Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

The Grey Rocks #1

(61 Posts)
Suchalovelyday Thu 09-Feb-17 19:58:34

Starting a thread as discussed over on AIBU for those of us whose mums feel the need to verbally attack/put us down/treat us like shit.

I realise Grey Rock can be used in many things, please feel free to join in if you wish to use Grey Rock on someone in your life. The threaD is for successful and not so successful uses of Grey Rock, as well as outrageous examples of what brings us to needing Grey Rock.

Can someone cleverer than me please link the thread from AIBU to here and vice versa.

Posting random pics of grey rocks is also welcome, extra kudos to pics you've taken yourself and are now considered odd. Huge sparkly prize if you manage to text your Grey a Rock pic to the person giving you grief AND stay grey rock at the response. Your text must read 'I saw this lovely stone today'.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Thu 09-Feb-17 21:00:45

Hi, I did this unwittingly through the years with my narc sister. One word answers, very specific on what was I doing (in that very minute)...a very dull girl indeed. As I grew, so did the parameters. I learned that anything I said could and would be used against me (in the moment or at any point in the near or far future) I said as little as possible as she tried to force me to be more "social".
I am NC now...sending her anything would not be a good idea, sorry.

Suchalovelyday Thu 09-Feb-17 21:08:25

Hi And,

I think you have lots to teach us. We're all new rocks (as far as I can see).

I'm in silent rock at the moment (see thread in AIBU).

Tell us more please...

picklemepopcorn Thu 09-Feb-17 22:17:03

I only learned the term recently, but had managed my DM and DSis that way for a few years.
DSis was a bit odd, we'd been close but things happened in her life that we disagreed about so profoundly there was nothing left to talk about. We can talk, but we don't have regular talk as we once did.

DM needs proper grey rock strategy. I (had to) tell them I was raped. Her response 'but I just don't understand? I've never understood how it is possible.' With hindsight, referring to a different situation, I was being groomed when I was sixteen. She called me a Lolita.

She tells me my clothes are unflattering, gives me her cast off clothes so I can look smarter in the office (she's in her late seventies, a significantly different shape, and has never seen me dressed for the office).

A mixture between trivial, but still hurtful, and grossly inappropriate.

So handling it- I take the clothes, bring them home and send them to the charity shop. It's easier to try them on, show her how awful they look, and take the stuff which is less bad than the rest than to resist. She wants to feel she has given me things.
Every gift is lovely and very much appreciated (even the things which have been in her cupboard for years and now no longer work, or the DCs gifts which do not fit or are beyond unsuitable). There is no point trying to steer her toward things anyone might like- she'll get anxious and outraged that people are so particular these days and already have so much.

Basically, I ignore mean comments, her opinion is no longer relevent. I accommodate her where I can, but with limited emotion. I give her no material, and ask for no emotional depth or connection. She can't give it.

I don't think she can tell the difference. It's all about going through the motions for her.

Gosh what an essay! I did warn you, lovely day!

Italiangreyhound Fri 10-Feb-17 03:47:33

picklemepopcorn wow, fabulous, very good but I am sorry it is necessary.

Italiangreyhound Fri 10-Feb-17 03:55:32

Here are the links I posted on the other thread.

is amaizing, I think it is worth reading more!

picklemepopcorn Fri 10-Feb-17 11:42:49

I've added those links to my reading list so I can read them properly. I think you posted them a couple of months ago, Italian, which is where I find out about it!

I just wanted to say that in my experience, although it is really hard not having the relationship you want, the relationship gets so much better when you stop trying. DM is absolutely fine as long as you never ask anything from her.
It's a bit like having a cat. Fine when it's all on her terms!

I'm lucky in that I don't live very close, and that my DF looks after her. The dynamic will change when he is gone, though (he is terminally ill), and I'm not sure what that will look like.

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 04:35:11

picklemepopcorn I am so sorry to hear about your dad.

Please protect yourself from the worst of your mum by planning ahead.

My dear mum, who was not at all like some described here, got dementia and my sister was musing if she could manage to look after mum at home. She could not, and I was able to say that to her, and relieve her of any guilt about it, as she could for me.

If you have no siblings to take the pressure off, or even worse, siblings who encourage you to do more than you can, please make sure you protect you and your family from your mum.

Can your mum live alone? Does she wish to after your dad is gone? It may be worth having these conversations while your dad is still alive, especially if he is kind and will look out for your interests, and your family.

How is your mum's physical and mental heath? Could she really live alone long term? It doesn't sound like it "I'm lucky in that I don't live very close, and that my DF looks after her."

For example it may give your mum some comfort to know she has discussed the future with your dad before he goes. He might even visit flats, retirement flats, bungalows etc or even care homes with her, for the future, if appropriate.

It took 5 years after my dad died for mum to move into a type of sheltered accommodation. But after that she took a nose dive and within a few years was ready for more care via a nursing home.

"I think you posted them a couple of months ago, Italian, which is where I find out about it!" I think it was last week, I only heard about it through someone on the other thread.

XX thanks

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 04:53:23

Not sure those links above all work!

Here they are again.

This is amazing, I think it is worth reading more!

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 05:04:11

Please note

"What else should I consider before I try the Gray Rock Method?
One important thing to know about the Gray Rock Method is that there is a level at which it can become unsafe for you psychologically - and that's when you begin to experience symptoms of dissociation.
A lot of people don't realize that these two are connected, but here's what happens.
When you learn to use this method and you find out how effective it can be when it comes to dealing with your narcissist, you may find that it is a great way to deal with EVERYTHING that is an issue in your life.
The problem with this is that you begin to truly stop caring - and your ability to feel your own emotions diminishes. This is a major issue because you don't just stop feeling pain and anxiety - you stop feeling the good stuff too."

toomuchtooold Sat 11-Feb-17 08:32:20

greyhound I can relate to that as I definitely dissociate and grey rocking was my method of choice for dealing with my mother since I was a teenager at least.

I think that with batshit crazy parents (as opposed to batshit crazy romantic partners), whatever coping mechanisms we use or have used leave psychlogical scars, simply because we've had to use them for so long and because we were "coping" in the childhood years when we should have been learning, growing and being loved.

There's a lot of stuff about this in Pete Walker's book on complex PTSD . He splits the coping mechanisms into fight, flight, fawn and freeze. Grey rocking comes into the freeze category I think, and can result in dissociation, flat mood, memory problems, self-medicating with things like alcohol, food and video games. The other coping mechanisms have their own problems - fawning leads to people pleasing, flight to workaholism, fighting to becoming a bully oneself - it's very interesting, it's really worth a read.

This is why I think ultimately the best course of action is LC or NC with a crazy parent. I know there's lots of reasons why people need to be in contact though.

Secretlife0fbees Sat 11-Feb-17 10:33:56

Hi everyone, I have just heard of the term grey rock and I think that this could be the secret to my survival with my stbxh (not literally I mean more emotional survival). Still
Living together, split up properly about a month ago. I don't know what he is but he seems to fit the narcissist profile really well and also has some other traits. He has been physically abusive in the past (15 yrs ago) but now it is all verbal and emotional. We have 2 kids and the final straw was when he started on my 10yo ds and called him a name that he frequently calls me using the same intimidating body language and facial expressions and something in me just snapped and I said no more.
I can buy him out of the house but not til may and I am trying not to engage although it seems his main goal is to lure me into arguments, provoking me with anything he can think of that he knows will hurt me. Last night he spent 2 hours verbally attacking me and I tried my v best not to bite back.
He is up and down sometimes he is perfect man and then the next minute will start with the verbal stuff.
I think grey rock maybe my solution.
I might pick one up on the pavement and keep in my pocket to keep me focussed. It seems his main goal is to get me to crack and say something so that he can say it is actually me that is yhe abusive one.

picklemepopcorn Sat 11-Feb-17 10:34:02

Hell that sounds familiar... You cut yourself off from feeling pain...

Re my DM, it's really hard to predict how it will go. DF has always protected her emotionally and been her emotional support whipping boy. When she doesn't have him, she could become much more volatile. He has waited on her hand foot and finger. She will acquire lots of independence skills I think, but will get very tired.
Anyway, enough. I need to think about other things for a while before I vanish down the rabbit hole!

I will say to people practising grey rock, it is initially quite hard work. It gets easier in time. But as Italian warns, perhaps too easy!

picklemepopcorn Sat 11-Feb-17 10:35:17

Bees flowers
I like the pebble in your pocket idea.

Secretlife0fbees Sat 11-Feb-17 11:03:49

I think this is gonna be difficult at first...
has anyone got any tips on practical stuff when you have to co parent? Is it ok to give information (but only the necessary stuff)? Are you then supposed to end the conversation grey rocking?
He is likely to get really anygry with me as he will be frustrated... is that normal?
Thanks and sorry that I'm not responding to anyone else as I have to write this while I have a chance when he's not here

Suchalovelyday Sat 11-Feb-17 11:15:42

I just almost managed a grey rock phone call! Hadn't spoken since the call that prompted my post originally and I knew it was straying into giving her an excuse to accuse me of sulking.

So, armed with kids doing usual Saturday morning tweets getting ready to go out, pup going nuts and cooking a breakfast I called. And launched straight into a conversation about snow. Snow and dogs. Snow and dogs and poop. Snow and dogs and pet shops. I stupidly did stray into the start of telling her about DD1 struggling with accepting her friend now liked boys, but I heard myself gabbling and used the breakfast as an excuse to end the call!

Feeling quite good now, can't be accused of not phoning but more or less succeeded in not actually giving anything.

I'm shocked and saddened this seems quite common. Why do you think it is? I can't think of a potentially closer bond than mother-daughter. All the unconditional love shared with the added dimension of both being female.

I think my mum's partially comes from never really having related to a parent herself as an adult. Her mum died when I was 5, she never forgave her dad for re-marrying after her mums death. Dad's mum and Dad both died before I was born so again very young. So I think they react with me as an unrelated adult (and as they resent anyone who isn't in their financial situation) and I get that dynamic. My brother still acts like the needy child which empowers my parents as they still feel a degree of control. He likes it because the second he needs something, they're there (they've decorated his entire house including flooring, bathroom, kitchen installation - they're both good DIY-ers).

I dunno, I will be honest. I'd quite like to 'stop feeling' for a bit. I hate my brain constantly chewing over this stuff in circles.

We rock!

Suchalovelyday Sat 11-Feb-17 11:19:31

I'm new to this too secret. I'm sorry sbout your situation xxx it sounds rough.

I think they can get frustrated you're not being pulled into their game to start with, I think you just need to put it back to them and say something like let's drop this, it's upsetting you. It's basically a no- response, although in your situation it must be way harder as you can just talk about the weather!

Italian is wonderfully clear headed and insightful, I'm sure she will offer some good suggestions. Perhaps post an example of a conversation where you would like to grey rock? flowers

Secretlife0fbees Sat 11-Feb-17 12:24:16

Thanks Such for responding. So I read that you are meant to not do anything that would make you stand out etc but then if you have to say attend one of your dc bday parties and actually you don't want to look like shit but the whole point of this is to not draw attention then how does that work? I feel like my sense of self esteem is linked to my feeling good about my appearance almost like I can slap make up on and do my hair and handle anything iyswim but that kind of contradicts grey rocking. I don't want to lose my sense of power and self worth.
How are you supposed to act when interacting with the dc, I don't want him to look at me and think 'oh look at her trying to be super mum' and it provoke him but I dot want to change my parenting and detach from my dc.
Is it more in the interactions with HIM specifically?
Thanks all for anyone who has read or has any experience x

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 12:25:54

toomuchtooold very interesting and sad. I think it is so helpful to hear from people who have really explored this.

I am new to it and do not have anyone in my life who needs this treatment.

I got interested because someone (the OP) on another thread was discussing her mother experiences and so another poster mentioned grey rock.

I can see that no contact is sometimes the best choice, but is a hard point to come to for some. So I can see low contact as an option that offers freedom from seeing the person most of the time but may be less 'confrontational' in some ways. If a person has shared care of a child or say s sibling has shared interest in a parent (where other sibling in problem) then low contact may be easier to navigate than no contact.

I think the reminder that even grey rock could be very draining/dangerous is a helpful reminder to perhaps stick carefully to low contact. Daily/weekly grey rock could become so draining I would imagine.

Just wanted to be honest about my interest (both my lovely parents are dead) and there are no low conact/no contact situations in my life but I would like to learn about this as I would love to help others. My friend has just left an abusive marriage and once I get my head around this I may share it with her. she has kids with her husband so absolutely no contact is impossible but I really think she needs space from him emotionally as well as physically.

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 12:40:02

bees I am so sorry this is so hard. does he live with you? Does he know you want him to leave? Have you spoken to women's aid? Is the party coming up or hypothetically speaking? I think it would help to know your situation before commenting.

Despite Suchalovelyday kind words, I am not an expert! Trying to learn to help my friend maybe.Bees are you devices pas word protected? Could he see what you post? Cover your tracks. Xxx flowers

Suchalovelyday why do you think your mum is like this? I eouldn't like to hazard a guess. Stay xxx

Suchalovelyday Sat 11-Feb-17 13:22:03

It's only be a grey rock with him, Bees, carry on doing everything for yourself and your DCs as you would want.

If he says 'are you trying to be super mum?' Answer 'do you think so' and every accusation/question just give a meaning nothing answer that is just like he's talking to a stone.

When do you split properly? I would just arrange as much as I could seperate from him and minimise any time you spend together. Delete internet history etc. He sounds beyond needing grey rock tbh xxxx

Secretlife0fbees Sat 11-Feb-17 14:39:33

Hi Italian
Yes he still lives here, I can't get him out til may realistically as I cannot remortgage until then. I'm trying to find a way to protect myself emotionally during this time. I have to talk to him sometimes. The party is tomorrow and it is my dd's.
I reckon that I might need to find a way to grey rock that works without having to stop wearing makeup and doing my hair smile
I have felt different today, I've just said the absolutely necessary and avoided all other contact including eye contact or anything

Secretlife0fbees Sat 11-Feb-17 14:44:57

Such, hopefully it'll be just a few months which I know isn't ideal but we are married and it's his house too, I am lucky that I think I should be able to afford to buy him out but we only recently remortgaged to a fixed rate (last Nov) and the bank said that they can't allow additional borrowing until we have paid a clear 6 months.
He really knows how to push my buttons, he knows what hurts me and uses anything and everything as a weapon against me. I am seeing a councellor and her advice was that I need to not react in any way when he tries to provoke me. Then I read the grey rock thing and it seemed to make a lot of sense. I need to practice it and adapt it to work for me as I have to interact with him on some level but you are right that I need to minimise the need to as much as possible.
Thanks for replying

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 17:59:39

beas "I reckon that I might need to find a way to grey rock that works without having to stop wearing makeup and doing my hair"

I don't think this needs to affect how you look etc. Just be yourself totally. Make sure your dh is away from you as much as possible, be busy doing stuff and not engaging with him.

Have you spoken to a solicitor yet? Is your dh aware he is going to move out in May?

Can you give some (heavily disguised) examples of how he pushes your buttons?

Stay strong.

Secretlife0fbees Sat 11-Feb-17 19:43:07

Yes he knows. I've decided that if he leaves with the money I'm prepared to give him and he will sign the house over to me then I can deal with the divorce later - I have spoken to a solicitor and I know that he won't be able to have any further interest in the house after that. We don't have any other assets other than or pensions which I think are pretty much equal.
The thing he knows will hurt me most is the kids - we have a 10yo ds and he keeps threatening to go and pick him up from school and tell him that I am breaking up the family and that he is willing to try but I am not. Or that he will call my mum in the middle of the night and tell her (my dad is really ill at the moment and my mum has just had an accident) - he will threaten me with public humiliation and poison all my friends against me.
The most recent thing is new, my ds was being a bit silly the other night, delaying getting ready for bed, not listening to me (normal annoying 10yo behaviour!) and I had told ds several times to do as he was told - i purposely didn't involve stbxh he was downstairs. Eventually ds was settled down reading his book in bed and I heard stbx come upstairs and go in his room and start dicking about playing fighting and getting him wound up again, so regrettably I went into his room, told h what that ds had been messing and h turned this situation back onto me, he sided with ds and they both ganged up on me! I have never experienced anything like this in my life. My ds told me off and h was speaking to me so disrespectfully in front of my son and implying that I was some sort of loose cannon. H engineered this whole situation and I, like an idiot, took the bait and made myself look like a dick in front of my own 10yo!!! He kept saying that I wasn't allowed to talk to my ds without his 'monitoring' me!! I am still pretty raging about it tbh but not outwardly and I made it clear to my son that I would NOT tolerate being spoken to like that ever again and he apologised once h had fucked off back downstairs.
I have been pretty non responsive to stbxh ever since then but I think it's winding him up that I'm not rising to his bait. Last night my ds was staying with my dm and our dd was in bed and he ranted and raged at me for 2 hours until 1am. He brought up everything that he could think of to break me but I didn't let him I just kept saying 'please stop shouting at me and leave the room' but he wouldn't til he was finished.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: