When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead

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Janeite V

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Given that there is a risk of my covert narcissist or flying monkeys reading this, I'll keep the details vague.

Grey rock and avoidance have worked extremely well for me, and I am very good at not taking bait and not reacting emotionally to passive aggressive and oppositional behaviors (although since I am a poor actor, the covert narcissist probably knows I am not as calm as I try to appear). Doing this has had a negative effect on me since I have to suppress so much, but it keeps me relatively safe.

This has resulted in me, the former scapegoat, being only a secondary target. Now people who never believed me before are shocked by the behavior of the narcissist because the narcissist now looks towards them for supply.

Unfortunately, someone I deeply care about is a huge enabler to this covert narcissist and flying monkey, and now gets a huge share of the abuse. The enabler is frightened that the covert narcissist will commit suicide if they do not get everything they want. FOG is such an amazing acronym to describe the state of this poor person. The levels this enabler goes to in order to avoid offending the narcissist are extreme and unsustainable. There is also a large financial burden involved.

When I have tried to stand up for this person, it has horribly backfired, as I know all of you reading can imagine. Not only did I unintentionally make it worse for them (the covert narcissist has been punishing them for months now over the last incident, when if I had just let it go they might have forgotten already) but the covert narcissist immediately jumped on the rare chance to attack me, and did the usual gaslighting, word salad, focusing on me as a person instead of behaviors, topic changing, threats, demanding apologies for nothing, yelling but getting extremely offended at a slight irritation in my tone, etc.

The narcissist does not let the enabler walk away from a conflict and I tend to become very angry and triggered when I see this, as well as hear the horrible names, gaslighting and insults and generally controlling behaviour. The enabler is literally too scared to use their own car these days, or have a neutral conversation near the narcissist, among many other things.

What am I meant to do in order to help this enabler? The enabler is currently going to therapy and I am desperately hoping the therapist will see these behaviors going on and recognise it for abuse. The enabler often comes to me for emotional support in dealing with the narcissist and flying monkey, but does not agree with me that they are a narcissist and tends to get irritated when I speak of the topic.

I feel like I would be veering into controlling behavior myself if I tried to tell the enabler what to mention to the therapist.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2020, 09:23:54 AM »
This sounds like a case for the the Cs: You didnít cause it, canít cure it, canít control it.

Are you taking on responsibility for the Nís behavior because your successful boundaries have led to this other person you care about being faced with the abusive behavior? Let me say you did good. You responded in a healthy way. You did the N a FAVOR by giving them the opportunity to learn that their abusive behavior is not ok. You protected yourself from harm.:applause: It is NOT your fault that N has turned to a new target.

The person being faced with the abuse now has to make his own choices. You say the N doesnít LET him walk away from a conflict. Is that so? Or does he choose not to implement boundaries? If it makes you upset to see it, can you make the choice to walk away?

In my own situations, I believe that I can best help those still in the FOG by living as unfoggy as I can. Often that has meant letting them make their own choices to stay there. Youíve said what you need to. They didnít believe you about the abuse before, now they do. But they arenít at that next step yet. Itís a painful process, as you know. Everybody comes to figure things out on their own timeline, and we canít make people see the light before they are ready.

As far as offering this person emotional support, are you able to do that while still putting your own healing and peace first? It sounds like you have been in a few circular conversations with the enabler. He knows what you think. I can see how hearing about this all the time would be majorly triggering. Especially the suicide fear. The N is still making everyone else responsible for her. You can say NO!

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GettingOOTF

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2020, 09:24:58 AM »
My experience when I was the abused was that nothing anyone told me would have made a difference. I was deep in FOG and truly believed I was a  deeply good, caring person doing the right thing. I took such pride in being there for someone who was so clearly hurt and troubled by how others were treating him.

I have come to see that we cannot want things for other people, they have to want them for themselves.

For me solving other peopleís problems and feeling I was somehow responsible for them was a sign of my struggle with Codependency. Codependent No More taught me how to stay in my own lane and take responsibility for my own stuff rather than involving myself in other peopleís situations.

I know when the FOG lifts we want to go and shake everyone and make them see the truth. Not everyone wants or is capable of this.

Itís great that GR is helping you deal with your situation. The fall out from that is not your fault and it is not your problem to solve.  Adults have agency, they make their own choices. All you can really do is be there for that person when and if the FOG clears. 

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PeanutButter

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2020, 11:28:44 AM »
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The narcissist does not let the enabler walk away from a conflict
The only power/control the Narc has over EN/FM is what power/control En/Fm gives to the Narc. En/Fm can walk away but chooses not to. Is that accurate?
What am I meant to do in order to help this enabler?
You are meant to do nothing. You have not been asked to do anything. When you over stepped it was not appreciated and caused more harm to the En and put you back in harms way also.
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The enabler is currently going to therapy and I am desperately hoping the therapist will see these behaviors going on and recognise it for abuse.
This is good that En is in therapy. She has a proffessional guiding her.
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The enabler often comes to me for emotional support in dealing with the narcissist and flying monkey, but does not agree with me that they are a narcissist and tends to get irritated when I speak of the topic.
This is a sign imo that she is not wanting your opinion or advice. Which is her choice of course. Is she really after emotional support or is this 'dumping' or worse is she being FM towards you? You get to decide if you want to listen to all the issues she is having with the narccissist even though you've found it necessary to detach yourself for your peace of mind from the narcissist and it is triggering to you to hear about the abuse through En/FM.
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I feel like I would be veering into controlling behavior myself if I tried to tell the enabler what to mention to the the therapist.
Yes I agree.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 11:42:42 AM by PeanutButter »
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Janeite V

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2020, 12:27:12 PM »
My experience when I was the abused was that nothing anyone told me would have made a difference. I was deep in FOG and truly believed I was a  deeply good, caring person doing the right thing. I took such pride in being there for someone who was so clearly hurt and troubled by how others were treating him.

Thank you very much for showing me the state of mind this person I care about is in right now. I am sorry you went through what you did in order to gain this clarity and hope you are free from it now as much as possible, or well on the way towards healing.

This almost reminds me of the realisation many of us have about narcissists, when you finally understand that somehow finding the right words or adopting the correct attitude to finally get through to them will never actually happen. It was liberating then, but when it comes to someone like this enabler, it's very painful.

I have come to see that we cannot want things for other people, they have to want them for themselves.

For me solving other peopleís problems and feeling I was somehow responsible for them was a sign of my struggle with Codependency. Codependent No More taught me how to stay in my own lane and take responsibility for my own stuff rather than involving myself in other peopleís situations.

I know when the FOG lifts we want to go and shake everyone and make them see the truth. Not everyone wants or is capable of this.

I had not considered codependency as a possibility, but having looked it up briefly, it fits the situation very clearly. Both between me and the enabler, and the enabler and the narcissist.

It sounds like I have to look at my own codependency, and hopefully model any improvement to my friend.

There was an incident that I think triggered me into this assumption that my friend could not take care of themselves or protect themselves from toxic people.

My friend allowed their uNPD friend on their computer. I sensed something was wrong (that lack of eye contact people do when they are guilty) and did a search on my friend's computer and discovered some sloppily hidden thefts. Thankfully my friend understood the evidence and cancelled all the purchases in time before the money went out. Of course, the uNPD denied all knowledge of it.

The uNPD went on to scam hundreds of thousands from another friend of mine. That friend had asked me about the uNPD and I told her he could not be trusted, and told her about that story. She didn't believe me and I watched her life get ruined over the next few years. I saw her and thought that could have been my enabler friend.

My enabler friend saw all of this and still remained friends with the uNPD. My friend is even puzzled as to why this is when the evidence is so damning.

It looks like I am enabling my friend by allowing them to "safely" navigate these relationships (since they often come to me about that narcissist too, especially to figure out what he is "really" doing when he asks for things).

Looking at it from this angle, I can fully understand why my friend tolerates both narcissists.



Itís great that GR is helping you deal with your situation. The fall out from that is not your fault and it is not your problem to solve.  Adults have agency, they make their own choices. All you can really do is be there for that person when and if the FOG clears. 

Thank you for your kindness. You have given me a lot to think about!


This sounds like a case for the the Cs: You didnít cause it, canít cure it, canít control it.

Are you taking on responsibility for the Nís behavior because your successful boundaries have led to this other person you care about being faced with the abusive behavior? Let me say you did good. You responded in a healthy way. You did the N a FAVOR by giving them the opportunity to learn that their abusive behavior is not ok. You protected yourself from harm.:applause: It is NOT your fault that N has turned to a new target.

Thank you! I think I need to repeat that mantra.

You're right of course. Somehow in my own head I feel responsible for what the narcissist is now doing to my friend. Protecting myself has resulted in direct harm to my friend, but it doesn't follow that it's my fault - because my friend is capable of doing the same as I did!


The person being faced with the abuse now has to make his own choices. You say the N doesnít LET him walk away from a conflict. Is that so? Or does he choose not to implement boundaries? If it makes you upset to see it, can you make the choice to walk away?

Good catch. In my mind, when someone walks away or shows obvious distress in a conversation, there is an unspoken rule to drop the topic. But it is up to my friend to enforce those boundaries - not my own moral standards.

The narcissist typically does the abuse when I am not present. I have become very accustomed to being hypersensitive to the narcissist's moods, so even when I am not present, I find myself almost frozen in fear when I sense something might be going on, even though it has little to nothing to do with me. It will be difficult but I do have to make that choice to detach from it.


In my own situations, I believe that I can best help those still in the FOG by living as unfoggy as I can. Often that has meant letting them make their own choices to stay there. Youíve said what you need to. They didnít believe you about the abuse before, now they do. But they arenít at that next step yet. Itís a painful process, as you know. Everybody comes to figure things out on their own timeline, and we canít make people see the light before they are ready.

You're right. How can I expect my friend to make the choice to stand up to this controlling behavior by trying to control them myself? It's likely I am merely reinforcing the FOG in my attempts to show them the light.

I have my own issues, but I do think it will help if I improve myself first and model the behavior.


As far as offering this person emotional support, are you able to do that while still putting your own healing and peace first? It sounds like you have been in a few circular conversations with the enabler. He knows what you think. I can see how hearing about this all the time would be majorly triggering. Especially the suicide fear. The N is still making everyone else responsible for her. You can say NO!

I didn't consider this, but it does seem like I get very triggered by these conversations. Though I don't want to make any assumptions about how my friend feels, if I had to guess, I get much more angry about the things I am told than my friend is. Then, I become toxic myself and try to convince my friend to see how bad it is, and we both end up frustrated.

I do still want to support my friend, but I think I really need to check myself and detach her situation from my own, and let go of the need to "fix" the situation.




The only power/control the Narc has over EN/FM is what power/control En/Fm gives to the Narc. En/Fm can walk away but chooses not to. Is that accurate?

The narc follows the EN even when the EN tries to walk away. However, the EN has the ultimate power to leave the situation. It's the fear of what will happen to the narc if boundaries are set that terrifies the EN.

You are meant to do nothing. You have not been asked to do anything. When you over stepped it was not appreciated and caused more harm to the En and put you back in harms way also.

Next time I am in the room with them, I will walk away if that is possible. I know I can't keep my mouth shut listening to the abuse, as to my mind not speaking up is the same as being a bully myself. However you are right that trying to defend the EN can only cause more harm. Back then, I still had hope that I could reason with the narc.



This is a sign imo that she is not wanting your opinion or advice. Which is her choice of course. Is she really after emotional support or is this 'dumping' or worse is she being FM towards you? You get to decide if you want to listen to all the issues she is having with the narccissist even though you've found it necessary to detach yourself for your peace of mind from the narcissist and it is triggering to you to hear about the abuse through En/FM.

To be honest, I struggle to tell the difference between "dumping" and emotional support. I would really like to be there for my friend but clearly things are not working as they are.

Maybe a better idea would be, once my friend has told me about the latest incident, rather than trying to analyse it, think of something nice we can do for ourselves.

I didn't consider this, but now that you mention it, yes, I do think there might be an element of FM in what is going on in these conversations.

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PeanutButter

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2020, 01:38:08 AM »
You are meant to do nothing. You have not been asked to do anything. When you over stepped it was not appreciated and caused more harm to the En and put you back in harms way also.

Next time I am in the room with them, I will walk away if that is possible. I know I can't keep my mouth shut listening to the abuse, as to my mind not speaking up is the same as being a bully myself. However you are right that trying to defend the EN can only cause more harm. Back then, I still had hope that I could reason with the narc.



This is a sign imo that she is not wanting your opinion or advice. Which is her choice of course. Is she really after emotional support or is this 'dumping' or worse is she being FM towards you? You get to decide if you want to listen to all the issues she is having with the narccissist even though you've found it necessary to detach yourself for your peace of mind from the narcissist and it is triggering to you to hear about the abuse through En/FM.

To be honest, I struggle to tell the difference between "dumping" and emotional support. I would really like to be there for my friend but clearly things are not working as they are.

Maybe a better idea would be, once my friend has told me about the latest incident, rather than trying to analyse it, think of something nice we can do for ourselves.

I didn't consider this, but now that you mention it, yes, I do think there might be an element of FM in what is going on in these conversations.
That could be because youve blocked the Narc from getting to you directly. Now he being the sneaky nasty sort he is is getting to you 'by proxy' the EN?
IME Something to stay alert for during future En 'updates' about what is happening.
IMO you are being a very good friend but you dont want to do that at the expense of yourself even if En means you no harm.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Janeite V

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 02:42:30 AM »
That could be because youve blocked the Narc from getting to you directly. Now he being the sneaky nasty sort he is is getting to you 'by proxy' the EN?
IME Something to stay alert for during future En 'updates' about what is happening.
IMO you are being a very good friend but you dont want to do that at the expense of yourself even if En means you no harm.

Thank you for your objectivity. I've been thinking so much about this since I have posted, and have come to realise that both of us might be acting in a toxic way, even though we both have good intentions.

The EN has multiple narcs and other PDs causing problems for them. Frequently the EN sends me to talk to these people because they are scared to do it themselves or think I am better able to get through to them. Or, the EN asks me to respond to some e-mail or text communication from these people because the EN is exhausted and doesn't know how to deal with them or get rid of them quickly.

I've taken on this role willingly, but have overstepped it when it has come to the covert narcissist. The boundaries between me and the EN are just really messed up. I didn't see this before but it's very obvious.

The first step is to recognise this unintentional FM behavior when it happens, and to not react so emotionally about it. And to draw up some boundaries when it comes to discussion about the covert narcissist and what I can and can't deal with for my own health. And also, what is harmful to the EN and what is helpful.

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PeanutButter

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2020, 03:24:15 AM »
Very good insight ime.
The EN has multiple narcs and other PDs causing problems for them. Frequently the EN sends me to talk to these people because they are scared to do it themselves or think I am better able to get through to them. Or, the EN asks me to respond to some e-mail or text communication from these people because the EN is exhausted and doesn't know how to deal with them or get rid of them quickly.

I've taken on this role willingly, but have overstepped it when it has come to the covert narcissist. The boundaries between me and the EN are just really messed up. I didn't see this before but it's very obvious.

The first step is to recognise this unintentional FM behavior when it happens, and to not react so emotionally about it. And to draw up some boundaries when it comes to discussion about the covert narcissist and what I can and can't deal with for my own health. And also, what is harmful to the EN and what is helpful.
Maybe you could tell En the next time she asks you to speak, email, or text for her:
 that if she is scared to talk to someone the good news is thats her choice she doesnt have to talk to them
 that if she cant 'get through to them' she can just accept that they have a different opinion and are entitled to think whatever they want to think
 that if she doesnt know how to deal with someone then she shouldnt try to 'deal' with them, instead she can refuse to accept problematic behavior
 that if she wants to 'get rid' of them she can create a boundary for herself to no longer give this person access to herself
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Janeite V

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2020, 11:29:22 AM »
Maybe you could tell En the next time she asks you to speak, email, or text for her:
 that if she is scared to talk to someone the good news is thats her choice she doesnt have to talk to them
 that if she cant 'get through to them' she can just accept that they have a different opinion and are entitled to think whatever they want to think
 that if she doesnt know how to deal with someone then she shouldnt try to 'deal' with them, instead she can refuse to accept problematic behavior
 that if she wants to 'get rid' of them she can create a boundary for herself to no longer give this person access to herself

Thank you! Just reading your list I see this is going to be challenging for both of us, but these are very good things to remember! Remind EN that they have the agency here and the choice whether or not to engage and accept the problematic behavior.

I think I also need to explain that I have realised that it is problematic to continue enforcing EN's boundaries by proxy but that they are always welcome to come for support if needed. If there is an objection I will remind EN about the last incident where trying to defend them backfired.

In the case of the covert narcissist #1, I need to tone it way back, as painful as it is to witness and not to be able to do anything about it.

However, with the thieving narcissist #2, there have been multiple other near misses aside from that first attempted theft (as well as calls from law enforcement and debt collectors). More to the point, EN seems to genuinely want my advice there, rather than just to vent. So I think I will continue to offer what assistance is asked for, while keeping in mind that there is a healthy way to support a friend in between offering no support at all and crossing the line.

I think about that lady who got her life turned completely upside down by narc #2, and how she hid the activities with the thieving narcissist from friends and family, because she knew they would not approve. By taking a step back with covert narcissist #1, I think I will make this worst case scenario much less likely for my EN friend once EN is ready.

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Janeite V

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2020, 02:01:48 AM »
Thank you again for all the help. Today I got the chance to put it into practice.

EN came up to me and described how narc #1 did something EN did not like. EN asked in three different ways for narc to stop, presumably giving the benefit of the doubt that narc didn't understand. Narc ignored it and kept doing the activity, and then gaslit the EN.

EN came up to me and said "isn't that crossing a line, doing something repeatedly when I asked narc to stop?"

Instead of trying to convince EN that yes, this was really terrible and unfair, I said: "true, but we cannot control narc's behavior, only our response. If you want to make a boundary it has to be enforced because you can't make narc do it."

It seemed to go down really well, and avoided triggering both of us!

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PeanutButter

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2020, 10:47:41 PM »
Thank you again for all the help. Today I got the chance to put it into practice.

EN came up to me and described how narc #1 did something EN did not like. EN asked in three different ways for narc to stop, presumably giving the benefit of the doubt that narc didn't understand. Narc ignored it and kept doing the activity, and then gaslit the EN.

EN came up to me and said "isn't that crossing a line, doing something repeatedly when I asked narc to stop?"

Instead of trying to convince EN that yes, this was really terrible and unfair, I said: "true, but we cannot control narc's behavior, only our response. If you want to make a boundary it has to be enforced because you can't make narc do it."

It seemed to go down really well, and avoided triggering both of us!
Wow thats great!  :applause: Good job.

 Im glad you got to practice that. You have empowered yourself AND you are modeling a better way forward for your friend. She really is lucky to have you. Dont forget to be just as good of a friend to yourself too.

Just so you know we all backslide sometimes even after we do better. So ime just hold lots of compassion for yourself if that were to happen.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Janeite V

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Re: When Grey Rock works too well and the new scapegoat is abused instead
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2020, 12:49:05 AM »

Wow thats great!  :applause: Good job.

 Im glad you got to practice that. You have empowered yourself AND you are modeling a better way forward for your friend. She really is lucky to have you. Dont forget to be just as good of a friend to yourself too.

Just so you know we all backslide sometimes even after we do better. So ime just hold lots of compassion for yourself if that were to happen.

Thank you so much for the advice and encouragement  ;D This circular conversation has been going on far longer than I care to admit, so it will be a huge change in mindset. I'm looking forward to when it becomes a habit.

I'm very hopeful my friend will start to enforce the boundaries and will not feel responsible for the other person - my friend already went NC with another very toxic person and it has been very liberating. I know I still have so much work to do than just grey rock but that means there is a lot of scope for things to get better for both of us!