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How do you "not defend" or JADE?

Old 11-25-2014, 07:01 AM
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How do you "not defend" or JADE?

Many of us in Al Anon have seen the acronym JADE, which stands for Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain. I know my sponsor has many times told me that I don't have to explain why I did something or defend myself against false accusations, etc. I know the truth and it doesn't matter that the other person doesn't know it, in most circumstances.

So, how do you handle this in your life? Not just with alcoholics or addicts, but with everyone?

Here's an example from my life where I literally feel like I'm going to blow every time my AH brings it up. His mom had just passed away and he was saying goodbye to me at my rental car because I was leaving before him to fly back to AZ. He asked me for a hug which I willingly gave him and then he started shoving his tongue down my throat, etc. I got flustered and angry because he asked for a hug and he went beyond that. I pushed him off of me gently and pulled away, said goodbye, and left. To this DAY (and I'm talking just last week he brought this incident up) he sees it as a total rejection of him and how awful I was because his mother had died and I wasn't willing to comfort him.

The real truth? All I heard was his mother's voice in my head. I was probably the last person to talk to her before she died. She was found dead on the floor decomposing in the house, due to a sudden heart attack, so no one knows how long she was really dead. I had spoken to her 7 days before she was found.

In our conversation she expressed concern over talks she had with my AH the prior month. She did not know about the drinking or the DUI as I had not told her, unless my AH had told her and to this day I do not know this. Anyway, she was worried about our son and AH's attitude about their relationship, in general. The conversation led to me telling her a bit about our marriage counseling and how poorly it was going. At the end of the conversation she told me to kick AH out. She told me that she never had the guts to leave her husband and that she didn't want me to end up like her, she lived in fear and anger and she didn't want me to do the same. Her very last words to me were, "Liz( I can still hear how she sighed my name every time she said it), he's never going to change."

As I write this, it brings tears to my eyes because I can still hear this dead woman's words in my head. So, when AH was shoving his tongue down my throat after we just went through her funeral, what do you all think was going through my head? And, to this day, I just want to get up and yell at him and tell him all of this and defend myself and my actions. Out of respect for his relationship with his mother and out of respect for his feelings, I have chosen not to. I shut my mouth, keep it tightlipped, and just nod in agreement when he accuses me of being a cold b*tch who turned her husband away. At first, I did try to defend myself without saying all of this by just telling him that I was hurting, too, because I loved his mother and I also knew I was running late getting to the airport. No words I spoke ever made a difference so now I just shut up. Sigh....I still miss my mother in law.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:10 AM
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I am so sorry to hear about your MIL. She sounds like she was a good woman.

Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:24 AM
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For me I've found I can't talk to AH about certain events. The conversation always ends up in the same horrible, maddening place. I know that I am looking for validation and I'm wanting him to see things from my perspective. My AH is not in recovery so its just not possible. I talk to a trusted friend, counselor, pastor. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my husband is not able to meet any of my emotional needs. This is the person I turned to for 20 years and now he can't take care of himself.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyinBC View Post
I am so sorry to hear about your MIL. She sounds like she was a good woman.

Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you, this was 20 months ago, though. She was an alcoholic as was her husband, but they did the best they could with the tools they had. She was always worried about our son because of my AH but that conversation was the first where she actually told me to kick him out.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:57 AM
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Ew, the thought of that scene just grosses me out. Sounds to me like he took the opportunity to exploit the moment. Sick.

He will never admit that, though, so I think just ignoring it is the way to go.

Hugs, I'm sorry about the loss of your MIL.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:14 AM
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Liz,

That is exactly like my ex. It was always about him, his needs, all of the time. To him my role was to decipher his needs and help to meet them. I just didn't understand that at the time.

This mentality is very typical of active addicts, narcissists and very selfish users. Your mil was right about them not changing. I think the only ones who change are a few who really work hard at a program to address this twisted thinking.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:34 AM
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JADE is new to me. When I first wrote it down to learn for myself I couldn't help but think, "what in the heck then am I supposed to talk about?'
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:59 AM
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My go-to a lot of the time is "I'm sorry you feel that way".

I'm not apologizing FOR anything & also not taking any ownership of their feelings, but the person hearing it often feels apologized to based on how they interpret it. It gives me an easy way to end/walk away from the conversation.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:15 AM
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I've not brought JADE forward as one of the alanon catchphrases, I guess I've tried to work those principles in long form. for me, my biggest traps at the moment are internal; involving my own opinions on politics, religion, sex, power and fear itself. In effect, I have a lifelong habit of doing those JADE things on those topics in my own mind to provoke myself, to work up the emotions and then spend days in a state of provocation and outrage, miserable and tending to spread it around. In effect I am the single biggest threat to my own serenity.

Sorry about your MIL liz, its a sad way to go. OTOH maybe it was nice for her having you as a receptive audience, even if its wasn't a pleasant topic. Yeah AH acting like a sex obsessed douche, complete with the consequent dramatic self-righteous conclusions. I've been that way too. If he's not in recovery you're not going to convince him of anything or put him in his place. The only thing that would work on me when I was that way was for C&C to detach and not be involved in witnessing my self-assured correctness. I suppose there is not much pleasant about detaching but at least you won't be subjecting yourself to the BS- let his drinking/codie buddies listen to it instead.
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
My go-to a lot of the time is "I'm sorry you feel that way".

I'm not apologizing FOR anything & also not taking any ownership of their feelings, but the person hearing it often feels apologized to based on how they interpret it. It gives me an easy way to end/walk away from the conversation.
Yeah, I used this one a lot in the past. Works for some people, but not always for conversations with AH. One time my AH said, "Sorry I feel WHAT way?" He wanted more explanation and wanted to drag an apology or definition of just how I thought he was feeling out of me. At that point, I get flustered trying to come up with something else to say and it all goes to heck. I can't tell you how many times my program responses get snarky comments back that are meant to get me to engage or go into more detail and, at which point, he can then start in with getting me on the crazy train. These days I just sit there and say nothing....seems to work best for now, LOL.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:02 AM
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You have a different battle, IMO, when you factor in Narcissism. So I could understand why your AH doesn't respond well to anything other than silence.

"Sorry I feel WHAT way?" ------> "The way you just described your feelings"

No matter what he'll work it around in circles. You have to just walk away, literally.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
You have a different battle, IMO, when you factor in Narcissism. So I could understand why your AH doesn't respond well to anything other than silence.

"Sorry I feel WHAT way?" ------> "The way you just described your feelings"

No matter what he'll work it around in circles. You have to just walk away, literally.
I try not to be in the same room with him much anymore. Helps to avoid future problems. His new favorite this is to corner me in the car. This last time I was taking him to the airport because I needed his car as mine needed some work done. He takes the opportunity to 'bring things up'. If I wanted to be a real b*tch, I guess I could have pulled over to the side of the road and told him to get a cab. I'm just not that heartless and I kept counting down the minutes, "10 minutes to airport curbside, 9 minutes to airport curbside...." Seems to work, LOL!
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:22 PM
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Ugh! I feel for you!

I think there are two parts to this.

One - some people will just not be ignored. My ex was fine up until I filed for divorce and he went crazy. He acted a lot like that and to ignore him - he just wouldn't have it. I would say nothing - not a peep. I'd get up and leave and he'd just follow me around going on and on asking/saying the same things. I learned that there was NO POINT in correcting, explaining, stating my side, agreeing, or any other response. There is nothing that I could say that would satisfy him and/or that would not used as a weapon against me later. I would suggest coming up with a list of supportive things to do because it is going to be a long few months until after the holidays with that man. Things came to a head at my house in August/September and my intent was that we would stay under the same roof until the beginning of the year. That was just no longer workable. He moved out before Thanksgiving. You will not believe how much weight will be lifted from your shoulders when you are no longer a forced audience member! I remember the counselor asking me if I felt like I was walking on egg shells and I said no, of course not, but wow - once he was gone I knew what she meant!

Second - it would make my head explode that he just had it wrong. I was desperate for him to understand me, to see how I saw it. For him to understand that I did not want him to hurt or think I was horrible etc. It was part of the emotional enmeshment I had going with him. Once I was able to accept that his reality was different than my reality, and that was OK - I could also detach and just let it go. It is one of THE most freeing things in the world. Whatever he thought of me, his memories, recollections, feelings, accusations, perceptions - many of them were outrageous and I could let it all go. Whatever - not my monkey anymore. I had my own thoughts, memories, etc. and they were mine.

Not that any of this was helpful but hang in there. There will be and end to this stressful time!
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:44 AM
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Thanks Thumper! As you said, I get desperate for him to understand me but I also know that he is desperate for me to understand him. I get that. Unfortunately, understanding him means acknowledging the craziness of alcoholic thinking and I just won't go there anymore. So, now I find that just not engaging at all makes the most sense.

He does all the talking and I sit there and nod my head or sometimes I just sit there and count sheep. OK, well maybe not sheep but I do my own mental gymnastics so that I can distract and detach and keep from JADE(ing), if that makes sense.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CodeJob View Post
JADE is new to me. When I first wrote it down to learn for myself I couldn't help but think, "what in the heck then am I supposed to talk about?'
I know, right? Actually b/c there are so many topics that are off limits with my ex, I don't really have much I can say.
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by NotSoSmart View Post
I know, right? Actually b/c there are so many topics that are off limits with my ex, I don't really have much I can say.
I recall in Robin Norwood's excellent 'Women who Love too Much', she does warn that once you've stopped getting hooked into the games there may not be much to say; she suggests you continue your own affirmations in the silence.

For myself, don't JADE is one of the most useful pieces of advice I've ever received. Responses I've found helpful include things like 'That's certainly something to think about' or 'Yes, we can look into that!' or 'I agree with all that - we'll address it when...' or 'Sounds like you have some really serious concerns here', and so on... and if all else fails, never underestimate the power of the little word 'Oh!'
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