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Author Topic: 2.02 | Don't "JADE" (justify, argue, defend, explain)  (Read 20629 times)
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« on: February 23, 2011, 02:25:16 PM »

When faced with accusations, untrue accusations, exaggerated accusations, it's natural to react and push back. It's logical to want to correct statements that you think are not valid. You feel violated and invalidated.

Surely there are time when we should explain, or defend, or justify!


Justify
------------------------
Have you ever been able to get your partner to agree with you when you justify yourself in response to her concerns?

Attacking
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Does attacking your partner ever win an argument?

Defend
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When you defend yourself, does your partner ever accept what you say as the truth?

Explain
------------------------
How about when you explain yourself? Does your partner ever calm her down?


The problem is two-fold.  J.A.D.E. rarely works. We often use it (see graph).  Justifying, counter-attacking, defending, or explaining yourself often makes things worse. Why? Because when you invalidate someones perceptions, they often feel that you are invalidating them, personally. This can trigger conflict as they feel unheard and uncared for.



         Click to enlarge

Remember, your partner's version of what happened is their truth. Their perceptions are their facts. We can have different perceptions or interpretations. These are our facts. Often both sets are biased.

The problem is that when you choose to JADE or Dexify, it almost always makes matters worse. It is better to listen to the other person's concerns first - try to understand what is bothering them. In time, you can resolve or harmonize your different perceptions.

There are more effective ways to communicate "your truth", such as SET, GIVE, and DEARMAN. These methods can get past another person's defense mechanisms.  Timing is critical, so choose a time when your partner isn't in an argumentative mood already. A spoonful of empathy and validation and also help set the stage so that she is more open and receptive to hearing what you have to say.

JADE means to justify, argue, defend, and/or explain. Dexify is a similar term meaning defend, explain, and/or justify.
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 09:59:39 PM »

        _____One of the easiest ways to catch a monkey is to place a banana in a glass jar. The monkey's desire for the banana will lead his hand to get stuck when he tries to pull the banana out. Being of simple mind, he won't realize he has to let go. Even in the face of danger he will hang on to the banana, thus making him easy to catch.

When faced with an inaccurate accusation or criticism, we nons also get caught in the trap. Our desire to prove our innocence leads us to hang on and defend ourselves way past the danger point.

Like the monkey, we don't know when to let go.

Avoid the Monkey Trap Story... .don't JADE... .let it go!
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 05:32:27 AM »

Great thread - can you guys give some examples of what you say (or don't say or do) when responding to your BPDbf?  I feel like I get caught a lot because mine asks questions that "require" an explanation or makes mean or judgmental statements that "require" calling out, but maybe I am wrong... .
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 08:43:20 AM »

Yes, I get caught in this trap.  Why? If I walk away he follows yelling that I think I am perfect or that I don't have the guts to face up to my own problems.  If I say nothing he takes it as agreement and it comes back over and over to haunt me.  If I fight back I am once again in the trap.  I hav yet to figure out how to relate well when he is wanting to argue. Nothing seems to work.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2011, 10:24:39 AM »

I've just gotta hold on to that banana!

I've gotten better about a few things, like when I know he is talking about his feelings about work, or his feelings about his family, but I still attempt to defend when it's me.  I still get that deer in the headlights moment of, ":)o you REALLY think that about me?  WTH?  How could you be with me for so long and actually think that?"  I can listen to the anger and crankiness, even if I get the side of it, and I can usually put a bit of a barrier up and try to validate his feelings about his boss, about his mom, etc, because I am no longer feeling it's my place/job/duty to 'fix' those feelings.  But when the laser sight is on ME, it's a lot harder to let it slide down my back. 

I'm trying to find ways to validate his feelings about what is going on when it applies to me, because to me it feels like an admission of guilt, or an invitation for more verbal abuse.  Last time I had a good excuse to leave, we were arguing about being late for work, so my walking off was a lot easier than a few other times when it's been hard to break away.  Working on it. 

Do you find yourself doing this? - Definitely.

Why do you think you continue with the fight? Because I am still not sure what to do - and because more than anything else accusations against ME hurt, and the thought he can feel that way about me hurts, and my own emotions kick in and I forget I am using logic with an irrational person.

Why do you think it is so hard for you to let it go?  Part of my brain still thinks it can 'prove' he is seeing things in a disordered way, and his anger can be defused with logic.  By the time I can admit it won't work, things are in a bad place.
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2011, 11:21:25 AM »

My banana is: Do do what others expect from me. Or even more complicated: Do what I think they would expect from me.   

Why I continue the fight: To do what others expect ----> "love". "Love is never cost-free" is written somewhere in my inner script. I have to be without big emotions. I have to be perfect, I have to be bla bla bla  . I can never have enough from banana-love.

Why it is hard for me to let go: I do not trust enough myself. I am loosing the contact to my inner being, and immediately I feel like remote-controlled, but in fact its in my mind. My mind is constantly looking for someone to please.

In short words: I feel sometimes like a banana junkie in my life.


I like these storys, these pictures, thx UFN!

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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 08:09:40 AM »

Well, this is timely! Last night I blew my top... why? My banana is MONEY!

The main trigger/issue in life that will provoke me into a defensive trap is:

Money, money, money!

Being accused of spending too much, being told I only spend on me, not having enough money, having too much money... .

its all about the money!  Really not too surprising except that apparently it really hits me hard to feel criticized and even though I may not have actually recieved a criticism I feel it. 

Where does this come from?   Well,  my NPD Dad was all about money too.  I'm not sure if it was a means of control for him but in the end I was left knowing, not only feeling, that what was being lived was not the truth.  My Dad was extremely stingy at times and extremely generous at other times.  This inconsisitency and imbalance left me identifiying with all social stratopheres but feeling, and being accused by others, that I was "moonlighting". 

It served me well in that I don't attribute money as a definition of a person's achievement or personality.  BUT on the other hand if I don't feel confident of what my money situation is I blow a gasket and become the ultimate alter-NPD bhit that helped me survive my parents. Unfortunately my family gets to witness it and my kids end up bearing the brunt of it. It's like I have to outdo the BPD in my life in terms of drama.

Thankfully my uBPD spouse has accomplished enough in his therapy that he was able to step back and say, "Please lets move forward with love."  At those words I was just so shocked and pleased that I immediately dropped my alter-NPD ego and apologized.  We then explained to the kids using the story of Jonah and the Whale how sometimes we fight ourselves & God in the process and end up getting swallowed by whales but since God is always calling us like he did Jonah if we choose to we will make it back to shore. 
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2011, 02:00:35 PM »

I think the term 'so near, yet so far' is what is happening here, and it happens to humans all the time. The closer we feel we are to attaining something of great value to us, the more tenacious we are about persuing it, especially if the persuit has consumed an enormous amount of time, emotion, and/or other resources.

For most of us that post here ON L4, I believe we feel that both ouselves and our SOs are intelligent, and love each other - I know for sure we all want a healthy r/s - WE JUST CAN'T SEEM TO GET THE DAMN THING OUT OF THE BOTTLE.

Why do you think you continue with the fight?  
Frustration mostly, knowing that as the unresolved issues and resentments pile up, the r/s gets more and more unhealthy, and trust and true intimacy tend to go away.

What I like about DBT, is that practicing it's principles leads to a deeper understanding of each other's feelings and needs, and can significantly reduce conflict, blame, and inaccurate perceptions and communications.

Why do you think it is so hard for you to let it go?
Because intuitively a logical review of the facts should make an inaccurate accusation go away, and with most people it usually does - however this doesn't work with anyone who's emotions are dysregulated, and unfortunately this happens way more often for a pwBPD.

Enter DBT - a mixture of logic, meditation, radical acceptance, and lessons to put it all together for a better understanding of the workings of the human mind.

My wife and I have come a long way these past months studying the concepts of DBT, however I struggle daily with the idea that it is logical that my wonderful intelligent BPDw can be so illogical.

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation
Author: Daniel J. Siegel MD
Publisher: Bantam; 1St Edition edition (January 12, 2010)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0553804707
ISBN-13: 978-0553804706




A great new book I am reading now - 'mindsite' - is helping me understand why and how the brain causes  dysfunctional thinking and inaccurate realities, and how to reprogram it ourselves using a technique called 'mindsite' - a blend of recent brain function studies and mindfulness. It turns out that we can learn to consciously rewire our brain to give us healthier states of mind. Go on Amazon to check out this book, and the author's credentials.

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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2011, 11:38:52 PM »

"Monkey mind" is the opposite of rational and logical.  It is one of the ways Mindfulness training describes a persons thoughts when they are overly emotional and dysregulated.

I guess when we become fixated on holding onto a concept (the banana) we lose executive functions (ability to remember long term goals or consider possible consequences) and global perspective. Our own needs (to be right, to not be falsely accused, to prove a point) consume our ability to be empathetic or reasonable... though of course "we" don't recognize our own unreasonableness. Sounds familiar, huh ?

So, any ideas on how to learn to drop that banana?
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 06:34:07 AM »

So, any ideas on how to learn to drop that banana?

One of the great mistakes I have made during my 20 years with uBPDw has been participating in the verbal arms race and its inevitable escalation. I had a whole bunch of bananas I used to cling to during those episodes, but perhaps the prize one was defending against character assasinations.

I am out of that now. The way I learned to let go was to realize that none of it mattered. She was simply hell-bent on having a core meltdown, for whatever reason. She was provoking and I was the agent being used to "cause" her emotional apocalypse and therefore justify it.

Forward thinking made me realize how ridiculous and futile my role in that was. I removed my ego from it, shut up, and now leave her to deal with the electrical superstorms in head on her own. I tell myself now, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. " And that works because... .I really don't.  
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2012, 11:11:12 AM »

monkey mind!  ha!  i love that!  i'm going to repeat that phrase in my mind when i find myself caught in that trap.

simple answer?  fear.  its fear that keeps me hanging on to the banana.  fear that what starts as a dig or two towards me from one of my parents, ends with the whole family (included extended) poking fun at me or alienating/excluding me.  so i try to defend myself to put their view right on it, only to find that this gives them power and makes them do it all the more. 

i can't change their minds, i never could and now i'm learning to let go i'm seeing how futile it is to 'hang on'.  BPD's that are set in their ways aren't interested in learning the truth, they are only interested in blaming and shaming others, its the only sense of power they know of.  so attempting to defend myself to their accusations i guess is missing the point.  the point is that they want to feel a sense of power over others by getting us nons hooked on the banana ie; defending wrongful accusations against us.

the more i get to know myself, the more the accusations are met with the reolization that... .they truly don't know me.



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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 09:43:03 PM »

I personally avoid JADEing when I feel that my H is in one of his moods, meaning he's already a bit annoyed, or going down some spiral.  Also when I sense that he's trying to pick a fight (it's becoming easier and easier to tell so most of the times I don't respond to those!).

I think what you need to understand is that their minds just don't work in the "normal" way.  When we JADE we're somehow thinking that "if only he/ she knew what I was thinking/ do, saying, then he/ she will agree with me".  We usually JADE to try to get others to understand and accept our position.  And that's impossible because they don't think the way we do, and pwBPDs are not acceptant of other people's truths (if they are not their own).  So I think the hard part is knowing whether it is an issue they will "come to terms" with, or not.  Or when they're not dysregulated and you just want to present your point (without expectation they will accept it), then it's ok in small amouts I think.
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 12:11:00 AM »

I agree with Chosen that you don't have to avoid JADEing all the time, just when they're on edge. Because they are so focused on their feelings, if you defend or explain yourself, even if it makes logical sense, it is seen by them as invalidating and insensitive.  The key is to find the emotion that is behind the incorrect statement (for them, feelings create facts) and validate that feeling rather than correct the facts.

Example from my experience just today:

H:  My life didn't turn out the way I envisioned.  I have gotten nothing I want out of my life and I would divorce you in a heartbeat if we didn't have children.  If you didn't have such a good paying job, I would have pursued my own career and then I would have gotten what I always wanted.

Me: (whoops, JADEing)  I haven't prevented you from doing anything.  Are you really blaming me for being TOO successful?  That's ridiculous.

(Argument escalating)

Me: (finally coming to my senses)  I can really understand how you would be frustrated that your career hasn't worked out the way you wanted.  I'd feel the same way if I were in your shoes.  What can we do to fix that?  How about if we (plan)?

H:  That's all I've wanted from you is an acknowledgement that it's frustrating, but you've never done that before.

After this, I'm feeling tempted to JADE again because I've often told him this, but I let it go and proceed with the discussion of how we're going to try to fix the problem.

. Daylily
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 08:55:53 AM »

Thanks everyone for helping me out. JADE seems less like a proactive communication tool (like SET) and more like a mentality.
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 09:18:52 AM »

If she moves off topic then that is the previous topic closed. Dont try to drag it back to original topic.

If she is angry and moving into the point scoring/winning type of discussion rather than resolving issues then it is time to disengage.

If the whole thing was in response to you asserting a boundary, then once you taken the appropriate action then nothing more need be said. If disengaging doesn't work then leave, go find something else to do. You are in the area of extinction bursts. At which point the topic is dropped from your point of view, as nothing positive can come from pursuing it.

You dont have "win" an argument or convince anybody of anything.

You cant stop her from continuing but you dont have to join in.
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2013, 12:47:14 PM »

I agree that it's never a good thing to JADE.  For me (and my partner is high-functioning and prone to periods of "logic", I can't really ever J, A or D without a bad reaction, but E doesn't cause an issue sometimes when he's not dysregulated.  And I'm acknowledging his emotions at the same time, so it's really not JADEing at all, but more like SET.

It's interesting that Wave linked JADEing with self confidence.  I never thought about it that way before, but if you feel like you need to JADE, you must not be confident in your actions, opinion or position.  I think a lot of us here have been questioned for so long that we've lost our ability to feel confident in ourselves.  If there wasn't any doubt there, we wouldn't bother JADEing.  Plus, what makes it hard is that there's almost always a nugget of "truth" in their position.  I find it hard not to focus on that and take it personally or doubt myself.

I agree that the tangents are really frustrating, and as Wave says, many times you end up somewhere else and wondering how you got there.  Trying to steer the discussion back doesn't work.  I just let it go for now and come back to it later when he's not dysregulated.  Many times he's thought about it by then and we can engage in a rational discussion.  Where it gets frustrating is when a decision needs to be made right away.  Then you make the decision and are blamed later for not discussing it first.  That's why I try to bring things up far in advance, so there's time to address them again later if H is not receptive at first.

YOU know you didn't block the discussion, and that's your truth, so you don't need to JADE if she accuses you of that, just feel confident that you did the best you could under the circumstances.

  Daylily
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2013, 04:10:57 PM »

Hmmm... . JADEing when we lack self confidence. That rings a bell with me.

One ongoing issue I have is that I'm a reasonable and safe driver, but not as good as my wife is. She is better at driving defensively, better at being aware of the cars around her, and better at navigating/remembering where she is or has been and is going.

I often do things that aren't the way she would do it, usually because I haven't thought things out as far ahead as she has, sometimes miss a turn especially when we're in a new place I've not driven very much, and she will often make critical comments about what I did.

Just today I missed a turn, and took a different route which ultimately made no difference in when or where we arrived, and was in no way unsafe. She said something invalidating about it, and my first response was a complete JADE.

Neither of us escalated it from that point; we had a great lunch with a friend.

Still I notice that it is an area where I lack some confidence, and I see my own defensiveness.

I know my driving will never be quite to the level of my wife's no matter what, especially in a new place, and doubly so when she knows the place better than I do.

So I need to find another source of something to keep myself from instantly JADEing in these times.
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2013, 02:05:20 PM »

I actually had a conversation with my husband about how I react when he accuses me of something. It was informative for me, he said when I get upset about it, to him that means I am guilty. He actually told me to roll it off my shoulders and ignore it. If I act like it's not a big deal and don't try to explain myself or counteract it then it makes me less guilty in his eyes. It's difficult to do because it goes against my nature. I need to try harder not to JADE I suppose. In the moment I literally can't think of anything to say other than, "But I'm not doing that". Or something similar that would be a JADE statement.

I realized after that conversation that he basically told me don't JADE when he accuses me of something. If I'm not guilty then it shouldn't bother me. My weakness is being blamed for something I didn't do, it hits me at the core of my issues I guess. I have to stop taking what he says personally.
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2013, 02:46:43 PM »

Most blaming statements are an announcement about a persons unowned fear.

To personalize it, we cooperate in a distorted thought process. The instinct for them is to externalize their pain, to JADE is to buy into the externalization... . the more you protest the more you are giving weight to the externalization... . that this really is about you so you must defend yourself and argue with them.

It is nearly impossible to become involved in circular arguments unless you are JADEing. The JADEing fuels the argument, and any fight requires two.

If you stop JADEing... . the fuel source is gone.

Emotional validation can get to what the fear is... . instead of arguing about the validity of externalization ... . which is just a symptom.

Also... . when I stop JADEing... . sometimes I can see some areas where there is some validity to the story (the externalization)... . but my partner was usually not skilled in his communication and I'd let his sloppy or exaggerated delivery push my buttons. We'd then argue about it bitterly. Two days later when we were calmer and I could ask clarifying questions... . we would get to a place where he actually made sense... . and I'd think to myself... . why didn't he express himself better in the first place?

Because he wasn't skilled that way... . only if we stayed calm and didn't start JADEing about the initial external story... . were we able to break it down.

You will never find a communications skill class encouraging JADE as a useful tool. It is most often applied in an adversarial relationship like  in a court of law where there's a clear winner and a clear loser.

That style of interacting is almost never helpful in relationships where you are actually trying to maintain connection.

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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2013, 03:06:22 PM »

This is such a great thread!  Thanks everyone!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2013, 11:14:54 AM »

This thread has a lot of good information in it and I can say I have learned a few things just from following along.  I however have a few questions as to how this would apply to my own situation.  To my BPDw my silence is automatic guilt. I think she has an internal measure as to how much of a reaction she gets out of me to determine if I am being truthful or not. My situation sounds almost exactly opposite of how it should work.  I am aware that I am guilty until proven innocent because silence to her = guilt.  
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2013, 06:40:00 PM »

This is a great tread, great questions and great responses.  Thank you.

This is all starting to sink in.  So when being accused of something that is simply not true ie cheating, hiding things, lying, My normal reaction is to deny the accusations.  Which always turns into a raging fight that never gets settled.

Instead I validate her feelings ie you sound hurt, not trusting, feeling abandoned.  Hard to do while being falsely accused but ok Im listening to you guys and trying to learn.  I then or in conjunction with validating use SET or DEARMAN.  And am I correct that validation can come out in the E part of SET or are they separate responses?  So I say You sound hurt (validation.)  I love you and am here for you (Support.)  I understand how that ie cheating lying, hiding things must make you feel ie abandoned, untrusting, hurt (Empathy.)  I am not cheating on you, lying to you, or hiding things from you (truth.) or is that defending?

If I'm lucky to get any of that out without being interrupted or insulted then I listen to her and try validation a bit more but since I have spoken the truth there is no need to go back there.  If the argument continues to escalate which it shouldn't because I am detaching and just listening and validating maybe using SET again then I set a boundary.  I will not continue this conversation if you are going to insult and abuse me.  I am going to take a walk and will be back in an hour If you wish to continue this in a calmer fashion then we can.  By avoiding JADEing and speaking the truth during SET not repeating it over and over while trying to get it through to her which in the end makes me look like a fool beating its head against the wall.  In the end what I end up showing is confidence and strength.  The problem and pain are now hers to sort out.

This is great people thank you for being here.
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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2014, 05:24:02 PM »

Just to throw another angle on this that we dont talk about much. Not only should we not JADE, but we have to resisted throwing an inquisition at them so that they also go into JADE, you are just inviting a whole lot of nonsense excuses, which you have no intention of believing either.

JADE is a two way street.

Same with ACCEPTANCE, its not just accepting them and their flaws, it is also accepting ourselves and our flaws.

Life is so much easier when this becomes part of your personality, it also takes a while to truly develop it.
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« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2014, 09:30:08 AM »

I realized that just about everything that came out of my mouth was JADE when talking with my pwBPD! So while sitting quietly trying to figure out what to say that wasn't JADE, he would just keep talking.  This made me realize that a lot of the time, we really aren't having a conversation.  He's just talking.  Just because he says something does not mean I have to say something back.
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« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2014, 01:46:57 PM »

 many years ago before BPD and finding out i did exactly this i justify argues and defended or explained, it was horrible….

now i don't do this i stopped many years ago and things did get better. now i just don't say anything. because i know my husband sometimes wan't me to justify argue defend or explain .   he wants to fight, and i won't... hey just so you know he hates this Laugh out loud (click to insert in post).
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2014, 08:48:23 AM »

The confidence allows you to own your own thoughts/feelings/positions.  Part of my problem was, that sometimes I DID want my wife to see things my way. After all, we validate ourselves by third party confirmation, and a part of that would normally come from a spouse (called being supportive).

Once I let go of that expectation and faced the reality that we are very different people with very different thought processes, it was easier not to jade.  I look for my own validation from other places (friends, family, self).  Then when is a 'dialog' (which usd to feel like 'debate', I don't feel compelled to be sure she understands my point of view.  I can communicate it.  But she may not listen and likely wont at all agree.  So I simply state it, while listening to her side, and we go from there.  Often this comes o the conclusion that 'we just disagree' or see it differently.  Which transitions the discussion to how to act accepting this fact.  Not ideal, since she has a high emotional need to act based on her own reality (especially when kids are involved).

But reducing the jade has helped my own sense of self confidence.  A healthy thing.



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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2015, 11:57:07 AM »

For many years before I came to this sight I JADEed  over and over again. It made everything worse. Now I try not to JADE, but I still get drawn in to things sometimes, especially the need to 'explain', I have a need in me to put things right by explaining because I still believe that it might make the situation better. Like Wanda, my husband sometimes just wants a fight because he feels bad and wants to put it my way, I am better equipped now to recognise this and quietly close the door behind me and walk away.

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« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2015, 08:55:53 AM »

When I react to the words rather than respond to the emotions behind them is when I am most likely engaging in JADEing. At that point in the interaction the focus shifts from me listening to understand to defending myself.

It doesn't go well!
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« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2015, 10:30:07 AM »

I find that I JADE when I am caught off-guard by a dysregulation that seems to come out of left field, when I have NO idea of what I even said or did that precipitated it.

Instead of immediately detaching from the anger or pain I hear in my loved one's voice and words, I take it gigantically personally, get my dander up and want to figure it out... .Always erroneously thinking that if I could just say my piece, explain what I'd really meant by what I supposedly said or did, things would calm down.

Of course, doing all of that just fuels the fire and keeps the hamster wheel of dysfunction spinning around, generally for a much longer duration than if I can immediately step back, detach from taking it personally, and listen carefully to the emotions behind the dysregulation so I can eventually use Validation and S.E.T. to diffuse the situation.

Or even just have a sympathetic demeanor and not say anything at all... .In fact, doing that is pretty much always more beneficial to the situation than JADEING.

I think my impetus to JADE comes from my feeling misunderstood by my loved one, and my desire to "fix" things, and show him that I'm still the wonderful person he always thinks I am when he's not dysregulated  

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« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2015, 07:24:02 AM »

Here is the link to a workshop about avoiding circular arguments in which J.A.D.E. is mentioned:

COMMUNICATION: How to stop circular arguments
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« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2016, 10:56:18 AM »

Thank you to the original writers of this workshop. So short, but so helpful. Reading this gave me a smile, because it captured the futility of the JADE'ing approach I've been using and it gave me hope.
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« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2017, 10:19:34 PM »

Okay, I have read all this... .I think I understand JADE, but what is SET, GIVE and DEARMAN?
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« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2017, 10:59:56 PM »

SET = Sympathy, Empathy, Truth - a good conversational structure technique. Probably described elsewhere - but when you listen to someone pouring their heart to you, express sympathy first, then empathy, then (if required) add truth. "It must be horrible to feel that your best friend hates you. I would feel horrible too if I was in that situation. Perhaps that's not quite what she meant by that statement... .?"

DEARMAN = Describe the situation, Express what you want, Assert the benefits, Reinforce your point, then listen with Mindfulness, Appear confident and Negotiate
www.mindfulnessmuse.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy/using-d-e-a-r-m-a-n-to-get-what-you-want

GIVE = not sure!
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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2017, 12:34:14 PM »

I JADE often. My God, do I JADE!

It's what kept me around him for so long. My need to justify, argue, defend, and explain myself. I thought that if I used my empathy and translated into a language he'd understand that I would be able to make him see my POV. Not necessarily agree with me because a lot of our arguments were actually about things we agreed with (funny, I know) and also I feel some things are too subjective to agree on, but mostly so he could understand where I was coming from. It didn't work at all, it led to more misunderstandings, more frustration, and staying together longer than we should have. I'm working on this right now. Our last fight I was so exhausted from years of JADEing that I had an epiphany: don't do it anymore. He will never see your POV and he will never have empathy for you. It's not how he's wired. Now I'm working on being accepting of this without continuing the friendship.
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« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2017, 10:54:03 AM »

Okay, I have read all this... .I think I understand JADE, but what is SET, GIVE and DEARMAN?

Hi 12years,

We have lots of information about S.E.T. and DEARMAN here:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=143695.0

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=160566.0

Hope it helps!

heartandwhole
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« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2017, 10:44:04 PM »

One of the things that I struggled with a lot when I began trying to improve my situation was JADE’ing. I was caught in circuitous thinking.

If she would only understand why I really did what I did.
She’s completely wrong, if she only knew the truth.
How can she say those things about me? I need to let her know what really happened.
If I can only explain the reality of the situation.


These were very common thought patterns in which I engaged. My belief was that if I did not change her mind, I would lose her. What was actually happening was that I was making things worse.

JADE’ing is a very common thing for us to do. Why do we do it?
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« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2017, 10:59:25 PM »

Though my situation is far more different from those on here, I did it because I was hoping it would bring him and I back to the friendship we had before things went south.

He liked to talk to me and said it helped him.  That was the primary reason why I wanted to justify talking.

But as with any BPD talking will only be on their terms.  As a result... .in my case I want to be in a safe zone.  But before I decided to do so, I really wanted to make things work.
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« Reply #37 on: September 05, 2017, 05:55:32 AM »

Why do we do it?

Control.
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« Reply #38 on: September 05, 2017, 06:55:21 AM »

Why do we do it?  

The desire to be understood.
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« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2017, 02:31:43 PM »

JADE’ing is a very common thing for us to do. Why do we do it?

in my case it was partly about being right (it was for the reasons others mentioned as well). id been a wounded puppy in previous relationships.

when my ex would start raging (usually by text) i knew it was usually best to exit the conversation and let her cool off (although i would learn later thats not always the best idea, it can become a power move, and it can also escalate things). shed get a line in, id read it, and id just have to one up her and get a dig in. i guess it made me feel superior, or something like that; "strong" where i hadnt been in previous relationships.

drama. i dont know if id say i "liked it" but it must have had some appeal.
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« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2017, 02:55:19 PM »

If she would only understand why I really did what I did.

How can she say those things about me? I need to let her know what really happened.


These two hit home. They pretty much go hand in hand in a lot of cases between me and my GF because often times when something does happen that she feels was done maliciously and/or in a deceitful manner (as examples) she would couple her emotions behind what I'd done (really, the emotions that were caused for her in what had happened) with attacking my character. One thing I pride myself very highly in is that I live by 3 basic standards: Loyalty, Honesty, Respect.

When those pieces of me are attacked and I do take it very personally. I've had to learn that in those moments her feelings are making her feel like I've compromised those personal standards. Not that she believes I am disloyal, dishonest, or disrespectful... I happen to know she doesnt think that at all. But the emotion created also causes the momentary "He IS a liar/disrespectful/disloyal" ... .For the most part knowing that has curved my urge to JADE, but it is still a work in progress.

The other part is, for me its always been very important to understand things. It makes me feel better about whatever is going on. Understanding means being in control. As in, I can control my response or reaction appropriately because I "get it."

So, when something would happen that I knew was taken the wrong way, I felt a need to set the record straight. Fact is... .that just never did any good.
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« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2017, 02:59:55 PM »

When those pieces of me are attacked and I do take it very personally. I've had to learn that in those moments her feelings are making her feel like I've compromised those personal standards. Not that she believes I am disloyal, dishonest, or disrespectful... I happen to know she doesnt think that at all. But the emotion created also causes the momentary "He IS a liar/disrespectful/disloyal" ... .For the most part knowing that has curved my urge to JADE, but it is still a work in progress.

i think this is key. learning to see and understand anothers perspective (listening with empathy), accepting it as valid and not invalidating it or necessarily trying to change it. it can really suck away that tendency to JADE.
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« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2017, 03:27:24 PM »

For me, it was about, at the root of everything, insecurities.

It was my need to feel that she understood why I did things in hopes that she would find me "good enough" and stop being so angry and upset.

It was my need to feel heard.

It was my need to prove to her that I was right and "good enough."
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« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2017, 10:52:58 AM »

Why do we do it?

How about "in order to exist as a person in a relationship and not as a coach, therapist or caretaker?"
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« Reply #44 on: September 09, 2017, 11:15:12 AM »

What do you mean PnC?
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« Reply #45 on: September 14, 2017, 08:40:55 PM »

Why do we do it?

I was just going to say "to be right"... .I'm going where Meili was already headed but I would add that beyond feeling good enough... .being "right" so that you can feel superior to the other person.  I did much of that in my co-dependent/alcoholic marriage, because we too get something from doing the dysfunctional co-dependent dance.  I'm right! I'm better than you! I feel better about myself!

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« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2017, 09:48:32 AM »

For myself I thought JADEing would help him see things my way. Having a clear understanding of both sides in a conflict is so important to me that I just naturally went to describing my reasoning for doing what I was doing. And I would get so frustrated that he refused to even consider my side of things.

Don't JADE has significantly changed the way I handle conflict with my H. And it works. Amazingly! I still have to fight the urge because it's natural to want to defend yourself in the midst of blame and accusation. When we have significant fights, looking back it always comes down to I began to JADE.
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« Reply #47 on: September 15, 2017, 12:11:30 PM »

I mentioned this in another thread, I mentally think not JADE when the situation arises, I was on vacation in August, I was visiting my parents and my dad has very black and white thinking, I didn't understand the psych until I signed up for bpdfamily anyways he starts talking about religion and politics, topics that I generally stay away from because they're so polarizing. I'm listening to him, you don't get a chance to talk because he dominates every conversation and talks about himself, and I think "don't JADE" I don't know how much time I wasted trying to convince him with my point of view or a different one and I used to get frustrated and take it personally but it's his ego that gets in the way, he can't make himself look bad so he'll argue with you.

I hadn't seen him for awhile and I use don't JADE often, he's giving me his opinion and I've gone down this road a million times with him and I think that he noticed something different this time, he turned at me and said "Are you just going to sit there and say nothing? Don't you have an opinion?" I smiled and just said "An opinion is just an opinion" and left it at that. It was awesome to be able to approach him with tools that I learned for my exuBPDw and take control of myself and just let it all slide off my back  Being cool (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2017, 02:18:36 PM »

JADE saved my sanity.
It was the first skill I learnt and used and it is AMAZING 
I use it with my mum as well, very helpful with family.
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« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2017, 03:08:05 AM »

I find it much easier to not JADE when he's talking about somebody else, but when things get personal (it usually does), I have a hard time controlling myself.  I guess he knows how to hit it where it hurts, to attack me in areas in which I am already shaky.  In an urge to "prove" myself (never works by the way), I JADE.

Just re-read the thread and realise I have posted here years ago.  I guess I'm getting complacent and have reverted to my old ways.  But I understand why I JADE- it hurts to have the closest person in your life telling you you've failed them, and they have never, ever felt loved by you!  You don't want to believe it! 

So should I just let it go?  Meaning don't take his words to heart too much, just know that it comes from a place of hurt feelings, and try to validate those feelings?
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« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2017, 04:03:17 AM »

Hi Chosen,

It's human nature to JADE sometimes. In the heat of the moment, I'm not good at avoiding it, either.

So should I just let it go?  Meaning don't take his words to heart too much, just know that it comes from a place of hurt feelings, and try to validate those feelings?

I think that's a good plan. I know it can be difficult—you're right: we don't want to believe it!

When a pwBPD (or anyone, for that matter) says, "I've never felt loved by you," that is coming from within them and not necessarily a reflection of anything you've done or not done. In other words, no matter how much you bend over backwards to show someone how much they mean to you, they may not be able to take it in; to feel it. In my view, that's down to one's own capacity to feel loved (to open, to receive, to believe, etc.).

Of course, that doesn't mean that we don't keep showing our care and love. Smiling (click to insert in post) Have you tried S.E.T. when these kinds of statements come up? That would validate his feelings and give the responsibility of taking care of them back onto him. I think many of us don't communicate well what specific actions from our partners would make us feel loved.

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« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2019, 02:16:28 AM »

Hi guys so this is a great thread. I came here because I am in a bit of a crisis mode and trying to remember how to navigate it. So if I am being accused of doing something or being motivated by something for example missing my train stop to get home means that I don’t care about anything and I’m irresponsible and just callous person. Obviously things are blown out of proportion and my instinct when being insulted and threatened is to protect myself and logically say this isn’t a rational response. But I understand that it would perpetuate the argument cycle. So instead my understanding is if it is too heated I need to take a time out( go to the gym, take a walk) and when she( my aunt) calms down use S.E.T to explain my truth? I am just trying to understand how to communicate my view of the situation? Maybe it’s magical thinking but somehow I’m hoping that once I keep using these techniques maybe her behavior would change... .or only my perception would?
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« Reply #52 on: March 15, 2019, 12:38:46 PM »

This is all so very insightful! I am guilty of a lot of this behavior. As others have mentioned, it is exceptionally hard for me when I am being falsely accused of something or my character is being attacked. *You don't love me. *You always make yourself the victim. *You're too sensitive. *You get off on making mad, you're a psycho.

These types of things infuriate me and crush me at the same time. Often my BPDgf will try to say things that are hurtful and insulting - likely to lure me into JADEing. I've gotten much better about it when it comes to certain things. Criticism for example, her always having to be better at everything than me. I can deal with that, and generally do without engaging in JADE. *You're not cooking the eggs right. *You suck at putting that together. *You're not doing the laundry well enough.
All of these things I can usually take in stride and just brush them off. But she knows how to push my buttons. She knows telling me I don't love her results in me swearing that I do. She knows that telling me I don't show how much I care results in me listing off the ways in which I try to.

As I begin to practice avoiding JADEing more and more, I notice that it gets harder. She wants to lure me in, in any way possible. If I JADE, we all know what happens. If I walk away, I'm a child, I don't care, I'm an a**h***, I'm avoiding. Then she talks out loud to herself, saying all of the things she knows will upset me so I can hear them. But if I go back to address them, she only gets more venomous. If I'm quiet, or agree with her, she says "I know. I'm used to it." (Another thing that super triggers me - it is one of her ways of comparing me and grouping me with everyone else.) Finally, if I disengage completely or don't feed into it, she threatens, either verbally or with actions. Meaning, she will tell me she's done and she's leaving me. Or she will start packing her things. Or she will trash a room. Again, a catch 22. If I ignore her, I don't care and I WANT her to leave - I prove that I don't love her. If I engage, she screams in my face, the fighting continues and often escalates. I become the "psycho" she accuses me of being. If I show emotion, crying or being upset, I'm a child, a baby, too sensitive, a "battered gf." It always feels like a lose/lose situation for me.

Of course I see how self confidence plays a role. I've always had an issue with being falsely accused of things. I love with every part of me, so it destroys me when someone says I don't care. I'm a people-pleaser, so of course it gets under my skin when I can't make the one I love happy. It just kills me that no matter what I do, or don't do, it is wrong. And even if I avoid JADE in the moment, even if I sit through all the berating and verbal/emotional attacks, I STILL get pulled into the circle of trying to JADE later - when I have to explain WHY I walked away, or that I DO care but knew fighting wasn't resolving anything. Otherwise, THAT is held against me going forward.

Sometimes it feels like there is literally no solution other than to A) be perfect in the first place or B) show "acceptance" of the fact that I suck at everything and should spend forever being told as much and apologizing for it afterward.  It makes me want to pull my hair out of my head!
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« Reply #53 on: March 17, 2019, 11:58:58 PM »

This is an excellent workshop! I've been not JADEing for years (thanks to this site) and it has made a huge difference in how often we fight.

Explaining or even defending isn't a problem when they are stable and communication is going well. The problem is, we usually get hooked into JADEing when they are already emotional or on their way to dysregulation.

I think the first step in learning not to JADE is really ACCEPTING that your partner has a mental disorder. A lot of people say they accept that, but then treat their partner as if they are a non and expect to have rational responses.

Understand that it really is a mental disorder. Sometimes you are dealing with your partner and sometimes you are dealing with pure BPD (of course, all of it is part of the personality of your loved one but sometimes the behaviour is straight from BPD and they don't know how to control it).

Learn to distinguish when it is your person speaking and when it is the BPD. Then you can start detaching from the BPD... not feeding it.

Living with BPD is difficult for the person suffering from it. Emotions are huge and often overwhelming. Little things that wouldn't bother us or that we can brush off, will build inside a pwBPD until they feel like they will explode.

They may start baiting you, or even go straight to attacking you, for a number of reasons that don't necessarily have anything to do with you.

They may be in a bad mood and, because of the disorder, don't know how to deal with it. So they will try to pull you into that mood or use you to offload the feelings. You may have said or done something to trigger them - or nothing. It could have been someone or something else. Or nothing!

And sometimes, unfortunately, they just want a fight. PwBPD both hate and love the heightened emotions of a fight or drama and if they can pull you into it,
it is validating for them. It also gives them a chance to offload feelings. As my husband says, "Get it all out!"

Also, pwBPD often have NPD traits and want to put you down. It's about control.
Or sometimes it's a way to make you feel as bad as they do when they're having a bad day.

All of this is unhealthy behaviour and not getting drawn into the drama is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your relationship.

If someone is verbally abusing you, attacking your character or making untrue statements about you, it's natural to want to defend yourself or to correct the untrue judgements.

But if you do that when they are already emotional or on the way to dysregulating, they won't be able to hear you. All it sounds like to them is you invalidating them, dismissing their feelings, or telling them that what they believe (in that moment) is wrong.

PwBPD spend a lifetime being told that they are wrong; when you do it, expect push back.

So when you start justifying your actions, arguing, defending yourself, or trying to explain "what really happened", it will just spark off higher emotions.

At best, you will find yourself in a circular argument that just goes round and round with no resolution and both of you becoming more frustrated.
At worst it will escalate into full blown dysregulation and fighting. No one wins.

Sometimes, if it's really out of control, the pwBPD can disassociate - meaning they will go over the top and lose all control. Suicide threats, physical violence, and the "scorched earth" policy - so much damage that it is hard to come back from - are the results. Worst of all, if they go that far, they usually won't remember anything... leaving you broken.

So learn to accept when it's the BPD talking and let it go. Save it for another day, when you are both in a good place and can talk about it with love.

If there was a crazy person on your street, mumbling to himself and yelling at the cars, would you go out and argue with him?

The crazy making word salad that your BPD engages in when they're having an episode is just the same. Don't argue with a mental illness.. you won't win.
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« Reply #54 on: March 18, 2019, 12:05:11 AM »

Sorry, this is a long post so I've broken it in two... I hope it helps someone out there who is struggling.

As others have said, if you can find something to validate - and pwBPD are usually very clever at taking a grain of truth and twisting it - then by all means, validate what you can.

Successfully listening to the feelings behind the words and validating what is reasonable can nip a dysregulation in the bud and create better communication.

But if your person is just trying to pick a fight, bored and looking for some action, it's always better to refuse to engage.

Some people think that not JADEing is weak. We are taught to defend ourselves and to not defend yourself is a sign of weakness. But in this situation, when there is mental illness involved, you have to learn new strategies.

That's not to say you can never mention it or just have to shut up and take abuse!

With pwBPD, timing is everything.

Find a time when you are both relaxed and calm and discuss the problem in a loving way. Listen carefully when they tell you how they felt or what was happening for them. Validate. State your feelings in a calm and loving way.
Keep the conversation focused on problem solving. Don't get emotional, and don't blame and shame.

State boundaries. I might say "When you yell at me or start insulting me, I can't stay and listen to it. It doesn't do either of us any good. To protect our love, I will leave the room. It doesn't mean I'm leaving you - I'm just going to get some space and calm down so we don't get into a fight.
It would be great if you can do the same and then, if you want to talk about it later, we can - in loving way."

You might need to have this conversation in various different ways several times for it to stick. I did. And you must be consistent in enforcing your boundary by leaving.

It can take a while - it has really taken years to get to a very good place. But not JADEing, validating when I can, and having boundaries has made all the difference in our 14 year relationship.

Now, when I'm being baited or things start to get heated, I will say (very calmly!) something like "I am not getting into a fight with you," and I leave the room for a while.

He knows why I'm doing it because we've had that conversation many times. He knows I'm not leaving him. But he also knows I won't engage.

I'm not reactive. I don't raise my voice. I keep my facial expressions and body language loose. I'm detached from it and calm. I know BPD is in the room.

Asking open questions is also good. Sometimes, depending on the situation, I might ask: "Are you trying to start a fight with me?" It's a good way to get them to stop and think. Sometimes, it will give them a chance to explain what's really going on... and other times, it will make them aware of what they are doing. Mindfulness.

This happened recently with my husband when he was being snarky out of nowhere.  I asked "Are you in a bad mood with me?", he stopped, thought for a moment and then said "No. I'm just stressed." I answered, "I know babe. It's been a really tough day." It changed the dynamic immediately and we had a peaceful evening.

Staying calm and aware of the potential for drama is vital. Being sure of yourself means you don't have to get drawn into JADE. He or she can say what they like - most of the time it's the BPD talking and you don't argue with crazy.



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« Reply #55 on: April 03, 2019, 10:05:13 PM »

Do not judge, argue, defend or explain- that puts you in a bad position. Ask a question.

Asking a question stops the BPd and makes them think of an answer.
You can practice this so that when the time comes you can do it.

I did it the other day, and his angry tirade stopped, i was suprised.

Asking something like: are you getting angry with me ? is not bad. Thanks for that!  But really, asking any other question that makes him stop and think of an answer might stop the outburst.

Just keep asking BPD questions he / she might calm down.

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« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2019, 04:47:40 AM »

Listening is a great tool!
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« Reply #57 on: May 21, 2019, 02:11:45 AM »

I have just read through the workshop again, and, having posted on the thread a few times, I'd like to ask if there is any in-between for not JADEing and disengaging from the argument? 

So I still fall into the JADEing trap a lot of times because I guess it's a natural human reaction to being attacked.  So, more mental preparation during calm times is required on my part.

When I do remember not to JADE, it usually helps calm things down a bit so H doesn't get full-on dysregulated.  But when he gets to the point of dysregulation, I can't disengage (i.e. walk away) because he demands answers, and if I so much turn my back to him he will blow up and it will make things a million times worse. 

So how do I respond to a dysregulated person so as to make him feel heard, that I'm not cutting him off, but at the same time I can protect myself (the more I say, the more I will say the wrong thing.  I say wrong things all the time because my tongue works quicker than my brain.)?  Practical tips are welcome!
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« Reply #58 on: June 11, 2019, 06:48:07 AM »

Chosen, I would say that when someone has reached the stage of dysregulation, the best thing to do is calmly exit the conversation / room / house. Not JADE-ing, using SET etc, these communication tools are for calming a situation that could potentially lead to a dysregulation.

You can, if you feel up to it, say something along the lines of "This conversation is too heated for me, let's talk later" and then leave. Or just leave. There's no reason you should stay and take whatever abuse comes your way. When he calms down, and if he wants to talk calmly, then you can think about not JADE-ing.

Only stay in a conversation as long as it's not abusive. You say you can't leave because he will blow up. It's because he needs to get all his rage out, and for him it helps to direct it at you. So of course he wants you there. But you staying put is not helping him learn how to better manage his emotions, and it's not helping you because it's horrible to sit through a dysregulation directed at you.

Exit the conversation. Let him rage. Take yourself somewhere you can't hear it. It will be hard the first times, but it will get easier with time, I promise!
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« Reply #59 on: July 29, 2020, 01:54:42 AM »

Its a battle between Logic vs Emotion.

Stereotypically, men focus more on logic, women on emotion (e.g. men are from mars, women are from venus...)

And both are essential, but in BPD, emotion takes over completely. This is what also allows false memories to form, because how they felt negates facts.

So generally, I avoid facts, and focus on feelings, which is difficult as a guy who is very logic driven. But I just try to listen until calmness.

Also, I find that they sometimes project their own fears on to others, so this is actually useful. E.g. they say you dont do a good job in x, then sometimes (not always) it is actually them, but you know...they cant handle the truth--hurts too much to be victims again.

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« Reply #60 on: March 07, 2024, 12:17:08 PM »

How does "Do not J.A.D.E." differ from Gottman's stonewalling?

The reason why I am asking, I have been accused of 'stonewalling' when in fact I was avoiding conflict by not JADEing by a licensed therapist (LCSW).

I tried to explain, that this was only a temporary situation, usually one or two sleep cycles for my pwBPD, this is the time that is required for my pwBPD to return to baseline, at which time I asked my pwBPD to bring up the topic* again and I would try again, until pwBPD would then become dysregulated - depending on the topic, it can become a repetitive cycle of dysregulation by the pwBPD.  So, not true stonewalling of not ever talking about the issue at hand, but rather a method employed by me in order to avoid being raged at.

Reference:  https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/

*  The topic was usually something insignificant that they would get wound up on, and when they returned to baseline (hours or a day) 9 out of 10 times they would not bring up the topic again, or 'forget' about it as it really wasn't important enough to be a raging 'monster' as my pwBPD has described themselves as.
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« Reply #61 on: March 07, 2024, 01:29:18 PM »

In the simplest sense:

Her: You never respect me and open the door for me like John does for his wife!

JADE
Him: I couldn't open the door because I was carrying a box (justify), you always accuse me of things unfairly and I'm sick of it (argue), I opened your door yesterday (defend), and besides, I was raised in a feminist family where opening doors was an insult (explain).

Stonewall
Him: I'm not talking about this until you cool off. We've talked about this before and we don't get anywhere. I've got things to do today. Bring it up when you cool off (if it still matters).

Active Listening/Avoiding Invalidation/Buying Time to Return to Baseline
Him: I think it's nice that John does that and I should do it more. What's going today? You sound upset. [listen and don't JADE]
Her: Blah, blah, blah.
Him: I get where you are coming from. Let me think about this a little, I'd like to resolve this, and lets talk about it a breakfast on Friday. I have the whole morning open. [On Friday test the water to see if she wants to pick it up - read the room - if its not all that important to her on Friday - be nice, brief]

*  The topic was usually something insignificant that they would get wound up on, and when they returned to baseline (hours or a day) 9 out of 10 times they would not bring up the topic again, or 'forget' about it as it really wasn't important enough to be a raging 'monster' as my pwBPD has described themselves as.

Sure, sometimes it is dropping it could be because it wasn't valid to begin with or you seem to have gotten the massage or they are not proud of over-reacting. At times it will also be stonewalling on her part - they feeling that it is hopeless. Stonewalling begets stonewalling.

Question: Can you walk us through the specific conflict that therapist was talking about and what each of you did?
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« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2024, 07:51:54 AM »

Question: Can you walk us through the specific conflict that therapist was talking about and what each of you did?

Sure, I will walk you through it.  It starts off in 'Active listening / avoiding invalidation...'  When she is still at baseline.  It often starts out like...

Her:  I would like you to do blah, blah, blah  [(some act of service for her - that is her 'love language', her demands used to be as a minimum of 120 hours per week, it was previously at abusive levels where every waking hour, it was demanded I would serve her needs with little or no reciprocity (>100:1 ratio), I now do this at a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio of her love languages towards her - they are now in single digits in hours for her, up from less than an hour, and mine are now down to 20 hours or less per week and is comparable to the other couple's we know, so she really cannot complain about the level I contribute - she knows she has a good thing (has said on several occasions that I do more than her friend's husbands), she just doesn't want to admit it.  Her last suicide attempt was in response to me reducing these 120 hours of unconditional service to 104 hours per week in order so that I might be able to do a few hours for my own self-care.  This is not rational, and the hours I am quoting are not an exaggeration.  Boundaries were needed, and I didn't have any at that time.]

Him: 
[Old way, prior to boundaries:]  Yes dear, how high would you like me to jump?   [I didn't want to activate her uncontrolled rage, so I would appease her whenever I could.  Appeasing does not work, as she will demand more and more on each of her subsequent demands of entitlement, without any expectation of her providing reciprocity]
[New way, with boundaries:]  I hear you that you want blah, blah, blah done in blah amount of time.  I am not able to do blah, blah, blah in blah amount of time to your satisfaction.  I am wondering, if we could do blah, blah, blah together, so we can make sure it is done in a way that you like in a more timely manner?  [My goal is to encourage 'reciprocity' in a healthy way, and not pour my unreciprocated efforts into her bottomless pit of 'feelings of emptiness' - as she expected me to do contractor quality work at contractor speeds - I can do one or the other, but not both, while constrained by her uOCPD miserly spending levels, of materials only with a preference towards the lower cost/free recycled ones - I usually could deliver, but not all the time]

Her:  [A 'mood swing' usually occurs at this point.  The old way, it was a full blown borderline rage coupled with being in a very angry mood, new way, she is still upset as I am not meeting her need of 'unconditional love toward her' and she still feels very empty inside; however, she has controlled her rage response, but not her mood swings, and starts to go around in a circle as she perceives his very reasonable response was not satisfactory to her unrealistic demands.  She repeats her demand of entitlement [request] in an elevated, more stern voice.] 


Active Listening/Avoiding Invalidation/Buying Time to Return to Baseline
Him: I think it's nice that John does that and I should do it more. What's going today? You sound upset. [listen and don't JADE]
Her: Blah, blah, blah.
Him: I get where you are coming from. Let me think about this a little, I'd like to resolve this, and lets talk about it a breakfast on Friday tomorrow morning. I have the whole morning open. [On Friday test the water to see if she wants to pick it up - read the room - if its not all that important to her on Friday - be nice, brief

I cannot validate doing more than the theoretical maximum of every waking hour being in unconditional service to my wife, nor will I validate doing more than +/-100 hours more than the recommended maximum.  My goal is a healthy 50:50 level of reciprocity, not an unhealthy >100:1 level of unconditionally serving an emotionally unavailable person with little (bread crumbs) to no reciprocity - this is unacceptable.  I will not validate the invalid.  Currently, I am still serving her at a 2:1 ratio or a 67:33 ratio, otherwise, she will complain I am not doing enough through my boundaries.

Some variation on this is usually how it starts.  If she states a twisted/false narrative that she perceives I have done to her and demands an explanation - I will only validate her feelings on the matter, but not validate the false narrative - I will not attempt to Justify her narrative, nor will I try to Explain her narrative, I will not attempt to Argue with how correct her narrative is, nor will I Defend myself on her false narrative.  I will validate the portion that is valid, more often than not, it is only her feeling that is valid, and that is the only thing I can validate for her.  As I do not want her to continue to spiral and get angrier, I must do something to interrupt this destructive cycle, as any form of communication, including the most validating one of all is insufficient for her, so the only logical course of action is to press the 'pause' button on the communication until she can return to baseline.  In order to interrupt her spiraling out of control, the only method that I have found is to indicate to resume the conversation 'tomorrow morning' as I know 98% of the time she will emotionally reset after a sleep cycle and return to baseline.  I also indicate that she should bring up the topic when she is ready to talk about it - if it is important enough she will bring it up.  I don't bring it up the topic again; because if I do, it will re-trigger her as she will more often than not re-dysregulate on it especially if it is not rational in nature, and the cycle will then continue - the idea is to interrupt the cycle or irrational behavior, not encourage it.  On the rare occasion it is important enough to discuss more in depth, either she or I will bring up the topic again.



Her: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!  [She would say the same thing over again, in a much louder tone of voice]
Him: I feel like we are getting too wound up by this (or going around in circles). [I say 'we' or 'both' so I do not assign blame] and this is becoming very upsetting for both of us.  I do not like yelling, perhaps we can take a break and resume this conversation tomorrow morning when we both have cooled down?

OLD VERSION - prior to therapy for him & her

Her: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!  [floods and goes around in circles, yelling at the top of her lungs only a few inches/cm away from his face]
Him:  Stonewalls, and does not respond other than closing his eyes, and try to tune it out, and remain motionless for the duration of the uncontrolled and very irrational screaming that typically lasted 2-4 hours, and occasionally as as little as one hour or as long as over 7 hours - and then she would return to baseline without a sleep cycle


INTERMEDIATE VERSION - where I started to implement a boundaries, but she was still unregulated

Her: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!  [floods and goes around in circles, yelling at the top of her lungs only a few inches/cm away from his face]
Him: [in a calm, cool voice]  I do not like yelling.  I will leave if yelling continues.
Her: BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! 
Him: I am leaving to do blah.  I will be back no later than blah.  [quietly leaves with no further interaction, I indicate a time of return, and return prior to that, as I don't want to further activate her fear of abandonment - repeat as necessary]


NEW VERSION - after both he and her have had therapy
Her: [Recognizes the cue of 'talking tomorrow' from him as that he perceives her to be dysregulated, and knows to stop in order to prevent it from spiraling / escalating to the point where her feelings and/or his feelings do further damage to the relationship.  When I [he] signals to take it up 'tomorrow' - I think she realizes that she has overstepped rational conversation, and will stop, and she will usually leave as she knows I will not budge from my boundary until she returns to being regulated again.]


Excerpt
Sure, sometimes it is dropping it could be because it wasn't valid to begin with or you seem to have gotten the massage or they are not proud of over-reacting. At times it will also be stonewalling on her part - they feeling that it is hopeless. Stonewalling begets stonewalling.

For my pwBPD it is almost always one of the following:

  • [She realizes that her argument is ]not valid to begin with
  • [She ] seems to have gotten the message
  • [She is ] not proud of over-reacting

I have also observed:
  • She disassociates and cannot remember the conversation after she returns to baseline after she was triggered from the prior day - this is her biggest issue when she 'loses it'

She readily admits to not 'remembering'; however, she cannot connect the dots to this symptom.

She almost never does stonewalling (except with sex/affection/touch, another topic) - the only time she goes quiet is when I enforce my boundary on this kind of behavior, I will no longer tolerate being yelled at - as that is verbal abuse at a very minimum, and depending on the content can can also be emotional and/or psychological  abuse as well.  Nor will I accept her unreasonable / irrational demands and/or twisted/false statements as legitimate - I will not validate the invalid.  She knows how to do this at her work (volunteer and paid), and even there she gets dysregulated where she has shouting matches and is reprimanded for her behaviors (I know it is not me, as she does this with others too).

Just recently, I have noticed my wife using a variation of the DBT 'fact checking tool' on her false/twisted narrative that she perceives as her 'truth'.  This is progress.

Now, that I have set firm boundaries, her dysregulation is no longer directed towards me, but others she cares about, like our daughter, who also has age appropriate boundaries.

When I validate her feelings only (as that is the only thing I can validate at the moment) - I am accused of talking like a politician - where I would apologize for her feelings, or feeling that I made her upset, but not the false/twisted narrative that she is upset about.  If I were to apologize for her false narrative, then I would admit to a false statement, and she will hold this as a grudge as she is demanding that I explain and defend my actions - it is like she wants me to argue with her.  I know this is not rational, but this is what I have to deal with.  By setting a firm boundary on not tolerating this kind of behavior, she is getting better.

In summary:  When she is irrational (dysregulated), there is no reasoning with her, even with active listening she still becomes so triggered by her emotions.  The best course of action is to use active listening with support and empathy and to 'pause' the conversation to let things cool down until she is re-regulated (mood swing ends) in one, occasionally two sleep cycles.

I will circle back to you that both you and our couple therapist do recommend to continue to engage in active listening; however, I will pushback, if active listening only triggers the situation even more, then I feel, and my individual therapist feels the same way, we need to 'pause' the conversation, and when presented to the couple's therapist, the couple's therapist agreed if the conversation continues to spiral out of control in a bad direction, a 'pause' is acceptable.

A normal person would be responsive to the active listening with communication with support and empathy; however, a dysregulated person may not be as responsive, or the response would be an escalation rather than a de-escalation of angry outbursts since they are demanding an explanation from me [him] for their twisted/false narrative as their truth.

Comments, questions, observations?
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« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2024, 02:00:31 PM »

Indeed, none of us should be servitude to our partners. If you initially went down that path to show your love, it was a task to get the balance back.

Service is my partner's love language, and she loves to give me a to-do list before I get out of bed or when she goes on a trip. I've gone through a similar process of learning to say no.

I also commend you on recognizing the importance of waiting until your wife returns to baseline to deal with matters rather than getting in a lather while she is highly emotional.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

In summary:  When she is irrational (dysregulated), there is no reasoning with her, even with active listening she still becomes so triggered by her emotions.  The best course of action is to use active listening with support and empathy and to 'pause' the conversation to let things cool down until she is re-regulated (mood swing ends) in one, occasionally two sleep cycles.

I will circle back to you that both you and our couple therapist do recommend to continue to engage in active listening; however, I will pushback, if active listening only triggers the situation even more, then I feel, and my individual therapist feels the same way, we need to 'pause' the conversation, and when presented to the couple's therapist, the couple's therapist agreed if the conversation continues to spiral out of control in a bad direction, a 'pause' is acceptable.

A normal person would be responsive to the active listening with communication with support and empathy; however, a dysregulated person may not be as responsive, or the response would be an escalation rather than a de-escalation of angry outbursts since they are demanding an explanation from me [him] for their twisted/false narrative as their truth.

Comments, questions, observations?

There is a lot to unpack in the 2,100 words above, and I don't think I can do it all here, so I'll be selective and stay to the main theme of the thread.

.              I think of Don't JADE as a more universal tool and a tool to manage ourselves. It's helpful for us to recognize that when we feel doubted or criticized our insecurities or inability to read the room can make us feel that we need to "set the record straight".  JADE happens in all relationships, but more so when communications are broken down. We can trigger on keywords (or expressions) and jump back into prior disagreements.

When we JADE, at best, people stop listening to us. Often people feel unheard and shut down or they amp up (because, in truth, we are not listening). JADE happens more and more as relationship communications break down and people find themselves just talking at each other.

.              ACTIVE LISTENING is another universal tool and alternative to JADE. It's when we let the other person know we are hearing and understanding what they are trying to tell us. People love it when we listen, absorb, and validate (show where we agree). I believe people are more inclined to listen to you when you are listening to them.  

These are two complementary tools we can use to improve our communications in a relationship. The tools are not about changing or controlling our partners side of the street - they are about improving our side of the street.

I believe I hear you using "Don't JADE" in a context that means "don't engage because another person is being unreasonable and it will make matters worse". That is different than how we use the term at BPDFamily. Don't JADE is different than "don't engage".  

Gottman termed not engaging "because we feel another person is being unreasonable and it will make matters worse" as "stonewalling". He has studied this at length.

I know that you take great exception when the therapist says you are stonewalling, but I think you might be better served to accept this characterization and to look into it a little deeper. Stonewalling is not isolated to one person's actions. It is a natural protective reaction to a difficult situation of which there are multiple participants. While stonewalling is both a natural and common response, it is also a non-constructive response in a relationship. Resolving it is not an easy fix. There are multiple moving parts.

That said, I would not consider giving your wife space to self-soothe and get back to baseline as "stonewalling," per se. You most certainly want to be able to support her getting back to baseline, but there is nuance in how you give your wife space and I suspect that is what he is talking about.

Getting back to baseline When someone in our life is highly reactive, I think it's best to do what we can to calm the situation as we ease our way out and wait until they (and we) return to baseline.

Highly reactive is on a spectrum, and in some situations, we can listen and say just a little and that alone can make the person feel they are getting through, start diffusing the situation and buy time to get to baseline. In some situations, we can say that we want to help but we are overwhelmed and we need space (to buy time to get to baseline). In the worst of times, we may just have to excuse ourselves.  Learning how to calm a domestic conflict is situation specific and is trial and error. Over time we learn how to do it better (if we try). We also learn when to get out and stay out.

I think we need to be careful not to dismiss all reactive situations as meaningless. This is also on a spectrum. There may be something behind the reaction. There is may be something, but not be related directly to us. Sometimes its just pure emotion that goes away on its own.  

I think of it less as a unilateral "pause" and more as helping our partner have a "controlled release." You said your wife is starting follow your lead and that is good. We want to help and be responsible for our stuff - we do not want to cross the line and take responsibility for our partners self-soothing.

You made the step up from "Yes dear" to "I am leaving" to "talk tomorrow". This is huge. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post).

Do you think there is a next rung on that ladder? Ways to turn "unilateral pause" into "controlled release?"

This would be a good workshop topic "Extinction Bursts and Diffusing Emotional Outbursts"
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« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2024, 05:13:55 PM »

This is really useful for me to read. I hadn’t thought of the return to baseline and should remind myself about JADE. Thanks.
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SaltyDawg
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: BPDw in preliminary remission w/ continual progress
Posts: 1261


TAKE CARE with SELF-CARE!


« Reply #65 on: March 10, 2024, 01:41:25 AM »

Indeed, none of us should be servitude to our partners. If you initially went down that path to show your love, it was a task to get the balance back.

Yes, I initially went down this path.  It started with me reciprocating the initial 'love bombing' patterns way back in the courtship phase, it just never ended until last year when I finally recognized it as an issue.  In effect it was mutual love bombing; however, it took me over two decades to begin to gradually pull back to twice her level of apathy; whereas, her love bombing exceeded the textbook maximum at the time of two years by a few months and went from her 100% (my 150%) to 0% inside of a week.


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Service is my partner's love language, and she loves to give me a to-do list before I get out of bed or when she goes on a trip. I've gone through a similar process of saying no.

I don't mind the 'to-do lists' as long as there is some form of reciprocity that is close to equal in time committment of the top two (of 5) love languages for each partner, or top 5 (of 10) emotional needs, depending on which version you ascribe to.


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I also commend you on recognizing the importance of waiting until your wife returns to baseline to deal with matters rather than getting in a lather when she is highly emotional.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

IMHO, it's the only way to maintain sanity in the relationship.


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I think of Don't JADE as a more universal tool and a tool to manage ourselves. It's helpful for us to recognize that it is often our insecurity or inability to read the room that makes us feel that we need to "set the record straight" when we feel doubted or criticized. JADE happens in all relationships, but more so when communications/relationships are broken down, and we trigger on keywords (or expressions) and jump back into prior disagreements where left off.

When we JADE, at best, people stop listening to us. Often people feel unheard and shut down or they ramp up (because, in truth, we are not listening). JADE happens more and more as relationship communications break down and people find themselves just talking at each other.

I agree with the "don't JADE" as a universal tool.  The thing is that she wants me to explain my behaviors/actions, and it only ticks her off.


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ACTIVE LISTENING is another universal tool and alternative. It's when we let the other person know we are hearing and understanding what they are trying to tell us. People love it when we listen, absorb, and validate (show where we agree). I believe people are more inclined to listen to you when you are listening to them.  

These are two complementary tools we can use to improve our communications in a relationship. The tools are not about changing or controlling our partners side of the street - they are about improving our side of the street.

I agree "active listening" is another good universal tool.  I agree it is about 'cleaning up' our side of the street.  However, validating them with the same tool so they feel heard is important too, so they can re-regulate (if they are not too far gone) and self-soothe. 

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I believe I hear you using "Don't JADE" in a context that means "don't engage because another person is being unreasonable and it will make matters worse". That is different than how we use the term at BPDFamily. Don't JADE is altogether different than "don't engage".
 

Half a year ago, I would have completely agreed; however, if you look at my more recent posts, I encourage others to use 'active listening' tools, such as SET / BIFF / etc.  Using the analogy of an operating theater, the surgeon will use a variety of tools to physically repair a person, not dissimilar to an auto mechanic using a different skill set with a variety of tools to repair a vehicle.  I feel, that we too must use a variety of emotional tools together in order to repair the relationship to a more manageable place.

You said:
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Gottman termed not engaging "because we feel another person is being unreasonable and it will make matters worse" as "stonewalling".

Gottman said:
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Stonewalling
The fourth horseman is stonewalling, which is usually a response to contempt. Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction, shuts down, and simply stops responding to their partner. Rather than confronting the issues with their partner, people who stonewall can make evasive maneuvers such as tuning out, turning away, acting busy, or engaging in obsessive or distracting behaviors.

It takes time for the negativity created by the first three horsemen to become overwhelming enough that stonewalling becomes an understandable “out,” but when it does, it frequently becomes a bad habit. And unfortunately, stonewalling isn’t easy to stop. It is a result of feeling physiologically flooded, and when we stonewall, we may not even be in a physiological state where we can discuss things rationally.

If you feel like you’re stonewalling during a conflict, stop the discussion and ask your partner to take a break:

My interpretation is to 'pause' the conversation, to 'take a break' from it, when she becomes dysregulated.

I have no problem in engaging with others in order to resolving conflict by stating the truth followed up by verifiable facts, and if I did something incorrectly, and I am shown it is incorrect, I have no issue taking responsibility for it - I have resolved conflicts on all scales from interpersonal relationships up to the international stage and in between.

There is a right way, and a wrong way to resolve conflicts.  Appeasement, is an example of a wrong way of resolving a conflict.  Setting a firm, but reasonable boundaries, with love, is an example of resolving a conflict in a good way.

I feel as though I am not 'conflict avoidant,' as per definition; however, I am definitely 'abuse avoidant' - there is a nuanced difference on the motivation to 'take a break from it' as I do not want her to continue to spiral out of control even more so by attempting to resolve a conflict with an irrational person when they are triggered into dysregulation rather than being baseline if I were to continue to engage them in Active Listening which soothes a normal person, but can enrage a dysregulated one.


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I know that you take great exception when the therapist says you are stonewalling, but I think you might be better served to accept this characterization and to look into it a little deeper. Stonewalling is not isolated to one person's actions. It is a natural protective reaction to a difficult situation of which there are multiple participants. While stonewalling is both a natural and common response, it is also a non-constructive response in a relationship. Resolving it is not an easy fix. There are multiple moving parts.

Gottman:  stonewalling = conflict avoidance - does not return to conflict resolution process by deliberately avoiding it

Me:  pausing a conversation = abuse avoidance - does not return to topic due to disassociation by one partner  (she has repeatedly stated, that she does not remember the content of the argument from the previous day).  Other times she avoids talking about when back to baseline, as it was trivial in nature.  I clearly communicate to her she can 'unpause' the conversation anytime the following morning.  If I feel it is important, I will unpause it.  If it is something not important, I won't as I do not wish to 'seemingly and deliberately trigger her' on a particular topic that she may have forgotten about as it wasn't important enough for her to 'remember' - I know this is an 'eggshell' response on my part where I pick my battles carefully - if I don't care about a topic, I will let her have her way (compromise); however, if I feel strongly - I will attempt to resolve the conflict in a manner consistent within the framework of a pwBPD which is not the same I would do for a normal person as those methods do not work for someone who can so easily become dysregulated.


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That said, I would not consider giving your wife space to self-soothe and get back to baseline as "stonewalling," per se. You most certainly want to be able to support her getting back to baseline, but there is nuance in how you give your wife space and I suspect that is what he is talking about.

I agree when Gottman said 'taking a break' is a temporary pause of 'stonewalling' whether it is 1-7 hours previously, or one or two sleep cycles (up to 36 hours new after anger management was implemented by her) to let 'sleep' do the emotional reset (self-soothe) back to baseline is the method I have discovered through trial and error, as her work on 'anger management' has actually shifted her return to baseline from full rage (1-7 hours, 2-4 typical) to a sleep cycle or two (12 hours typical, up to 36 hours) depending on the level of emotional dysregulation (mood swing).  This was determined through personal observation on each of her mood shifts.  For the time being, until my wife learns new self-soothe techniques, I have will have to be continually vigilant in order to maintain a certain level of sanity in the family dynamic to protect our children, to protect me, and to protect her emotional wellbeing as well from her emotional dysregulation.


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Getting back to baseline When someone in our life is highly reactive, I think it's best to do what we can to calm the situation as we ease our way out and wait until they (and we) return to baseline.


Agreed, and this is what I am doing, adjusting, from time to time, as she is working through her own meaningful therapy to contain her anger, and hopefully her mood swings too.


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Highly reactive is on a spectrum, and in some situations, we can listen and say just a little and that alone can make the person feel they are getting through, start diffusing the situation and buy time to get to baseline. In some situations, we can say that we want to help but we are overwhelmed and we need space (to buy time to get to baseline). In the worst of times, we may just have to excuse ourselves.  Learning how to calm a domestic conflict is situation specific and is trial and error. Over time we learn how to do it better (if we try). We also learn when to get out and stay out.

Yes, it is trial and error with detailed observations on what works, and what doesn't. Unfortunately for our children's sake it is imperative since my wife has carefully cultivated an outside image of caring (with excessive volunteerism) of being the good parent, combined with societal stereotypes of my profession (sailor who was away most of the time) and gender (male), I am at a distinct disadvantage here, the 'get out and stay out' is not an option for me without financial and emotional ruin - so I need to make the best of a bad situation.

My goal is to make my wife more self-aware, as she has a good moral compass, for her own individual therapy to make things better - she is the exception, rather than the rule here.  I feel the more self-aware she is, the more she can work on her issues, as I know she does not want to be this way.  There has been tremendous improvement in the past 20 months, I feel we are 1/2 to 2/3 the way there, just need to address her mood swings, and I am starting to see this, so I am going to let it play out, as I know my wife is very motivated to 'fix' herself.

I am also here to fix myself, discover my own issues (caretaking/codependent), to recognize which ones are worth changing, and which ones are worth keeping.  I am here to learn how to set good boundaries without going too far; learn better communication skills; learn better and healthier coping mechanisms; learn how to do more self-care; learn how to repair the damage not only in my own life, but our children's lives as well.  It is a multi-faceted approach, using a multitude of tools, with a tremendous amount of effort to get-r-done.


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I think we need to be careful not to dismiss all reactive situations as meaningless. This is also on a spectrum. There may be something behind the reaction. There is may be something, but not be related directly to us. Sometimes its just pure emotion that goes away on its own.
 

Agreed, for each and every situation there is a meaning, I do an analysis, and triage what my wife is doing, how it interacts with me, how it interacts with our children.  I will only address the issues that need addressing, those that don't, I won't.  Whenever possible, I directly interact with my wife first and foremost.  I will interact with our children on an 'as needed' basis as they too have to deal with her dysregulation; however, my wife is learning of the natural consequences of self-alienation of her behaviors with them, which has been reversed to some extent.  If it extends beyond the immediate family, I let her behaviors self-correct as I will not interfere with the natural consequences of her actions with her interactions with them - here I will validate her a bit more, as it doesn't affect the family unit.


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I think of it less as a unilateral "pause" and more as helping our partner have a "controlled release." You said your wife is starting follow your lead. We want to help and be responsible for our stuff - we do not want to cross the line and take responsibility for our partners self-soothing.


I agree, this is a very fuzzy line.  I will not take full responsibility for her self-soothing; however, I will shine a light on it when it goes wrong, lead by example, reframe it so she can talk to her own therapist on it, or share with our couple's therapist in order to enable good behavior and discourage bad ones.  It is not a unilateral "pause", it is actually a very complicated set of IfTTT (If This Then That) -like rules that I have come up with to address a variety of different circumstances.  Initially, I had to hit the 'pause' button several times a week, 4Q 2022, now it is once every 2-3 months, and is in the process of being replaced with SET, BIFF, DEARMAN and another communication techniques and do my part to not deliberately trigger her (still doing the eggshell walk, but to a lesser extent).  I am also setting firm boundaries, which is akin to manipulative behavior modification on my part towards her, so in this respect I am taking some responsibilities for her behaviors - is this wrong?


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You made the step up from "Yes dear" to "I am leaving" to "talk tomorrow". This is huge. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post).


Agreed. 


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Do you think there is a next rung on that ladder? Ways to turn "unilateral pause" into "controlled release?"

As I indicated earlier, it is multifaceted, kind of like a children's jungle gym, with cargo net, you can move laterally, and choose another way to advance.  'controlled release' is already occurring with the communication techniques when she is baseline, being care not to trigger her.

The next step on the ladder is to help her become even more self-aware of her mood swings, the goal is to eliminate the 'pause' button; however, that will depend on the work my wife does on herself.  In the meantime, I will continue to use the tools I have learned, and continually adjust my reactive behaviors to a more 'normal' level depending on her behaviors until more of her symptoms she forces into remission.  I will continue to maintain good boundaries, and see how things progress.

Simultaneously, I also plan on reconnecting with my wife, hoping to revive some of the 'love bombing' phase mutual reciprocity to a healthy level.

Comments?

SD
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