The Gray Rock method of dealing with psychopaths

Editor’s note: At the request of readers, the Lovefraud member “Skylar” has contributed the following article.

When dealing with malignant narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, borderlines, drama queens, stalkers and other emotional vampires, it’s commonly advised that no response is the best response to unwanted attention. This is often true and No Contact (the avoidance of all communication) should be used whenever possible.

There are some situations however, when No Contact is not feasible, as in when you share child custody with a psychopath. As another example, if you are being stalked by an ex, a restraining order can infuriate the unwanted suitor, and refusing to respond to him or her is seen as an insult. They might become convinced that they can MAKE you respond and in that way satiate their need for power over you.

Furthermore, many of us have tried to end a relationship with a psychopath several times, only to take them back, each time. They turned on the pity ploy and the charm, and because we didn’t understand that this is what a psychopath does, we fell for their promises to change. They know all of our emotional hooks. For them, it’s easy and fun to lure us back by appealing to our emotions. But a psychopath can’t change. In fact, when you leave a psychopath, he becomes determined to punish you even more severely for thinking you could be autonomous.

Even if we don’t take them back, the most dangerous time for a person is when they first break up with a psychopath. The psychopath feels rage at being discarded. Losing control or power over a person is not just a narcissistic injury for them; they feel profoundly empty when their partner leaves them — even if they had intended to kill their partner. The reason is because they have lost control. Psychopaths need to feel in control at all times.

For all these situations, we have Gray Rock.

What it is:

So, how do we escape this parasitical leech without triggering his vindictive rage? Gray Rock is primarily a way of encouraging a psychopath, a stalker or other emotionally unbalanced person, to lose interest in you. It differs from No Contact in that you don’t overtly try to avoid contact with these emotional vampires. Instead, you allow contact but only give boring, monotonous responses so that the parasite must go elsewhere for his supply of drama. When contact with you is consistently unsatisfying for the psychopath, his mind is re-trained to expect boredom rather than drama. Psychopaths are addicted to drama and they can’t stand to be bored. With time, he will find a new person to provide drama and he will find himself drawn to you less and less often. Eventually, they just slither away to greener pastures. Gray Rock is a way of training the psychopath to view you as an unsatisfying pursuit — you bore him and he can’t stand boredom.

What it’s for:

Making a psychopath go away of his own volition is one application of Gray Rock. One might say that Gray Rock is a way of breaking up with a psychopath by using the old, “It’s not you, it’s me.” excuse, except that you act it out instead of saying it and the psychopath comes to that conclusion on his own.

Another reason to use Gray Rock is to avoid becoming a target in the first place. If you find yourself in the company of one or more narcissistic personalities — perhaps you work with them or they are members of your family — it’s important to avoid triggering their ENVY. By using Gray Rock, you fade into the background. It’s possible they won’t even remember having met you. If you have already inadvertently attracted their attention and they have already begun to focus in on you, you can still use Gray Rock. Tell them you are boring. Describe a boring life. Talk about the most mundane household chores you accomplished that day — in detail. Some people are naturally lacking in dramatic flair. Find those people and try to hang around them when the psychopath is nearby.

If you must continue a relationship with a psychopath, Gray Rock can serve you as well. Parents sharing joint custody with a psychopathic ex-spouse can use Gray Rock when the ex-spouse tries to trigger their emotions. I acknowledge that any threat to the well-being of our children is overwhelmingly anxiety provoking. Here is where Gray Rock can be applied selectively to draw attention away from what really matters to you. In general, show no emotion to the offending behaviors or words. The psychopath will try different tactics to see which ones get a reaction. With Selective Gray Rock, you choose to respond to the tactic which matters least to you. This will focus the psychopath’s attention on that issue. Remember, the psychopath has no values, so he doesn’t understand what is valuable to us — unless we show him. Selective Gray Rock shows him a decoy. When protecting our children, we can take a lesson from nature: Bird parents who have fledglings are known to feign a broken wing when a predator is in the vicinity. They fake a vulnerability to detract the cat’s attention from their real vulnerability, their babies. In this example, Selective Gray Rock fades all emotions into the background except the ones you want the predator to see.

Why it works:

A psychopath is easily bored. He or she needs constant stimulation to ward off boredom. It isn’t the type of boredom that normal people experience; it’s more like the French word, ennui, which refers to an oppressive boredom or listlessness. Drama is a psychopath’s remedy for boredom. For drama, they need an audience and some players. Once the drama begins, they feel complete and alive again. They are empowered when pulling the strings that elicit our emotions. Any kind of emotions will do, as long as it is a response to their actions.

A psychopath is an addict. He is addicted to power. His power is acquired by gaining access to our emotions. He is keenly aware of this and needs to constantly test to make sure we are still under his control. He needs to know that we are still eager to do his bidding, make him happy and avoid his wrath. He needs to create drama so he can experience the power of manipulating our emotions. As with any addiction, it is exhilarating to the psychopath when he gets his supply of emotional responses. The more times he experiences a reward for his dramatic behavior, the more addicted he becomes. Conversely, when the reward stops coming, he becomes agitated. He experiences oppressive boredom and he will counter it by creating more drama. If we stay the course and show no emotions, the psychopath will eventually decide that his toy is broken. It doesn’t squirt emotions when he squeezes it anymore! Most likely, he will slither away to find a new toy.

The Gray Rock technique does come with a caveat: psychopaths are dangerous people, if you are in a relationship with one that has already decided to kill you, it will be difficult to change his mind. He may already be poisoning you or sabotaging your vehicle. Take all necessary precautions. In this case, Gray Rock can only hope to buy time until you can make your escape.

How it works:

Psychopaths are attracted to shiny, pretty things that move fast and to bright lights. These things, signal excitement and relieve the psychopath’s ever-present ennui. Your emotional responses are his food of choice, but they aren’t the only things he wants.

He envies everything pretty, shiny and sparkly that you have and he wants whatever you value. You must hide anything that he will notice and envy. If you happen to be very good looking, you need to change that during this time. Use makeup to add bags under your eyes. If you aren’t married to the psychopath, any money or assets he covets should disappear “in a bad investment decision” (consult with your attorney on this). Your shiny sports car has to go, get a beater. If you have a sparkling reputation, anticipate that he will or has already begun to slander you; therefore, don’t allow yourself to be put into any compromising position or pushed into erratic behavior. The reason he wants to take these things from you, is not necessarily because he wants them for himself, it’s because he wants to see the emotions on your face when you lose them. He wants the power trip associated with being the one who took them from you. By preemptively removing these things from his vision and not reacting with emotion at the losses, you continue to train him with the idea that you are the most boring person on earth, someone he would never want to be.

Origin of Gray Rock:

In 2009, I left my psychopathic partner after 25 years, but I didn’t understand what was wrong with him. I sat in a sushi bar, lost in confusion, when a tall, athletic man introduced himself. To my own surprise, I instinctively poured out my story to him. This complete stranger listened to my story and then he explained to me that I was dealing with a malignant narcissist. He advised me, “Be boring.” He told me that his girlfriend would come home each night, begin drinking and become abusive. They were both professionals who traveled in the same professional circles. He knew that she would stalk him if he broke up with her and he didn’t want to risk the slander and drama which could leak out and damage his professional reputation.

His solution was to be so boring that she would simply leave him. He declined to go out on evenings and weekends. He showed no emotional reaction about anything, no interest in anything and responded with no drama. When she asked if he wanted to go out for dinner, his reply was, “I don’t know.” After a few months of no drama, she simply moved out.

Why is it called Gray Rock?

I chose the words Gray Rock because I needed an object for us to channel when we are in an emotionally charged situation. You don’t just practice Gray Rock, you BECOME a Gray Rock. There are gray rocks and pebbles everywhere you go, but you never notice them. None of them attract your attention. You don’t remember any specific rock you saw today because they blend with the scenery. That is the type of boring that you want to channel when you are dealing with a psychopath. Your boring persona will camouflage you and the psychopath won’t even notice you were there. The stranger in the sushi bar showed great insight when he advised me to “be boring.” He struck at the heart of the psychopath’s motivation: to avoid boredom.

In nature, there are many plants and creatures that show us how to survive in a world of predators. Among others, birds feign injury to protect their babies and mice play dead until the cat loses interest. Both of these tactics can be useful and they can be channeled when applicable. Yet, it’s difficult to calculate each and every move that a psychopath will make and to determine the best course of action each time. Instead of trying to out-think him, channel the gray rock. This simple, humble object in nature has all the wisdom it needs to avoid being noticed, it’s boring.

Copyright © 2012 Skylar

554 Comments on "The Gray Rock method of dealing with psychopaths"

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  1. Pmjmommy says:

    I have an extra twist, my husband is a confessed previous committed sociopath. Who hears a voice, he calls “Me” who, he says has a “blood lust”. Whom he claims he can control, but admits, that ” he’d hate to be the ones in the room if “me” ever won.

    Anyhow, we have one son, who is 5, who he terrorizes verbally, and sometimes hurts… “accidently” on purpose, like slamming a car door at his head.

    Anyhow… we r mennonites, and live in a community…and well liked and respected….

    If he left, he’d have no place to go or work, and they believe all relationships shold be workable, u just need to build trust….

    So…. thoughts? He is sweet around others and veminous when alone here at the house.

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    • Synergy says:

      Hello pmjmommy and others on this thread. I wonder if your state has an organization called ARMS: Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services. It’s in several states in USA, but not all. I have been in several abusive relationships, but did not have children, thanks be. ARMS was extremely wonderful. More about that in a minute. I went to several women’s groups and did not stay because I “didn’t fit in,” and did not feel comfortable there. For example, my partners never gave me black eyes or broken bones; it was mostly — but not always — emotional abuse and verbal violence. Plus I myself had never had a drug or drinking addiction. So I didn’t “measure up” to these groups because my case “wasn’t bad enough” to “belong” there. Of course, nobody actually said that, but I could feel it. I am not an evangelical Christian, but ARMS is an evangelical Christian group and they teach and care about anyone who has been touched by abuse — any religion, any culture, even atheists, any kind or degree of abuse. They have a wonderful program that explains so much! Amazing and insightful printed lessons, some books to purchase or borrow. The weekly meetings (you don’t have to go to every week, but it’s a good idea if you can) include testimonies, issues women are facing, and requests for support. These are free to abused women. There are men’s groups, which cost; and groups for women who acknowledge that they themselves are or have been abusers, violent, bullies, etc. I felt so valued and appreciated there. And get this — one of the most wonderful thing ARMS does is enlighten/educate ministers, using Biblical references and passages, and teach the ministers that commitment to a spouse does not mean putting up with abuse, staying to put up with it, nor dole it out (on the part of the abuser, and, like in my own case, stooping to his level by screaming and throwing plates and such.)

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      • Synergy says:

        More about ARMS:

        Notice that they have children’s programs, too. armsonline.org has this to say (next paragraph). Maybe they have an online forum, but I don’t know — try and see if you can find a forum for ARMS.

        ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry & Services) is a faith-based, non-profit 501(C)(3) organization that exists to serve those who have or are experiencing domestic abuse. ARMS has a number of healing programs developed for women who have are experiencing domestic abuse, intervention programs for men and women who have used controlling or abusive behaviors, and a parenting program specific to addressing this problems created for children who have witnessed abuse. ARMS also has a program for teens, to help them have healthy relationships. ARMS’ National Office is in Washington County, OR, and an office in Spokane County, WA and healing program for women throughout the United States and beyond.

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  2. mandie says:

    Pmjmommy–I grew up with a sociopathic father (who had a very respected job, etc). When I was a young child, my father would tell me he wanted to smash my head in, shove my teeth down my throat, and so forth. He often said these things with a little smile, and always, always in a calm, deliberate voice. A pleasant voice.

    Your husband is terrorizing you with his “Me” “bloodlust” garbage. But you are an adult, a mother. Your 5 year old son has to know by now his father wants to hurt him. Takes pleasure in hurting him.

    So–your husband would have no where to go or work? Sorry, but so what? Your son has no where to go. He is forced to live in a home with a father who despises him and hurts him. If your husband is like my sociopathic father, he will *never* change. This is it, Pmj, this is it.

    My thought is this: get out. Save yourself, and save your son. Your husband will continue to hurt your son, and terrorize you. This is not love.

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    • Pmjmommy says:

      I know, he has admitted to dumping 2 bodies in the everglades and never getting caught… I know he will continue to hurt my son, for he admits he does love him and has no guilt when he physically hurts anyone, no pity.

      I am having a meeting with my ministers tomorrow night to let them know ALL I know if him, my problem, is…

      they believe in helping all people who desire their help, and won’t kick him out of the community, unless he proves dangerous to them…they think he is such a nice guy…how can he hurt a fly?

      He is my full financial support… and they feel that as long as he is here desiring to do good, they will help, not kick him to the curb.

      It’s like I have to trick him to leave us, all of us, the whole comunity…and them to somehow become a victim, so they see who he is.

      And…oh, he acts so nice some times that I feel it’s me…I’m just being critical, you know, no one’s perfect…

      The only way I’m holding my ground is because he has admitted sof much to me over the last 6 yrs, that I think… despite his ” I’m trying” he is crazy…

      No one admits to disposing bodies and being diagnosed a sociopath by 9 therapist and baker acted, and admits he has no guilt and and can dismember someone and it won’t phase him…admit to not love his son and hearing an auto bless voice who has a blood lust…this is NOT normal… I KNOW this… so despite his roller coaster of being venomous lyrics mean

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      • Pmjmommy says:

        Sorry, my texting messed up and posted too soon, but to continue…

        Despite him being veminous to my son verbally, and confessing how he doesn’t want to be a bad daddy, but a lov8ng good one, he is just struggling etc…

        I can’t believe that, because I know too much that he has admitted to me.

        Please pray for me, my meeting is tomorrow, they may not believe me… or if they do a little, it can create a disaster as he finds out I told them.

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        • Pmjmommy says:

          Doesn’t love him…I meant on my first reply

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        • AnnettePK says:


          I have prayed for you and your situation, and I will continue to. Please keep us posted.

          You might consider contacting a women’s shelter or Domestic Violence shelter for help and advice. You might consider telling law enforcement about the crimes he has told you about. They may be able to help get you away and keep you safe.

          Is there somewhere you can go to stay, maybe with relatives or friends far away where he won’t know you are? I am concerned for your safety.

          I understand what you’re saying about the ministers maybe not believing how dangerous he is. They may be well meaning, but they are not trained in what to do to keep you safe. They may not know about psychopathy and sociopaths, so they may feel that he’s not as bad and dangerous as you know he is.

          You might consider talking to the ministers after you’ve talked to the police and/or talked to a domestic violence shelter. There are hotlines you can call to get help and advice.

          I am in a church community and culture; and the ministers meant well, but they did not understand this disorder nor do they have the training to deal with it. My ex psychopath is a pedophile, sadist, pathological liar, among other things, and he is still in the church. He attends another congregation than I do. He has 2 ex wives in the church. Yet he manages to appear as such a nice guy.

          I hope and pray everything goes well for you, and that he goes to jail for what he’s done so that he can’t hurt anyone else.

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          • Pmjmommy says:

            Thank you, AnettePK , I am Mennonite and we usually stay within our religious group, rather then a shelter, but if I was in danger, that they see, I can go to anywhere or country that has mennonites without him knowing where. It’s not that bad or needed yet.

            Police… yeah, those crimes, I’m just afraid to say something, an investigation starts, they say… no..no missing dead, during that time…the ball gets dropped with nothing left but a pissed off sociopathic husband with his wife as enemy #1.

            He was not a Mennonite when we met but converted because we got together. Mennonites no nothing of sociopath or psychopaths…they have no comprehension what a sick mind is, they take everyone at face value, because they act the same in public as in closed doors… what u see is what u get.

            Yes, I’ll keep u updated… thank you

          • NoMoreWool says:

            My Ex suddenly found religion once I moved out and he couldn’t leech off of me anymore. He scammed the local church and its members out of hundreds of dollars before his true colors showed in court and they stopped supporting him.

            You have a son to worry about. If your ministers will not see that he cannot be helped, you may have to resign yourself to leaving for a different community. If you do, cover your tracks. He will not want to give up on the easy targets that the Mennonite community represents and will pursue you and smear you as long as there is benefit to him from doing so.

          • Synergy says:

            Yes, and speaking of ministerial counseling, an abusive husband and I went to a nice church for a couple of Sundays, and then went to the minister for marriage counseling. (1) after the session, my then husband lashed out at me, screaming that I’d said to much in the session: (2) the minister totally took my husband’s side, and blamed ME for all the problems we were having; (3) this session broke up our marriage. This is so out-of-date it makes me ill to think that many ministers still blame the woman for problems in the home, no matter how abusive the man is, no matter what evidence the minister has that the man is the aggressor. Of course, these are male ministers I’m describing, and, there are abusive spouses in gay partnerships, too, but of course ministers like the one I experienced would not even welcome gays or lesbians to their church services, or even CONSIDER counseling them about their relationships. As I wrote in a to pmjmommy in another post, a group called ARMS, Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services, with chapters in some parts of the United States, do active outreach ministers, with Bible texts, to educate them about how it’s not always a “rebellious” or “disobedient” wife who is disrupting the “happy home.”

  3. Pmjmommy says:

    Yrs, NoMoreWool, the mennonites can be scared easily… they give him housing, suppers, utilities, a job at $13 an hr, that he works only when he wants… plus they gave him all he needed to start a business…

    They push no one away, one lady bum..locally, scammed one family for $15k, and though they know she lied, they still help her everything she cries.

    I am so anxious for tonight’s meeting, I feel throw up sick!

    But, yes, I will see how this story unfolds, but if I felt I needed too..yes, I would have to escape or something.

    Honestly, I can’t see him ever leaving here, for he gets too much from them.

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    • AnnettePK says:

      I hope the meeting goes well, but your anxiety is probably based on your subconscious knowledge that it won’t be helpful and that it could make things harder for you, despite the ministry meaning well.

      Let us know how it turns out.

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  4. Pmjmommy says:

    Well, 2 and 1/2 hrs later, and my meeting is over…. seems, beside shock, and feeling they need to find some way for him to open up to them, so they can “work with him” really, no one, nor myself knows what to do, or rather, we know protecting my son is key issue… but how to implement that, is a… well, a path we don’t know how to accomplish yet.

    I think, that will be requesting a meeting with him, to see what he reveals and how he reacts, then hopefully, have another direction…

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    • NoMoreWool says:

      Please be careful.

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      • Pmjmommy says:

        I think they r going to talk to him, see how much he confesses but guide him to go to the police himself, as an act of repentance, better then me attacking him or going behind his back.

        His reaction will tell a lot

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        • AnnettePK says:


          How are things going? I hope and pray you are safe and are on the way to getting free of him.

          My ex psychopath fake ‘confessed’ to wrong doing that others already knew about anyway, whenever he was caught. When an adult who knows right from wrong confesses when they have been caught, it’s not really a confession. My ex was a master manipulator, pathological liar and an exploiter.

          When I discovered he was doing porn after he’d said he’d given it up (after being caught), the first thing he said was, “They’ll never make me a minister now!” He did not care a bit about how I felt and how his behavior impacted me. I eventually figured out that he married me because he wanted to be a minister (because he wants to be important, not because he wants to serve others) and he knew being married would help him achieve it. He just wanted to use me, he isn’t even interested in adult women.

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          • Pmjmommy says:


            I’m sorry to hear that, I am also a Christian (Mennonite)so I understand, how u are feeling.

            Sorry for his false confession, mine however us NOT false, he really did kill and dismembered and disposed of 2 people, and got away with it.

            Seems mennonites feel, it is a forgiven sin, so let the past be past and focus on present.

            He confessed to minister about the voices and when asked if he wants to be prayed over, to get rid of them, he said ” no, then I would be lonely” :/

            So now I wait…..

          • AnnettePK says:


            Thank you for your caring. My ex confessed to things he really did, but only things that he was caught doing. He may have done other things that he doesn’t confess to. When my ex confessed, it really wasn’t for the purpose of repenting/changing. It was to manipulate others.

            Do you hope that your husband is sincere and that he will change, or do you hope to leave the marriage? Is this your first marriage? Don’t feel that you have to answer.

            Because my ex did pornography (for decades) and because he left the marriage (when I discovered what he was doing), I am unbound from the marriage per Matthew 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7:15.

          • AnnettePK says:

            How do you feel about reporting these crimes to law enforcement? If it is true, it may be very helpful to the investigation of unsolved missing persons.
            If he is capable of doing these things he is probably still dangerous to people.

  5. Pmjmommy says:

    I felt the way you did, about marriages, until the Mennonites challenged my second marriage…he is my 2nd. And upon studying about the head covering, and studying from early church ( meaning before the formation of the catholic church, I mean like 80AD-200AD, the disciples of the deciples) I realized that God doesn’t see court papers, but man and women were meant to be “one” till death…. and God recognized 2nd, legal marriages as adultry… that divorce is only a shunning till the offender repents, but not a licence for a second marriage while the first is alive. Read SHEPPARD OF HERMAS… on marriages, it was in bible until the KJV 1901 printing…

    This was a 2 yr study and hard but to chew… so I will understand u thinking I’m wrong… but anyhow… we separated and live in separate houses…but share custody…

    I wish he would change and be a repentant christian, but like ur ex… he doesn’t repent, he brags, mostly to me, to prove his craziness…and it’s working, so if he can’t change, for all our safety I hope God reveals his sin and he is removed.

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  6. Pmjmommy says:

    I was at a stopping point while driving, so I answered quickly..

    That’s good that you have been free for 4yrs, how long were you married? Your son has had rough life, his daddy dying, then being a victim to a psycopath during his young teen years… smh… sorry.

    I just don’t know how mine will turn out… keep me in prayer please, my son is 5… God bless you.

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    • AnnettePK says:

      Glad you’re a safe driver!

      Thank you again for your caring. We were only ‘married’ a couple of years.

      You and your son are in my prayers. I hope and pray you can be free of your dangerous and harmful abuser; and that you and your son will recover quickly from the emotional, psychological, financial, and spiritual harm the abuser did to you; and that you will be kept safe from him forever.

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