Why the Grey Rock Method doesn’t work in the long term

The grey rock method can be useful temporarily to create some emotional distance from a narcissist. In the end, however, the only real solution for dealing with a narcissist is standing up for yourself and thus to go no contact.

If you need to interact because of having children together, it’s important to learn to firmly set boundaries, stand up for yourself, and set clear rules for the necessary (non-emotional) contact. To do this, you need to feel the emotional distance from within rather than ‘acting’ as a grey rock.

In this video, I will shortly explain this method, its possible use, and more importantly, also the risk of using it in the long term.

Video Transcript

When having a narcissistic or toxic individual in your life, it’s not always an option to simply cut them out of your life and go no contact right away. You might have children with the narcissist, or it simply is or feels impossible to leave at that time. A popular method to handle these manipulative and toxic persons, when still having to interact with them, is called the grey rock method.

In this video, I will shortly explain this method, its possible use, and more importantly, also the risk of using it. The grey rock method can work temporarily, but in the long term, you need to feel the emotional distance that we try to create by using the grey rock method on the inside as well. To me, it’s very important to not only focus on what is grey rock behaviour and how to act this way, but to consider your energy and underlying feelings and triggers as well.

What is the grey rock method?

So what exactly is the idea of the grey rock method? The basic idea is that you try to become as boring and unappealing as a grey rock. You minimize personal and emotional interaction with the narcissist as much as possible. The method requires you to become emotionally non-responsive towards the narcissist. The result is that you don’t fulfill their need for narcissistic supply and the narcissist eventually loses their interest in you.

If their need is not fulfilled, a narcissist eventually will look for another source of energy, because a grey rock is not fulfilling the narcissist’s needs. If you don’t respond in an emotional way at times when they trigger you, they will feel they’re losing control. And normally, your emotional reaction is their confirmation of having control. Therefore, when you become calm, non-emotional, and boring, it’s the opposite of what they need and want.

Grey rock is a strategy

It’s important to know that when consciously using the grey rock method, you are participating in a game of manipulation. You have to realize this. Acting like a grey rock is a form of disconnecting from who you essentially are and therefore it will cost you energy.

The truth is that if you have to pretend or act as a grey rock, it’s unhealthy for yourself in the long term. It’s because your attention will still be on how to behave and act around this narcissist. So yes, it will be a relief temporarily, and yes it can be very useful or even necessary in order to create some emotional distance at first, but acting like a grey rock only works for some time.

Shifting your attention towards yourself

In the long term, it’s more important to focus on yourself and to feel this emotional distance from the narcissist from within. It’s about finding the strength to heal what’s inside you and what causes you to get triggered. When you heal on the inside, their power over you will slowly disappear and you will feel that you are in control. I hope this makes sense.

If you don’t become triggered, you don’t have to pretend or act as a grey rock anymore, because you will automatically behave in a non-emotional way towards the narcissist. You will recognize the narcissist and their behaviour for what it is. It will look sad and empty rather than terrifying.

When still triggered a lot, your attention will mostly be on the narcissist. Slowly, you need to shift your attention from the narcissist towards yourself. Focus on the inside. Why do I feel triggered when this person is behaving a certain way? Know that you’re not responsible for their manipulative behaviour. Work on yourself and develop yourself. To me, that’s where the long term solution will be. You will learn to set boundaries and stand up for yourself. You are worth this time and effort.

You can learn a lot more about how to exactly use the grey rock method in my in-depth article, which you can find in the subscription. In this article, I share some insights and what to be aware of. I hope this can be useful to you and I wish you strength!

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