If you’re in the middle of the divorce process with a narcissist or other self-centered, manipulative personality type, you know how frustrating the communication process can be. Even after divorce, you may find it incredibly difficult to deal with issues such as child care or mutual debts that require contact with your ex. 

McKinney divorce lawyers have seen many clients improve communications in a toxic relationship by using what is popularly known as the “gray rock” strategy. While this tactic may not offer a long-term solution, it can enable you to get past a difficult point in a relationship. 

What it Means to Gray Rock

Gray rocking in interactions with someone basically means adopting the unresponsive, dull demeanor of a drab piece of stone. Narcissists and others who feed on conflict are not able to find much satisfaction from talking to a rock. Therefore, when they are unable to find the desired reaction and drama, they will lose interest and look for fulfillment elsewhere. 

Clients of McKinney divorce lawyers may employ gray rock strategies by:

  • Showing little emotion, particularly when the other party says something provocative
  • Not speaking unless spoken to
  • Keep responses brief and vague
  • Limiting eye contact
  • Ignoring accusations or even agreeing with them

The technique requires self-control because it involves suppressing signs of emotion in response to someone who is an expert at getting feedback. A lean, low-energy, atmosphere offers no food for the fires of conflict. Personalities who need that fuel to keep going will need to move on and find another source. 

Gray Rocking in a Divorce

Gray rock techniques can be helpful before, during, and after divorce. When one spouse is constantly provoking the other, the angry interactions can make it impossible to settle issues or even determine exactly what is going on in a relationship. 

Adopting a gray rock approach can give one spouse the distance they need to evaluate their priorities and then launch into communications that achieve some productive results. Because gray rock communications are necessarily limited, it is often best to allow some communication and negotiation to be completed through McKinney divorce attorneys rather than directly. 

Potential Problems with the Gray Rock Strategy 

Gray rocking in front of children or other family members can be awkward and uncomfortable. However, it is far better to seem uninterested or unresponsive than to react with irrational anger, which is the response that so often results in communications with a toxic ex. 

A more troubling problem with gray rock techniques is that they require the user to disconnect from their emotions and effectively change their personality. McKinney divorce lawyers know this extreme level of suppression should not continue for extended periods because it is emotionally damaging. 

It is also important to be aware that a gray rock strategy could provoke a violent angry reaction in a personality that is truly dependent on conflict. Caution is always advisable when dealing with an unstable personality, so those using the techniques should take all available measures for protection.  

Dedicated McKinney Divorce Lawyers Are Here to Help You 

While communication is never easy during divorce, it can be nearly impossible when divorcing someone with manipulative tendencies. Working with experienced McKinney divorce lawyers who know how to manage the challenges can make the process much more manageable. Talk to the dedicated team at Nordhaus & Nordhaus, PC for a free consultation to learn how we could assist.