Communication is the key to a successful relationship. It is of utmost importance, particularly in relations that matter most.
What is stonewalling?
Stonewalling is a behavior that can be described as the act of employing delaying strategies. The person who stonewalls another avoids confrontation or simply refuses to acknowledge the other person’s concerns.
Stonewalling can occur in a variety of relationships.
Some the most common examples of this behavior can be seen in married couples, where one partner stonewalls the other. The partner who stonewalls the other may dismiss the other’s feelings or walk out in the middle of a dialogue.
Usually, in such circumstances, the discussion may end before any fruitful results can be achieved.
Stonewalling in a marriage
Marriage is a relationship that requires constant work and effort from both partners.
In most marriages, one partner may have to compromise more than the other in order to make situations work. However, if the efforts are always one-sided, feelings of resentment may take their toll on the couple.
Stonewalling is one of the four major types of behaviors identified and known to result in a failed marriage.
Men more commonly display this type of behavior compared to women, and that is why in most marriages it is the husband who (intentionally or unintentionally) stonewalls the wife.
Many husbands stonewall their wives without realizing the effects their behavior has on them.
Here are some of the commonly used phrases in stonewalling:
- I don’t want to talk right now
- That’s it!
- I’ve had enough
- Don’t start all over again
- End of discussion
- Leave me alone
- Go away! I don’t want to listen to anything right now.
To get a better understanding of how a husband might stonewall his wife, consider the following example –
John and Libby have been married for two years. During this period, they have had multiple arguments over several issues. John comes home late from work and after he returns, he usually gets busy on his cell phone.
This behavior makes Libby unhappy and on various occasions, she has told John about how she feels.
Most of the times that she has tried to confront John, he gave no non-verbal cues about how he felt and behaved as if he had completely tuned Libby out. In certain instances, he only showed his displeasure by leaving the room after telling Libby that he had had enough of these discussions and wanted to hear nothing more.
This is a classic example of the husband stonewalling his wife. Often, husbands do so in order to avoid conflict or simply because they don’t want to deal with the situations.
It is important to note that stonewalling is very different from taking a break.
When a person takes a break, he/she takes out time to reflect on the situation and this usually brings beneficial results. Whereas, in stonewalling, no such thought process is involved.
Effects of stonewalling
In many cases, where stonewalling is a regular feature, it has been recognized as a form of psychological abuse.
Stonewalling can leave ones partner feeling absolutely vulnerable.
The effects of stonewalling on any marital relationship are derogatory. Many times when the husband stonewalls his wife, the wife experiences stress and anxiety. Sometimes, the husband may also use the widely known ‘silent treatment’.
The silent treatment along with stonewalling eventually leave the wife feeling depressed. At other times, in trying to make things better, the wife may end up making the state of affairs even worse.
Stonewalling brings a sense of isolation to the wife and that is what makes it severely painful for her to handle.
How to deal with stonewalling
It is essential for the stonewaller and the person being stonewalled, to identify and acknowledge this behavior. Once acknowledged, both partners must be willing to deal with it.
Therapy can do wonders in many cases.