What is Stonewalling? Signs to watch out for
From silent treatment to avoidance, here are a few signs of stonewalling.
Stonewalling is the situation when a person in a relationship completely shuts down and refuses to communicate or share anything with the other person. It can slowly kill a relationship if not addressed in the right time. "Stonewalling, where one person completely shuts down or refuses to engage, can be incredibly damaging. It's not only harmful to the person being stonewalled, leaving them feeling abandoned, confused, and powerless to restore the connection, but it also has negative consequences for the person doing the stonewalling. By engaging in this behavior, they hurt themselves, as they erode the relationship and destroy the emotional intimacy that is needed for a strong bond," wrote Therapist Jordan Dann.
Speaking of the similarities and the differences between stonewalling and gaslighting, Jordan further added that while both may go hand in hand sometimes in a relationship, they are different. Stonewalling may not be a conscious choice – it can stem from childhood trauma and the urge to shut down as a response to a conflict. Gaslighting is when one person tries to deny the reality of the other person. "If stonewalling is present in your relationship dynamic, it's important to address this pattern. You need to work together to explore the underlying issues and triggers that contribute to stonewalling. Seeking therapy can provide valuable support and guidance in navigating this challenge," added the Therapist.
Here are a few signs of stonewalling:
Silent treatment: one of the classic signs of stonewalling is when one partner tries to give silent treatment to the other person. They refuse to give explanations or communicate in any way.
Refrain from discussion: When a topic comes up that may bother both of us, they may call the topic off limits and try to stay away from discussing it with us.
Dismiss concerns: When something bothers us and we try to communicate the same to the partner, they try to dismiss our concerns and suppress the concerns.
Avoidance: They keep trying to change the topic and behave as if they cannot hear us. This is a classic stonewalling sign.