|Posted on February 10, 2019 at 11:45 PM|
What is it and do you do it ??
The second behavior that predicts divorce with over 90% accuracy, according to John Gottman's research and the experience of most couples' counselors, is stonewalling. Different from an occasional timeout to calm down or collect your thoughts, stonewalling is absolute refusal to consider your partner’s perspective. If you listen at all, you do it dismissively or contemptuously.
The common songs of the stonewaller are:
“Just leave me alone…”
“Do whatever you want...”
“End of conversation…”
“Get out of my face…”
“I’ve had it!”
The other divorce-predictive behaviors – criticism, defensiveness, and contempt - are gender neutral, i.e., men and women do them more or less equally.
Frustrating vs. Painful
The experience of being stonewalled tends to be different for men and women. Men who are stonewalled feel frustrated – their goal of resolution is blocked by the stonewalling. But the experience is downright painful for women who are stonewalled, as they are apt to feel isolated – a sense that no one cares about them. To understand the effects of stonewalling on most women, a man need only think of how bad humiliation feels. That’s how isolation feels to his partner, which is why she tries so hard to break through the stone wall.
Looks Different on the Outside
While stonewalling can look aggressive, mean, or childish from the outside, if feels very different on the inside. The defensive stonewaller feels like he’s trying to protect himself. He can also think that he’s protecting his family. Not only have I observed this countless times in my clients, I experienced it my personal life. Knowledge is power.