I’ve been studying narcissism for a while now, and, as you might know, the narcissist enjoys manipulating your emotions. He will play the victim, to get your sympathy and sadness. He’ll walk into a room full of laughter and tell a sad story, just to make his presence – and power – felt. He’ll give you a fake compliment, to make you happy, just to cut you back down the next minute with a vicious attack. He’s good at manipulating your moods, because that makes him feel like he has power over you. This makes him feel superior to you.
The antidote to this, according to experts, is a technicque known as “grey rock,” in which you begin to respond to the narcissist without showing any emotion whatsoever. ”Respond, don’t react,” is the mantra. You focus on remaining neutral. You don’t take the bait, as it were, when they come out with their provocations.
Once they realize that they can no longer manipulate you, it’s as if you are taking away their tools. They are going to be mighty angry. Beware, don’t fall for that fake anger bit either, and apply more “grey rock,” as needed.
The narcissist is exactly like the ego. In fact, I would say that the great benefit of meeting a narcissist is that he/she provides a kind of mirror in which you get to see your own ego at work. Because with all this up and down with emotions, feeling great one moment and feeling terrible the next, your body is always flooded with contrasting emotions, chemical firings and neural and hormonal imbalances.
The result: You never feel like yourself. You are always confused. And this is what has been keeping you from seeing through the narcissist’s trick.
It might not be for everyone to need an “external” narcissist in order to understand what I’m saying. We all have this tendency within us. All of us already have an “internal” narcissist manipulating our emotions. We tear ourselves apart, we build ourselves back up. “Tomorrow I’m going to become important,” “yesterday was terrible,” “I can’t wait to see him,” “what they did was inexcusable.” Up and down, up and down, all day long.
The result: We are kept a prisoner of our ego. He’s telling himself that He Controls Us. And it’s true… because we listen to him. He tells us what’s important, what should have happened, who we should be, what others should do, and on and on. He is trying to replace God. (And we let him… up to a point, that is. Who can stand being manipulated for very long?)
When we start seeing through these tricks, it means we are fed up with the ups and downs. We start to “grey rock” our egos. When our ego says things are great, or horrible, we don’t fall for it. We don’t trust his analysis. We decide to let things play out. We start allowing things to simply be as they are.
Because who we really, truly are is so much greater than we can possibly imagine. And if we want to truly experience ourselves, we have to become even-minded and non-reactive to these ploys. At first life will seem boring, like a bi-polar patient starting on thorazine. We will probably feel depressed, missing those wild mood-swings that used to define our lives. We won’t be terrified any longer either, so our fight-or-flight reptile brains will have to be replaced by completely different operating system: the cerebral cortex. (I promise you… you won’t miss the downs.)
So start to “grey rock” your ego. And you’ll start to notice something interesting… all those things that it told you would make you happy, or sad… they simply don’t move you anymore. They won’t bring you up or down. You’ll simply recognize that voice as that of a master manipulator, and ignore it.
Your life will start to calm down, you’ll enjoy the present moment, and you’ll wonder: How in the heck did I fall for those tricks for so long?