Do Your Relationships Contain Stonewalling?

Stonewalling is a strategy used by one partner in a relationship to avoid the other partner. It involves refusal to communicate and an unwillingness to solve problems. Here’s how to avoid it.

If you’re reading this, I’m sure you know that relationships can be difficult to navigate.

And we have a tendency, to avoid things that are difficult. After all, think about if you are driving in traffic and you find yourself in a traffic jam. If you’re like many people, if you get an opportunity to take a different route, you’ll try as much as possible to do so. In fact, many GPS features have alerts that make us aware of traffic before we even get caught in it, so that we can take a detour.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could implement those same strategies in relationships?

Unfortunately, while many of us do, it often wreaks havoc on our relationships, making it more difficult for us to stay connected.

It’s also referred to as stonewalling, or, a strategy used by one partner in a relationship to avoid the other partner. It involves refusal to communicate and an unwillingness to solve problems.

Here are some examples of what it might look like:

  • Turning around and looking away
  • Silent treatment
  • Physically leaving the room
  • Refusing to answer or talking about the issue at hand
  • Yelling to stop the conversation

While it might seem like a temporary solution to a complicated problem, the long-term effects of this form of communication are often far more harmful then one usually expects it to be.

Here are some of the consequences.

It Escalates Arguments
When a partner’s needs to communicate get shut down, it typically escalates the problem because not only does the partner have to deal with the original discomfort, but now they have to deal with the feelings of being abandoned in their time of need.

Can you think of a time when you really needed to express yourself and you were shut down?

Most of us have, the most of us did not appreciate the experience.

When you care about someone, you’re open to hearing their perspective even if it differs from yours and makes you feel uncomfortable.

It Leaves Problems Unsolved
If problems don’t get solved, they grow bigger. No one enjoys big problems so it’s better to face them head-on using appropriate communication skills.

It Leads to Emotional Disconnection
The partner that was Stonewalled against often feels abandoned and the partner doing the stonewalling often feels attacked or overwhelmed. And then it just fester’s because nobody is willing to face the uncomfortable feelings experienced. Instead of using your emotional connection to support one another, it’s used against the other partner and no one wins in the long run.

It Triggers a Sense of Hopelessness
Overtime, relationships contaminated with stonewalling loose their ability to learn how to communicate without its usage. This is where couples tend to fall apart or live with resentment because they’re unable to handle their issues straight on.

Communicating in relationships with the people that you love is one of the hardest skills you will ever have to develop.

And because many people lack the skillset, stonewalling appears as a better alternative. But as this message conveys, stonewalling is one of the most harmful things that you can do in your relationship and if it’s happening, it needs to be stopped. If you need the skills to learn to break the pattern of stonewalling,

I invite you to contact one of our black therapists today.

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