How to Beat Narcissists With The Grey Rock Method

Written by David Davenport – Contributing Author Healing Arts Institute

The term narcissist is often used to describe someone who exhibits a haughty or overly confident persona. We use the term so frequently and under so many circumstances, it may have lost much of its actual meaning in colloquial use.

A pathological narcissist is categorized within a group of personality disorders referred to as Cluster B disorders. In this group, narcissists share company with other similarly related disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) will have an inflated sense of self, believing that others are inferior to them. They have magnificent expectations for their success but may or may not have the ability or drive to achieve those grandiose visions. True narcissists will be exceedingly sensitive to criticism and will react with extreme anger to anyone who challenges their sense of self-worth. Interestingly, (and tragically) the very people narcissists abuse are the same people that narcissists demand the most admiration.

According to the National Institutes of Health, it is thought that about 6% of the U.S. population has NPD and about 10% may have a dual diagnosis of NPD and BPD.

That is a lot of angry and toxic people who are walking around in society, and chances are good that you know many of them.

Narcissists can be extremely charismatic people but have difficulty maintaining that façade over time. Eventually, they destroy or subjugate every relationship that they are a part of causing extraordinary suffering to those who have the misfortune of being involved.

Fortunately, there is a way to lessen their manipulative and toxic effects, a method called Grey Rock.

A narcissist does not cope well with the mundane nature of daily life. They will often cause drama to satiate their desire for excitement and latch on to anyone who they believe will provide that excitement for them.

The idea behind Grey Rock is to learn how to be as uninteresting a target as possible. Let the narcissist become bored of you and seek their pathological need for toxic behavior elsewhere.

When was the last time you were fascinated by and drawn towards a boring grey rock? Get it now?

The Basic Principals Behind the Grey Rock Method

Do not let the narcissist know that you are trying to emotionally separate from them.

As tempted as you may be to let the narcissist know that you have had enough of their nonsense, that challenge to their self-esteem may provoke an angry reaction. Remember, the idea is to get them to lose interest in using you as a source for their emotional manipulations.

You don’t have to validate yourself to the narcissist.

Practice in small increments detaching from their verbal taunts and manipulative behaviors. Work with a trained therapist who can guide you through this process so that you don’t take the technique too far and begin detaching from everything and everyone.

If you must speak with a narcissist, keep the interactions as short as possible.

Be polite and civil if you converse with a narcissist but keep the conversation short and directly on topic. Gently guide the conversation back on track if it deviates into other areas of discussion. Many of the people with Cluster B personality disorders can be extremely charming and charismatic. Do not allow them to continue to lure you into their twisted web.

There is nothing wrong with succinct “yes” or “no” answers when no further explanation is required in a conversation. You do not need to act as the source of the narcissist’s emotional vampirism.

Disengage from the narcissist as quickly as possible.

Do not give the narcissist any more attention than is required. If possible, begin focusing on another task or activity which can give you an excuse to either leave the conversation completely. When they see that you’re not providing them with the attention that they desire, they may try additional manipulation tactics. 

This is when you must go back to step one and practice emotional distancing.

Do you have a friend, co-worker, spouse, or parent who you believe fits the description of a Cluster B personality? If so, please seek help immediately from a licensed and trained therapist. These individuals can produce a severe and lasting impact on your mental health and emotional well-being.

Cutting off toxic people from your life is only the first step. The process of healing and learning to interact with your surroundings in a healthy and balanced way is a long journey that should be taken with trusted friends and trained guides.

Citations:

Brown, Andrew D. “Narcissism, Identity, and Legitimacy.” The Academy of Management Review, vol. 22, no. 3, 1997, pp. 643–686. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/259409.

Meadows-Fernandez, Rochaun. “What Are Cluster B Personality Disorders?” Healthline, 28 Feb. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/cluster-b-personality-disorders.

Post, Jerrold M. “Current Concepts of the Narcissistic Personality: Implications for Political Psychology.” Political Psychology, vol. 14, no. 1, 1993, pp. 99–121. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3791395.

Raypole, Crystal. “Dealing With a Manipulative Person? Grey Rocking May Help.” Healthline, 13 Dec. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/grey-rock.

“The Gray Rock Method | Beat ‘Toxic People’ with Serenity.” YouTube, uploaded by Einzelgänger, 27 Jan. 2020, https://youtu.be/mUmycvTfH5Q.

Meadows-Fernandez, Rochaun. “What Are Cluster B Personality Disorders?” Healthline, 28 Feb. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/cluster-b-personality-disorders.

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