5 Types Of Stonewalling That Might Appear In Relationships

How To Deal With StoneWalling

2 min readFeb 3


Photo by Liza Summer

Stonewalling refers to the act of shutting down emotionally and becoming non-responsive in a conversation or situation. In relationships, some forms of stonewalling include:

i) Physical Withdrawal: This involves physically leaving the situation or avoiding interaction.

For example, the person might purposely do this to avoid any difficult communication.

ii) Emotional Withdrawal: This involves shutting down emotions and becoming unresponsive, non-communicative, or distant.

Usually, people who don’t know how to regulate their different kinds of emotions will most likely behave this way.

iii) Cognitive Withdrawal: This involves shutting down cognitive processes and refusing to think about or process information related to the situation.

For instance, a person might behave this way if he/she is overwhelmed by the situation or the interaction.

iv) Verbal Withdrawal: This involves avoiding or minimizing verbal communication and the expression of thoughts and feelings.

For example, narcissists often use the “silent treatment” tactic on their victims to gain control of them and the situation.

All of these stonewalling forms can harm relationships and lead to unhealthy relationship patterns.

Dealing with Stonewalling:

If someone is stonewalling you, meaning they are withdrawing from communication or avoiding discussing a topic, there are a few steps you can try to handle the situation:

i) Identify the reasons: Try to understand why the person is stonewalling you. Are they feeling overwhelmed or defensive?

ii) Take a break: If the situation is becoming heated, take a break and calm down before trying to continue the conversation.

iii) Communicate clearly: When you are ready to continue the conversation, make sure to communicate clearly and respectfully, avoiding accusations or blaming.

iv) Seek outside help: If the situation continues and you can’t find a resolution, consider seeking the…



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