Be Irresistible, Click Here

Stonewalling is very destructive to any relationship, it creates distance and disconnection in the intimacy and safety that’s …

Transcript

all right in this video I want to shed some light on why your avoidant partner is stonewalling you during a conflict how you should respond when it happens and what I did to heal and stop stonewalling my wife okay let’s first go over what stonewalling even is so stonewalling is a term to describe a refusal to communicate it usually happens during a fight or conflict where one partner will get very quiet their whole demeanor changes they develop a flat affect sometimes they just stare at the ground or the wall they might even pull out their phone and act like they just don’t care about this conversation anymore they’re done and it doesn’t matter what you do or say they will either stay completely silent or they will just answer every question with I don’t know over and over again they essentially shut down the conversation and as you can imagine it makes any partner feel like they obviously couldn’t care less about me they can’t even be bothered to talk about something that’s important to me and stonewalling is a really big deal in our relationships Dr John gottman studied thousands of couples and he was able to predict divorce with 90 accuracy based off The Chronic presence of four traits during conflict defensiveness criticism contempt and last but not least stonewalling so this is a really big deal now some of you might know that technically more men Stonewall than women but we’re not going to turn this into a gender thing because we all have areas we need to work on and the silent treatment is actually one example of stonewalling and we know both men and women can be guilty of that right so I think we can all agree both the silent treatment and stonewalling aren’t healthy examples of how to manage conflict right and for anyone who is courageous enough to be listening to this because your partner sent it to you let me first say thank you for being mature enough to explore this it might feel uncomfortable but you’re doing a good thing and I’m not here to judge you I’m not here to label you as the problem and I’m not here to shame you the truth is I just care about you and your relationship most people would have just labeled you a narcissist but I’m not here to do that I know you think I’m on their team but it’s my job to hold both of you accountable I’ll be the first one to say that if your partner who starts a con conflict with disrespect and criticism and name calling and contempt and then you end up stonewalling them you’re both wrong our words matter our tone matters we should never be demeaning our partner belittling our partner that’s not okay on either side now I’m not saying that just because you say something in a nice way that someone’s not going to still Stonewall you they absolutely might it’s not our job to control their reaction it’s our job to make sure that we’re being respectful and vulnerable and self-reflective and if they turn this discussion into a toxic Direction then we have to be mature enough to set healthy boundaries what that would look like is saying I’m not going to continue in future conflicts if there’s any name calling or invalidating my feelings or stonewalling it’s hurtful behavior and if it happens again I will take a break from the conflict regardless of how upset that makes you and we can try again in 30 minutes if we’re both ready remember we can have empathy for our partners past we can have compassion for their traumas and triggers we can try to understand why they are in either shutting down or escalating a conflict and we have to hold them accountable to destructive behaviors that hurt us and the relationship I think we have an obligation to do both if we love them now let me tell you why stonewalling hurts our partners so badly because it should be our goal to be a safe place for our partner to bring up a hurt or a complaint or a desire we should not be discouraging our partners from being honest about their feelings just because they make us uncomfortable they are not wrong for wanting someone to be vulnerable with about their inner world or hurts or ways that they feel loved the most they’re not wrong for wanting their experience or perspective validated those are basic needs for closeness and connection and they aren’t wrong for having them and let’s remember validation doesn’t mean agreeing with all of their facts or details it simply means that their feelings matter to you you don’t have to agree with them or the actions to be able to say what you’re going through matters to me validation requires us to be curious instead of confrontational we don’t have to agree with their feelings to have a desire to understand what led them to feeling disrespected or hurt or scared we can seek to understand their pain even if we don’t have all the facts yet that’s called valuing someone’s experience it’s called respecting them honoring them and if you ever want them to listen to your side of the street as well the first and best way we do that is by showing them that we value theirs and when you shut down it makes them feel completely abandoned and unheard and unloved that’s not your intent but that’s what’s happening they feel like they’re being abandoned by someone they love to them it feels like you’re communicating you’re not worth being heard you’re not valuable enough to try to understand you’re not important enough to have my attention once again that might not be your intent but that’s what’s happening and if this is making sense to you I think it’s important to their healing process that you admit out loud to them say I can understand that when I shut down or when I dismiss your feelings or when I go silent I can see how that would lead to you feeling very unheard and Abandoned and hurt that makes sense and that’s wrong of me to do that I’m sorry I don’t want to hurt you like that anymore and then it’s our job to do the hard work required to learn how to not do that anymore because so far trust has been broken they haven’t been able to rely on us so let’s rebuild trust by showing them that they can count on us now here’s where it gets interesting let’s dive into why you might shut down or go silent and you tell me if you agree or disagree so when you stonewall your partner feels abandoned right but I think part of the reason you’re shutting down and going silent is because you also feel abandoned remember what I said earlier that your partner who sent you this isn’t trying to label you as a failure they aren’t trying to make you the bad guy or the soul problem but isn’t it interesting but that’s exactly how you feel isn’t it let’s just be honest I know this is no place for honesty but it’s just you and me if you were honest you might tell them I feel like nothing I do is good enough for you like you’re always waiting to catch me on something and tell me I messed up or didn’t meet your expectation and that’s really hard for me it makes me feel very insecure it makes me feel like you think I’m a screw-up and sometimes it makes me not even want to try because well I’m just going to let you down again I dare you to tell that to your partner if it’s true that’s not being weak that’s being self-reflective and vulnerable and mature and if someone tells you that don’t screw it up that’s the vulnerability that you’ve been asking for avoidance are oftentimes the very bad at accessing identifying or even feeling their feelings vulnerability terrifies them and they just laid their heart out on the chopping block maybe for the first time and if you launch into defensiveness if you dismiss them because of your own legitimate pain that they might have caused if you use this as an opportunity punish them while they are vulnerable you can kiss this relationship goodbye what they need in this moment is curiosity validation understanding and empathy it doesn’t mean your pain doesn’t get addressed it just means Let’s Be the Change we want to see let’s respond with safety and love just like we ask them to do okay back to why I think this might be happening I believe that for a lot of you in those moments when you’re shutting down and you’ve given up on the conversation and you’re going completely silent think you’re having a shame response I think you’re being honest when you say I don’t know as in I don’t know how to make this right all you know is you feel lost and rejected and criticized and unfairly attacked and overwhelmed like you’re carrying a weight and they just keep adding to it and in that moment you’re thinking I just don’t know what they want from me right and if you’re honest and if you were aware of what’s Happening inside your body I think you feel scared I think you feel abandoned like this person who is supposed to love you and accept you that you feel like all they do is tell you that you’re failing and there’s a part of you that wonders maybe I am a failure and it’s only a matter of time before they realize that and they leave me and if that was true then it makes sense that you would think the best thing to do in this moment is just shut down shut up and hope this passes because I’m only going to make it worse by opening up my mouth right anybody else ever thought that except for me I think it’s possible that your shame has kept you stuck in survival mode for a long time emotionally and physically and I’m not a coach or counselor but you might be potentially projecting Old Wounds from the past onto your partner in the present because I bet a lot of you grew up in families that conditioned you to believe that if you made a mistake you failed or that having feelings and emotions made you weak when you slipped up and expressed a feeling or a hurt you were punished in some way weren’t you even if it was just psychological so it makes sense you’ve tried to stop feeling altogether or maybe you were conditioned to believe that if you don’t perform to a certain level then you aren’t seen as worthy of love in the end it’s all shame it it taught us to keep people at arm’s length don’t let them in because they will only hurt you so put your walls up keep your defenses up push them away when they try to get close so that you won’t ever get hurt again right and the problem is when those Old Wounds aren’t healed it still really hurts when people bump up against them years later doesn’t it our nervous system is always on high alert that’s why we have such a disproportionate reaction that’s why we can get so easily overwhelmed because that shame and anger is always just beneath the surface isn’t it and what’s really happening when we shut down is that we’re rebelling against that notion that we’re a failure we’re rising up against that shame and fighting it and it comes out in a fight flight or freeze response to our partner the only problem is we’re fighting old battles with new partners this isn’t their fight and we’re pushing them away because we’re making them the enemy of our past that’s why you hear constructive feedback as an attack on your character you hear complaints as criticisms we will hear our partner calling us a failure when that’s not what they said at all what they said was I can’t feel close to you when you do X or when you do I it hurts me and those are massively different so let’s stop making assumptions and creating false narratives that we’ve never actually expressed or verified and I know it sounds so silly when we say it out loud I mean we would never intentionally discourage our partner from telling us how they felt loved or that something we did hurt them we would never want to do anything that leads to distance and disconnection and yet that’s exactly what we’re doing unintentionally every time we dismiss defend criticize or Stonewall and I want you to really hear my heart on this if you haven’t been paying attention I need you to minimize ESPN or Amazon and come back because this is important the sad reality is for some of us we don’t have the capacity for their pain or hurt because we have so much of our own that we’re not even aware of so my challenge today is this acknowledge that shutting down hurts our partners acknowledge that it’s a coping mechanism to keep us safe from the past but it’s destructive in the present it’s leading us exactly where we don’t want to end up alone and abandoned so what’s the solution the solution is curiosity validation understanding and empathy the solution is radical self-reflection and self-compassion and accountability tell yourself it makes sense why I do this I can have empathy for myself but understand that this isn’t healthy and I’m not going to do this anymore I’m going to learn a new way to regulate my nervous system I’m going to learn what triggers it and what I can do to interrupt that cycle remember the goal isn’t to avoid conflict altogether the goal is to work through conflict in a healthy safe way and it’s possible the goal isn’t perfection it’s Direction towards emotional maturity I still make mistakes but I know how to apologize and repair and that has made all the difference in my relationship so what’s the healthy alternative to stonewalling well recognizing when we are emotionally dysregulated when we’re overwhelmed and triggered this isn’t a bad thing to admit it’s a very mature thing to admit and we should trust our partner enough that if they tell us that we seem triggered that we should stop and take a break the mature thing to do is say I’m noticing that my heart is racing my ears are getting hot my voice is getting louder I think I’m overwhelmed I understand that this is very important to you and your feelings still matter to me there’s no threat to our relationship ending but I need to take a break for 30 minutes and I promise to come back and finish this discussion now some people will tell you that you’re being immature by leaving those people are stupid okay because this is what maturity actually looks like this is what healing looks like trust me because I rebel against this all the time if Emily and I ever get into a fight I think now I got this and I usually say some stuff I wish I could take back continuing to fight when you’re dysregulated is not only dumb advice it’s dangerous you can leave conversations for mature reasons and immaturity this is a mature one it’s not weakness it s strength and when you leave a conversation go take some deep breaths try to ground yourself pay attention to any anxiety or fear that you’re having acknowledge it and instead of suppressing it just say it makes sense that I’m having these feelings they aren’t bad they’re signals and indicators of what’s happening in my body I accept them but they aren’t in control of me they don’t control my behavior and I refuse to react in a negative way because of them so what do I need in this moment to feel safe that’s love that’s loving yourself that’s loving and respecting your partner and it’s moving your relationship towards a healthier Direction where you both feel heard and understood and connected which is what the majority of us want trust me when I say you aren’t broken for dealing with this you aren’t flawed you don’t need to feel bad for needing help in this area we all are a work in progress learn to have some compassion on yourself and take the mask off Perfection that you think everyone needs you to wear it’s literally killing you and lastly talk about this stuff with your partner when things are calm initiate these types of talks be proactive talk about what happens plan for a conflict ahead of time go step by step for how you want to handle things okay when you feel disrespected or hurt what are you gonna do how are you going to bring it up how am I supposed to react in those situations go through the whole thing write it out and then follow your plan when it happens and trust me you’ll eventually get into a conflict where you need that piece of paper and when you’re in a conflict remember you’re on the same team be sure to look at each other in the eyes touch each other occasionally hold hands occasionally try to take breaks in the tension with tiny bits of humor or intentional breaks reminding each other you matter more than any conflict we have we can get through this together and trust me when I say when you are both learning how to be vulnerable with each other’s feelings and fears and insecurities when you’re both practicing mutual respect and trying to understand each other and valid and empathize with each other’s pain when you’re repentant of how you’ve shown up in the past and you’re actually trying to repair things in the present when you’re honest with each other about what you need to feel safe and valued and loved when we sacrifice for each other mutually the connection and closeness that’s possible in that environment is all the incentive that you would ever need to make that counseling appointment and work on this stuff and start healing each other you deserve that and so does your partner thank you so much for listening I’ll see you in the next one

Related Post