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  • Indicators that things are NOT ok in your relationship…part 4 of 4.

    #4 – Stonewalling

    I’m just gonna be real with y’all right here…I have absolutely done this one to loved ones. The whole, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” has been my justification for shutting down and ignoring what the other person is saying. 

    What I have come to realize is sometimes it was in an effort to punish or control the other person for hurting my feelings, but often times for me, it was an unconscious reaction to shame. I felt criticized which triggered feelings of inadequacy and I would shut down involuntarily to protect myself and try to make it stop. Let me just say it was not a very effective coping mechanism and I ended up hurting other people as much as they hurt me. 

    If you don’t know what I mean when I say stonewalling, it is when a person gets quiet, disengages from the conversation, ignores the other person, and refuses to respond to questions or even acknowledge their presence in some instances. It can be extremely distressing to the other person, especially if they struggle with feeling abandoned.  

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    I think this gif is hysterical and I laughed out loud when I saw it. Ron Swanson was the king of stonewalling and although it’s not helpful at all in work situations, it can be extremely damaging in intimate relationships. Often times the stonewaller justifies the behavior by saying, “well at least I didn’t yell”.  

    The difficult part of this one is it doesn’t matter if we’re stonewalling to punish and control, or stonewalling involuntarily as a protective maneuver; both are damaging to a relationship and both need to be addressed to bring the relationship back to a healthy place.   

    If you find yourself stonewalling your partner when there is either real or perceived conflict, check in with yourself and see if you can identify a feeling other than frustration. Do you feel hurt, embarrassed, ashamed, guilty? If so, try to figure out why you’re feeling that way and then talk about it. If you can’t talk to your partner about it, talk to a trusted friend and try to process it. Sometimes close friends can help us make sense of things and give us perspective…on the other hand, sometimes they give really bad advice, so be carful who you share your stuff with. A great life lesson for emotional and physical stuff!

    Ok, I hope that tidbit helps and if this resonates with you and you need some help figuring out what’s happening with you, get in touch! I’d love to help!