The usefulness of the Grey ribbon management techniques become relevant in situations that involve disrespectful conversational avoidance and manipulation when other issues of disrespect, duplicity, and back stabbing arise. Typically, we are talking about situations in which you will have been treated with measures of disrespect that impact negatively on trust that might otherwise have been enjoyed in the relationship. An effort is made to address those issues, and manipulative avoidance and disrespectful blowback is the result.
Inevitably, where avoidance is found, so might social cowardice or weakness giving rise to blame shifting, marginalization, obfuscation (clouding, conflating, or confusing the issue), and/or other avoidance techniques.
Common among these avoidance techniques will be found employment of the manipulative social device often called gas lighting or gas lamping. Gas lighting occurs when the legitimacy of your complaint, or the issue you have with someone's behavior with you, is unfairly and disingenuously denied or marginalized with a subtle ad hominem attack on your personal character, competence, good judgement, or emotional well-being. So, brace yourself.
Sadly, when you call someone out for treating you with disrespect, if they are weak, you will more than likely be accused of being over-sensitive; petty; making a mountain out of a mole hill; imagining things; took something wrong; unforgiving; rehashing (can't let something go that was previously resolved or misunderstood), etc. etc. etc. The variations of this ploy are many. It is usually fundamentally dishonest by reason of being absolutely groundless and fabricated amidst what would be patently obvious evidence to the contrary if the interaction is recorded or in writing.
The point or objective of their technique is prophylactic (preventative) character assassination (an assault on your credibility for the benefit of other eyes or ears) and obfuscation (clouding the issues sufficiently to render them difficult for others to untangle and see clearly amidst intentional spin and misinformation). This is how your complaint is marginalized and rendered socially ineffective by manipulators. This is how they need to manage your complaint in order to feel better about it. In their mind, it isn't a threat, if it isn't likely to be understood or taken seriously by others.
These techniques of avoidance are usually a way of life, learned by cultural conditioning typical of cults, for those who employ them. Some people are so habituated to this type of subtle abuse, they have lost the introspective awareness of how disrespectful, dishonest, inappropriate, and offensive it actually is, and the reality of how real and consistent the techniques are, as elements of their social repertoire.
You will never convince them they are guilty of employing this type of behavior, no matter how patently obvious the evidence that they are, actually is. They can stare at an unprovoked and abusively demeaning part of their own dialogue, square in the face, and not see it because their cultural programming has rendered them intellectually overcome by confirmation bias (blind to any evidence they don't want to see, no matter how vivid, tangible, and relevant).
In the case of cults, these spiritual bullies' blind spots are exacerbated by the notion of their own spiritual superiority; your inferiority; and their divine right and calling to lord over you with inappropriate conversational herding that is sloppy, disrespectful, and disingenuous, but justified, in their mind, by their God and his service they believe they are engaging in by their conversational manipulations.
They are convinced they have His blessing and support. That false certainty is intellectually blinding for them. So, don't waste your time with it. Make an exit when the disrespectful conversational behavior immerges, and defer the conversation to another moment, when they've had a chance to reconsider their behavioral approach with you.
Let them know that whatever issues remain unresolved can be filed on the "grey ribbon list" indefinitely to never be discussed again, if that is their preference, or revisited when they are inclined to do so more respectfully.
Recognizing that it is their preference to either avoid a topic of conversation altogether, or approach the topic with such conversational manipulations and tactical avoidance techniques (both topical shunning) is essential. The very point of the grey ribbon management techniques are accepting their unwillingness to discuss a topic, and avoiding illegitimate manipulative abuse from someone who doesn't want to have a fair, honest, and forthright conversation that they really ought to. This is a legitimate goal. Don't apologize for it.
They are granted the avoidance they so desperately need, and you unentangle yourself from the destructive emotional attachment to the unfounded hope that they will ever be fair with you, or fair in their conversations about you. Accept that this will never be the case, until they recognize and acknowledge their behavioral repertoire for what it actually is. That eventuality is equally unlikely in many cases. Accept it.
Once you find the strength and wisdom to accept this to be the case, (that they will always misunderstand and misrepresent you) your peace of mind is no longer disrupted by the fear or anxiousness associated with their perceptions and misrepresentations. Their death grip on your peace of mind evaporates.
You will likely and ironically be accused of avoidance, yourself, for legitimately taking a break from their abusive disrespectfulness. Don't even bother defending yourself when that accusation arises. Assure them you are willing to get back to the conversation on legitimate respectful terms, when you are ready and have allowed yourself an adequate break from the annoyance of their behavior.
That isn't avoidance. What they dragged you through, that required your temporary exit, is.