No Contact isn’t always possible as you end a toxic or abusive relationship. You may need to co-parent; you may fear judgement from others; you may be scared of your next punishment; you may work together … or it may be another reason. In this case, it’s ideal to create an environment where they want to leave you – rather than causing them to feel left.
Why I’m passionate about The Gray Rock Method
Our laws don’t get it. In fact, our laws moved me enough to want to start my business so that we can take action without depending on our police or legal system to protect us.
For example, there are so many misguided misconceptions about what happens when you get an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO – if you’re Australian) or Restraining Order (if you’re American) or it’s sometimes called an Intervention Order … hopefully you know what I’m talking about – but in case you don’t: I’m talking about getting a piece of paper people seek in the hope it will keep your partner well away from you.
I have read countless news articles where people have tried to get these in place – and failed – and even those who have succeeded and actively had it in place: when they were murdered by the person they were seeking protection against.
Sometimes these couples are seen together right before the murder (the media loves releasing this kind of CCTV footage) – but they’re allowed to be like that. Why? Because our systems allow it. Our systems don’t put contact clauses in unless it’s really bad. So getting someone to stay away from you – that’s a whole new level to these orders. And the people deciding if it’s necessary to have these clauses added in? Our police and our systems – with their own subjective opinions, views, values, beliefs and knowledge based on experience.
A lot of them: desensitised to the serious dangers.
Unless it’s really bad – for example, your partner is charged with paedophilia and there’s evidence to back it (and your partner admits it) contact clauses won’t be added. The kind of contact clauses added in these paedophilia cases are say these people (now jailed) can’t call and even hear the child playing in a room or screaming or anything without the person on the other end of the phone (even if they’re completely innocent) being charged for breaching the order (we’re talking $5,000) and looking at jail time.
A standard ADVO/Intervention Order/Restraining Order doesn’t come with contact clauses. This means as long as the person doesn’t stalk, harass, molest, assault etc. you (according to a “reasonable person”) – they can meet you for a tea party right after you get out of that court room. There’s nothing stopping them calling you or seeing you if it’s not deemed as “harassment” or “abuse” by this “reasonable person”.
You can now get a clearer picture of how these orders can be abused – and used to abuse…
Why they’re not taken seriously.
Why even the police refer to them as “just a piece of paper”.
I’m not a lawyer, by the way. So this isn’t legal advice.
I’ve simply picked up this information from what I’ve witnessed in the flaws of our domestic violence system – and people’s natural misguided responses to it. “He hurt her! Why are they together?” “That’s a mutual kiss – they were obviously ok” – those were responses I read on Facebook just the other day as a young girl (pregnant – by the way) was slaughtered by her partner after being captured on CCTV footage which has now been offered up to public judgement and criticism. She had an active ADVO in place against him. See it here.
What’s my biggest issue with our systems?
My biggest issue with our systems is that as they currently stand, is that they don’t allow either party to heal. No Contact clauses should be essential for everyone who takes out an order. People should be forced back from each other and to take a complete break to allow healing to happen.
How could they do it? Because if either party was to break this clause (because we all know there’s addiction and trauma bonding in these relationships) – there should be punishment to both people involved in this order; and a lot tougher punishments than the punishments we currently have.
This would mean that only people who really are in a domestic violence relationship who genuinely care for their safety would seek these out. It would mean there would be less suspicious police giving them out. And where people won’t protect themselves, police should still be able to intervene to put it in place.
But what if you have kids?
Remember – I’m talking about life or death here!
But, alas, our systems don’t get it
In fact, if you have children together our family courts almost insist both parents get access to the child, no matter what. It’s part of “mediation”. Of course, it’s all in the “best interest” of the child, right? Children are murdered. Partners are murdered. Nobody wins and a lot of these cases don’t even make it to the news.
There’s not even reliable statistics on the deaths associated with domestic violence – homicides and suicides.
How it should be
What’s the first thing any mental health professional asks you to do when you go to them and say “I’ve been in a toxic/abusive relationship…” (or describe it)? They tell you to immediately break contact with that person.
And then there’s some people who want to co-parent with a narcissist, psychopath, emotional vampire, so their child doesn’t need to lose out. Their intentions are good. These are the parents who want to avoid forcing their children into making a hard decision, particularly because they don’t want to be resented in future or judged by people around them.
But how are we meant to do that when our legal systems simply won’t allow it?
What are you meant to do when you can’t completely and boldly say “Screw you, I’m choosing me (and my child – if that applies)!” because our systems are all messed up?
Don’t give up just yet!
When a court tells you that you must look at co-parenting options, it’s not over.
Don’t give in to that overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.
This is where you find another way to implement No Contact within the bounds of the law. This means limiting and reducing contact as much as you can but still abiding by the law. This is when you implement the Gray Rock Method (also known as the 180 rule) – and it’s also a great opportunity to see if it’s about you or your child.
This is for anyone who can’t do No Contact
You don’t have to have a child with them for this to apply to you!
Perhaps you’re here because you need to work with them and you want to be able to function on your job without having a narcissist or psychopath impact you – because right now: you simply can’t change jobs. I get it!
So what do you do?
You implement this same Gray Rock Method.
No matter what the reason – if you need to keep contact with a narcissist or psychopath for any reason and you want to avoid being a target – then you need to implement the Gray Rock Method. This creates the space you need to be able to heal properly – but you do need to be really strong and very rigid in your decision to implement it. It still has rules and these rules can’t be broken if this is to work properly.
This is how you can use compulsory Contact – to your advantage…
Caution to those who are thinking of implementing this method
This is not meant to become a lifestyle change where you and the narcissist can happily continue contact and live harmoniously. It’s also not meant to make things more comfortable or even bearable for you. Sorry.
The aim of the Gray Rock Method is to make the psychopath/narcissist/energy vampire lose interest in you without them suspecting that was what you were trying to do.
Get set to play their game, their way, with your rules.
Resist getting addicted to the power-play high
We all have a little bit of narcissism in us. Resist taking your ego into this game – this isn’t about winning or losing – the key focus should be on getting them to go away. If your ego gets in the way, you risk a transference of their behaviours – a greater toxic sting – as you begin to thrive off unnecessary control and lose track of your empathy.
So once they go away – let it go.
It’s not about controlling them or regaining control, it’s about getting on with your life.
The key is to knowing when that point is…
This is only to be applied to this scenario
You should also be aware that this is not to be practised as a way of dealing with things all throughout your life – we are not actively encouraging disassociation. If you start getting symptoms of this which may include:
• Emotional numbing
• Depersonalisation – like having outer body experiences
• Derealisation – when the world feels fake
• Dissociative amnesia – blocks out time from minutes to years
• Identity confusion – struggling with seriously conflicted feelings
• Identity alteration – similar to multiple personality disorder, some parts of you are defined while others aren’t
Or if you experience anything else like this, please stop using the gray rock method and seek professional advice and other strategies that may help you.
What if they have decided they want to kill me?
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has decided they want to kill you; while implementing this also look into creating a bulletproof safety plan that will help you safely out of this relationship and situation. This method should just bide you a bit of time.
Be aware of their goal
The reason these people attack you and look for emotions is because they want to see that you have lost control – so they feel as though they’ve gained it. For them – it is a game. Win or lose. And they do not like to lose.
As they’re constantly empty and feel nothing, they depend on drama to make them feel alive.
By pre-emptively removing the things they’ve trained themselves to look out for while getting to know you, and not reacting with emotion at any losses, you are actually teaching them that you’re so boring there’s no way they want to be with you.
That’s right – I’m literally going to give you some tips on how to be boring. This doesn’t mean you are boring or you’ll become this way, it just means you have another skill that’s going to aid your escape and recovery from this relationship.
Where this method came from
Skylar created this method and coined the term “Gray Rock” in 2012 after she found herself in a pub, broken and confused following ongoing conflict with a narcissist. She struck up a conversation with a man who simply suggested “to be boring”.
She chose Gray Rock as she wanted us to visualise something we overlook every single day – so that we too may blend in. The method is “primarily a way of encouraging a narcissist, psychopath, stalker or other emotionally unbalanced person, to lose interest in you”. You can read more about her story here and a bit more here.
Here’s how it works – Sarah J Webb-style
Remember the aim: we want them to go elsewhere to create their drama. Contact with you needs to be consistently unsatisfying.
– DO NOT tell the person what you’re doing – you don’t want them to figure it out because they will use it against you.
– Give boring and monotonous responses: If they ask you something, your response is non-committal: “Hmmmm” or “Mmmm” – keep it casual.
– Don’t ask them ANY questions – you’re disinterested, aloof and uncaring.
– Only discuss “safe” topics: News (preferably the fluff stories you see at the end), fashion, cooking, weather – anything neutral – DO NOT share anything personal.
– Be distracted when they communicate with you: don’t look them in the eye, always be busy whether it’s drawing in a notepad, checking text messages/emails, knitting, working etc. (This will also protect you from being impacted by their attempts to manipulate you)
– Fade all your emotions out except for the ones you specifically want them to see. Do not allow them in your head at all – and NEVER justify yourself to them. Still react with AN emotion – you can use your urge to react as an indicator to react somehow, but don’t react with your real, raw, vulnerable emotion.
– Protect the things you value: Keep the things you value to yourself and instead, show the psychopath things you don’t value and pretend you do. This will stop them from affecting you so deeply because you won’t care so much about the things they destroy.
– If you’re a good-looking girl (you may not see it, but if you’re told) – use make up to make you appear as though you’ve let yourself go: add some bags under your eyes.
– Create the illusion that you have made a series of poor investment choices. Got a nice car? Buy a beat-up heap and tell them the breaks in the nice car are gone and you can’t afford to get it fixed (which is why it gets to stay) – unfortunately you have to make do with the junk car for a few months.
– If you’re in the midst of a smear campaign: go into celebrity-style hiding. Keep out of sight or fly under the radar as best you can. Don’t allow yourself to get into any compromising position or be pushed into behaving in a way that could be perceived as erratic.
– Stay home: when they ask you out on evenings and weekends, you’re not interested. Your response to this is going to be: “I don’t know”.
– Don’t have sex and don’t talk about sex with them: you no longer like intercourse. Not just with them – with anyone. Say “I just don’t like sex” – fact. No justification needed. If they accuse you of cheating, return to the “Mmmmm” and “Hmmmm” responses; act distracted.
Remember to visualise a gray rock as you practise it. Become they gray rock. There are gray rocks and pebbles everywhere you go, but they blend in and don’t attract any attention.
Your mission is set: let’s get boring!