How to deal with a psychopath - Act as a "Gray Rock"

Minas Tirith

Jedi Council Member
Not sure what to think of it - but thought that I might post it here...

The Gray Rock Method of Dealing With Psychopaths
Under the Psychopath's Mask of Sanity

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 © 2012-2013 Skylar


Jedi Council Member
Nice find... interesting that she instinctively poured her heart out to this stranger she just met who happened to have good advice from a similarly learned lesson of his own.
That kind of boring seems to actually weaken their target... sort of like reverse psychology... sapping their strength in return.

Tracy Anne

Jedi Master
Fantastic MT

This is a strategy that I am trying to use on my narc mother and enabling father.

My mother's envy is toxic and I have never understood it, I thought that all parents would want the best for their children as I did with my duaghters, in fact you want them to do better than you. ..... since reading Narcissistic Families I have come to grips with it.

Yes I was raised by a covert narcissist mother and enabling father. I will write more about it in The Swamp.

I tried to be boring last time I was in her presence, but this was at my daughters engagement party and my mother is now transposing her rage/envy onto my daughters ( I have two). She also does this via my father. The attention was on my daughter and her fiance at the party, naturally and my mother couldnt stand it. Now the wedding is next year in February and I am dreading it.

Will just keep the grey rock stance going and hope for the best.

Thanks for digging this up MT!


FOTCM Member
Thanks for posting this MT.

That Grey Rock technique was really an eye opener for me because I think I was doing this instinctively as a child with people I perceived as having "difficult" personalities. It's like I didn't want to give any part of myself up and interacted with them in a very boring, monotonic type of manner just as is stated in the article. It's like I wanted to close myself off and not let the person get to know me. I didn't realize it at the time but it's certainly a way to keep them from getting ammunition to use against you.

Unfortunately, I think my problem has been, since learning this technique as a child, is that I've used it with people in general who aren't personality disordered and who genuinely want to get to know me. I think there is a line between trusting your gut feelings in perceiving a person's pathology vs overcoming your own shyness and social inhibition.

I had an ex who was a narcissist, imo. I had multiple blink moments with him when we first got together but ignored them and tried to make it work despite a nagging voice telling me otherwise. I was reading a really awful book called Keeping the Love You Find (or something like that) which if in a relationship with a normal person would've been okay but with a pathological type it was really bad advice to try to employ. Eventually, I learned what I was really dealing with, had enough and stopped conversations that weren't concerned with day to day mechanics of sharing a house, stopped going out with him and he eventually left without much difficulty. So this Grey Rock technique really has some merit. :)

Good find, MT


Thank you so much for sharing this article.

My experience is the same as Odyssey, as a kid I intuitively employed this technique of showing no emotional response in facing what I perceived as bullying threats, sadly it has become a constant part of my personality that only now I'm learning to turn on and off at my will.

Odyssey said:
That Grey Rock technique was really an eye opener for me because I think I was doing this instinctively as a child with people I perceived as having "difficult" personalities. It's like I didn't want to give any part of myself up and interacted with them in a very boring, monotonic type of manner just as is stated in the article. It's like I wanted to close myself off and not let the person get to know me. I didn't realize it at the time but it's certainly a way to keep them from getting ammunition to use against you.

It is very useful to be used as a strategic enclosement tool and helps me being aware of my own expression and emotional manifestations.


FOTCM Member
Thanks for sharing, M.T. - I think the grey rock technique is a very good way to cope with narcissists/psychos that you can't avoid. From my own experience, I think it's important to remember that breaking the contact completely is still the best solution, if it's possible of course. Don't underestimate the ability of a skilled manipulator to trigger reactions in you and prey on emotional hooks that you're either not aware of, or that you can't control enough. Given the right (or rather wrong) circumstances, it's just so easy to "slip" - becoming a grey stone is no trivial thing to do if you face a manipulator, especially if he/she has something to loose (they already consider you as one of their victims). Still, it works great in many cases, especially as a preventive measure - there's someone who makes you uncomfortable? Be as boring as you can!

Btw, Stefan Verstappen in his book "The art of urban survival" has written about various techniques of defense against predators, including techniques that aim at making you invisible/uninteresting. See _

Thanks again for the find!


Jedi Council Member
Thank you so much for posting this.
I didn't know I'm using this technique most of my life but it's really working.
It 's working well with narcissist people, I have them in family and for neighbours and mostly I can deal with them.
But for the first time I was actually living with a psychopath and my guys and me noticed that this charming old grandpa is weird a bit, but we realized what he is when he decided to leave us alone.
obviously we were too boring for him. thank god on that :).
I have feeling this is not all over yet, so thank you for me knowing now how to handle this.
thank you.


The Living Force
Thanks for the quote, I actually thought on doing something similar. But I was inspired on the Mithra's way, that is like bull fight. The psychopath or charactheropath is the bull and the red stuff is that of myself that attracts them, so I just avoid them nicely. Really, when you study psychopaths and those pathos, they seem self destroy themselves most of the time. Even their pathocracy is so silly, that all one sort of needs to do is just appear whatever they don't need, avoid the bull till it faints.


FOTCM Member
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.

Thanks M.T

It's an interesting idea and a technique i have dabbled with a few times. In fact, instinctively i have been doing this for a good portion of my life. From the abuse at home (if i don't speak or move or act then i can't possibly be to blame, right?) to grief out on the streets (fashion!) but my most recently at my last flatshare.

I lived with a 'dynamic' couple who apparently had lives and interests of their own, till i moved in and after 3 months of them incrementally trying to subsume me into their dysfunctional relations, i found myself having to perform (literally) obviously solitary activities which could not possibly include them (stretching, reading, playing with circus toys in my room!). They found so many reasons to repeatedly disturb me they even upped the ante by offering 'gifts' or things that would technically have me contractually bound to them (weekly fruit&veg delivery ;). And putting me in situations where i would either a) have to lie or b) blatantly refuse (with the implication being that i was being difficult/uncooperative).

It helped that i was distancing myself from my old life anyway (i cared less that they viewed me as 'stiff' and the fact i was not manipulatable was very frsutrating to them!), but as per the quote, it had to be skillfully performed in order to not rouse suspicion.

That said, i have a program where i 'want to be honest' (because i'm 'not scared and i refuse to be') and at the time i wasn't as familiar with strategic enclosure. Actually, to a degree, this incorporates my program of self importance - the idea that my individuality will not be negated by others. But as was written elsewhere recently, it's a role, nothing more.

Now, observing them, how they initially tried to project this loss onto each other, that they could entertain themselves, or worse, they tried to imitate my behaviours. Then they moved back to attacking each other and then, because this had gone on for long enough and they had been repeatedly 'testing me' and thus decided that i was behaving in a way not desirable to their objectives, they became suspicious. It doesn't help that my usual 'bombastic' personality then changing to that of a librarian is quite obvious. Obviously we lived together so the situation was trickier as i would sooner or later have to extricate myself. And as is to be expected from seriously unbalanced individuals, it just gets worse if you can't physically avoid them, or so it was in my situation.

The other handy trick here is that if you do it well enough, you can buy yourself some serious time. I did and because i had JUST about convinced them, and they were busy bickering anyway, i managed to ship out my stuff while they were away! Considering they had been going in my room when i wasn't home, and that the boyfriend on returning literally couldn't contain his rage that i had chosen that there friendship 'wasn't for me', it was probably the wisest (and luckiest) few weeks i had had, for a long time.

I think we should call it the possum technique, because for all intents and purposes, i was playing dead. :halo:

(having reread the responses, it seems this idea comes quite naturally to a lot of us!)


Really appreciate this thread. I kind of dismissed it at first.
I been in a good strategic battle the last 2 years with a workplace manager, and so far i have managed to out-manuver them, but the little bit in the articel regarding 'psychopaths being addicted to drama' and being boring in response makes them lose interest --- is exactly what i need to hear right now. In my case, if i act boring in response to provocation, i anticipate this manager may tell the other staff that i am being mean to her, non-compliant etc but hey, thats not so bad. Cheers

Hindsight Man

Jedi Master
I can attest to this method.Back when I was 13/14 my mother was married to a malignant narcissist and he would always seek to absolutely destroy me emotionally,day after day,week after week,year after year.I remember one distinct scenario where I decided to employ this technique,he was sitting across the table from me and yelling and berating me like I was the lowest form of scum one might find in a sewer and I instinctively put on a ''mask'' and feigned absolute indifference.Any and all words that came out of his mouth were reduced to noise and met with apathy not indifferent from his own.Eventually he got bored and let me go to my room and after a little while my mother came in and said ''I'm proud of you''.Many people don't realize just how careful you have to be when using this technique.They read you like a book and you eyes are the windows to your soul,so every action,every word and every look must display the calmness of a quiet pond.One ripple and you're done.Inside I was shaking with fear and anxiety,but I did my best to control my hands,my breath and my voice.I cannot stress enough that you have to emulate the eyes of the predator,for if he sees his own reflection,he will not see prey and will lose interest.So this mask became my barricade between the people of the town (my emotions) and the marauders at the gates (him).It is in moments of our greatest adversity that we find the best tools and learn the most effective skills.It is ironic that we can learn so much from these creatures and their mask of sanity can be emulated into our greatest asset.But you must practice this,every day,by yourself infront of a mirror or with a friend,but practice again and again until you ''get it''.
Right on righteous, Minas Tirith. Your Grey-Rock quote perfectly describes one of my favorite methods of dealing with emotional vampires of all kinds.

They dislike boredom. Very true. Forum members often refer to “doing what It doesn’t like” when referring to using a self-discipline technique to undercut our own internal predator minds. It makes sense that “doing what an external predator doesn’t like” would also undercut that predator’s goals as well.

I called it becoming like a stone wall. Nothing could get through that wall. Neither my own energy nor theirs. I would put my own normal emotions and feelings aside on a back-burner until it was safe to allow them to be felt.

Fortunately, for me, I didn’t learn this technique until my late adult years, so it didn’t become a default habit lifestyle. It’s always a consciously chosen tactic I can use when required.

In a way, it’s a refusal to display any fear. Psychos love eliciting fear. It makes them feel really powerful. Even if I’m quaking with inner fear inside and they know and sense it, I continue to operate as if I feel no fear. They enjoy being able to push or pull us off balance. If we stand-our-ground and refuse to give in, they eventually give up their attempts. They much prefer easier prey.

In a couple of cases, I’ve had to hold back laughing — because I knew laughing would only incite more abuse. But a few times, I just could not help myself and I burst out into rolling laughter. I actually felt as if I wanted to applaud their performance — it was so over-the-top demonic.

I’ve also found that some psychos are completely thrown off when I burst into spontaneous laughter at their diatribes. They just look at me as if they can’t figure out why I’m laughing. It seems to shock them out of their intended purpose — which is to shock and unbalance me.

Thank you again, MT, for this quote. It will be good info to pass on to others who are battling predators in their lives.



Jedi Master
My daughter had to deal with a plethora of bullies and sociopathic individuals during her elementary school years. She said "Daddy, what to do?" All I could think of at the time was totally ignoring them. Not so easy at her tender young age! My next suggestion she took to heart. I asked her what she did when walking past a signpost?

Early AHAA! moments, they're the best! It was just the visual imprint that she needed at her impressionable age.


Jedi Master
Thank you for sharing this. I know when I was at school I used this technique often giving limited responses to any teasing, consistently using the word “maybe” to answer questions or variations of the word. On occasion feigning ignorance if asked to explain something I wasn't comfortable doing. I did even note a significant lack of bullying and teasing relative to those around me.

I was already a rather quiet individual prior to this so I am unclear on the full extent to which it has affected me, though I have noted that my replies with my fellow staff are extremely limited unless I am put under pressure.


Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Odyssey said:
Thanks for posting this MT.

Unfortunately, I think my problem has been, since learning this technique as a child, is that I've used it with people in general who aren't personality disordered and who genuinely want to get to know me. I think there is a line between trusting your gut feelings in perceiving a person's pathology vs overcoming your own shyness and social inhibition.

Unfortunately I think this is what happened to me. After years of being bullied at school I became shy and socially inhibited. In the world of work and social interactions I was normal with some people but somehow unable to speak with some others unless they said something to me, in which case I would reply with the minimum of interaction.

I went through this for a long time but gradually grew out of it as my confidence increased, but I think it left a lot of people thinking I was a bit weird.

About 5 or 6 years ago I stumbled on a possible diagnosis of my symptoms that fit rather well to a certain extent and it was called 'selective mutism'.
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