Susan Hyatt (00:00):
Is there something you wish you had the nerve to do? Welcome to, you've Got Nerve, the podcast that teaches you how to conquer your fears, upgrade your mindset, and get up the nerve to go after whatever you want. If you wish you had the guts to go all in on your goals, dreams, and desires, this show is for you. I'm master certified life coach Susan Hyatt, and I am so excited for you to join me on this journey. In today's episode, I'm coming at you solo to talk about having the nerve to handle toxic family members. Dealing with toxic family members can be a real headache, especially around the holidays. And not long ago, I was at a family get together, and there he was, the family member who just loves to stir the pot and see how much he can ruffle my feathers. And so there I was bracing myself for his usual shenanigans.
It's like he has a special talent for pushing my buttons. He'd throw these little verbal jabs my way, each one perfectly crafted to get a rise out of me. And in the past, I'd bite ending up all riled up and ruining my night. But now I have a different game plan. I use what's called the Gray Rock Method. Have you ever heard of it? The idea is to respond in a way that's so dull and uninteresting like an actual gray rock. The drama loving person just loses interest in targeting you. If someone who loves stirring the pot comes at you trying to start some drama or get a reaction, you just give them the most basic responses with no energy. Think of one word answers like yeah, no, maybe, or even just a shrug. The key is to avoid giving them any reactions or opinions to latch onto.
So let's say you've got a relative who always tries to drag you into arguments over dinner. Instead of getting sucked in, you just play it cool with non-committal replies. It's like you're putting up a shield of dullness that deflects all their drama attempts. Using gray rocking doesn't mean you're being rude or not standing up for yourself. It's more of a strategy. It's about not letting someone else's need for drama affect your peace of mind. You're just steering clear of the chaos that they're trying to create. So when my toxic family member came at me with his usual snide remarks, I didn't respond. I just aimed for peak, blah boringness in reaction. It was fascinating to watch. He was trying his hardest to get the usual drama going, but I just wasn't playing ball. And after a bit, you could see him getting more and more deflated.
His usual tricks just weren't working, and it was like the wind was taken right out of his sails. It's liberating and empowering to not let someone else's drama dictate your mood. Plus, it's kind of fun to see them confused when their usual tactics don't work. So if you want to give gray rocking a try, here are my tips. Number one, master the art of being bland. Now, you might be like Susan Hyatt, you are not bland. Listen, I know. I know, I know. But picture this, you're at a family dinner and here comes your drama loving cousin. And instead of engaging in their latest gossip or controversy, you transform into the most uninteresting conversationalist with them ever. When they probe for your opinion on the latest family scandal, you just hit 'em with a, huh, I guess, or even a casual shrug. It's like being the human equivalent of watching paint dry.
Now remember, the goal here is to be as exciting as a rock, a gray one at that. Number two, the power of the unfocused gaze. Making eye contact with someone who thrives on drama is like opening the door to their drama castle and inviting yourself in. I'm not kidding. So you keep that door shut. If they try to lock eyes, suddenly find something incredibly fascinating happening elsewhere. This is what I did. I just didn't even make eye contact. Maybe it's the pattern on the tablecloth or a particularly interesting cloud, but the less eye contact, the better. I'm not kidding. Less eye contact means less engagement. Number three, keep your secrets secret. Sharing personal stuff with a drama magnet can backfire big time. They might as well be a living, breathing tabloid. Okay, so when they start prying, you keep your cards close to your chest.
Think of it like playing poker with someone who's notorious for bluffing. You wouldn't show your hand would you? Number four, self-care. The gray rocker's best friend. Playing the role of a gray rock can be mentally exhausting, so it's crucial to take care of yourself honestly. Before family events, I tend to, well, I focus on self-care all the time, but I double down on it before and after. I'm going to spend any time with drama family members. So it's crucial. You got to take care of yourself. Also confide in a trusted family member or friend about your strategy. It's like having an ally in your secret mission and never underestimate the power of a good old therapy session to unpack all that emotional baggage. Number five, you're a rock, not a robot. So it's important to remember that you're just playing the part of a gray rock.
You're not actually turning into one. So stay engaged with the things in the people that remind you of who you are. So maybe that's taking a walk with a family member you actually get along with or striking up a conversation with your niece who also doesn't want to talk to toxic Uncle Billy. Number six, when gray rocking isn't enough, okay, okay, okay. I know sometimes the situation might be too toxic for even gray rocking to handle. If being around a particular family member is consistently harmful to your mental health, it might be time to consider more drastic measures like limiting or cutting off contact, and that's not an easy decision, but your wellbeing has to come first. Number seven, the art of gray rocking. So think of gray rocking as performance art. You're stepping into a role for the sake of your mental health. It's not about changing who you are, but it's about protecting yourself in challenging situations.
And like any art, it does take practice, but once you get the hang of it, you can find it quite empowering. Number eight, gray rocking the aftermath. So after a successful gray rock session, you might feel a mix of relief and exhaustion. So it's important to give yourself some time to decompress, and maybe that's indulging in a hobby you love or just taking some quiet time to yourself. Remember, you just navigated a really tricky situation like a pro. Number nine, celebrating small victories every time you successfully use the Gray Rock method without losing your cool. Give yourself a big old pat on the back. You're learning how to handle difficult situations in a way that preserves your peace, and that is no small feat. Number 10, gray rocking and self-reflection. So after using the Gray Rock method, take some time to reflect on the experience, what worked, what didn't.
Self-reflection helps you define your approach and prepares you for future encounters. It's like reviewing the game tape after a big match. Using the Gray Rock method with your family is kind of like learning a secret superpower. Think of it as your emotional armor. It's straightforward, it works. It gives you a way to handle those drama-filled situations without losing your cool. And you're basically saying, Hey, I'm just not playing this game without actually having to say it. Gray rocking isn't a magic fix. It's more like a bandaid. It helps you manage the moment, but it does not solve the deeper issues lurking under the surface. So eventually you might need to have those tough talks, seek some family counseling, or in some cases, go low or no contact. Gray Rocking teaches you a lot about yourself. I mean, listen, when I recently tried this and I was not making eye contact, I was not responding to those jabs. I was like, wow. Look at the freedom you've created within yourself. By just choosing to Gray Rock, you start to get a handle on what sets you off, how much nonsense you can take before you've had enough and how to stand your ground. It's a journey to knowing yourself better and getting stronger. So there you have it. Keeping your piece one gray rock at a time.
My program Big. Yes. Energy is open for enrollment. Joining big, yes, energy means you're stepping into a world where you're confidently asking for what you want, need and absolutely deserve. Handling those pesky, toxic family members and setting healthy boundaries is always a big part of saying yes to yourself in big Yes energy. We tackle this head on. You'll learn how to navigate tricky family dynamics. Practice the art of gray rocking if needed, and most importantly, set boundaries that protect your peace and your wellbeing. It's all about creating a life where you feel empowered and respected, even in the face of family drama. And the best part, you're not doing this alone. You'll be part of an incredible community that's all about lifting each other up. We cheer for each other's wins. Offer a gentle push when things get tough. It's a support system like no other, where Bold asks are celebrated and every step forward is a victory. Ready to step into this amazing journey. Get all the details and join us in Big Yes Energy today. I've put the link in the show notes. I'm eager to create magic together.
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