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Decoding kitchen sinking:The new relationship buzzword that’s destroying your relationship

Does your partner throw all the complaints that they have about you in a breathless run-on sentences? Well, you have been dealing with a kitchen sinker. Here’s your guide on how to deal with them.

sex and relationships Updated: Dec 22, 2017 19:21 IST
Abhinav Verma
Abhinav Verma
Hindustan Times
Kitchen Sinking,Airing dirty laundry,Relationship mistakes
According to Gottman, kitchen sinking is an effective form of complaining where one of the partners decides to ‘throw everything in but the kitchen sink’, meaning every time an argument happens, they decide to list out every complaint and mistakes of yours.(Getty Images/Vetta)

Winning an argument in a relationship is like winning a chess match. Each argument has to be well thought off and strategically worded, in order to win the battle without blowing the relationship out of the water. However, few of us, at times, tend to cross the line by resorting to kitchen sinking. The term came from Gottman’s research. Dr. John Gottman is an American psychologist, who has published various relationship research studies. In 2007, he was recognized as one of the most influential therapists of the past century. According to Gottman, kitchen sinking is an effective form of complaining where one of the partners decides to ‘throw everything in but the kitchen sink’, meaning every time an argument happens, they decide to list out every complaint and mistakes of yours. It’s like ever since the relationship began, they’ve been noting down every mistake you’ve made, every complaint they have against you. And the moment an argument starts, they bring out this little list of ‘Here’s what you have done wrong so far’ to win the argument and to put you down. According to relationship experts, Shivani Misri Sadhoo and Dr. Anil Sethi, here are a few reasons why a partner might resort to kitchen sinking, why it’s harmful and how to deal with it.

Why you resort kitchen sinking

1)To win- One of the major reasons why one would resort to kitchen sinking is because they simply want to win the fight. For them, the relationship is not important, your feelings are not important. In such cases, the partner practicing kitchen sinking is egoistical and is self absorbed. By doing this, they make sure that the relationship is short term only.

2)Inarticulate in their expression- At times, a partner may do this because they have difficulty in expressing their emotions and feelings. Another reason for this is poor communication skills. It’s not always that a partner may know how to constructively complain. Also, at times they don’t want to directly address the issue. Doing this, results in resentment.

3)Possessiveness- Partners who are possessive and have attachment issues tend to kitchen sink. They are oversensitive during arguments and tend to get triggered. And therefore, they resort to means to win a fight.

4)No trust in the relationship- Kitchen sinking is an indicator that there is no trust in the relationship and the relationship is edging towards its end.

It’s destructive because

As the saying goes, “You may win the battle but you will lose the war”. Kitchen sinking will make sure that there is no chance of reconciliation. Your partner may feel bullied, they feel as if they are blindsided by a barrage of criticisms and complaints. Also, if you resort to kitchen sink then it indicates that you are diverting from the real issue. The partner who practices kitchen sinking comes across as dominating and as a bully.

How to deal with it

Once you get into a habit of kitchen sinking, it’s tough to break. And it becomes tougher if you are not good at responding to criticisms. The first step to dealing with it, is to become aware about it. Once you become aware about it then you need to understand that if you have to complain then complain in a constructive manner. Be a better communicator by choosing the right words. However, the best way to deal with it is letting go of past grievances while arguing. When you argue, argue about the present and not the past and learn to move on.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 19:19 IST