Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism
Tagged as abuse, disorder, narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic, personality, regret, sorry
Thank you for this reminder, and all of your reminders!
I’ve been practicing the “Gray Rock” technique with my narc mother for a while now, and our conversations seem “good”.
I’ve seen the Gray Rock technique referred to as “keeping a professional distance”, “Medium Chill” and “Background Noise” as Sam Vaknin calls it.
I think “background noise” is the most descriptive. When my mother calls, I just act as an echo. I agree with everything she says. I don’t introduce new topics. My side of the conversation is usually limited to “uh huh”, “uh huh”, and “wow”.
When she tries to use guilt and shame by bringing up something I did in the past that hurt her (like having other friends), I now just act like I didn’t hear her. I instead change the subject by asking her an unrelated question about her life, such as “Is Mary still planning to invite you to Florida when she goes there for the winter?”. Like my cats when I toss a shiny toy tossed across the room, this new opportunity to talk about herself works every time.
As odd it sounds, when these one-sided conversations happen, I actually get off the phone thinking things are “good” between us. I then find myself noticing things that my mother may like or that might help her. And because of my grooming, I want to share them. But I know my suggestions would only offend her because they would imply I know something she doesn’t.
And of course she already knows everything. She doesn’t want me thinking I know something. She just was an audience for her talking.
So now I keep these suggestions to myself. I stick to “uh huh”, “uh huh”, and “wow”.
It’s sad that we live in a world where nice, thoughtful people have to intentionally curb their impulses to be helpful to avoid abuse. But I very much appreciate reminders from people like you telling us why we have to do this.
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You’re welcome! & thank you for all you said!
It sounds like your conversations with your mother are very good.. good as can be when it comes to dealing with a narcissist. The idea of turning the conversation back to her is really smart. It works like you said, like it does with cats when you toss a shiny toy. It’s a good diversion.
That’s so true what you said, she wants an audience. My parents were the same. I always felt like their trash can… they just wanted to dump whatever onto me & go on their way.
I agree… it’s very sad this is what we have to do to avoid abuse in this world.
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I very much appreciate you as a kindred spirit. You are very brave in what you have done. I know that God has given you the courage to break from you tribe in the way you have. I refer to Matthew 10 these days for peace in knowing it’s okay to be out of the tribe. But it is still painful nonetheless..
You’re sweet.. thank you for saying that. It really is God enabling me to speak out & break away. I’m naturally not brave, so it’s definitely all Him.
It is painful for sure. It’s less painful than continuing to suffer at their hands though.
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I agree with you, Doug. Cynthia has a terrific calling and she is great at what she does!
Thank you Linda! ❤
“I then find myself noticing things that my mother may like or that might help her. And because of my grooming, I want to share them. . . It’s sad that we live in a world where nice, thoughtful people have to intentionally curb their impulses to be helpful to avoid abuse.”
This continues to be a MIGHTY struggle for me, too. I had never thought of it as a result of grooming and am sitting here stunned. Thank you very much for your comment, Doug 🙂 I can already feel big stuff shifting into place in my head.
It is sad that we have to curb those loving impulses that are, at least in my case, such a big part of who we are. Part of my struggle is the rage I feel about having to sacrifice something that is so highly regarded in “the real world” and that makes me feel so good and whole and like MYSELF.
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