Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction, shuts down, and simply stops responding to their partner. It often occurs later in the relationship when the partner who does this on the regular pre-decides they know exactly how the fight is going to go, so they stonewall to avoid.
Rather than confronting the issues with their partner, people who stonewall can make evasive maneuvers such as tuning out, turning away, acting busy, or engaging in obsessive or distracting behaviors.
Stonewalling during conflict leads to…
A decrease in the ability to process information (reduced hearing, reduced peripheral vision, problems with shifting attention away from a defensive posture).
An increase in defensiveness.
A reduction in the ability for creative problem-solving.
A reduction in the ability to listen and empathize.
It never leads to any kind of compromise or resolution. If you want to know what to do instead, I can help with that. Contact me at www.pagerutledge.com.
If you are experiencing anticipatory grief because a loved one's death is fairly imminent, you figuratively put on your mask by making sure your basic needs are met. Are you sleeping well? Eating well? Hydrating? Are you caring for your own physical and emotional health? Have you reached out for help?
And please know that once your person dies, you may feel much less sorrow than you are ”supposed” to feel. And that is perfectly okay. Whatever you feel is perfectly okay.
Contempt—the deadliest emotion for your relationship.
Contempt goes far beyond the first horseman, criticism. While criticism attacks your partner’s character, contempt assumes a position of moral superiority over them. It is a form of disrespect.
Contempt includes mocking, eye-rolling, sneering, name-calling, and hostile humor. In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to the relationship because it conveys disgust. It leads to more conflict rather than reconciliation.
Contempt, simply put, says, “I’m better than you. And you are lesser than me.”
The contemptuous person feels superior to their partner and openly expresses it in words and actions that leave their partner feeling despised and worthless.
If contempt is present in your relationship, ask yourself: is this the way you want to treat the person you love? — Gottman Institute
The work you do on your part in estrangement is the most important and the most difficult you may ever do.
You may have complaints about the person you love, but complaints are different from criticism. Complaints usually contain a feeling about a specific situation and an accompanying request. Criticism expresses negative feelings or opinions about another person’s personality or character. Criticism often contains words like “you always” or “you never.”
“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.”
– William James
If you want to see what this looks like, look no further than Rupert, ex-husband of Rebecca on Ted Lasso. Prime example of what to avoid.
If you’re curious, take the quiz.
A little Valentine prep for you that happens to apply to any relationship you value.