Learning Medium Chill

  • 12 Replies
  • 782 Views
*

Rocketman

  • New Member
  • *
  • 11
Learning Medium Chill
« on: September 10, 2021, 07:06:32 PM »
Iím familiar with grey rocking and am learning about medium chill. But how have some of you learned how to use it? I imagine itís one of those things that make sense in theory but in the face of a narcissists chaotic vibes can be a lot more difficult to actually put into practice. Do you all have any tips for developing medium chill skills? Thanks!

*

Cat of the Canals

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 699
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2021, 07:16:37 PM »
I read someone describe it once as being less of a "participant" in the interaction and more of an observer. They suggested imagining yourself as scientist who is studying the PD, taking notes on an internal clipboard. "Ah, PDmom is getting very melodramatic suddenly, how interesting..." *scribble scribble* "Oh now she's accusing me of being ungrateful. Fascinating..."

If it helps, you can even imagine that you're watching it all through a window... not even in the same room as the PD. The main thing is remaining detached and not emotionally involved.

I'm not sure if you've seen the Medium Chill guide in the Toolbox, but it has a lot of suggestions for actual things to say in response to almost any situation. In my experience, you can get through almost any conversation with a PD entirely using "That's nice" and "That's too bad."

https://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/medium-chill

*

Tribe16

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 33
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2021, 05:39:02 PM »
If nothing else, the broken record technique is easy to remember and even if you have to say the same thing 5 times calmly, it usually shuts the other person down, usually.  There's a guy on YouTube that I really like - he doesn't address gray rocking or MC, but communication tactics in general. His name is Dan O'Connor and he has good tips to communicate with toxic/passive aggressive types.

*

Sneezy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 435
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2021, 09:52:04 PM »
I have found that medium chill is much easier when you don't have as much of a personal stake in what is being said.  With my covert NPD mom, it can be difficult for me, as so much of what she says (or implies) is aimed directly and personally at me, and she knows exactly how to push my buttons.  So with her, medium chill takes work and concentration and I have to consciously try to observe, not absorb.

On the other hand, with my HPD MIL, it is getting easier for me to use medium chill, mainly because she has been diagnosed with dementia.  Her dementia is progressing slowly, and most of the time she seems like the same person I have always known.  But any boundaries she had (which were pretty flimsy to begin with) are gone.  She will blurt out the most awful, hurtful things to everyone around her.  However, I remind myself that she has dementia and that makes it much easier to just respond with "well that's interesting, and by the way, do you remember 30 years ago when we all went to that great beach?"  It is very easy to pivot and deflect with MIL nowadays.  I'm hoping that all the practice I've had with MIL recently will help me as I deal with my own Mom.

*

MarlenaEve

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 155
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2021, 06:28:46 AM »
I'm grey rocking at home and I'm pretty happy with it. I think I wouldn't be so calm if it wasn't for all the videos I've watched on the topic.

Try learning the self-differentiation techniques taught by Jerry Wise. It's difficult yes but once you learn how to stop reactivity and push that family anxiety out of you, it becomes easier.

Ex-PD mother asks you about your love life. You say there is nothing to talk about it and you rather keep your love life private.
PD mother gets angry and guilt trips you. But I'm your mother! You need to tell your mother about these things. I care about you.
You then put the focus on you and your wants: But I do not have anything to share with you, mother. I rather talk to you about the Knicks game I saw yesterday.
But I'm your mother! How dare you keep things from me!
I would rather talk about that Knicks game. What is your favorite player, mom?

You will repeat this until PD mother gets bored with you ( and she will!! PD people have zero patience so they'll just go to the next person to get their supply) and your private affairs remain private.

If she offends you and says things like 'Why do I have such a stubborn/stupid/irresponsible child?' you say 'I'm sorry that you have to deal with this' or 'Yes, you do have a stubborn/stupid/etc child. That's the kind of child you have. So what are you cooking for dinner today?'

Trust me, these statements will throw any PD person off. They expect you to defend yourself and criticize them or try to show them how valuable and important you are and that they should treat you better. But, when you agree with them, maintain your cool or put the focus on what you want and need (PD people hate hearing about what you want), they'll not like it and would probably stop the conversation or go to another person who is willing to give them the drug of choice (their anger, their reactivity, even their criticism and judgment).

I always need to remind myself that when I get angry and show it, I'll just feed these people with my precious energy. Not giving them any emotion and just maintaining my calm cuts off their supply (which is what I truly want to see happen).

And yes, just like Tribe16 said, be a broken record. Rinse and repeat. Don't break off this self-differentiation routine.

Do this no matter what the relationship with PD parent is. (obviously if you're NC, this won't be needed)
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 06:32:56 AM by MarlenaEve »
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
-Viktor Frankl

*

Rocketman

  • New Member
  • *
  • 11
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 12:12:29 AM »
Thanks everyone for your replies, this is all very helpful. I definitely relate with comments being aimed very directly at me or being very personal. All my life I felt the need to explain myself and honestly not doing that will be the biggest challenge of medium chill. Itís all under the whole ďI care about youĒ act as was mentioned when in reality anything I say can be gossiped about or used against me.
And thanks for the content recommendations. Iíll give those names a search and check out their methods. Also, lol at ďfamily-anxietyĒ hits the nail squarely on the head.

*

Sneezy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 435
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 02:20:43 PM »
in reality anything I say can be gossiped about or used against me.
You bring up a good point.  Be careful how much info you share with someone who has a PD.  It's tempting to open up when things appear to be going well.  But it's likely that the person you are interacting with is storing personal info for later use - whether it be for gossip, to appear superior, to throw back in your face, etc.  So be careful what and how much you share. 

Another thing to remember is that no matter how good you get at medium chill - and you will get better with practice - you still might have some residual anger/sadness/etc. afterwards.  I am getting pretty darn good at not reacting to my mom's overwhelming sadness, anger, despair, and general whoa-is-me stuff.  But after I am finished interacting with her, I often feel angry and sad.  It can sometimes take a while to get her bad feelings out of my system.  There is still a part of me that instinctively thinks it's my job to make mom feel better and I must be a "bad" daughter if she is so miserable.  I'm working on it, but these things take time.

Good luck!  Keep your boundaries up and your medium chill set to high   :)

*

Tribe16

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 33
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2021, 01:14:39 AM »
Rocketman, you said: "All my life I felt the need to explain myself " - that is an occupational hazard of the kids of toxic adults. I am a chronic over-explainer. Late in life I've realized that less is really more. It's hard though, I know.

Sneezy, my therapist suggested I go axe throwing if I need to release pent up bad mojo after successfully faking grey rock or medium chill. I'm seriously thinking about taking her up on it!  :blink: :applause:

*

osee1

  • New Member
  • *
  • 2
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2021, 12:52:00 PM »

Another thing to remember is that no matter how good you get at medium chill - and you will get better with practice - you still might have some residual anger/sadness/etc. afterwards.  I am getting pretty darn good at not reacting to my mom's overwhelming sadness, anger, despair, and general whoa-is-me stuff.  But after I am finished interacting with her, I often feel angry and sad.  It can sometimes take a while to get her bad feelings out of my system.  There is still a part of me that instinctively thinks it's my job to make mom feel better and I must be a "bad" daughter if she is so miserable.  I'm working on it, but these things take time.

:yeahthat:    Im just starting my journey of discovery and hopefully release on this, but yeah that resonated deeply with me. There seems to be no - good- way here? if trying to talk 'normal'ish' , its bad, greyrock/MC  still leaves me recovering for days. Any suggestions, experiences?  - thanks, love.

*

Cat of the Canals

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 699
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2021, 08:46:50 PM »
:yeahthat:    Im just starting my journey of discovery and hopefully release on this, but yeah that resonated deeply with me. There seems to be no - good- way here? if trying to talk 'normal'ish' , its bad, greyrock/MC  still leaves me recovering for days. Any suggestions, experiences?  - thanks, love.

Gray Rock/MC are not "solutions" so much as they are tools. They do not "solve" the problem of the PD. Not even close. They hopefully keep you either distanced from the drama or at least prevent you from getting drawn into it.

I'm not sure if I read it somewhere or if it was something that just occurred to me on my own, but I think of Grey Rock and MC as forms of armor. Armor does wonders at protecting us from outside threats, but it isn't without consequences. It's heavy, for one. Gray Rocking and MC are both pretty exhausting to pull off, because it takes a lot of self-control to dodge a PD's drama. They are experts at drawing people in (doubly so when you are the child of one... they know ALL of your buttons). So it's a constant internal battle to *not respond*. I know I saw one therapist say that these techniques are not meant to be used for long periods of time. They are meant to get you through the moments when you can't simply avoid the PD outright - brief visits or phone calls, family functions, etc.

Limiting contact is the closest to a "good" way that I've found.  :bigwink:

*

Call Me Cordelia

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 1466
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2021, 10:11:25 PM »
There is a lot of good advice on here, but I do feel the need to disagree with the technique of agreeing with the PD when they insult you.

As a matter of fact, my uPD father directly coached me to do that when other kids would bully me. It didnít go well then, and by teaching me to agree with the bullies my father really wounded my self-esteem. And my uPD MIL saw that I really did think I was stupid and irresponsible and disorganized, and hammered away at me for my lack of self-esteem, because she ďcared about me.Ē Huh. No.

ďWhy do I have such a stupid child?Ē can be met with, ďThatís too bad you feel that way,Ē and simply leaving the conversation. You donít have to let them see you angry, but you also donít have to sit there and take it or act as if their comment is in any way legitimate. That is damaging, and I feel a betrayal of yourself.

I agree with Cat of the Canals that MC/grey rock is not a great way to live long term. Iím NC now with all of my family and in-law PDs. When I find I do need to employ MC, my limit is about five minutes. And Iím mad after too.

I can only do it because itís just a few minutes and then I will take care of myself. Iím still healing, but I think that is pretty normal.

*

Boat Babe

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1043
  • To survive is necessary. To thrive is elegant.
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2021, 06:40:12 AM »
I agree that long term MC is no way to live, especially if there are children in the mix. However, in the immediate situation it does cut off Supply and may afford some relief (or possibly a ramping up of Supply seeking behaviour). I would say in order not to get emotionally triggered (very very difficult in obvs) you need a moment of mindfulness when the PD behaviour starts. A moment to recognize the pattern, the pathology. A moment to take a deep breath and focus on controlling YOUR feelings, on managing your stress in the moment. This needs practice and you can gain this through practicing mindfulness for a minimum of ten minutes, or preferably more, every day. Lots of resources online. Good luck.
It gets better. It has to.

*

Sneezy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 435
Re: Learning Medium Chill
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2021, 04:37:25 PM »
Limiting contact is the closest to a "good" way that I've found.  :bigwink:
Same here!  I use medium chill and keep my boundaries strong when I spend time with my mom.  But I also need to limit how much time I do spend with her.  I have to have some downtime in between.  It's a shame, but that's how it is.  If Mom was pleasant to be around, there is so much that I *could* do with her.  I would love to have the kind of mom that is fun to shop with or that likes to go out for lunch or coffee on the spur of the moment.  But . . . that's not the mom I have. 

My other suggestion is hot showers (or baths).  I've said it before - I blame my mom for my high water bills.  But sometimes a long hot shower with fancy-smelling products is the best way to treat myself after a few hours of mom's complaints and misery.  ;)