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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

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

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  1. Louise says:


    I’m glad to hear you are feeling a bit better about things. And sorry about your kitty. :-(

  2. Truthspeak says:

    Darwinsmom, wow. Hopefully, my kitty will be okay for a good while. I’ll make changes in many things, especially the food. At this point, I’m doing the best that I can with what I have, but there will come a point when things won’t be this desperate.

    I’m so glad that you have Darwin, and I’m sorry that you lost your kitty while you were away. That’s just horrible.

    Louise, I”m feeling as good as I can and I appreciate the pat on the virtual back.

    Brightest blessings

    AS a strict aside, I laughed hard at the vet’s when I went to pick him up, this afternoon. He was sitting in the kitty kennel with an Elizabethan collar on, looking pitiful and there was a HUGE orange “WARNING” sign on his cage! LMAO!!!!

  3. darwinsmom says:


    Nelson died quickly. But he had one last great month at my parents and their garden. Just be very careful with windows that you can leave halfopen (open at the top, locked and closed at the bottom). Such windows are deadly traps. We didn’t know, and in all the years before, Nelson never tried to jump through them. Anyway, with the right medicine and diet he recovered fully from his shrunken kidneys the year before (not cured of course, but process halted). In that last month he had the energy of a kitten.

    As for me being away… I didn’t learn about it until my parents came to pick me up from the train station several weeks after. Strange fact. I was suddenly worried about Nelson and texted my parents with inquiries about him, the day BEFORE it happened. My parents gave me a report on how he was doing, his carefree adventures in the garden, etc in the morning. Then early afternoon they went away, returned two hours later and found him dead. So, they had been able to answer to my inquiries thruthfully, and I never inquired in the following weeks (something held me back from doing that). They admitted to discussing to informing me of his death while I was at the other side of the world, but they decided that it wouldn’t change a thing, and just make me very unhappy while I was on holiday. So they had him cremated and his ashes in an urn for me to disperse. They told me as soon as we arrived in the parking lot of the train station and had loaded the car. It was a surprise and shock, but they did the right thing. I think it was harder on them: they felt responsible and they found him on their watch and had to stay silent about it until I returned. For me it was just accepting the loss of him.

    Always having had Nelson live with me, even from before I moved out of from my parents’ home, I couldn’t bare living in my apartment without a cat. After 3 days of seeing a ghost follow me to the toilet, seeking attention while working on the puter, etc, I went looking for a cat to adopt. Two days later I decided on Darwin (one of the 5 options). He needed an owner who knows how to socialize cats and teach him how to be a cat (he was a very scared kitten with agrophobia). I knew I could do that. He also needed time, just as I did. I couldn’t have adopted a happy, cuddly, self confident kitten that never had any wories in his short life. I neeed a cat, but reserved, that would need time to bond. Now he’s the one following me into every room, always sitting, sleeping or playing by my side, watching anything I do, curious whether it’s something he needs to learn to do as well in order to be a “real” cat. He lost his mother in the very early weeks, and while his father tomcat fed him and his sisters and brother (a rare thing), father tomcats aren’t good in teaching kittens much. For Darwin I truly am his mother cat: I’m his teacher.

    Anyway, with diet and medicine the tomcat issues with kidneys and bladder can be fully controlled and ensure the cat a freecare life anyway. Nelson had a great life! :-)

    BTW with kibble I found a great trick: I have a small plastic bottle (empty soda bottle), and I made several holes in the side of it. I put the dry kibble in it. Close the bottle off and then roll it somewhere on the floor. The first day he came to beg me to roll the bottle for him to get his kibble out, but the second day he didn’t get any other food and I didn’t help him (I had shown enough times how to do it). By the evening he had developed his personal technique on getting the kibble out. Now, he wouldn’t touch any dry kibble on a plate anymore. He only wants it from his puzzle bottle, shoving it around with his paws and nose. It’s brain exercise, he moves about the room, and the kibble comes out one by one. He stops eating, when it takes more energy than what he can puzzle out of it. Dry kibble is necessary for cat’s teeth, but it’s problematic for forming urea crystals. So, it should be more like a candy treat in between, not their main course.

    Give your kitty a hug from me! LOL, they look so miserable with collars on, don’t they?

  4. skylar says:

    I just want to say that it wasn’t about the money.
    total profit was ~ $13.00. I could have taken it to the other bidders and got $12.00.

    These days, my experience of life is more about the metadata than it is about the data. The metadata is the information I get from the data.

    For example, I reacted with emotion when she asked to be absolved from her responsibility to pay. Several emotions: pity and outrage among others. So I paid attention. I felt obligated to absolve her because that would be the “nice” thing to do. ick.

    I decided to go with what I know, rather than my flawed knee jerk reaction, to let that $1.00 measley dollar go. I know that she needs to be a grown up, just like I do. So I told her so. Lo and behold she behaved like a spath! I didn’t expect that, not really.

    It confirms, once again, that we can trust our emotions to alert us, but NOT to tell us how to react. The emotions are an early warning system. The intelligence is how we make decisions.

    It was never about the $1.00, it was about the game. This game is what spaths play. they count each and every point as a score. Don’t let them play the game. End it.

  5. Truthspeak says:

    Darwinsmom, thank you so much for sharing your story of Nelson. It certainly must have been hard on your parents to make the decision that they did, but they were probably right – it wouldn’t have changed anything. Poor Nelson. And, it’s interesting that he stuck around until you adopted Darwin – Nelson “knew” that you needed comfort and agape. Animals are so amazing.

    Skylar, ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!! You’re 100% spot-on about the knee-jerk reactions. I am working very hard on becoming less reactive and more pragmatic, and it’s no easy task! :-D And, it most certainly was all about the game and not a buck. Good for you that you not only sold your item, but experienced another valuable lesson for a seemingly insignificant event. No opportunity to learn about myself is “insignificant” to me, anymore.

    Brightest blessings on a VERY cold morning!

  6. blossom4th says:

    Although I had noticed the posts about “Gray Rock” on the sidebar of the blog,I had never really read it or the posts before.There’s just so much other information on the LF blog to read!I never realized how informative “Gray Rock” would prove to be…I’m so GLAD I read it!It truly EXPLAINS why the spath needs constant drama and excitement in their lives,in order to be excited!I always wondered why my husband frequently complained of ‘depression';was restless,and would just be content to lay in bed all the time(boredom).Yet,it was a joke of his,that he loved to get his “blood boiling” with some kind of excitement(frequently something that he stirred up!)

  7. Great advice! I’ve been in a relationship with a psychopath for 5 years while at the same time being part of the abusive and mind-controlling cult that is the Church of Scientology. Luckily I have now escaped both. Starting my life from scratch. Loved this article. Thanks for posting it.

  8. 4Light2shine says:

    Anette, thanks for pulling up this article. It is so well written and has served me well as I have employed these techniques for the last couple of years. These concepts are essential and have served me well. Kudos to you for escaping the labyrinth of deception. I’m so happy for you I feel like jumping up on Opra’s couch ! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  9. jmmira says:

    This is wonderful and exactly what my wife did to me. Unfortunately such information can be used by the psycho, lying, borderline, npd man or woman too. For me, I see a lot of women now claiming virtually all men are narcissists, thinking a little bit of conceit is narcissism. I lived with a NPD person for 12 years and NPD is not just being a little narcissistic or conceited. It’s fabricating a false identity or identities and emotionally abusing those closest to them that KNOW what they are truly like! An NPD woman/mother often does this by pretending to be supermom outside of the house, but does everything for her family begrudgingly and refuses to see that what she does is hurting those around her. If you attempt to constructively criticize something she’s doing for the benefit of the child, it becomes ALL ABOUT HER! Still ignoring the effect she has on the child.

    These women are excellent at the silent treatment, alienation of affection and purposely become ugly. When the husband tries to be amorous, she challenges him, stating “you just want to have sex”. The husband may say, “well it’s been like six months, dear” or “can’t I even just hug and kiss my wife for one minute?”. My wife would announce to my step-daughter every time I tried to give her a hug and kiss in the kitchen. The kids would be in the living room, but she’d yell stop, Kari will see! Always trying to make my step-daughter aware of anything sexual. But hey, I must have done something to deserve this mind *uck, right!

    It’s done purely to turn it around to say the husband is no longer interested in her. She will then a day or two later accuse her man of not being interested in her. The man may point out that he was trying to be amorous the day before and she’ll pretend it didn’t happen. Welcome to total mind *uck city!

    I guarantee that all the emotionally depraved, twisted women will be jumping all over this advise to torment their husbands even more!

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