I like to mix in solutions along with raising awareness.
Little Shaman shares a series of pod casts dealing with narcissistic personality types. This also works in many situations with an aggressive person looking for a fight not a solution.
Little Shaman healing https://www.littleshaman.org/
How to use Grey Rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAsFAGzxBkI&feature=youtu.be
I would call this, “You don’t have to join every argument you are invited to.”
I did grey rock without knowing what it was. My mother would pour a barrage of junk on me and I would blank out…..dissociate. She reported to me that she could see it happen. She would get twice as furious but that wouldn’t change the emotional wall I built.
What is grey rock?
For me, it was a form of dissociation. My mother described that she could see a mental block wall built up. I didn’t respond. No tears, no anger, no justification….just blank. What my mother didn’t know was her cruel words still affected me. I thought connecting to my emotions would stop this from happening. It didn’t. This is a form of defense that works when talking to a person that is totally unreasonable. There is no point saying anything since things like facts, truth and reason are not part of their conversation. Another thing I learned sometimes the poking and provocation was not about me. My mother would have some bee in her bonnet, I was just a target to vent her frustration. I did not need to do anything. So I didn’t. I stood there and let the barge of rage wash over me. I do not recommend this if you are able to walk away from the person. My first choice in dealing with unreasonable people is to withdraw physically. As a child, I didn’t have that option. I’m an adult now. I walked away and stay away.
I also had a nasty boss. He set out to get me to quit. Or looked for a reason to fire me. My job was threatened 2 or 3 times a week. I was in counseling at the time. I could do what I called “Deer in the head lights” (grey rock) but I felt so dissatisfied with that as a solution. The one thing I learned from being quiet was that listening I could learn a great deal about the other person. My counselor helped me to realize that my nasty boss was unpleasant but he did have a certain level of reasoning I could work with. During this time as I was trained better ways to respond to my boss my counselor would remind me that other methods would work with anyone accept my mother. I finally got used to this and I would automatically say, “I know, this will work with anyone except my mother.”
First document every encounter. If he stopped me in the hallway, I would go to my office and send an email to him with a brief description with what was discussed and an opportunity for him to verify what I understood. I also saved every email. If I had a meeting with him. I would take notes then send another email verifying what was said. I also saved every email where he would change his mind, again and again. 3000 emails saved my job for awhile.
I followed every instruction exactly. I learned the fastest way to point out the stupidity of an order is to follow that order exactly then document what they asked, what I did and their response when it was done. Everyone except me was shocked when he moved me from art to music. I explained that I was partially deaf, I wear hearing aides. He told me that wasn’t a problem. The first issue we encountered was static in the headphones. Static that I couldn’t hear. One of my student workers listened on the headphones and I did the trouble shooting. The equipment was not set up correctly. I identified the problem but did not have the power to order the parts to solve it. I documented everything. I was finally required to do art and music which was a job for 2 people but they expected me to do it all. Then they added theater and dance until I was running all over the university then they complained I wasn’t getting as much done. They were right I spent 2 hours a day walking between buildings. I was in much better shape then with a built in daily exercise program. Yup, I documented all of this. After several years of this treatment, I was happy when they laid me off. I was good with the computers but this type of passive/aggressive office politics was not for me. I walked away. Occasionally I look back and miss the challenges of working with the master students and animation but I DO NOT miss the daily harassment and put downs.
Another skill I learned at this time was how to get things done by asking questions. One of the professors wanted to put sound wires through a wall. I knew that there are specific procedures to do this. Instead of making a statement I asked a question, “Is there a procedure we need to do to keep the wires in fire code?” Sure enough there was. I learned that a well placed question can lead stubborn people to their own conclusions, which is what I wanted them to do in the first place. Hitting some people head on sometimes creates more problems than it fixes. Leading by inviting cooperation and questions sometimes gets me further than arguing with a person.
One word of caution about grey rock, be vary careful with your opponent. Some people will become violent to get a reaction. Know who your opponent is and how far are they willing to go. If you are in physical danger, leave, leave now. Do not kid yourself and think that it won’t be ‘that’ bad. Once a person is physically violent, it will escalate. This is one of the big reasons if there is a person in your life that requires grey rock treatment, I recommend finding a way to sever ties as soon as possible. To me it is not worth the constant aggravation.