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THE KITCHEN SINK ARGUMENT: WHY GOING OVERBOARD IN A FIGHT MIGHT ACTUALLY HURT YOUR CASE


Argument

Does your partner talk nonstop in an argument (or do you?)


It’s something I see firsthand in couples therapy all the time. I call it the kitchen sink communication tactic. One person goes on and on about all the things they’re upset about, without letting their partner get a word in. Usually this is driven from a subconscious feeling that if we can overload our partner with enough examples of how they are wrong, it makes our perspective more legitimate and our partner is therefore more likely to see it our way. The opposite is actually true.


Humans can only hold their attention on something for so long; if you’re bombarding your partner with examples of how you're upset, they’re more likely to lose focus and therefore less likely to understand the point you’re trying to make. Not to mention, the more examples you give the more opportunity it gives your partner to dispute those examples which is where I see couples get completely derailed in talking about the “correct” version of the past instead of focusing on the present issue.


So my advice here is, keep your points simple and succinct. You should be able to explain your feelings in 2-3 sentences max most of the time, and the rest of the conversation should be flushing out that overall concept. If you need to branch out into details to help your partner understand that’s fine, but try to keep the conversation centered around the main point you’re trying to make. This will ultimately keep arguments from escalating and help you both get to a resolution faster.



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