The fifth rule of Narcissist Club is the more you justify, argue, defend or explain yourself (JADE), the more vulnerable you are. When you have a misunderstanding, disagreement or conflict with an emotionally mature and stable adult, explaining your rationale, point of view or clarifying inaccurate information can be very helpful in resolving the issue.
Oftentimes, when having a conflict with narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths and histrionics, explaining yourself, your feelings, your perspective and correcting falsehoods backfires and results in more abuse. There are several reasons for this. One, in many instances, the stated issue with a high-conflict personality disordered individual is not THE issue.The real issue the the personality disorder. Fears of abandonment, losing control, feeling inferior and fear of public exposure are the most common drivers. Sometimes the disordered person creates drama to alleviate boredom, or because they enjoy inflicting pain. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what the facts are, no matter how well you articulate them.
Two, the more accurate and factual you are in the face of the disordered person’s emotional and circular reasoning, the angrier and more abusive they’re likely to become until you concede that their lies and distortions are true and apologize. When you JADE with someone who believes their subjective emotional experience trumps all, there’s no reasonable discussion or resolution to be had.
Three, JADEing gives your abuser information with which to more effectively manipulate and abuse you. You don’t have to justify telling someone no or explain why you find their behavior abusive and unacceptable. When you do that, you open the unacceptable up for negotiation. The more voluminous defenses you make, the more material you give your abuser to cherry pick and twist. It’s especially important not to do this during divorce and custody litigation.
Four, JADEing is a role reversal. Abuse victims don’t have to explain themselves. Abusers need to explain themselves. Abusers’ explanations generally aren’t explanations at all. They make excuses. “I can’t help it.” “I hurt you because I’m hurting.” “If you didn’t x, y or z I wouldn’t have to be like that.” “Only you bring this out in me.”Or, some individuals who’ve been diagnosed use their diagnosis not to be held accountable for their behavior.
If you’re still communicating with a narcissist, borderline, psychopath or histrionic abuser, don’t JADE yourself. That puts the focus on you instead of where it belongs — on their behavior. If they don’t want to own it like a mature adult, deflect or project it back onto you, game over.