Do you ever get tired of dysfunctional, emotionally illiterate people bringing conflict, instability and agitation into your life?
Yeah… Me too.
Mental illness heightens the drama, whether you’re the perpetrator or the recipient. We usually need to remain in some form of contact with people who are emotionally draining and create drama or seek to purposely cause spiritual damage. For example, close family members or friends whom you love unconditionally or family or friends who think you should, are prime participants. These vultures do not have your best interests at heart and will actually have fun trying to take you down – brick by brick. They are often diagnosed with a Cluster B Personality Disorder.
The Cluster B personality disorders are also the most common of the personality disorders described in DSM-5. All diagnoses in this cluster have common issues with impulse control and emotional regulation. They are characterized by dramatic, over-emotional, or unpredictable behavior:
- Antisocial Personality Disorder* (DSM-IV code 301.7) a pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others.
•Borderline Personality Disorder (DSM-IV code 301.83)
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder*(DSM-IV code 301.81) a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.
A Narcopath is a person who shows all the signs of meeting diagnostic criteria for at least two of the Cluster B personality disorder classifications that are outlined in the DSM-5 manual used worldwide by mental health care workers and medical physicians to diagnose patients. The two specific personality disorder types usually referenced when referencing Narcopathic behaviors are Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD). More than anything, a Narcopath, or other “Cluster B” personalities crave attention. They are addicted to drama. They loom over the set pieces of their public life, because behind the scenes they are lonely, awkward, and frequently have under-developed or very low self-esteem.
A Narcopath is a bully. An addict, if you will. And believe me, I do not use these terms lightly, or in jest. A bully is addicted to power. One of the things that gives them the most power is pushing buttons until they have access to our emotions. They are extraordinarily aware of this, and will constantly test us to make sure we are still available to be manipulated. A bully needs to create drama so they can experience the power of manipulating our emotions. Most of us have experienced this on some level when dealing with an extremely toxic person. Part of the thrill they get from their behavior is creating fear or emotional upset.
As with any addiction, a bully becomes intoxicated by crushing their target. The more times they experience a reward for over-the-top behavior, the more we gratify them as a target for their wrath. Conversely, when the reward stops coming, or they are called out their behavior, they become highly agitated. In my most recent virtual experience, the bully did not tire of me as a target. Triangulating the abuse by enlisting surrogates (Flying Monkeys) kept the drama going for longer than it should have. When they experienced oppressive boredom they simply counter it by creating more drama.
According to http://flyingmonkeysdenied.com, if you have experience dealing with anyone who has a propensity to elicit fear or dread just by being in your sphere, you will probably find learning how to “Grey Rock” incredibly liberating. Your self-care demands it if you’re constantly dealing personality extremities. Seems we all know at least one person who falls into this category, maybe more.
Grey Rock is a technique that allows one to take a step back and simply observe instead of fending off or goading into the unwanted attention. Your responses are dull, boring and mundane. Becoming a part of the scenery allows targets to camouflage or fade out. Instead of refusing to deal, you allow contact but only give monotonous responses so that the toxic person eventually must go elsewhere for their fix of drama and emotional mayhem.
In my case, battle lines were drawn, causing sides to be taken. But I took my power back. Since the situation was entirely virtual, I began by blocking them from messaging me privately. Then, followed up by taking screenshots of offensive interactions. Then a crack in the bully’s facade gave me an opportunity to state my case and draw attention to the abuse. The mistake of trying to shame me publicly actually drew unwanted attention to a situation that many had been observing, but chose to ignore (by-standers).
Finding a support system was immensely important. It helped me to find my voice, and defend myself. Oopsy! I didn’t go squeak any more like a chew-toy when squeezed. Time for the bully to double down on the triangulation, and create yet another target. Which sadly is what happened. A clear bright line was drawn. The bully even trotted out the old chestnut “Either you’re with me, or against me!!” No, I am not kidding – I have the screenshots to prove it.
So how do we sidestep a virtual bully without triggering vindictive rage? Grey Rock is primarily a way of repelling a bully, stalker or other toxic personality to encourage them to lose interest in you. When contacting you becomes consistently unsatisfying for the bully, their mind gets re-trained to take another look at the situation rather than continue to revel in drama. By becoming dull and boring as a rock, they will find themselves drawn to you less and less often. When we stay the course and take our power back by showing increasingly fewer emotions, the bully will eventually implode.
Using the Grey Rock technique does not always resolve the conflict for the-good-of-the-cause. Sadly, bullies will almost always cast about for new sources to feed their hunger, aided of course by their ever faithful Flying Monkeys. After all is said and done, Grey Rocking is a way to make yourself an unattractive target. When the situation I was involved with continued on and on, I bowed out. Several others had left before me and it was my time to follow their lead. When contact with their targets become unsatisfying for the bully and his/her minions (up-standers), they re-evaluate their position and purpose.
Although using the Grey Rock method isn’t infallible, it can lead to better insight into how we choose to interact with others. Suffering at the hands of a bombastic outsize personality is not necessary. If you’re reading this blog post, kudos for continuing to be resilient enough to seek information and craft a positive solution in what may be an untenable situation. I hope that sharing my lived experience will bring another perspective on coping with an unpleasant domineering personality. May the force be with you!
What is a Narcopath – Google Search Results: http://goo.gl/AXdmml
How to go Grey Rock – flyingmonkeysdenied.com: http://goo.gl/dSy3JO
Cluster “B” Personality Type – mayoclinic.com: http://goo.gl/AjrZlC
Wikipedia: Cluster B Personality Disorder- http://goo.gl/piJTwP
Dominique Thomas is a Mental Health Advocate, who has served on the board of directors of a NAMI affiliate. She continues her work as a support group facilitator, and resource advisor for a local Family to Family class. She is a trauma and abuse survivor who struggles with and survives the ebb and flow of having PTS. (She is adamant about dropping the “D” – feeling that it is unnecessarily stigmatizing)
Her journey to advocacy began at a tipping point in her marriage when she asked her husband about his diagnosis – Bipolar Depression. When he could not answer her very pointed questions, she was led to NAMI, where she found fellowship in a support group, and a family education course that changed the way she viewed her role as a caregiver, her diagnosis and that of her husband and mother-in-law.
Dominique revels in the art of cooking and paper crafting. She makes handmade cards for special occasions. Dominique states, “I feel grace and oddly peaceful when I make cards or cook. And I won’t do either for people I don’t like because it is a gift from my heat.” She is also an avid photographer.
In her spare time, Dominique is very active on social media, having created and posting on Facebook and Twitter accounts for her local NAMI affiliate. She also co-moderates a Facebook support group about Mental Wellness, and is a writer of short stories based on her favorite television shows and movies.