Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

JADE: Good for Jewelry,
Bad for Relationships

The Jade Buddha for Peace

Nephrite, or Jadeite, the two minerals we think of as Jade, can make stunning jewelry and beautiful objets d'arts.

JADEing, as a technique for dealing with someone with OCPD or other personality disorders, sucks rocks.

We have the right, as adults, to decide what we want to eat, drink, wear.  If we want to go to a movie or a party, or not.  Just because we want to - or don't want to.  We are responsible for our choices and their consequences.

With a normal person, we might explain, "No thanks, I'm just not in the mood to see a movie tonight.  Perhaps tomorrow night?"  Or, "I'm up for a comedy, or something light, but not in the mood for anything deep or dramatic."

With a disordered person, they have boundary issues.  They don't really "get" that they could be in the mood for TV, and we could be in the mood for reading, because we are supposed to think like they think, want what they want.

When we JADE, we are agreeing with the presumption that they are entitled to an explanation, as if we can only read, go to the movies, or perform some household task by their standards or with their permission.  Unless they are actually our work supervisor, that’s simply not true.

JADE stands for Justify, Argue, Defend and Explain, and it's something we all tend to do, but it feeds into never-ending, circular arguments and the Land of Frustration.

"Don't JADE” doesn't mean “don't disagree,” or giving them the silent treatment.  It means that we don't follow them down the rabbit hole of disagreements and explanations and their arguments against our explanations and our arguments against their arguments.
An example:
Him: “Did you eat that whole bag of cookies?”
You not JADEing: “I am in charge of what I eat.”
Him: “But you're supposed to be on a diet! You never stick to anything!”
You JADEing: “I missed lunch, and I'm not supposed to get too hungry on the diet, or I'll binge later.
The book says...”
Him: “If you keep eating this way, you're going to have a heart attack and die. And you'll deserve it!”
You JADEing: “I haven't eaten any junk food in two weeks! And what about that bushel of cheese fries you had last Thursday?”
not JADEing: “I am, once again, in charge of what I eat. And I'm done talking about this.”
Him: “And what if I wanted a cookie? Did you think of that? You never think of anyone but yourself!”
not JADEing: “I'm done talking. You seem to be having trouble letting this go, so I'm headed out to the movies. See you in a couple of hours.”
How about someone partner whose is "concerned" when her husband goes out for lunch; both because of the money he's "wasting," and because she feels it is her job to be the Food Police.

"Did you go for lunch with anyone?"
"Yep, Joe and I went to Chili's."
"How can you waste money that way? Don't you know how unhealthy Chili's food is?"
"We can afford the occasional lunch out, and I'll manage my own food choices."
"We still have a mortgage! You have no business spending extra money while we still have debt!"
"Hon, I love you very much, but even married adults make their own food choices and their own decisions about small expenditures. I'm not going to discuss this any further."
"Most adults make sensible choices! I know you had fajitas, didn't you? Don't you know that cheese will kill you? You'll have a heart attack and the kids and I will be left homeless!"
"Hon? I love you, but I'm done talking about this."
"You don't care about us! You never communicate."
"Love you. Done talking."
"How would the kids feel if they knew their father hated them?"
"The talking? Is done."
"Why did you even get married if you were planning to have a heart attack before age fifty?"
"I'm going to watch Grey's Anatomy now. I'd be happy for you to stay and watch it with me, because I love you, but I'm not going to talk any more."

Another example - the Perfectionist wife has been getting very upset over the "wrong way" in which the grocery bags are packed at the store, and the order in which they are carried into the house from the car. It’s not like people can stop eating, after all, and the Perfectionist wife has back problems so the husband can’t just leave all the grocery shopping and loading up to her, much as he'd like to. Now he's tense and dreading the weekly drama.

OCPD Wife: “What are you doing?  You’re doing it all wrong, I can’t believe you <hissy hissy, fit fit>
JADEing: “Look, it doesn't matter what order I carry the bags in. If the ice cream goes into the freezer a minute and a half later than it could have, it's not going to be ruined. No, it's not. No, ice crystals are not going to form in a minute and a half. Look, I'm not going to evaluate every cold item in the groceries and make a plan like the Battle of Normandy to get them in the freezer in the right order. No, I don't want you to get salmonella, but chicken doesn't go bad in a minute and a half either! What do the crackers have to do with it; we were talking about cold stuff? No, the crackers aren't going to go stale if they're in the bag for half a minute with the apples. No, and they're not going to make the apples go bad. I don't care what they say about ripening apples with a piece of bread, that has nothing to do with...”

Not JADEing: “Hon, if you don't like the way I'm carrying in the bags, maybe you shouldn't watch.”

You see why JADEing is a bad idea? The argument will never, ever end. You will never, ever be anything but wrong in her eyes. All you can do is refuse to cater to her demands, and let her accept, over time, that you are determined to be wrong. Over time she may come to see that you're being “wrong” will not result in horrible doom for both of you, and she may be able to relax her fears for a couple of minutes before the next threat comes along.

When you JADE, you are feeding the dynamic that you have to get their permission/approval to carry out your personal actions.  This creates more anxiety for them.  Remember, the OCPD person is convinced that if s/he doesn't take charge of as much as possible, catastrophe is around the corner. 

Will the disordered person be upset if you don't JADE?  Yes. 
Will they be upset if you DO JADE?  Yes, and so will you. 

Key to making not JADEing work is

a) the 4 C's: Staying Calm, Cool, Collected, and Confident.
b)  Practice!  Run some of the most frequent arguments through a script process, above, and see if you can't take what you usually do, whether it is justifying, arguing, defending, or explaining your point of view, and try not JADEing.  

It takes being prepared and balanced to practice not JADEing.  If we start off-balance, it is that much easier for OCPD to knock us off our feet and into the drink.

Just pretend you're Crush, Queen of Joust. Do a little mental booty dance.

Have you had experiences with not JADEing vs. JADEing?
Tell us how it worked out.