Toxic people crave arguments! They love to challenge you and attack you, because they love being the center of attention.


So any time they can tempt you to interact with them, they consider it a big win. They love to suck up your time and attention.


They don't care if it's negative attention.


They just want to be the focus of your world. They feel triumph if they can make you mad. Seeing you lose your temper gives them a thrill.


By following JADE, you don't give them what they want. You disengage quickly and move on to focusing on good things you can change. You cannot change them and their desire for your attention.



J.A.D.E. is an acronym to remind you not to give unsafe people anything to twist or attack you with.

Do not:

  • J - Justify your actions
  • A - Argue to prove you're right
  • D - Defend yourself
  • E - Explain why you did something

It just gives them more opportunities to hurt you.




Sometimes toxic people make false accusations just to get you to engage with them. This is a great tactic. They want to draw you in. Usually you can just ignore them and not respond.  That is the best tactic. You don't dignify them with a response.  They want your attention, time, and energy. And you don't give it. You resist the temptation to engage. In some cases, you can just block them, defriend them, and change your number.





For example, what if you're in a child custody evaluation, and they make a false allegation that you didn't pick up your child from school? In that case you must say something, or the evaluator or court will assume that the allegation is true.


So you simply state to the accuser (in writing): "What you claim did not happen."    That's all you say. You don't explain, justify, argue or defend yourself. If the court or evaluator wants to know more, your attorney will tell you. Save it for the courtroom.


There are other examples of written "canned responses" from One Mom's Battle. These are examples of short sentences that answer false accusations without justifying, arguing, denying, or explaining. You are simply saying in writing (email, text, letter) you disagree with the claim in a way the court will view as short, direct, and polite.


You are simply *documenting* for legal purposes that you don't agree. Nothing more. You don't expect to convince them. That's not your purpose. If you need to give evidence in court to support your claims then so be it. But you don't need to give them evidence. You just disengage and focusing on the good things in your own life that you can change. You cannot change them and you don't want to feed their desire for attention.




One woman in my private Facebook group asked about whether or not to do JADE in court.


My response:

This is important. When you are around your ex-spouse or around people who are on your ex's side, it is often best to follow the JADE formula. Do not justify, argue, defend or explain your own actions if you think they will use it against you. Just get some distance from them. They may not be safe right now.
BUT WHEN YOU ARE IN COURT, in front of a neutral person like a mediator or a judge, you need to stand up for yourself, show your evidence, defend your decisions, explain your answer to the accusations leveled at you. You do this with composure and self-control and no emotion. JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM! So, in other words, you DO justify, argue, defend or explain your own actions IN COURT because you are in front of neutral parties who are legally obligated to ask about the facts. Even your emotions, responses, and actions can be facts. That's why we keep journals of events and what happened and who witnessed it.
In order to document events better, look at this article on documenting during a high-conflict divorce. 



When dealing with toxic people, use JADE: Don't justify, argue, defend or explain


Are you going through a life-saving divorce and need support and clarity? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 4 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book on divorce for Christians and other people of faith, The Life-Saving Divorce: Paperback:  Or eBook:

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