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Going Grey Rock

So for the past few months I’ve been in survival mode, placating him and trying to repair/ rebuildgrey rock my life behind the scenes. I’ve been trying to live like everything is fine and great and wonderful. Not making waves, not fighting back, going along with his plans. Not even thinking about using the Grey Rock method at all.

But now I’m done with that. I’ve been reading more (I will get my reviews up this next week, I promise. I’ve read some awesome books you guys!) and I’m realizing how to get rid of a narcissist: be the most boring person EVER. Now at first it sounds easy, but mentally all this time I’ve been picturing grey rock and imagining a sad, fat, grey woman with flat hair and dead eyes and just blah. And I couldn’t do it. I have too much… I don’t know, spirit? Pride? Ugh, I can’t.

Never Lose Your Cool

But what I’ve been reading is that it goes deeper, it’s not about making yourself look like a Rock (yeah I know, but that’s the image I had in my head) it’s about being the absolute most boring person you could ever be to the narcissist. Like boring boring boring. It’s like oil floating on the surface of the water, moving with the waves, totally unperturbed, no strong reactions, just super chill. Respond to things he’s excited about with a “that’s nice”, don’t tell him funny or interesting things, don’t do anything interesting when he’s around, don’t watch anything interesting on tv, don’t read anything except your phone (thank God for the kindle app!!!). Don’t talk about your friends or family or the weather, just be polite and act like things are fine but be detached.

…Even During a Rage

And the reverse is true as well, if they’re ranting and raging at you, maintain your composure and DO NOT LET THEM KNOW THEY’RE AFFECTING YOU. This is probably the HARDEST part of the whole game. You have to build a strong wall and stay behind it. And doing that when all you want to do is cut them down and make them feel as bad as they SHOULD for acting like they do requires herculean amounts of self control.

grey rockIts helpful to remember Narcissists are mentally disturbed, most of what they’re saying is lies and posturing and they usually won’t follow through on any of the “threats” (Im going to leave you, you will be penniless, etc). Remember, you will NEVER get through to them with anything like logic, reason, or the truth, so you might as well forget it. Arguing with a narcissist only provides them more ammunition to use against you and works you up so you’re not thinking as clearly. They count on this, in fact. So don’t waste your breath and just keep silent.

A Narcissist knows your fears and will play off them. Its also likely that the more stoic you are the more angry they will get, so if they have a tendency for physical violence this is NOT the way to go. You probably will want to have an escape plan ready at a moments notice to remove yourself from the situation, at least until they simmer down.

Now this is WAY harder than I thought it would be, but it’s working already, two days in. He’s already ignoring me! Score. Although I expect an explosion any time, which will be much harder to keep my cool but I think I’ve detached enough to handle it without losing my composure.

Here are the Grey Rock Rules:

  1. This one may seem obvious, but NEVER tell the Narc that you’re using Grey Rock. It kind of defeats your goal, and they will just view it as a challenge.

  2. Limit all conversation initiated by you. Stick to the very basics of life and don’t engage them as much as possible. Never tell them anything personal, such as your concerns, feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and plans for the future.

  3. When you are forced to talk, let them do most of the talking and offer only distracted and no-commital responses, like “thats nice” and “Hmmm”. Using something as a prop to distract will be helpful, such as your phone, housework, or a book. (Housework is also a great way to stay away from them when they’re home. They probably won’t bother you if you are “working”)

  4. Don’t let them make you lose your cool. They will probably step up their game and try and make you react. This is going to be difficult, don’t fool yourself. But, eventually you can wear them down.


So, Grey Rock lasted a few days before he decided we needed to have a “talk”. He was actually very calm, which was un-nerving. And had this smug, “I’m better than you” attitude the entire time he was telling me how I was doing our relationship wrong and that I was never going to “get over” everything that happened in the past. (Like, no shit Sherlock, insert eye roll…). Apparently he thinks he’s super sneaky now and that I have grey rockno clue he’s most likely up to the same old shit he was doing before. Maybe not the same context, maybe not with the same people, but its the same.

He still is totally irresponsible about “grown up” stuff (like maintaining health and renters insurance), he still won’t take care of the basic stuff in the house (like getting the garage door fixed/taking care of the lawn, etc). He is still hyper critical of me and tells me I’m a freeloader and do nothing all day. He still chooses to spend most of his free time doing his own thing. He’s drinking too much. He’s spending money behind my back and then slacking off on the bills until the last possible minute (such as, the day the lights get turned off). He is still doing everything he can to isolate me and to keep me from working. He’s still lying about where he’s going (Ive caught him with the Apple Find My Phone app- which BTW if you’re on a family Apple ID you should be aware that they can track you with that. Instructions to turn it off HERE). And thats just some of the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. So yes, he thinks he has me fooled. And I guess thats fine.

grey rockMy point is, this is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. And I will be honest in that I’m not sure I can or should wait him out and try and make him get rid of me. I’m thinking its going to get to the point when I just have to do it, I’m too “useful” even while trying to be a total bore. And realistically, as long as my little isn’t in school yet, he NEEDS me because he doesn’t want to work more to support her preschool.

So I wouldn’t say I’m abandoning Grey Rock. It’s seriously easier some days just because I don’t want to deal with him and avoiding him works better. Some days I don’t feel like showering and doing my hair and makeup (okay most days, yes thats not a good sign and I should address my probable depression more seriously soon). So I guess my fear of becoming Grey Rock is more because I’m afraid it will actually become who I am. 

I am still researching other options, like making him think I’m more messed up than he is (AKA lying about everything all the time for no reason despite the fact that the truth is blatantly obvious, which could be fun in a psycho kind of way) but I’m not sure yet so right now, I’m just being as bland and boring as I can be. And hoping he decides he’s tired of me soon. Or at least that when I leave he decides its no great loss….

Please share YOUR stories with Grey Rock in the comments below. There is not really a whole lot of information out there, any tips would be appreciated!! 🙂

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25 thoughts on “Going Grey Rock

  1. Louise says:

    My advice is leave before they leave you at the moment he has total control take control out of the game and make the move you deserve to be happy and believe me your little one will understand more than you think – good luck xx
    Sadly whether your in the relationship or not you will have to deal with them for your little ones sake but better dealing with them draining your soul weekly or ortnightly than every day. X

  2. Rose says:

    Great post and well done for sussing this out. This advice is not general knowledge and should be, I think! I realised this myself after years of being used and abused that almost anything you say can be used as ammunition by narcissists. I normally come across them in work environments now but only realise they are narcs after I’ve been groomed and abused. I still have boundary issues. When I have realised they are using me to forward an agenda or be a play thing in a twisted mind game, I quit engaging in any conversations with them. If they ask me how I am, I respond with the generic “fine” and never ask them any questions unless I need to for work purposes. I now refuse to speak in what could be considered awkward silent moments. I don’t care anymore. If they ask any questions say as little as possible and say it with the least amount of emotion. They get bored and the game is not fun for them anymore. X

  3. Skyla Killilea says:

    Wonderful post! I always love getting these email updates. This one really hit home for me. Many things you wrote about, I was like oh my me too! Makes me feel not so alone. Also, you’re spot on! These help me to realize and open my eyes to my life and him.

  4. Kathy says:

    This one comes home after a trying day, and smacks himself silly with straight bourbon. Gray rock is challenging for me because I have been trained by him, to react. Now, I’m hyper-vigilant, too, since I never know what he’s going to do, next. The drinking/drug (ab)use, appears to be standard behavior, for narcs. As is complaining that we don’t “do” anything, paying the bills at the last possible moment, and pathological lying.

  5. Danah Hilden says:

    By the time i left many years ago….I was a gray rock…depressed, had PTSD was extremely thin. My mom thankfully said to me…if you stay with him you are going to die. Too high price I would say. When I hired an attorney with money i had secretly saved I went to court and got an order for spousal and child support for my then two year old daughter- best thing I ever did. My daughter now 19 and away at college said to me once Mom if I did not have you to come home to I would be crazy. She courageously stopped seeing her father when she was 12 years old.

  6. DKS says:

    What you are describing is very similar to the “do not engage” strategy that I used with my narc ex. My therapist recommended it and some of the literature out there discusses it as well. At first he didn’t notice, because our “relationship” was basically a monologue anyway (he ranted, pontificated and carried on his own one way conversations regardless of whether I was listening or not- more often not). He did eventually demand to know “what is going on here?” By that time I was so good at it that I simply said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about” and walked away. It wasn’t always easy, especially when he was blaming me for something he had no business blaming me for, or being downright nasty for no reason. I can’t say I was always perfect- as you all know, they can lure you into letting your guard down when they’ve had a period of “good” behavio-r and then turn into Mr. Ugly on a dime, leaving you to feel like you’ve just been sucker punched. A few times I got caught off gaurd and reacted, which was ok because I learned that getting a reaction from me was exactly what he wanted and was essentially like oxygen for his ugliness. Not getting a reaction left him essentially impotent and powerless. I like that.
    We have been seperated for four months and I still have to work the “do not engage” strategy. We have a child, so I can’t go “no contact,” but I do manage to limit our interactions to hi’s, bye’s and text and email messages. Every single time he tricks me into getting on the phone he gets ugly and I have to hang up on him. I don’t think it will ever really end, but I’m getting better at it every day. Hang in there, Samantha, you can do this!

  7. Tracy says:

    I am trying to stay with my narcissistic husband for financial reasons. I want to pay down my debt and finish nursing school before I leave. He is well aware this is my plan but flat out doesn’t believe me. I have a little over a year to go. I am lucky that I pretty much don’t have to live with him as he is a long haul truck driver and is only home about 5 days a month. By the time I leave him I hope he actually wants to split too. That would make it a lot easier. I’ve been trying to stand up for myself more and not give him any supply or play into his delusions.I’m thinking this will make staying with me less appealing to him since the fact I’m such a doormat and let him always have his way is what he likes most about me. I’m not sure becoming a boring person (grey rock) would work for me as he has no interest in me as a person anyway. I guess the lack of attention and reaction to him aspect of it would apply though. Can anyone share how finally standing up for yourself worked for you.

    1. Kathy says:

      I was never a doormat … I am empathic, and genuinely care for others. I don’t do grey rock, because I don’t know how to act as if I don’t feel anything. I stand up for myself, with terrible results, but I don’t much care. Once he told me he did not love me, anymore, (after about forty years of marriage) and that there was no resolution for that state of affairs; all bets were off. Now, I say exactly what’s on my mind, and let the chips fall where they may. He is too much of a coward to do anything other than rage attack, or demonstrate the silent treatment, and I can stand both. Our situations are different, however. I am physically handicapped, and therefore, can’t see a way out of here. I refuse to be treated like hell, though, so when he rage attacks, I rage right back. This is not to be taken as advice, since only you know your situation, and your NPD. When I lived with my parents, I watched in horror, as my mother allowed my stepfather to steamroller her. She became a wall flower, who seldom spoke, at the dinner table. I swore I would never allow that to happen to me. I don’t like acting the way he does, just because he acts a certain way, but I won’t lie down, and accept his “superiority,” without question either.

    2. Do not stand up to a narcissist. You can’t reason with someone who doesn’t have empathy or conscience. It won’t hurt him, he wont learn anything from it, and it wont make you feel better. It will only hurt you with added emotional or physical scars. He knows how to hurt you better than anyone don’t fuel his fire.

    3. AJ says:

      The longer you stay, the more damage will be incurred upon yourself and (if you have any) kids. Firsthand knowledge, here.

  8. susan says:

    Good to know that what I’ve been doing for the past 2 years has a name and I’m not the only one out there doing and living a Grey Rock life because we have no choice.
    Stay strong my friend!!

  9. NICOLE says:

    Great article! I can write a book about how my life was. I have to watch my 7 year old son like a hawk because of his Dad, especially when he comes home from there. Already things are starting with him minulplitiating my son.

    One thing I learned is to build & have trust with my son and that is what conquers!

  10. rileyday says:

    Holy crap I’m so glad I found this blog. Thank you!!! So helpful!!!

  11. s says:

    I’m amazed at all the things I’ve learned since I left the narcissist after 30 years of marriage. I spent many years trying to make things better, putting up with emotional and physical abuse. I didn’t realize he was a narcissist, I just thought he was an ass. Eventually, I became what’s apparently called a grey rock simply because I stopped caring. I didn’t care if he raged or lied. It didn’t bother me and I had no interest in anything he did or said so being a grey rock was actually easy for me. It was a relief not to become involved in all that drama. I finally left and he petitioned me to pay $2500.00 a month for no less than 15 years because I was the breadwinner during the marriage while he was often unemployed and drunk. I couldn’t believe he could do that since I put him through a private university to get his degree. My son said as a man he was offended by the ex’s actions but as a son he was disgusted. My son has since legally changed his surname to mine. I am so much happier now and breathing! I wish all of you a safe journey to the world away from the chaos!

  12. Tina says:

    You said you might try pathological lying as a tactic… please don’t 🙁 don’t sink to his level!! I realize you’re trying any-and-every strategy just to stay sane. I am in the same boat, so stay strong. You’re not the only one. Any time you feel down, know that you are a strong woman and there is no one else in the world like YOU.

  13. Karrie Lynnders says:

    It’s so hard. I’ve been married 20 years and with him for 25. I want to leave but I am disabled and disability doesn’t leave me much to live on without a spouse helping me. It’s disheartening to think I have to live like this forever and I worry about my daughter thinking it is okay to be treated this same way. We’ve been seeking couseling, but it always comes back to the same verbal abuse. It will never end. My husband is an ACOA) Adult Child of an Alcoholic and I know from his family that he treats me the same way his father treated his mother, but he doesn’t drink. It’s what is called a dry alcoholic. I feel very alone. Reading this blog gives me some hope though.

  14. Kristy says:

    I left a narcissist. The problem with that is when they no longer have control they go crazy. This was 8 years ago and I’m fine now. However he put me through he’ll and back because of it. Took a long time to heal and I have kids with him So I still deal with him. I will say it was all worth it! Get out before it takes over you. If it hasn’t already. I was so sick with him lost so much weight didn’t have a thought of mine own I wasn’t afraid to voice.and his cheating made me feel so ugly and unimportant. I thought he would be happy if I filed for divorce but I was wrong. There men are mentally ill nothing the say or do makes sense and on their heads they are and always will be right.

  15. Haddi C. says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I have a “him” who exhibits the very same behavior (especially not owning up to their wrongs & not wanting to be held accountable.)
    It is a bittersweet relief to know I am not alone, however, I am sure your heart must be hurting, too. 🙁

    If I may speak into your life, don’t lie to him- EVER. If you begin down that path, you go down a slippery slope to being just like HIM. If you have to make up something to get him to leave you or for you to leave, is that really a brave victory, or a coward’s way out? I’m not saying you are a coward now, you have braved many battles with him before & I am sure you have come out stronger, even if you arw broken.
    What I mean by the coward’s way out is that if you are truly fighting for freedom, victory, authenticity… lying to get your “freedom” is counterproductive & would ruin everything you tried so hard to foght for. You would become what you stand against. Please remember what you are fighting for & do not become the enemy. Because if you do, your Little or someone else in your life may take on your role that you are currently experiencing with your “Him.” Something to think about.

    Peace to you.

  16. Rima says:

    How do you ever leave a verbally abusive rage filled controlling husband when you have kids together? This is the reason I stay, he is nasty to them when i am around, I cant imagine him having custody for an entire weekend. He has already told me once, when we had this conversation, that he would fight me for sole custody (we both work, and he has more family available to help, I have no one). At least now I am with my kids all the time, and i can SEE what my husband is doing and how he is reacting. Can you give me advice on grey rock? ive tried being monotone/basic answers before but then he gets mad and demands to know what is wrong with me? how come i am not excited when he said xyz? why am i speaking like this?

    1. Cbm says:

      when you respond monotone and simple short answers and he asks what’s wrong say nothing and walk away, pretend you have to make a phone call, call one of your kids names for something, anything, go to the bathroom anything to get away ..he will get the message

  17. Audrey says:

    I have realized fairly recently that i have been married to a Narcissist. I never even knew their was a name for it. Until i read up on it & realized it described everything my marriage was about. I have been reading the responses & I’m so amazed & comforted knowing that I’m not the only one who’s life has been torned to pieces. I’ve been trying to research how to handle this & cope with the guilt I’ve been feeling for being so weak & letting this prolong for so many years & exposing my daughter to this behavior. We are almost to the end. We now live separately but he acts like we are divorced but he still has yet to file any paperwork. His treatment of me has become downright disrespectful to the core & is obvious he doesn’t care or have any sense of guilt on how he talks to me or treats me. But what i need to find out is will they ever be the ones to file the divorce or sometimes i think to myself to be careful of how i react because he might go crazy & hurt me or kill me. You hear alot of those stories that the spouse goes crazy & kills both of themselves. Sometimes i think if i file, he could get his ego hurt then try to hurt me. Anyhow I’m glad to find this site, it will help me to stay grounded in reminding myself I’m not the crazy one.

    1. Maria says:

      AUDREY, you messasge really hit home. After many years thinking, he may be right, I may need medication. I realized he’s a narcissist. He has ALL the above mentioned symptoms. Without knowing, I started doing the grey rock because he would twist everything I would say when later on he would get drunk. He imagines argument that didn’t happen and in a middle of a one sentence conversation, he begins to shout and scream because I am crazy and need to get out of his house. He says I am the worst mother in the world yet I am the only reason the kids homework gets done and kids get fed. He sends every evening outside drinking and making phone calls to his friends and family because he has to keep up with this imaginary person he pretends to be. He loves the sound of his own voice and when he’s drunk he truly believes he’s a philosopher, an amazing sports guru, he is fluent in any subject and that he’s NEVER WRONG. The world (especially me) owe him our lives. Everyone at work is a freaking idiot, he’s the only one that can get anything done right. Yet, he keep getting fired or laid off from them all.
      I know i need to leave, and I intend to. Just waiting to get enough money to put down on a small apt so I can get back o n my feet and move forward.
      Thank you all for all the comments and advise.

  18. Deborah says:

    My husband is a sinister NPD. He up and sold our home and moved to Florida. His loyal minions follow me and continue a sick way he came up with to abuse me. His threats were never empty. He made good on all of them. He even hurt himself one night and called the police saying I attacked him. I spent 3 days in jail and didn’t even do anything . He could manipulate any situation and most anyone he chose to…including the police. He’s terrifying and I can’t shake him. I don’t know what to do. I have an apartment. It’s paid up for a year but I can’t live there. He knows where I am. He wrecks my car, gets into my place and ruins my things…Help! Sherrifs want me to move. How am I going to get sll that money back. I’m so very frustrated. That’s why I’m reaching out. Thank you for being there

  19. Lisa lou says:

    so me and my narricist husband agreed on a separation plan, that he actually brought to me, i wholeheartedly agreed , and my sis and her daughter were moving in with me to help with bills and new bAby on the way ..he applied for places in which he was denied all, so it’s like he’s stuck, he leaves for 3 or 4 days at a time, and comes back when he has to work, he put all the bills on me since he says I’m putting him out, we hv a 2 yr old also, he constantly conrners me in this relationship talks, where he only tells me everything over and over on how I caused him to hurt or mistreat me, has never once taken blame for anything, and after the constant criticism, I explode, and he’s happy..but everyday he’s basically putting us back in a relationship rather I agree or not. I’m very stiff on him. he tries kissing , hugging , joking and I’m just like yea yea In my head…completely over and done with it. I just feel like he’s going to keep making excuses not to leave and pretend we’re still.together no matter how much I say no..and the drama and arguing , I just really am too exhausted to do anymore, why can’t he just stick to the plan?

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