Philosophy Saved My Life

Philosophy saved my life.

When I was growing up with two abusive parents, I was often overwhelmed by how little control I had over my own life.

Whether today was a good day or not often depended on whatever moods my parents found themselves in.

By the time high school rolled around, and I had begun to layer these problems with the more ordinary teenage woes of a devastating break-up, I was feeling profoundly lost.

In 11th grade I was drowning in AP courses, anxiety about applying to college, and suffering at the hands of my toxic ex’s leadership in my favorite extracurricular activity - marching band.

I discovered an old yellow book amongst the many shelves in our home - nearly every inch of available wall in the common spaces were filled with cinder block bookshelves.

It was called “The Essential Works of Stoicism”

I found myself drawn to Marcus Auerilus’ To Himself otherwise known as The Meditations.

I remember feeling particularly hopeless one gloomy fall day sitting on the math building stairwell just beyond the band room and feeling truly amazed by what these pages held.

Stoic philosophy seemed to have solutions to every one of the problems that I had.

In an environment where I had almost no agency, the Stoic’s recommendation to turn inward and create your own peace brought relief that I didn’t know I needed.

Years later after going no-contact with my abusive mother, I discovered a Psychology Today article introducing a strategy known as Grey Rock.

Grey Rock is a tactic the survivors of narcissistic abuse can use to discourage abusive episodes from the toxic person in their lives.

Essentially one tries to become as boring and unresponsive as a grey rock in order to bore the abuser into leaving you alone.

In this article, the author explicitly acknowledged that Grey Rock pulls on ideas from Stoic Philosophy.

Grey Rock is widely discussed in the abuse recovery community, but almost no one discusses the rich resources of Stoicism more broadly.

The very same tools that gave me hope as a lost high school student have been helping folks in the survivor community for years in the form of Grey Rock, and yet no one has heard of Marcus Auerilus. No one knows that bigger philosophical story that this powerful tool comes from.

Starting January 31st, I am going to host a four week course called:

The Grey Rock Masterclass - A Deep Dive into Stoic Philosophy

Together we will explore the work of Marcus Aurelius and see what this ancient western system of thought truly has to offer survivors of long term abuse.

As the only professionally trained philosopher currently serving the survivors of narcissistic abuse, I will be curating our exploration of Stoic thought specifically to see what concrete risks and benefits this approach has to the healing journey.

If you want to know more about this four week class, you can check out the details here



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