What is off-the-table-itis?


What is off-the-table-itis?

By Lily Ha January 11, 2021 01.11.2021 Share:
Communication Counseling Intentionality Relationships Therapy Vulnerability

Do you feel like it is a struggle to communicate with your partner… if so, have you ever experienced any of the following?

  • Wanting to share your feelings on an issue quickly becomes an argument that is never resolved
  • Wanting to know what is going on and checking in, but getting attacked and/or partner becomes defensive
  • Walking around on eggshells or tip-toeing around certain topics
  • Wanting to talk about an unresolved issue and being told you are trying to start an argument and asked why do keep wanting to bring up the past
  • Feeling little emotional safety and lack of trust

If you have experienced one or more than one of these, let’s talk about off-the-table-itis!
According to the author, Mira Kirschenbaum, off-the-table-itis is a pattern that can severely damage and even end relationships.  Off-the-table-itis comes from an expression used during negotiations, and it refers to someone taking something “off the table” when that person does not want to talk about a certain issue.  Now when it comes to relationships, the pattern of off-the-table-itis occurs when a partner keeps not wanting to talk about issues — or taking issues “off the table.”  So, what can off-the-table-itis look like?

  • Repeated attempts to bring something up that is important to you and getting shut down repeatedly
  • “I don’t want to talk about it.”
  • “But what about it…?”
  • “If you keep bringing this up, I am going to get mad” or “I am done with this relationship.”
  • Making you feel bad about the way you feel or that you did something wrong
  • “I need time to think about this…” and that thinking takes foreverNonverbal body language – a sigh, an eyeroll, steps away, turns attention to something else

But… I do want to point out that being reluctant or not knowing how to discuss an issue is different than repeatedly rejecting conversation and not wanting to talk about something.  Nonetheless, effective communication is difficult, which is why it is so important to learn effective communication skills and to keep practicing in order to have a successful and healthy relationship!  If you are having communication issues within your relationship or even with other people in your life, please give me a call and I would love to help!

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