How to handle yourself around a narcissist.
Realising that a partner, family member, friend or work colleague is a narcissist, or at the very least toxic, that they simply don’t care for you as they lack in the empathy to, that they only show they care when they want to use and exploit you, then discards you like an object which never existed when a shiny new person turns up for them until they get bored of them and come back to hoover you, is painful and devastating, all that manipulative rollercoaster they take you through, raising you so high, releasing that dopamine, then sinking you causing that much stress your cortisol levels rise, creating that Trauma Bond, that along with the fear from all their intimidation, and the crumbs of hope they feed us, we stay in the hope that things will change only they never do. We stay for fear of reactions if we stand up for ourselves, often unwittingly fawning to the abuse’s demands. When we have to courage to walk away, we can then have those feelings of guilt to overcome.
No contact is always the best approach, and with some, it has to be the only approach. However, this isn’t always possible, so the next best thing is grey rock.
The grey rock method is often used when you have children with a toxic or narcissistic person or one family member. If you were to go no contact, it would mean cutting other family members off who are not toxic. They just can not see through the narcissistic family member yet.
You need to take back control of your mind, your thoughts and your feelings, leaving what does not bring you peace be; these things will always enter our minds; we just have to find the ways that work for us to shift them. Creating coping strategies that work for yourself, telling yourself good positive things, looking for the things to be grateful for, and looking for those opportunities letting go of as much of the past as you can not easy to start after being mentally abused by a Narcissist. However, it’s possible, especially when we take it one step at a time when we rush things, we don’t always make it through the right way; as painful as it can be, facing the pain will at some point release the pain.
If you have children.
You can have that happy home for you and your children. With many narcissists, it has to be limited to no Contact. However, this isn’t always possible if the children do see the narcissist.
Ignore what happens when your children are with the ex; let the ex parent their own way. Just make sure you stick to your own boundaries and rules and parent with your technique at home. Positively talk to your children, so they gain a positive mindset too. Tell them they can achieve the things they want for them, for that growth mindset, validating their feelings, so they don’t feel as miss understood as a narcissist will have them to be.
You can not control how your ex talks to your children; you can control how you treat them and how you talk to them and how you explain things to them.
One happy parent will see the children happy.
Never respond to an ex if they’ve done something to or with the children that you don’t like; they will just do more of it—instead, concentrate and yourself and your children.
A narcissist is often after attention; how they get that attention, they don’t seem to care. While everything is going their way, all seems alright, although it’s never alright as we slowly lose who we are, as do children around them, and as soon as we break free from that trance, drama and chaos break loose, as we fight for our freedom, and they fight for control. A narcissist thrives on drama, and conflict, while we often dread seeing them and whatever game they are going to play next.
The saying goes, you can’t get blood from a stone. A narcissist can not get reactions from you if you don’t respond
So you need to be a rock for yourself towards them so they get nothing from you that would provide the narcissist with what they want from you.
Don’t tell them.
The whole idea behind grey Rock is the Narcissistic person will get bored and lose interest in you, thus leaving you alone; if they know you’re doing it, they know they can manipulate you, and they’ll do their utmost to get you to break grey rock.
It is a learning curve, and it takes practice, so don’t worry if you sometimes wobble. Like learning to balance when learning to walk or ride a bike, you’re learning to balance your emotions around someone who knows all your weaknesses and all your strengths and will use each and everyone against you to get your reactions and do their utmost to get your emotions off balance every time they see you.
Give them nothing.
Keep any conversation to a minimum and to the point. If you don’t have to talk to them, don’t. Just say hello when they pick the children up, for the children to know how to be great people, nothing more. Have the children ready before you open the door so that it can be quick with little conversation. Avoid interacting with them as much as possible. But don’t make it a big deal, as this will just give them ammunition.
At a family gathering, try to avoid the narcissist and focus on those in the family you enjoy spending time with, especially before the event, so you’re looking forward to how well it can go when the narcissist pops into your mind. If you begin to feel anxious, remove those thoughts by learning to shift your focus on those you are looking forward to seeing, and start to imagine the event in a positive way in which you want it to go, so you’re not ruining your present thinking negativity of future events that haven’t even happened yet, your imagination is powerful, and you get to control it. Practice as our minds seem to enjoy focusing on the pain, believing it will prepare and protect us; however, at times, this can just cause us more pain by shifting our focus to things that bring us joy brings us happiness.
In the workplace, again, try to avoid them.
When you do have to talk to them, stick to the point, respond in a business-like manner, and need to know basis. If they start to ask more questions, give short, to-the-point, uninspiring answers that can’t possibly lead to further conversation. Things like “No.” and “Yes.” or “mm.” Even an “Ok.” Do not allow yourself to get drawn in.
A simple yes and no will do whenever possible, but sometimes, the question might mean you need to commit to an answer. If you’re not ready to commit, just respond with, maybe, perhaps, or we’ll see nothing more.
Avoid eye contact if at all possible; look just over their shoulder or their ear. Don’t let them suck you in by using your emotions against you. You have to become emotionally unpredictable to those who know how to use your feelings against you. Eye contact can help them with their games as you have empathy and care for others, they are manipulative, and they can pull you in, so avoid eye contact.
They might try pulling you in at first by playing nice, asking how you are, or what you’ve been doing, they might feed you a sob story, so you feel sorry for them; when this doesn’t work, they might pull on your biggest weaknesses, any mistakes you’ve made, anything you don’t like people knowing about you, your insecurities. They might try chipping away at these to get that reaction from you. Try to focus on those good things within your life when they are doing this, things that make you happy, and let their words flow right over you and not into you. The observe don’t absorb, observe their manipulative games, see what they are trying to do, are they playing the victim? Using triangulation? Trying to make you feel insecure? Trying to intimidate you? Etc. Recognise it and understand that it has nothing to do with you; that’s all on them. Like poison, if we recognise it for what it is and leave it be, all will be ok. If we pick it up and drink it, it’ll slowly infect us, so observe their toxic behaviour, don’t absorb, either recognise and tell yourself the game they are playing (not them.) or think of something nice you’re going to do for yourself as soon as you’re away from their negative toxic vibes.
Do not chat about your personal life, even the smallest details. Remain quiet about your life without them, and any response you do have to make, make it as boring as you can if they as what you’re doing things like. The washing, the garden ( so long as they have no interest in these things and they find them boring.) etc., try not to respond at all; however, if you must, respond with something they find dull to talk about. Never tell them how well you are doing.
Do not ask them questions, even if it seems like harmless small talk.
Don’t allow them to take you off topic, recognise the games they are playing.
Try to stick to facts only, wherever possible, only short statements about children that they need to know, as this will make it hard for them to turn the statement into a conversation.
Avoid any mention of the past at all costs; if they mention it, just say, “That’s the past.”
If they try to blame you for anything in the past or now, just say ok. Even if it were not you, a simple ”ok.” would do; they are trying anything to get a conversation from you.
Watch when they try and twist things into an argument. Remember, you don’t have to take part in every argument you’re invited to; you don’t have to prove them wrong. You don’t have to prove yourself right to them; retreat, rethink and only respond if you need to do so if you feel like you need to say something at the moment. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Or “That’s how you think, which is great. However, it’s not how I think.”
Remind yourself; that they are not looking for compromise; they don’t understand it, nor do they know how you or your children feel; the more you give them, the more they can use things against you.
Wherever possible, keep contact to the absolute minimum, avoid being alone with them at all costs, try to keep as much communication as possible in writing, text, email, Messenger, etc. and keep in case you ever need it in the future.
“There’s usually more than one side to a story, and then there are those screenshots.”
Watch your response in those. They might very well provoke, do your best not to react. That’s all they want your reactions, to make themselves feel better. Retreat, rethink and only respond if needed to do so.
Keep your boundaries, keep your standards, stick with your no.
The Grey Rock Method is not always easy, but it is often effective.
You might want to scream and shout at them at times, and they will just come back for more. Stay quite. Tell yourself good positive thoughts, and move on with your own life and your own self-worth.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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