Portrait of a young, arguing people using J.A.D.E. tactics

Why J.A.D.E. doesn’t work to resolve conflict with your partner

What is JADE?

It is an acronym for the ineffective tactics of Justifying, Arguing, Defending or Explaining to resolve conflict. It is a term borrowed from psychiatrist and team-cognitive-behavioral guru Dr David Burns.

Here is what it means

J – Justifying your actions. “I might have done that, but you also did….”

Justifying is a way to normalize your behavior to get yourself off the hook. It is the “but” you add to defend yourself when accused.

A – Arguing. One of the ways conflict escalates is for you to minimize your actions, to be dismissive of your partner or to argue details to throw your partner off track. Disputing your partner’s account of a situation or trying to convince your partner they shouldn’t feel what they feel are other tactics that often escalate tension or disagreements.

D – Defensiveness. Deny or counter-attack. Even if you admit having done it, point out another time where your partner did it -and it was worse. Generally respond to issues by avoiding responsibility, deflecting or protecting your ego rather than objectively listening to your partner.

E – Explaining. Believe it or not, words can get in the way of communication.. Over-explaining can be a turn-off and a barrier to emotional connection.

Main reasons why JADE doesn’t work to resolve conflicts with your partner

There are many reasons why JADE usually doesn’t work and often makes things worse. The main reason, in my experience, is because the issue you are fighting about often isn’t the real issue and therefore is not fixable by using rational, fact-based logic.

  • More specifically: JADE tactics do not deal with deeper core issues that are often tied to childhood traumas or subconscious defences. When fighting, couples trigger these issues in each other without realizing it. Once you are triggered, these core issues can become unwieldy and it is much more difficult to be reasonable and open-minded when trying to problem solve.
  • In terms of emotional connection, how you communicate is more important than the content of your communication. JADE tactics emphasize content and not the process of how you interact with each other.

To learn more effective ways to communicate, emotionally connect and resolve conflicts with your partner, sign-up for our exciting new online program “Anger and your relationship – the road to repair