Grey Rock

Grey Rock is a technique that can be used to stay neutral and unemotional in the presence of a narcissist so that they do not try to extract narcissistic supply from you.  Narcissistic supply can come in either positive or negative form of emotion, either will usually do.  So to remain emotionless, polite but uninvolved and detached is of no “use” to the narcissist, so they will usually (perhaps after a few attempts to get an emotional reaction from you (hook you)) move on to look for a better source. Their attempts can happen on either end of the spectrum, either by being excessively nice, attentive or sycophantic or by being extremely rude, dismissive and critical.

It is a non-confrontational method that implies “It’s not you, it’s me” except that you act it out rather than saying it so that the narcissist can come to that conclusion on his or her own.

When dealing with narcissists it is important to avoid making them envious, if you use the grey rock approach you will fade into the background and therefore their attention will not be focused on you as a potential threat.  Let them know that you are a boring person and have a boring life if they do try to test you for narcissistic supply and do not tell them anything personal however benign as they will use it to draw you in and then use it against you.

If the narcissist gets even the slightest inclination that you might be a good source of supply they will try different tactics to see which one can provoke the best reaction.  Should this happen you can use a technique that is called Selective Grey Rock.  This is where you respond to the issues that matter least to you, it will focus the narcissist on that issue.  Selective grey rock acts as a decoy and prevents the narcissist from pulling you into their drama.

Grey rock works because a narcissist is easily bored and the need constant stimulation to keep their own demons at bay.  That is why they get over involved in other people’s lives and constantly try to create drama, to have an effective drama you need (real or imaginary) actors and an audience.  Feeling involved in this production invigorates them, they feel empowered by directing the play, any kind of response works for them so long as they are the cause of that reaction.

The narcissist is addicted to power and control, they will do anything to divert attention to themselves, they know how much they “need” control and will constantly check to see that you are still jumping through their loops and are not creating any type of side show that they might be excluded from.  The more often we respond to their dramatic behaviour the more reinforcement that we provide.  If we just stay neutral s/he will get upset and probably try harder, if we stand firm and do not react the narcissist well see that we aren’t much “fun” any more and move on.  They may sporadically come back to see if there is any “play” in you, but if you do not respond, the game is over.

Giving and receiving


Narcissists have three main currencies that they value and they are:

  • Control
  • Power
  • Money (and other resources)


Things like:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Loyalty
  • Kindness
  • Trustworthiness
  • Honesty
  • Honour
  • Integrity
  • Sincerity
  • Support
  • Conspicuousness
  • Friendship
  • Discretion
  • Unity

Are not traits that the narcissist values.  At least not with their dealings with other people, they will expect other people to exhibit these traits towards them.

Every act of generosity from a Narcissist is a purchase, either to bolster their public image, to buy credit in terms of favour from others or to buy access to someone (as in the love bombing stage in a potential new “relationship”) or to improve their public image, such as a charitable donation.

If you have grown up in a narcissistic family of origin, you can very often feel unworthy of receiving from others.  This is not just in a material but also in terms of accepting

  • Compliments
  • Help with things
  • Attention

The reason for this is that asking for things sends you into an emotional flash back of being refused things when you were a child, the flashback is not conscious but the feeling of fear resonates from when you asked and were refused by your cold and neglectful parents for the fundamental things in life such as a cuddle, to have friends over to play, bring you do the doctor when feeling sick, comfort you when you felt scared or pick you up when you fell over.   That is why so many children of narcissistic parents “know” that they need to over compensate to get a small amount of “love” or attention.  You feel like it is always up to you to do all the running in relationships and that if you don’t everyone will walk out of your life and you will be alone.

Narcissists are very attracted to people who have this programming and can select them in their usual predatory way.  A child of a narcissist will very often feel empty if they give to/take care of themselves because they will have been taught that if they are not constantly focused on their parents, siblings or the needs of others (to create a good impression for the parent(s), i.e. “such a good, kind generous child, so well brought up) that they are being selfish or “naughty” and will almost certainly be punished.

The narcissist parent(s) will also have programmed the child to know that since they have a roof over their head and food on the table that they child is indebted to the parent(s) in a way that they know they will never be able to repay, they are also taught that they are a guest in the house that they live in and they have no rights in that house (in short, they have no home).  This feels like entrapment, is very unhealthy and suffocating for the child because they have no escape, they are hostage to their parents/family.  It is made known that the parent(s) can call in their “credit” at any time, irrespective of the difficultly, fear or compromised position it puts the child in.

So if someone gives to someone who had been brought up in this way, that child will feel safer if they over compensate in their giving to avoid having their independence robbed and being put into a state of ownership by someone else.

The problem with this is that over giving makes it very easy for people to take advantage of the giver (not only narcissists).  Takers will never stop taking, that is what they do.  It is up to the giver to put down the boundaries on your time, attention and resources otherwise you will end up emotionally and financially impoverished.

At the beginning of a “romantic” liaison with a narcissist, they might tell you “you are too independent, it doesn’t feel like I can do anything for you”, what this really means is “I don’t feel like I can control you”.  It is a manipulation to get you to depend on them and once you do they will immediately reduce their abundance of giving and you will have to give much more as time goes on to get the same return.  This will leave you feeling completely deflated as you will never be able to do enough for the narcissist because they will keep pushing the bar up higher and higher until one day you will realise that you have nothing left to give.

The other thing about narcissists is that they are really bad at sharing things.  The do not get the concept of sharing or negotiation. This unfortunately can often include children and lead to the parental alienation of one parent.  A narcissist will give or not give, but compromise and negotiation do not sit well with the narcissist mantras of “Me, Myself, I”, “Mine, Mine, Mine” or “Win, Win, Win”.  If a narcissist gives they consider it a purchase, if they choose not to give it is because they cannot see that there is anything in it for them.  It doesn’t matter how desperate the other person could be, how closely related they are to the narcissist or how easily the narcissist could afford to give the other person what they want if they cannot see any personal gain in giving, then they simply will not do it.

If you meet a non-narcissist you may feel uncomfortable with a situation of equal give and take.  However, if you don’t let people give to us it feels to them that a barrier has been put up (and they are right) and so they will never really bond with you.  Giving and receiving makes most people feel connected and not purchased.  Giving for most people is not paying off a debt or buying credit to maintain independence and avoid “ownership” by the narcissist.


Narcissist’s actions rarely match their words, they are inconsistent and change their minds, opinions and dreams/desires on a regular basis.  For those who are involved with narcissists it can be very frustrating to try to work out where they are coming from, you keep trying to make sense of their behaviour and project “sense” onto them (even if it seems far fetched).  You are invested in making their behaviour seem “normal” so you try to “fill in the gaps”.  However, the gaps in their behaviour will become too big to fill and you will realise that everything that you do for or with a narcissist is in vain.

Their complete lack of integrity and consistency means that you realise that you cannot trust or depend on them in any way.  They make and break promises without remorse or feeling guilty and then they will turn around and blame you for the fact that they broke their promises.  So, you lose trust in them, but we feel guilty about that because that is not how you “should” view your family members, partner or friend, so there must be something wrong with you.  It is frustrating, self-depreciating, exhausting and you have been emotionally abused, it is not your fault, you just didn’t think that anyone could be this way.  Not knowing that some people can behave this way leads to further abuse, such as.

  • You feel responsible for cleaning up their mess
  • You will clean up their mess without complaining or pointing out the error of their ways.
  • You try to show what the problem is by setting an example.

The narcissist is preying on you at this stage, they will try to make you feel that it is you who is crazy and is being irrational

  • The narcissist does not want to be accountable or cooperative as they see it as a loss of power and control and that which sets them apart as being special and more entitled than the rest of the human race. They will very often tell you that they deserve special treatment due to their wonderful talents, beauty and intelligence.   Because what they say is so exaggerated and extreme, you might think that they are joking, they are not, they are very serious.
  • If you expect a narcissist to do something they will be twice as elusive because they see “being expected to” as being taken “advantage of”, so helping with house work or working as part of a team (unless they are the leader) is completely beneath them as they see that they deserve special treatment and mundane tasks are for lesser mortals to execute.

The word integrity means being whole, entire and undiminished.  This is the antithesis of what a narcissist is.  They are confused, fractured, have different sets of rules for themselves and everyone else and different behaviour depending on who they are talking to.  This means that they have very little self-awareness of their thinking and behaviour so they can do anything they want without feeling bad about it.

  • If you come from a narcissistic family of origin this type of behaviour can feel “normal” because you have kept making excuses for those who are supposed to love you and we all have a deeply ingrained desire for love and intimacy.
  • You are a bit innocent and you cannot believe that someone would treat another person in this way. You feel like there must be a more complex dynamic that you are just missing it.
  • You try to justify their behaviour to yourself with self-talk such as “there must have been some reason for them to behave that way”, “if they feel that strongly about it” they don’t feel that strongly about “it”, they feel strongly about getting their own way.
  • The narcissist has massive gaps in their psyche so they cannot understand the effect that their behaviour has on an integral level, they judge everything on their own limited emotional landscape which is anger, envy, hurt and self -righteous indignation. Any expression of emotion that they manage to evoke in someone else is a win for them.

Misogyny and Misandry

Wikipedia states that Misogyny means:

Misogyny (/mɪˈsɒdʒɪni/) is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, hostility, male supremacist ideas, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.[1][2] Misogyny can be found occasionally within ancient texts relating to various mythologies. In addition, various influential Western philosophers and thinkers have been described as misogynistic.[1][3] In 2012 the Macquarie Dictionary (which documents Australian English and New Zealand English) expanded the definition to include not only hatred of women but also “entrenched prejudices against women”.

Wikipedia also states that Misandry means:

Misandry (/mɪˈsændri/), from the Greek misos (μῖσος, “hatred”) and anēr, andros (ἀνήρ, gen. ἀνδρός; “man”), is the hatred or dislike of men or boys.[1][2] Misandry can manifest in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, or sexual objectification[3] of men. The word “misandrist” was first used in 1871.

If you were born into a narcissist family of origin, it is quite likely that you will have experienced either misogyny or misandry at some level.  This can come about for several reasons such as the narcissistic mother grew up in a family where females were considered “less than” and so the power within the family dynamic was with the males.  Since narcissists like to affiliate themselves with perceived sources of power, giving males preference over females in some families was “automatic”.

If on the other hand a narcissistic mother was brought up having been treated “less than” by her brothers and her parent(s), she might treat her own male child with disdain and neglect in order to “compensate” for being deprived of opportunities in her own life and/or focusing all of her attention exclusively on her daughter(s) to “make up” for the lack of opportunities and hardship she suffered.

This is a message that you can be given at birth or while still in the womb if the sex of the child is known before birth.  If a narcissistic mother is disappointed by the sex of her child she will not bond with it or mirror it.  She might wear the baby on her hip like an accessory but she will deprive the baby of all emotional nurturing.  One of John Bradshaw’s healing affirmations is “It is okay to be a girl/boy”, it is surprising how strongly that sentence resonates with some people.

If your gender has been a disappointment to your parent(s), they most likely will treat you with contempt and will criticise and humiliate you because you were born the “wrong” sex.

Narcissistic mothers will very often be very jealous and envious of their daughters from a very young age (something that an infant simply cannot understand), especially if she is “daddy’s girl”.  It works the other way too, fathers get envious of their sons if the mother leans on him emotionally to the exclusion of her husband.

The reason that parent(s) will “partner” their own children is because they are very emotionally immature, so it is easier for them to relate to a child who has the same emotional maturity that they have instead of an adult.  Narcissistic parents try to infantilise their children so that they do not out grow them emotionally and because they are easier to control if they haven’t grown up.

If the narcissistic mother wanted female children she can often foster dislike of men in her daughters by acting like she and her daughter are the same age and “best friends” and can often confide in her daughter about the difficulties she might be experiencing in her marriage and talk about her husband in derogatory and demeaning terms.  She does this to try to get reinforcement that she is right about the way she treats males.  It is an over generalisation of the “rule”

Both parents male and female will be in direct competition with their same sex off spring so they will disregard practically everything that that child achieves.  They start to compete when the child is at a very young age and they will not acknowledge anything that the child achieves from a drawing, learning how to ride a bike to getting a degree or Phd.  Nothing is ever good enough for them.  The result of this is that the child will feel invisible, they will have low self-esteem and will probably suffer from anxiety, depression and possibly addiction later on in life

Narcissists and the happiness of others

Narcissists do not like to see other people being happy, they have a pathological envy towards people are happy because they are deeply unhappy themselves behind their false persona.  They have no genuine sense of self and they cannot feel the intensity of emotions that happiness, joy and love are, it actively annoys them to see it in others and will frequently do what they can to destroy it.  Narcissistic parents do not like to see their children play happily together, they will split them up and punish one or all of them for their “disobedience” of the narcissist’s script.  They will also destroy a game that a child is playing happily on their own by sending them on an errand or giving them a job to do.

Narcissists are extremely paranoid, so if they hear their children laughing together they will automatically assume that they are laughing at them and will barge in on their children if full rage mode.  They are the same with any group of laughing people but their reaction to a public situation is far more tempered.

They do not like it when people sing to themselves or along with the radio they will sneer at you for being “out of tune” if singing alone or will either turn the radio off or turn the volume up to drown the singer out if you are singing along.  Their excuses are always something like “I have a headache” or “I love this song and you are ruining it for me”.

The same goes for dancing, if you dance they will jeer at you and tell you that you are “making a fool of yourself”, “everybody is looking at you because you look ridiculous”.  In general, narcissists have quite a stiff posture as a form of control, so it upsets them to see people dance about for the sheer enjoyment of letting themselves move to the rhythm of the music.

Narcissists find absolutely no pleasure in celebrating the happiness of others at birthdays, promotions, weddings or the birth of children and nor do they enjoy convivial company of others.  They will deny their children birthday parties, but insist that family celebrations are held at their house so that they can be the centre of attention or at least the central reference point.  When they hear of other people’s promotions or achievements they will probably say the right thing, but their tone and body language will belie their words.  This is because genuine happiness comes from the ability to know what happiness is on the inside and a narcissist does not.  They will like being with other happy people if it feeds his or her narcissistic supply, otherwise narcissists do not like to see other people engaged in any pleasurable activity.  So they will sneer at things that you create and will try to destroy your pleasure in it or literally destroy the object itself if it is a material thing. For example, they might refuse to eat a delicious dish you just cooked because they say they don’t like the flavour or put too much salt in it when no one is looking to destroy it for everyone.  They might laugh at a hobby you have by saying it is immature, too expensive or a waste of time.

Narcissists will also assume a knowledge superior to yours of all of your friends even if they have only met them for five minutes or they will deride your relationships and the people involved, they will try to get you to justify it by saying things like “what do you see in him/her? S/he is awful/so boring/so trashy etc.”.  They are quite happy to make up false rumours about a person with whom you are starting a new relationship and will endlessly say “I have heard that s/he is a… (something bad)” if you ask them where they heard the rumour they won’t be able to remember or will say something like “everyone knows that”.  In general, they will question your instincts and try to erode your confidence in your relationships by sneering at them.  They are just putting your relationships down to feel better about themselves because narcissists do not have intimate relationships with anyone because they cannot afford to due to their constant shape shifting and the preservation of their false persona.  If a narcissist feel that someone is getting too close, they will often completely shut that person out.  Alternatively, if they see the person as good supply (someone who is superficial and not going to ask too many probing questions) they may well try to force their way into your relationships by arranging dates with them or calling them (after insisting that you give them their number) behind your back, buying them presents and assuming an inappropriate intimacy that just isn’t there but is quite flattering to the new target.  They will then probably go on a smear campaign against you once they have hooked your friend.

This is a warning signal/red flag:

If you are dealing with a person who wants to destroy your pleasure in the little things in life, discredits anything that you do for yourself (or people other than them), never finds your happiness a source of joy, tries to break up fun times with others (not them) you can be pretty sure that you are dealing with a narcissist.  People who have the ability to love get excited and gain energy from other’s happiness – narcissists hate it and will do everything that they can to destroy it.


Morality to a narcissist is a code of ethics that they want others to employ when dealing with them.  It is not the same code that they employ when they are dealing with others.  Narcissists believe that they do not have to abide by the same rules as everyone else because they are “superior and above all that”.

Narcissists know that they are amoral and when they get caught committing a minor misdemeanour they will giggle about it like a naughty child who just got caught stealing a biscuit, they think that they are being quite cute/clever.  If they get caught committing adultery, they will flip the blame back on to their partner by implying that it was somehow the partner’s fault that they “needed” to be unfaithful.   If the same thing was done to them they would automatically react with a visceral narcissistic rage.

Narcissists don’t care that they are morally bankrupt because like in all aspects of a narcissists life, they think that they do not need to conform to the ethics that they expect others to adhere to, and especially when they are personally directly involved.  It is their ridiculous sense of entitlement that “permits” them to commit outrageous immoral acts and since they do not have a conscience they do not take responsibility for their own actions or feel any remorse what so ever.  The only “remorse” that they might feel is if they have damaged their public image it will not be because they have treated another person in an abusive and immoral way.

At the same time, they will be outraged by those who do defraud the system for personal gain in the same way that they do. They might be vocally horrified that someone is putting family holidays on their expenses account but they might be committing some far greater crime, but because it is the narcissist, it is perfectly acceptable to them.

The nature of their immoral acts covers the complete range from murder, financial fraud or theft, lying, cheating to abusing their own children and other people.  Frequently they will not react in any way when they get caught and they may even get furious for having their game ruined and try to punish anyone who dares to expose them.