It’s somewhat astounding, if you will, how a person can be stripped so readily of the potential to have a connection with a mate. And it only takes one individual behaving poorly with that person to ruin them for other partners.
Because once someone goes through what some might deem a “harsh reality,” they instantly prepare themselves so that the same incident cannot occur again.
When going into a partnership with someone who won’t share past details or prefers to keep the relationship from family and friends, these are signs of emotional walls, barriers, and challenges for a mate to move past to get to know the authentic version of the person genuinely.
While it’s normal for people to step into dating different individuals with some sort of
trepidation, even carrying baggage from past experiences that rendered them rejected and insecure, many tend to let go of these temporary “partitions” once they identify the variances between the mates, past and current, understanding the likelihood of the same poor behavior is unlikely.
Some partners, however, hold onto the emotional walls, not allowing their mate to gain full access even as they grow closer, often to the detriment of the partnership.
What does it mean to emotionally hit a wall?
Hitting a wall can mean different things to different people. Still, essentially the commonality is facing a dead-end in your emotional path that you can’t move beyond or progress through.
The experience is an abrupt happening. There’s no gradual overtaking, nor is it a slow process. You feel more of a “bam,” where you thought you had everything worked out for yourself in the days leading up to it.
Your thought process or intentions were to continue that journey without pause or reflection and no looking back. Unfortunately, a barrier or detour, if you will, presented itself, leaving you flouncing with no backup plan because everything seemed ideal as it was, and now it’s simply not.
Not knowing how to “reset,” whether in a relationship or a career or even with goals you might have set, you might feel defeated. Still, people come out of mental walls successfully and sometimes better from the experience.
When you have one of these “harsh realities,” you gain some strength and preparedness to take with you if something like this happens again, and you’ll know what to do.
Here you can check out a video discussing why we choose emotionally unavailable partners.
10 signs you might have hit an emotional wall
There are different types of emotional walls. In relationships, there are occasions where a mate might come into the union with walls already built to protect themselves from what they perceive as impending rejection and subsequent hurt from that loss.
The scenario is played out from a scene already experienced in a previous partnership projected into the current one. Instead of allowing the new partner to disprove the theory, the walls stand firm.
Learn how to break down these walls to find your authentic self with this book entitled “So This Is Who I Am.” Check out these signs to see if you might be putting walls up in a relationship.
When you become emotional, you attempt to regain your composure, hide the tears, or leave the room to avoid your partner witnessing the display. The downside is you receive no comfort, nor can the two of you grow closer after sharing such raw feelings.
2. No eye contact with intimacy
Breaking down emotional barriers might be challenging for a partner when you won’t look into their eyes in the most intimate moments, whether a deep conversation or having sex.
If you’re having difficulty allowing yourself to be comfortable in vulnerable situations, you’ll need to look at possible reasons for your nervousness.
3. The past is in the past
Emotional walls in relationships dictate that the past does not get discussed. There’s some debate over rehashing old baggage with new mates and whether you should focus on what went wrong with other partners.
The past is responsible for making us the people we are in the present. It doesn’t hurt to hear some of the backstories, even if you feel that might be infringing on areas you don’t care to revisit, but that’s how you develop a connection and establish trust with someone new.
At the very beginning of dating, when things are new and awkward at the beginning of dating, mates put on airs so the other believes them to be perfect. After some time, the pretension fades, and the authentic people come out, allowing weirdness and normalcy.
If you’re not letting go, instead of putting up emotional walls to maintain that perfect persona, you need to figure out why to avoid losing a partner who’s not fond of perfection.
6. Introductions to friends and family are avoided
Partners will recognize signs of emotional walls with you when there’s a desire to meet your family and friends. Still, you skirt the issue, avoiding introductions because that has connotations of getting closer, which, according to you, has the potential for heartache, something you’re hiding from.
If your mate is inquiring with mutual friends about “how to break down her emotional walls and get her to stop hiding the partnership,” you might want to figure out a way to work towards that end.
7. Problems continue to get brushed aside
Lack of communication is one of many examples of emotional walls. Opening dialogue to work through problems is frightening for emotionally disconnected individuals. You prefer to swipe the issues away like they don’t exist.
The only concern with that is they can only fester for so long, and then they boil over.
8. Independence is hard to let go of
Sure signs of emotional walls are preferring independence to codependency and making solo decisions to asking partners’ opinions even when it comes to something that might affect you equally.
It might prove to be a learning curve for you. Still, it’s vital to include your mate in thought processes that ultimately lead to something involving them and even ask their opinion occasionally on issues you’re struggling with personally. It will give them a feeling of being included in your life.
Projection is among the signs of emotional walls, using the presumption that everyone around you feels the same way you do, and you can then assume what their intentions might be from those presumptions. That can lead to significant damage in a new relationship relatively quickly.
10. Maintaining control is your goal
The premise with barriers or emotional walls psychology is having control regarding love, dating, or relationships in particular. When you experience rejection, pain, or loss, the walls go up in an effort to prevent a repeat.
Of course, no one can predict another person’s behavior, nor can you stop someone from leaving you if a partnership runs its course. That brings us back to the emotional walls meaning – these keep people out. So rather than controlling the other person, you keep your behavior in check.
It can be curious for an individual, mate, or anyone who hasn’t experienced episodes of pain, trauma, or significant stressors to understand why we hit emotional walls or have protective barriers in place.
Nor would these partners have any idea how to break down walls in a relationship where the person they love chooses not to let them in.
Perhaps, you’re the one recognizing signs of emotional walls within yourself and find that these are growing to be quite confining, interfering with a partnership that is developing into something you want to explore on a more intimate level.
Barriers are beneficial when you feel you need to remain safe, but if the situations you need protection from are no longer a threat, it might be time to question whether you’re ready to break these down.
This podcast with Dr. Carolyn Mein opens a dialogue on breaking through those emotional barriers. If so, check out a few tips that might be helpful here.
1. Find a safe environment where you can start using emotions gradually
It’s essential to find people with whom you have explicit trust and unconditional love, those who have proven themselves worthy without exception on many occasions with only your best interest as their concern so that you can let the walls down gradually in front of them.
Because you’ve remained stoic and emotionless in front of others, it’s not an easy task to open up. You will likely react physically, perhaps trembling, maybe some panic with throat closure, but everyone you choose to open up to will respond with support, making the next time a bit easier and each time after that.
2. Prepare for pleasantries and not so much
Even in a group that loves you, you can expect that with everyone there trying to help figure out how to get a woman to lower her emotional walls, there will be pushback if something is revealed that someone might not necessarily agree with.
While you’re used to swiping away opinions, people might disagree with something you say when you let emotions and feelings come through. Perhaps they don’t like the movie you saw.
That shouldn’t send you into a “fight-or-flight” reaction. Instead, a simple response (like, “maybe it just wasn’t your thing”) that won’t further draw out the conversation will move things along until you’re ready for more.
3. Couples counseling can be exceptionally beneficial
It can be frustrating for the mate for someone whose partner recognizes signs of emotional walls working diligently to offer kindness, love, and patience to break through but has had no luck.
The problem can become worse when you want to tear down the walls, but they have become so ingrained into who you are that you’re having difficulty letting go threatening the partnership that has come to mean so much to you.
Fortunately, with relationship counseling, an emotionally disconnected individual can feel safe, allowing vulnerability with their mate, and the partner can gain insight into the behavior. The professional can further provide tools for handling problems that occur due to the barriers.
Journaling is used quite a bit in varied circumstances. It is used because it’s beneficial for looking back at a point where you started your journey and then bringing yourself to the present and seeing how far you’ve come.
When you’re looking in the beginning at “what are emotional walls,” moving forward to where you erect these and make them strong, and then come to the present day and are ready to let them go, that’s profound.
Reading through that journey can help you see that you no longer need that protection and help you realize that what you’re doing in moving forward is the right step.
5. Maintain a distance from triggers
Once you break free of the walls, which takes incredible effort and strength, it’s crucial to ensure these remain gone. A therapist can guide you with coping skills for situations that seem to create a challenge and automatically bring barriers to the surface.
Ideally, you’ll steer clear of the individual or individuals and circumstances that initially caused you to build these walls.
That might mean eliminating some abusive people from your life entirely. If that’s not possible, ensure that your therapist provides appropriate tools so you can handle the abuse.
What to do when you hit an emotional wall?
When you recognize signs of emotional walls or that you hit an emotional wall, that dead-end that stops everything in its tracks, the only thing you can do is stop. You’re being detoured from the journey you had set forth for yourself. Things are not going as planned, whether it be a partnership, your goals, or maybe just life.
That means you have to shake it off and refocus your energy. Someone somewhere is telling you it’s time to change things up, start a new journey, and perhaps a better one. Listen.
You can allow your emotional walls to define you or take control of your walls. You’ll prefer some help with a counselor providing the necessary tools to cope with the structures you’ve constructed since these usually are thick and heavy as time passes.
Still, armed with adequate coping skills and a solid mental and emotional mindset, you can climb those walls to get to the healthy side of the street. From there, anything is possible.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.