student love tip: avoid stonewalling

This is a Student Love Tip by Courtney Zeloinka

Many people associate the silent treatment to their partner “holding a grudge,” shutting someone out, or just completely ignoring them. On one end, you may think that you're just remaining neutral, while your partner feels as if the relationship is becoming distant. This is known as stonewalling, which means that at least one of the relationship partners is remaining stony silent. If you begin to engage in silent treatment, you become nonresponsive in the relationship. You may believe that you are remaining neutral in order to avoid any creation of further conflict, but in reality, this tends to send a different message. Your partner may view the silence and non-responsiveness as having a negative impact on your relationship.

Many people do this in their relationships and do not even realize the impact is has on their partner. For example, I tend to ignore my boyfriend when I'm frustrated with him instead of responding back and saying something negative or hurtful. By being silent, I'm usually trying to avoid arguing or saying negative or hurtful things towards him that I would most likely not mean later. Basically, I am remaining “neutral” and not saying anything. Unfortunately, he's usually confused and frustrated because I'm not speaking to him or making any progress in the situation. This shows that the stonewalling can backfire. Instead of ignoring someone completely, take time to cool off and tell your partner that you need a moment alone before you wish to speak to him or her about the situation. Then, your partner will see that you're acknowledging him or her and are not blatantly ignoring him or her to the point of extreme frustration. At the same time, if your mate tries to reach out to you, don't shut him or her out completely and give your partner a chance before you dismiss him or her.

Here's is another great Student Love Tip about stonewalling (the author asked to remain anonymous).

I'm sure that many of you have experienced the silent treatment at some point in your relationship. Not surprisingly, repeated use of this act can lead to breaking up. The silent treatment is also known as stonewalling, which refers to at least one partner engaging in a habitual pattern of silence or emotional distance from the interaction and overall relationship. If you have ever seen the movie "The Break-Up" with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, you would see the act of stonewalling. There are many times where the couple is seen ignoring each other and not working out their problems. They emotionally distance themselves from each other and the problems that need to be discussed which eventually leads to the end of their relationship. In order to avoid stonewalling, it is important to discuss issues that arise in your relationship and make a conscious effort to replace your blank stares with the use of head nods, brief vocalizations such as “ok” and “yeah,” or other gestures to indicate that you are listening and have not withdrawn from the interaction.

Here's is another great Student Love Tip about stonewalling by Megan Weiss

In the beginning, relationships are fun, exciting, and usually trouble-free. Eventually, conflict and stress arises and relational maintenance becomes more important. One of the signs that your relationship is in danger is when stonewalling becomes habitual. Stonewalling is when one of the relationship partners starts habitually engaging in silence or emotionally distancing him or herself from interactions and/or the other relationship partner. The effects of actually being or just feeling ignored are extremely negative. Individuals who start stonewalling believe that they are being neutral by not responding negatively. Interestingly, research shows that males are more likely to stonewall than females. When males don’t respond to their female partner, her heart rate can drastically increase. On the other hand, research has revealed that when a female stonewalls her male partner, he doesn't experience negative responses. The reality is that when one of you frequently engages in stonewalling, your relationship may be in severe danger. A way to decrease stonewalling is to replace blank stares with back-channeling. This involves using head nods, words associated with listening (e.g. uh huh, okay, and yeah), and other gestures that show that you are listening and not withdrawn from the interaction. Of course, this will only help the relationship when both partners want to continue and are concerned with their relationship.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When a female stonewalls it DOES lead to negative responses in males.

Stonewalling often causes confusion and leads to frustration and emotional detachment regardless of gender. It is an effective way of letting one's partner know that s/he is not worth communicating with. An effective alternative is to ask for a reasonable amount of time to cool down and return to the conversation.

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