Stonewalling involves refusing to communicate with another person and withdrawing from the conversation to create distance between the individual and their partner.
– Ignoring what the other person is saying – Changing the subject to avoid an uncomfortable topic – Storming off without a word
For the person who is being stonewalled, it is normal to feel frustrated, angry, confused, and hurt. It can have a damaging impact on a person's
self-esteem and make them feel like there is a lack of trust and closeness in their relationship
– Generalized avoidance of conflict (emotional passivity) – Desire to reduce tension in an emotionally-charged situation – Genuine belief that they "cannot handle" a certain topic – Fear of their partner’s reaction or where a talk may lead
Sometimes stonewalling is a learned response that partners use to cope with difficult or emotional issues.
In extreme cases, stonewalling is used to manipulate a situation, maintain control in the relationship, or inflict punishment
– Talk about what you want in your relationship, not about what you don't want. Explain what makes you both happy and fulfilled.
You might find it helpful to offer your partner ways to support behaviors that would help them achieve a long-term change
Ending a relationship may be necessary if the issue is a major deal-breaker for you that goes against your values or needs in the relationship