What To Know About Stonewalling In A Relationship
Healthy couples have arguments and solving them together can strengthen their bond. The key to any relationship is open and honest communication; however, one bad relationship habit, called ‘stonewalling,’ can be detrimental or even bring about the end of a relationship.
Mental health counselor Chelsie Reed says, “Stonewalling is not talking to someone, giving someone the silent treatment, or even just not talking about a certain subject to avoid confrontation.” The person who is stonewalling may say phrases like “Do whatever you want” or “I’m done,” causing their partner to feel demeaned and question their self-worth.
The Gottman Institute says people stonewall when “feeling overwhelmed or physiologically flooded” and they might do it as a manipulation tactic to see how much a partner “cares” that they’re ignored. It could also be a trauma response and the partner might think they’re doing the right thing, but this is not a communication tactic because your partner can’t read your mind.
Stonewalling can lead to the end of a relationship, but if you’re willing to fix this habit, communicate when you’re feeling overwhelmed and tell your partner you need time to collect your emotions. You can create a safe word, phrase, or motion to communicate with your partner when emotions are high, then once you cool down, you can communicate effectively and kindly.