudos to you for recognizing that the words don't have anything to do with you personally. It is so great that you've gotten to this place with your mom. Thanks for sharing your insights.
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Great advice.. I need to get a physical grey rock to carry and remember to stay strong. No contact for almost a full year. Still grieving but without all of the drama and toxicity. Keep strong and be kind.
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janeinspain Oct 30, 2018
Good advice from you too SingSong. Hang in there.

I'm grieving as well. I can gray rock my toxic brother but since he is isolating my parents that results in no contact for me with THEM. There is just a limit to how much I can endure of him in my effort to maintain a relationship with my parents. Very sad.
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I have never heard about this Grey Rock method ....what is this??
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janeinspain Oct 30, 2018
Hi Lorraine - please google the term and you will find links to material and some youtube videos. I can't vouch for the quality of the videos but the reading is very enlightening. All best,

Jane
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I also did it without knowing it was the "gray rock" method. At the time, others tell me I am pre-occupied, disinterested, and not engaged. It works though, since they stop blabbing or attacking and try to soften me up by asking questions about me or something neutral to encourage dialog. Don't fall for it. What OP says about it being draining is very true. It takes restraint because old familiar behaviors have energetic pathways that are easier to follow. After the interaction however, I notice that there is no lingering scorching effect that I always feel when I engage with these people. For me, it means staying grounded in the peace within you and letting the hysteria of others just fall.
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janeinspain Oct 30, 2018
Love this GingerMay: "staying grounded in the peace within you and letting the hysteria of others just fall." This is my goal for all of my crazy life right now!

Best to you :)

Jane
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Thank you so much for posting this. I've been someone using this technique lately but not knowing it had a name or description. I went no contact with my mother several years ago, she pulled me back in and it was probably one of the worst decisions of my life.
I am pulling back again...and of course she is making her move forward. This type of information is exactly what I needed to read about.
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janeinspain Oct 30, 2018
You're welcome! I have Jasmina to thank myself, I never knew there was a name for it! But reading about is very helpful.

Good luck with your mom!

Jane
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Hi, Janeinspain.
OMG - I have been using the "grey rock" technique out of necessity for decades, never knowing a term for what I was doing existed!
I have an elderly narcissistic mother who I could not go no contact with because she lived with her sister, my beloved aunt and godmother. So, over the years I had to "blend into the scenery" to survive any contact with my mother. She is the only person I use it with, and I'm myself otherwise. After practice and time, which is a good thing to condition the others so they don't really sense the change until its in place, you can learn to compartmentalize it for when needed.
It does take control of self not to react to the instigation, attitudes, and down right insults that may be used. My mother even tried projecting on to me what she is, just to get me to react. I outright told her, "I will not tolerate arguments with you," and left if she didn't settle down, and also have said many times, "You can do what you want, but I won't be a part of bad decisions." Most conversations are about her, and sometimes I keep a list of topics to keep the attention off of me, which isn't hard because narcissists don't see you as a separate person.
Read and inform yourself about using techniques that work with narcissists, etc. Start small and build upon your skills so you can protect yourself from getting drug into anything you're not comfortable with. Set firm boundaries.
I understand your feelings of responsibility, which I also share. But there is no reason to feel abused amid irrational behavior. I wish all of us the best in this situation.
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janeinspain Oct 30, 2018
Thank you Pattiac! Great that you have figured out how to manage your mother, and to compartmentalize how you use it. I really like your line: "I won't be a part of bad decisions." That makes it pretty clear. It is funny how many folks here have used this technique without knowing that someone actually came up with a name for it. Thanks for sharing your insights :)

Jane
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Hi, Jane. Very interesting! I only have passing interactions with a person with a personality disorder, but I am reading up on the technique after Googling it. Thanks!
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