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Yellow Rocking 101: How to Manage the Narcissist in Your Life

The world is full of all kinds of people, and, as a rule, most of these people leave a positive (or at least neutral) impact on your life. Unfortunately, many others may add negativity and drama, either by accident or on purpose.

One of the most drama-inducing personality types is the narcissist, and once they target you, it can be hard to break free from their grasp. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to let narcissists bring you down.

Even when a narcissist or high-drama individual is an integral part of your life (i.e., you have a child with them), you can learn how to handle them effectively. One such method is yellow rocking, which may be the key to eliminating negativity and generating positive interactions.

If you’ve been struggling with a narcissist, the yellow rock method may offer some much-needed respite. Here’s everything you need to know about it. 

What is Yellow Rocking?

Yellow rocking a narcissist means interacting with them in such a way that they wind up bored and leave you alone.

The term refers to acting like a yellow rock. Basically, it’s something that looks nice but doesn’t hold one’s interest for too long. 

One of the most common methods of disarming a narcissist is “gray rocking,” which involves removing all emotion from interactions.

While gray rocking can be effective at keeping narcissists at arm’s length, it can also potentially backfire. Instead, yellow rocking means adding a veneer of politeness and courtesy to avoid any negative consequences. 

A golden yellow rock
the yellow rock method

The Theory Behind Yellow Rocking

Because narcissists crave drama, they try to appeal to your emotions in virtually all interactions.

Rather than letting things go or discussing problems in a healthy way, narcissists try to provoke a reaction and start a fight. This allows them to control the situation and potentially manipulate you into doing what they want, even if it’s just to get them to calm down. 

So, yellow rocking works because it eliminates the argument and focuses on objectivity, not emotion.

When a narcissist tries to start a fight, you can shut it down almost immediately by refusing to engage. According to psychologist Kerry McAvoy, the key to success is to “kill the feelings within the relationship.”

According to McAvoy, “For you to do these techniques successfully, you have to become detached and cease to care about what they think and feel.” While that may sound cruel, it’s absolutely necessary to avoid conflict and bring inner peace for yourself. 

However, yellow rocking goes a step further and adds politeness and sincerity to your interactions. This technique is typically best used when your communication will be scrutinized by someone else, such as the court system.

Impersonal responses can make you sound cold or rigid, making it seem like you’re preventing a healthy relationship. 

How to Yellow Rock a Narcissist

Depending on the situation and your history with the person, yellow rocking may be relatively easy or it could be extremely difficult. For example, if you live with a narcissist, it can be hard to avoid them and maintain impersonal communication. Similarly, if you have to interact with them regularly because of your children, they may use the situation to their advantage. 

That said, here are the basic steps to yellow rocking a narcissist: 

  • Step One: Try to Add a Communication Barrier – Dealing with a narcissist in person can be challenging because they can react to your body language and facial reactions. So, if possible, try to limit communication to texts and emails. This way, you can take time to calm down when an argument starts and use the right wording. 
  • Step Two: Keep it Professional – The best way to describe the proper language to use in the Yellow Rock method is to pretend like you’re communicating with a co-worker or boss. Keep it positive, but don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone in a professional setting. 
  • Step Three: Work With Them (Within Reason) – Although the point of yellow rocking is to bore the narcissist, ignoring or dismissing them can be a form of engagement. Instead, you have to make a concerted effort to work with them to achieve a positive outcome. For example, if they want to pick up the kids, you can discuss the logistics, such as when and where to drop them off. 
  • Step Four: Focus on the Present and the Future – Narcissists tend to love bringing up past drama to start a conflict. Rather than discuss previous interactions, only focus on what’s happening now. Let go of the past, and they can never use it against you. 

If you want to dive deeper, I recommend this video:

Keeping Your Cool

Narcissists thrive when they’re in control, and they can use various tactics to get under your skin to force a reaction.

So, while the Yellow Rock method may seem easy on paper, it can be incredibly hard in practice, especially in the beginning. 

It’s okay if you slip and wind up engaging in an argument. Simply try again, and focus on removing any emotion from the situation. Engaging in conflict will only make it worse, so pay more attention to the positive outcome.

Yes, it can take a lot of practice, but it’s worth the effort. 

What Happens When the Narcissist Pushes Back?

Narcissists rarely let go of something immediately, so yellow rocking may encourage them to try harder to start a conflict. They may bring up other issues or fixate on problems that they know will get a reaction from you. Typically, narcissists hate giving up control, so it may take a while for this method to work. 

No matter what, the best option is to stick to it.

As long as you’re polite and reasonable, you have the advantage. If they call you out on your method, you can simply acknowledge it and move on. Any further explanation or discussion about it could lead to an argument. 

The Bottom Line

Overall, the yellow rock method can work wonders, but it requires patience and practice. Every situation is different, and you may have to learn how to adapt this method for each scenario.

However, staying consistent and refusing to engage will result in a much more positive relationship. Even when you’re struggling, remember that there is always hope. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help when developing your Yellow Rock techniques. 

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