No relationship is without conflict. Even the healthiest relationship will have some friction from time to time. While it’s natural not to see eye- to- eye with your mate, it’s how you handle those dissensions that can determine whether it helps or harms your relationship.
When you and your mate are faced with a conflict, do you calmly hash it out or does one mate stonewall, or give the silent treatment?
While stonewalling may feel like a inoffensive tactic to deal with problems in your relationship, it can have disastrous effects and may even be a pathway to divorce. However, there’s hope for both parties.
We dive into what stonewalling is, the signs to look out for and how to break down this wall that’s dividing your relationship.
What’s stonewalling in a relationship
Stonewalling involves refusing to communicate with another person. Intentionally shutting down during an argument, also known as the silent treatment, can be hurtful, frustrating, and dangerous to the relationship.
Examples of stonewalling behavior
Here are few example of behavior your mate may exhibit when stonewalling
Giving the silent treatment
Suddenly walking down
Avoiding eye contact
Acting busy or suddenly moving on to another task
Minimizing your concern
Aggressive body language, like eye- rolling or glooming
Avoiding conversation about the problem
Engaging in compulsive actions
Refusing to answer any questions
Deflection and placing blame
Ignoring you or pretending they do not hear you
Simply saying” I am fine,” and nothing additional
READ ALSO: RELATIONSHIP GASLIGHTING
What does it mean to stonewall someone?
In simple terms, stonewalling is when someone fully shuts down in a discussion or refuses to interact with another person.
“ It’s a voluntary response aimed at ending a discussion or a situation that triggers emotional uneasiness or discomfort, resulting in an overwhelming physiologic response. This is a state where the person stonewalling is either confused or shocked by a discussion or a set of questions. ”
Oftentimes, stonewalling is quiet noticeable in relationship. however, there are times when stonewalling may go unnoticed — especially if neither mate is apprehensive of their actions.
Types of Stonewalling
There are a many different ways that stonewalling might appear in a relationship. These include
1* Unintentional stonewalling
Sometimes stonewalling is a learned response that mates use to cope with difficult or emotional issues. People who stonewall may do so to avoid raising a fight or to avoid agitating an uncomfortable topics. They also might be hysterical of their mate’s response.
2* Intentional stonewalling
In extreme cases, stonewalling is used to manipulate a situation, maintain control in the relationship, or induce punishment.However, speak with a counselor or therapist for advice, If you think your mate is verbally abusing you.
Signs of Stonewalling
Numerous times, stonewalling in a relationship is egregious. However, it also can be subtle and you may not realize that you or your mate are engaging in the behavior
. Signs of stonewalling can include
Ignoring what the other person is saying
Changing the subject to avoid an uncomfortable topics
Storming off without a word
Coming up with reasons not to talk
Refusing to answer questions
Making allegations rather than talking about the current problem
Using dismissive body language such as rolling or closing their eyes
Engaging in passive-aggressive actions such as stalling or procrastinating to avoid talking about a problem
Refusing to ever admit the stonewalling behavior
How can I tell if I ’m being stonewalled by my mate?
A person can stonewall in several different ways.However, then are some of the following signs to look out for
If you are n’t sure if your mate is stonewalling you or not.
1* They walk out in the middle of a discussion without advising or explanation
2* They refuse to talk about or give reasons not to talk about an issue
3* They dismiss your concern
4* They engage in passive-aggressive type behavior
5* They change the subject or make allegations to avoid an issue
6* They give you the silent treatment,
avoiding verbal communication such as making eye contact with you
Why people stonewall.
After a conflict thrusts us into fight, flight, fawn, or indurate mode, our ability to reason goes out the window. That is because the prefrontal cortex( the region at the front of your brain) checks out, and the amygdala — your brain’s fear center or” alarm system” takes over, motioning your body to escape the driving situation.
You are likely feeling relatively stressed, so your body is actuated, your blood is pumping, and your heart rate is adding .
Not engaging with or ignoring the other person can make us feel like we are in control again, So stonewalling is frequently used to recapture some semblance of exculpation, perhaps even power.”
But that is not the only reason people resort to this behavior
Sometimes, people stonewall to seek relief because they truly” feel wedged and are unfit to engage with the other person in a meaningful and rational way.”
Herzog points out that stonewalling” directly stops whatever battle is passing,” so it really can give a sense of relief to the displeased person, even if it’s to their mate’s detriment.
“( Stonewalling) isn’t effective or sustainable, and over time will erode any relationship,
Negative effects of stonewalling on relationship?
The effects of stonewalling are disastrous for not only the receiver but also the mate who’s stonewalling.
For the person being stonewalled, it can leave them feeling confused, hurt and angry. It can wear down on their self- regard, leading them to feel empty or hopeless.
For the person stonewalling, they also suffer as they’re denying themselves emotional closeness with their mate.
For the couple, stonewalling can make a giant peak in their relationship, causing severe martial torture, conflict and dislocation.
How do you deal with stonewalling in your relationship?
However, the best thing to do is to face it head- on as a couple and not bury your heads in the beach, If stonewalling is being in your relationship. To make your relationship work, you need to work together. To do this, you ’ll both need to learn how to communicate more effectively. This situation is one where couples counseling can help.
“ Whether you or your loved one is stonewalling, if frequent occurrences lead to escalated misunderstanding and miscommunication that affects trust in your relationship, also professional help can help assess and address those communication issues.
Getting couples counseling can help you learn healthy ways to communicate and may help to strengthen your relationship as a whole.
1* Pinpoint the problem.
However, it’s important to get to the function of that behavior
so it can be worked through, Are you shutting down because you start to feel unsafe or sense aggression? Or do you feel hopeless,” If you’re the one
who finds yourself shutting people out.
2* Approach your mate with gentle kindness.
” Some people have no issues marching forward and innocently arguing with others.However, realize that your mate needs a sense of safety, calmness, If you’re that person. The more aggressive you are, the more likely they’re to shut down.
READ ALSO: SILENT TREATMENT IN A RELATIONSHIP
3* Be clear and direct.
Getting your tone right is everything.” We do not want to walk on eggshells. We also do not want to aggressively pursue. There’s a happy medium calm, clear, and direct. Stonewalling frequently becomes a murderer and distancer game that we can play. We want to get out of the game and back into healthy adult communication.
4* See a relationship therapist.
” First, of course, it can help to work through these common but problematic conflict patterns with a professional, We can not always be objective in our own connections, and we tend to have eyeless spots when it comes to our own stuff.” A therapist may see commodity that the two of you have not
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