If you don’t know what that term implies, stonewalling or the “Silent Treatment” happens when you get in an argument with your partner and they intentionally choose to withdraw and ignore you.
According to psychologists, the silent treatment is a way to inflict pain without visible bruising, literally!
So, if you don’t face this kind of problem in your relationship, consider yourself lucky. If you do, here’s what you need to know.
Someone who stonewalls you avoids engaging in problem-solving or cooperating with you for days. They may just sit silently while you become more and more frantic and eager to be heard.
Or, they might dismiss everything you say and make you feel boring, unreasonable, or like you’re ‘making a big deal out of nothing’. While you try to address concerns, the person who is stonewalling acts like you are unimportant and have nothing of value to say to them.
Why do people do people use the silent treatment?
Simply because silence is a weapon. It can be used to punish, control, dis-empower, or run away from a person or problem.
A cooping mechanism of a sort. But, one that is unhealthy and toxic!
Psychologically speaking, people who tend to do it are either aware of the emotional abuse they are inflicting or never learned to express their feelings and have been subjects to the same treatment at a young age.
Needless to say now, if your partner stonewalls you on a regular basis, your relationship is in great danger. But, there’s always a way to try and change that!
To handle a “stonewaller” in a healthy and constructive way, consider the following tips.
Understand where the silence is coming from
Before taking any drastic action, you owe it to yourself to try. Try to dig deep into why the person might be hiding their feelings. Have a heartfelt conversation with your partner about how it makes you feel.
If you’re met with unappreciative behavior or lack of sympathy, know for sure you’re dealing with a toxic personality.
Don’t let the silent treatment get the better of you
Remember, the sole purpose of stonewalling is to get a certain reaction out of you. So for next time, make sure you don’t give them that!
For example, if you’ve done something to upset your boyfriend and he won’t return your calls for days, fight the urge to keep calling!
Instead, let him know you understand how he feels and when he’s ready to talk it out you will be there. This way, you’re showing him that silence won’t be used as a punishment with you.
Put your feet down and set boundaries
Should you choose to work on the issue, make sure you set some boundaries. Say “I don’t want to be with someone who treats me this way and hurts me intentionally. If this happens again, I’m afraid I’m going to end things!”
If he goes back to his old, passive-aggressive ways after you’ve made up, break it off and don’t look back. You deserve better.