Stonewalling is a persistent refusal to communicate or to express emotions. It is common during conflicts, when people may stonewall in an attempt to avoid uncomfortable conversations or out of fear that engaging in an emotional discussion will result in a fight.
What Is Stonewalling?
Conflict, particularly in close relationships, can be overwhelming and may feel unbearable. When faced with a potential conflict, one partner may stonewall, or completely refuse to communicate. Stonewalling can include avoiding a discussion of one’s feelings, refusing to give nonverbal communication cues, walking out in the middle of a discussion without warning or explanation, or simply refusing to discuss the issue at hand. This tactic can be distressing when the other partner does wish to discuss an area of conflict, and the lack of communication might often cause extreme anger and frustration.
Stonewalling occurs on a continuum, and it can range from refusing to discuss a problem for a brief period of time to completely withdrawing for months. The stonewalling practice of leaving during a discussion differs from leaving a discussion for a brief period of time to calm down before returning: Such a cool-down period might be beneficial to a discussion, but in stonewalling, the point is not to continue talking later but to avoid doing so entirely.
Is Stonewalling Abuse?
Stonewalling is often born of frustration and fear, and when it is used alone, it may occur as the result of a desire to decrease tension in an emotionally overwhelming situation, or in an attempt to self-soothe. John Gottman, a marriage therapist who did extensive research on stonewalling in partnerships, found men often react to disagreements with more signs of physiological stress than women do, and thus, they have been shown to be more likely to stonewall than women, often in an attempt to remain neutral or avoid conflict.manipulative or controlling strategy. When stonewalling is deliberate, the partner who refuses to communicate is often drawing the situation out and preventing the other partner from seeking out other options to address the conflict or even end the relationship. People who are stonewalled by others may feel hopeless and experience a loss of control or self-esteem. Stonewalling is often a way to gain power over a partner while seemingly doing nothing, though it is often used in combination with threats and isolation.
The Effects of Stonewalling
Stonewalling can have disastrous effects on a relationship. Gottman, who reports that he can predict divorce with near-100% accuracy, calls stonewalling one of the “four horsemen” that indicate the likelihood of divorce. Because stonewalling inhibits a couple’s ability to resolve conflicts, it can cause petty disagreements to escalate out of control. When people experience stonewalling, they may react with desperation and say or do anything to get the stonewalling to stop. The extreme frustration that may be felt by the partner being stonewalled might also lead to a more serious conflict than the original issue may have warranted. Thus, it is not just stonewalling itself that causes problems, but also the reactions it can lead to.
Therapy for Stonewalling
In a partnership where one partner often resorts to stonewalling tactics, both partners may benefit from a revision of communication tactics. It may be helpful for both partners to understand why the stonewalling takes place, and a couples therapist may be able to assist with the exploration of this issue. Because a relationship where communication and cooperation are lacking is unlikely to be successful in the long term, couples therapy may help with the strengthening of communication in a partnership affected by stonewalling.
Stonewalling may be a defensive tactic learned in childhood, or it may be a result of difficulty expressing oneself emotionally. In either case, a therapist may be able to help with both examination and resolution of the issue, and in therapy, new tactics to express emotions and cope with conflict can be explored.
- Lisitsa, E. (2013, May 20). The four horsemen: Stonewalling. Retrieved from http://www.gottmanblog.com/four-horsemen/2014/10/30/the-four-horsemen-stonewalling?rq=stonewalling
- Lisitsa, E. (2014, March 12). Self care: Stonewalling part ii (the research). Retrieved from http://www.gottmanblog.com/archives/2014/10/31/self-care-stonewalling-part-ii-the-research?rq=stonewalling
- Research FAQs. (n.d.). Frequently asked questions about Dr. Gottman’s research. Retrieved from http://www.gottman.com/49853/Research-FAQs.html
- Samsel, M. (n.d.). Stonewalling in abuse. Retrieved from http://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/Behaviors/stonewalling.html
Last Updated: 07-18-2018
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Laurel LFebruary 4th, 2015 at 8:02 AM
In North Atlanta and in search of a great therapist recommendation for dealing with Stonewalling .
I call it 38 years of torture , not knowing that this particular behavior was a ” condition ” that can be treated . Now, having just found out , I am hoping for hope that my husband and I can live out our remaining years with some peace and understanding. He has consented to getting help .
Feeling continuously challenged and beaten !
KdJuly 17th, 2016 at 10:31 PM
Thanks for this information. It’s very informative and explanatory as to how small things can become so large, and how intense frustration can lead to secondary issues. This is a huge issue in my marriage, the lack of power I feel from stonewalling will, like the article says, have me doing anything to stop the stonewalling, even when it means making the situation worse. It does feel like a lose lose, not to mention, like Mike D- feeling as if my feelings are not at all considered or empathized with. It’s highly distressful and does effect my self esteem.
TMMAugust 3rd, 2017 at 8:12 PM
Run away! I am glad to find out there’s a definition for this behavior. I labeled him as emotionally retarded. I have been in physically and mentally abusive relationships in my past but being in love with someone that’s emotionally abusive is the worst. You have to break free to heal and know that you can’t change anybody that doesn’t want to change. You’re throwing punches in the air. Walk away with what dignity you have left and do not look back! That’s what I have done and I am crying inside but he will never have the privilege to see my tears.
Cedric C.August 19th, 2017 at 5:05 PM
I need help
The GoodTherapy.org TeamAugust 19th, 2017 at 7:02 PM
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BeyondhopeOctober 27th, 2017 at 10:20 PM
I sympathise with all victims of stonewalling. I have endured 26 years of it and being old school have stuck with him as he has some excellent qualities, has been a good provider and all those things essential in a relationship. He is good with the macro, hopeless with the micro. When I say something he doesn’t like he goes into a silence which makes me want to scream. It can go on for ages, hours or days. When this used to happen I would generally be the ice breaker but can no longer be bothered to make the effort, which is corrosive. The other day I threw my breakfast at him just to get a reaction.
LucindaMay 6th, 2017 at 9:12 PM
My heart goes out to all who are in this most horrible state. I just found out there is a name for this behavior, 15 minutes ago. I have been going through a great deal of pain from different circumstances and , this time, I really thought he would listen and care but while talking to him I met the same behaviors I did not even know had a name; Stonewalling. I believe he is truly a master of this Stonewalling. Because he refuses to do anything other than this technique, I will have two choices: spend another 20 years with someone who does not care, or build myself esteem up, do all necessary things to break free and leave. Yes, I will be leaving. Now that I know there is a name for this behavior, it will help me to stop expecting any support from him. I know it sounds easier than it will actually be but I deserve respect, kindness, empathy, sympathy, thoughtfulness, love, kindness, and all of the what I perceive as the respect that goes into a healthy, loving relationship. My heart is broken. Period. I deserve better, far better than what I have settled for. My wishes for all of you are the same as I want for myself. I wish you the very best and good luck!
TracyMay 9th, 2017 at 7:40 AM
I can totally relate to what you have said, I too have been in a relationship with a man who deflects and stonewalls me period, it leaves me feeling totally down right miserable no it leaves me broken.
I am glad there is a name for this behavior as I thought I was going crazy……. I think I’m going crazy.
I just wanted to say me reading your words, are the words I wanted to describe but couldn’t, as it just didn’t seem to make sense to me, I couldn’t describe how I was feeling …but I’m so relieved to know you’ve said it for me, I still feel shit yes, I’m feeling totally used and conned.
But I’m so glad I finally understand that this man who says he loves me, is so self absorbed he couldn’t love me…… He doesn’t see there’s a problem it’s all me……
I know it’s not me, it’s him total arsehole.
I deserve better and I’m scared too of letting go ….but first things first Ive realised its called deflecting and stonewalling. Its not me it’s him.
Thank you for allowing me to vent on your page.
I’ve appreciated it greatly
Heather HMay 26th, 2017 at 8:38 AM
I agree with Tracy and Lucinda. I’ve been in a stonewalling relationship for over 20 years. The last 9 years became a bit better after therapy, but more and more I see my partner reverting back to his old ways of stonewalling. He’ll even threaten me with – this is why I don’t communicate before he begins this behavior again. Yes, the common theme is a petty argument that spawns out of control. As Tracy mention “He doesn’t see there’s a problem it’s all me……” I’m more frustrated today than every – as I trusted that therapy would help him, yet – he’s choosing to not use the skills that he is suppose to use. Before he exhibited this stonewalling behavior we got into a petty argument – that went into him digging up things from 10 and 15 years ago…and asking me to own those things. I refuses to walk in the past with him. I told him that he cannot move forward with me, if he continues to do this.
Mindy AMay 31st, 2017 at 11:34 AM
Hi Lucinda , it’s unfortunate that we have so much in common.. I been with my husband 17 yrs and I never knew this word “stonewalling” . My husband has NEVER not one time ever talked about Or worked through a argument or a disagreement with me. He is emotionally,mentally and at times physically abusive … Everything must be his way and he must have control at all times.. I could write for 20 hours and still not get everything I have been through out… I have 4 children and I’m trying so hard to keep my marriage together for them .. but as the days , weeks , months and years go by I can feel myself losing a little more and a little more of who I am.. I suffer from depression and anxiety. My husband is just impossible… I have to find a way to get enough strength and energy to stand on my OWN 2 feet again… You are 100% right you do deserve to be treated with respect, kindness , compassion and feel cared about… I WISH YOU NOTHING BUT THE VERY BEST… GOOD LUCK ..
Jill T.June 1st, 2017 at 2:07 PM
I have been in a relationship with a very wonderful man for 2 1/2 years now. I have noticed here lately anytime I want to discuss anything that’s bothering me, usually about his past, he gets fidgety make faces like he’s being tortured, says things under his breath does anything to get out from hearing what I have to say, I find it very rude and almost a uncaring attitude. The weird thing is will be getting along great ,and when we are getting along great, I feel closer to him like that’s when I have my opportunity to talk to him about something but it always back fires on me I end up apologizing feeling bad for bringing anything up, he almost makes me feel like he’s ready to break up with me just for wanting to have a conversation . Today I tried to talk to him about his issues with his ex-wife which are very painful to me and he ended up telling me that he would rather be dead than argue, I was being very sweet and my conversation a little emotional, did not raise my voice or curse just wanted to talk to him, I ended up feeling like the bad guy instead of the victim. I told him since he hated to discuss anything which is what we do when we do it, it’s a discussion he thinks it’s an argument, I told him I would just start talking to someone else. The thing these men do not realize is when we feel like we are all alone emotionally and cannot have a voice that’s when women do stupid things where they cheat or not, and I despise a cheater, I don’t want to feel like that will be an option one day, just because he hates hearing anything except for the weather, politics ,sports etc. which we have great conversation with everything else, I’m at a loss because I truly love this man and feel like he is my soulmate, I have been in love only one other time and I was a young teenager, I am 53 and I just found love again, my personality I am very expressive and I like to talk things out so it’s like I’m having to let a part of my soul die because he is selfish or whatever he is being. He also has commitment issues due to a ex wife that cheated three times that he knows of. I can’t imagine going the rest of my life without a voice. He says I start something every two weeks, which is bullshit! I guess it’s nice to put ones head in the sand and not want to hear anything but rock and roll, I am not nagging or anything close, but I am an adult that likes to let my significant other know what’s going on in my head and in my heart.
JoJune 28th, 2017 at 11:36 AM
I completely know how everyone feels. I’m giving a relationship a second go with my ex. I thought he had changed but he is still doing this. It is so frustrating and hurtful and like everyone is saying in this forum
Shows no respect for how I feel. I am wondering whether I have done the right thing giving him another go. It might be better to cut my loses and move on rather than be ignored. He lives 2 hours away from me which is hard enough but to then have to deal with someone who can resolve conflict is exhausting. Luck luck to all those ladies dealing with this issue. Have enough respect for yourself to know you deserve better and not everyone will treat you like this.
LaurenJuly 12th, 2017 at 10:35 AM
Good for you. I would leave too. I never understood this definition before. Goodness! I’m not alone in experiencing a spouse like this! It’s hard as we are pregnant and all my spouse does is lie and I suspect the same he is lying to his therapist too as today I was blamed for a lot of issues. I want to leave him as a spouse. I love him as a friend, as a partner, no. My child. I don’t want her in a broken home. I just couldn’t. Maybe in 20 years I can actually get freedom.
NDAugust 1st, 2017 at 10:51 AM
My partner went to work away for 16 weeks and decided to stay without discussing it with me. He went to USA, so it wasn’t a train ride away…. so his tactic was to stonewall me for almost 4 months as he was frightened to tell me what was going on. He stonewalls with small things … anything confrontational that needs to be addressed.. done it with his ex and made out she was nuts but he drove her totally insane by the looks of it…
Stonewalling ..it has brutally broken me. I have sat in agony for months wondering what I have done wrong… comes home for a little holiday and turns up full of apologies.. goes back and does the exact same thing over another issue.. won’t take my calls and rarely responds to my messages..
It’s only now that I know this is an actual thing… and a form of control and abuse…
small things get turned into giant mountains as he is such a coward and won’t talk. He used it to control me so I couldn’t take any action in the relationship…but he uses it almost daily with everyone in his life. He is a selfish person and is emotionally detached completely….. but they are clever you see… they like control…
found the strength to walk away now.. but hurting terribly and feel so low..
I love him so much but I cannot allow my daughter to be brought up witnessing this behaviour and thinking it’s accepatable to be treated this way. It has made me feel worthless and absolute hopelessness and I wouldn’t wish this abuse on anyone as it’s crippling.
My heart goes out to everyone that has been subjected to this abuse.
Save yourself whilst you can as there are people out there who are kind and gentle and You all deserve better.
No one deserves this kind of abuse. And real love wouldn’t allow another person to go to bed at night in pain… these people know what they are doing..
Good luck to everyone..
JuneAugust 22nd, 2017 at 2:19 PM
Totally empathise. For nearly 38 years I dare not challenge him, try to discuss anything he doesn’t want to, say or do something he doesn’t like. I get the silent treatment. Totally. Walks passed me indoors and doesn’t even acknowledge I’m in the room. In 1993 this went on for 9 months after I upset him over something minor. I am now into my 2nd week of not being spoken to after daring to ask him about something I discovered which could have serious implications for me. It’s been turned around to make me feel dreadful/in the wrong for checking up on something in the first place. It needed addressing but I get those familiar sinking feelings knowing that if I do have to discuss things, albeit calmly, I will be met with complete silence and being ignored for weeks as “punishment”. To put a name to this has actually helped define it. Enough. I deserve so much better.
BeyondhopeOctober 27th, 2017 at 10:23 PM
Lucinda, you are indeed a very brave lady, I wish you all the best for the future and that you will find happiness
SecretDecember 20th, 2017 at 6:01 AM
Hi all, I have exactly the same story as you Lucinda and laurel I have been with my husband for 39years and this has been going on for just as long and I begged and cried for him to talk to me as he can go for months and months just acting as no5hing is wrong emotionally detached, his father was the same with his mother and he treated her terribly. I have now started mirroring him his actions as I have fallen out of love with this man years ago but stayed as I have no family or anywhere to go. I have now had enough of the stonewalling and I am developing courage to leave, cause if I don’t I will be so miserable with what remaining years I have left, and I want to travel overseas and he doesn’t. I came into some money and as it was something not budgeted for, I offered to take him overseas but he wanted me to keep the money till retirement, with the life I have had with him, my health is not too good and I said I wanted to travel now while I can and not leave it to the kids, he said I was selfish as I didn’t want to leave it to him, as I wanted to spend it before I die…I want to be free to be myself as I have to watch everything I say as he throws it back at me when he does talk. I told him I didn’t want sex all the time, so now it is my fault we don’t have any at all, no physical contact only a peck good bye in the morning and a peck good night as I said something many years ago when he stonewalled me he didn’t kiss me at all, so now I get the pecks
I don’t want to become like him so I need to get out now, as I am very unhappy.
chrisMarch 3rd, 2018 at 2:55 PM
Wow. I too didnt know his behavior had a name. he wont leave. I have offerred him the pickup and trailer as a jump off bonus. Yes i make all the money and the house is mine. I imagine if he left then i know he would still be at the house because he has nothing to get started. We have all we need. nice life. But he is an abject jerk who freaks out and will scream at me before he will discuss mundane matters like which widget to buy. His response is completely emotional. I know his dad was mentally and physically abusive and also apparently taught him that it is his duty to refuse to sit down and discuss. the silent treatment.. haha i wish. What i get is a screaming tantrum. My dream life is to be anywhere and to have a good girlfriend nearby or even live with. No desire to try marriage again but first it seems impossible to get out. If i left… i just cant picture him standing by watching that and i cant picture him getting out because we r in his hometown with his best bud. Hate this. I ask Jesus for help and know that i am in the wrong because i cant hear Jesus’ response.
DeborahAugust 11th, 2018 at 11:17 AM
I’ve been married for 25 years and totally agree with what you have said. I have been in a sexless marriage for many years and have wondered if porn caused this behavior. On a daily basis: My husband is just there, nothing beyond that. He cut off the sex years ago. I don’t know what is wrong with him. Some people have sex forever. I may be older but never thought it would be like this. The stonewalling happens 24/7. I can’t talk about anything political and he views everything I say as political. I don’t know who he is as a person at all. He told me some lies in the beginning before I married him. I specifically had asked him if he believed in God and he told me yes. However a few years later, his sister mentioned he was an atheist. He should have been truthful. Now, I don’t care to ever have sex with him or do anything such as vacation with him. I am waiting for when I decide to divorce or die. He lives in one end of the house and I live in the other. I don’t know who I’m married to.
Antonio C O.May 14th, 2019 at 12:25 PM
Hey I go thrught the same thing. once were talking i tell her. That when she doesnt feel like me talking to let me know . because we have 3 children that need attention. Her stonewalling even almost goes to the children., I see it as a form of being possesed by a demon entity. Not the Person you fell in love with . Thats for sure.
WendyJuly 19th, 2017 at 6:33 AM
It is torture and I have been dealing with it since our first conflict or disagreement. I feel so enraged when he does it now I cant even think straight. I feel as if I am being emotionally abused. Last night we were going to discuss an issue…we agreed upon it and I was kind of hopeful that meant he was learning something in therapy. We talked for about 5 mins and I saw him start to slump in his chair, look away and became totally unresponsive. Next thing I know he gets up and walks out of the room. This happens so frequently I feel like I could throttle him. I told him either he can sit and talk like an adult or he could leave….so he left. Sad part of this whole dialogue is I didn’t care. I was glad, relieved and probably grateful in a way. I now know the answer to a question that plagues me “Can I live like this?” We had just come off a 6 day stonewalling over absolutely nothing and here we are….again? Nope! Whether I feel afraid, like a failure etc…there are no more chances. This is unfair and manipulative on his part and we have discussed it so many times after a “punishment” period of anywhere from 3-7 days of ignoring me for usually NOTHING that I have finally decided it is over.
SusanJuly 22nd, 2017 at 9:03 PM
Glad to know that I’m not just nuts….that there is a name for this reaction, or lack of reaction. My husband refuses to discuss anything. And he hides things from me, like important mail……..so I won’t see what is really going on. And he lies. One of the last big ones was when he quit working. When I found out on Linked In that he had not been with his employer for 6 months, his only response was that he didn’t want to upset anything before our daughter’s wedding. My daughter just celebrated her 5th anniversary. He never did go back to work. Figured that he was collecting a small pension and that was good enough. The latest lie and then stonewalling has to do with our house. It is in foreclosure, but he has lied about it for months. He has ruined my credit rating, getting us booted out of our house, I cannot afford to retire (had hoped this would be the last year I would have to work full time–I will be 67 in January), and he refuses to talk about any of it. He has talked with our daughter, not our sons. But I am the idiot who has let this go on for over 40 years. Scary to have to start over at this point in life, but it is that or just keep being lied to and Stonewalled.
AlAugust 8th, 2017 at 7:54 AM
Omg..😱I’ve been mentally going insane with what my partner NOW SHALL BE EX through myself realising there is a name for his horrbble evil mental and emotional abuse. Stonewalling and not me as I always get the blame for his behaviour. He is sick in the head always playing mind games name-calling me a crank bringing my ex up saying revolting things to me. Then he goes home for a week comes back knocking at mine as. If nothings happened, I then have to question his behaviour then he says I done or said something wrong for him to leave. He refuses to have sex with me yet I caught him watching porn and playing with himself 😷😱 it made me feel so regected ugly etc, but I feel stronger now knowing there’s other women going through this stonewalling trauma, we are not losing the plot we are not going insane, I have now realised what this sick sly rat has been putting me through hell and back. I’m a beautiful woman inside and out of started to neglect myself you no hair beauty home dresswise always in pyjamas looking vulnerable. Well now ladies the vintage are coming out his rags are going in them😃 giving him the lot no explaining only to say to him when you get home read up in your dictionary about STONEWALLING THERES YOUR ANSWER TO YOU GETTING ALL YOUR RAGS BACK GOODBYE 😃🙌CANT THANKYOU GIRLS FOR THE COMMENT IVE READ YOUVE HELPED ME SO MUCH 👌💗HES A NARCASIST TOO LETS SEE HOW HIS LIFE IS NOW WITHOUT ME 🙌😃 IM A TRUE BELEIVER IN KARMA 👌STAY STRONG LADIES 💗💗💗💗
BeyondhopeOctober 27th, 2017 at 10:25 PM
Dear Wendy, I feel for you too, it is cruel and heartless, and can leave us feeling so lonely
JackieJuly 11th, 2018 at 9:20 AM
I experience the same thing. I have only been married for a year and 4 months. My husband was at first charming, caring, loving, well all of those good things, but now the mask is off. There were signs before we got married, but I ignored them. He use to not answer my calls or text for days. I didn’t realize what was happening because I was blinded. Now to date he stonewalls for no reason at all. He shut down on my for a month in May, June for 12 days and now in July so far 6 days. He get to the point he doesn’t come home. He doesn’t call me or txt me, neither does he answer my calls or text. He was home yesterday and I asked how was his day? No reply. I tried to talk to him for hours yesterday, but he completely ignored me. Finally he took a shower and left and did not return home. I want to talk to his family to find out what happened as a child, but he has turned them against me. This is so depressing. I uprooted my life to come be with him. I have no family here. I pray for him everyday and for our marriage. He is sick and need help. Sometimes I ask myself if I need help because I continue to stay in this toxic marriage. I know that I deserve better, we all do. I know that I can have a great life without him, but the crazy part about it…I still love him. He’s threatened me with divorce several times. Now he get to the point of not caring if I am okay, if I ate, if I need something, if my car is in good condition, things like that he doesn’t care about. I also learned via research that he may be a Narcissist. He has several of the traits. The mask came off early. Now I am in limbo. I know what to do, but I don’t want to do it at the moment. Is that being selfish?
DeborahAugust 11th, 2018 at 11:25 AM
My husband acts the same way. I may be leaving too at some time in the future. I don’t feel a part of a marriage anymore. We just bought a house last year which I love so this is what keeps me here. I did give my the opportunity to split everything up before we bought the house. I’ve just never felt so alone. Separate bedrooms, no sex, not supposed to wear shorts (I am older and don’t look good in them 65) and no conversation whatsoever. If a person is younger and husband is doing this get out now!
PinkyJuly 23rd, 2017 at 2:01 PM
Get out of the relationship. It’s really too late to change that much at this stage. Leave and go be happy.
MarieFebruary 4th, 2018 at 2:14 PM
Yeah, I have been married to a stone waller for ten years. We are approching divorce. He uses as a form.of punishment. I am really drained from this tactic or emotional disconnect. I think the longest he has stoned walled me has bee 6 months. We are separated currently. When we lived together he would do it two months tops at a time depending on our hang up. He used this behavior with his mom once that I was told by him and she begged for his forgiveness and his sister acted as the liazon third party to help them make up. When he expressed this even it was as if he gained power from it. He is also a cheater and I believe when ever he discards one hes back looking my direction
I am sick of the games and the guilt. I used to feel that he didnt know better but after being with him so long or lack there of I realize he knows exactly what hes doing. When tension builds up in the marriage I normslly the one who wants to talk it out. He becomes very distant and you can cut the unresolved tension with a knife. These times normally turns into him totally ignoring me and him leaving the house alot. Which of course weakens the chances of manogomy. I hate it. I have been married to this man for ten years and we have only shared three of them together. I am suffering and want peace and healing. Thankyou.
Martha L.June 18th, 2018 at 4:05 PM
I am a 69 y.o. Latin lady. Married for 40 years, most of my life stonewall and I certainly am blame of this condition by my husband. No problem for him, he is married to books and thinks that marriage is only to have children. We have three around the thirties. Two grandchildren. Nothing helps
AndrewJune 18th, 2019 at 9:12 AM
Yes I do think it is a condition that a therapist can fix only if the husband wants to fix it. All I can say to woman is if your going to leave probably do so by moving out first without breaking the relationship otherwise it will lead to a further punishment or being cut off and never spoken to EVER again. Most stonewallers won’t try fix it until it’s to late you may be better off to move out first with out fully burning the bridge and allowing him time to realise he or the situation has gone to far and if he loves you he will try and fix it and if you get help and follow his lead it can probably be resolved permantly. Remember once broken things will never be the same and if a stonewaller is hurt he will return the hurt and when he wins you back if you break up with him he will then be so angry about all the fus then he will cut you off to give you a taste of your own medicine. It’s a tit for tat game of treat people how you wanna be treated. I know this because I’ve discovered I’m a habitual stonewaller I cut off all 3 woman that cause offical break ups or infedalities I won’t speak to them ever again not in this life or in the next one. If your situation is so deteriorated or he has had a mental collapse from the sudden shock of abandonment but is willing to try fix it you may want to take this as a last but probably best chance to turn it all around and get professional help. Us stonewallers are not the best at being able to talk about our feelings when hurt so a therapist is best there is a chance that every single thing your p***** off about he specifically did on purpose but is to scared to admit it to you incase you think he is an A-hole but in his own head Knows EXACTLY what why when and how he did it to create a form of abuse to you as punishment, most common is that you have done something that hurts him like sexual rejection or put a wall up to him so he finds a way to do it back to you and because you won’t change and have an excuse like most woman do for everything to him then he mimickes the same outcome he feels straight back at you but it will be in an are like your next holiday or something that will make you happy he will sabatage and you wouldn’t think it’s because you did something to him you just think he is abusive but he just mimiks you how you think your not in the wrong either and you won’t change so why should he.
Us Stonewallers are actually very intelligent and do have it figured out but don’t let you know that we know it’s part of our justification of quietly getting even. Problem is is that it gets out of control and men like this are a one-ups-man you probably don’t think that the holiday plan just got blocked at the last minute because you didn’t feel like sex when he tried two months ago so now it’s your turn to get some retribution and feel the same way like not important enough. It’s not that we do the exact same thing back like reject you when you want it we find something else that’s not related and then relate it and say I don’t feel like that holiday anymore I’m busy and then coldly dismiss. This is part of our game and to be honest it doesn’t make us happy that’s why the stonewalling goes on and off because one punishment has been served then we may justify the outcome and become neutral again. Chance are this is all happening because he really loves you and his emotions are hurt somewhere deep down thus is a scar or early childhood trauma. It is interesting how we create the same level of hurt or rejection you make us feel and find a completely different area that you wouldn’t expect to apply that to this is why we don’t let you know how we feel because we have probably tried many times and get the same treatment so we then go covert so you won’t know what why or how we are going to make you pay for what you have done to us. It’s pretty pathetic and we know it is and that’s also why we don’t want to admit it because it makes us look abusive on purpose and woman believe in this double standards thing so we simply just covertly level out the playing field through actions with no words and do it covertly and through the form of silance thing is most woman are to stupid to know what’s going on that he is completely aware of the impact it is having but ignorant to the extent of it. That’s why woman just pack up and leave because they can’t win or in out case refuse to see that there is some serious things they need to change in order for use to stop or b*******. This is most likely caused from a non existent sex life and he is hurting inside but doesn’t want to show how desperate he really is and how much he actually wants you because the moment he try’s and opens up he just gets slammed back down again so it can become this Eb and flow and push and pull and it is actually toxic but why talk to a woman about it all you’ll never win, a woman is always right and it is how she thinks it is and she will normally be clear about it so as we do what we do round two of levelling out the playing field with more covert sexually frustrated bullshit. Hope that helps some lady’s understand why we won’t speak about it. You normally won’t win In the long run just like how we don’t win when your always right so tit for tat it goes.
May 5th, 2015 at
Hi Laurel, thank you for your comment.
You can search for a therapist near your ZIP code or city by visiting: https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
You can also call GoodTherapy.org’s support team for help finding a therapist by dialing 888-563-2112 ext. 1 during our business hours.
The GoodTherapy.org Team
SethJune 5th, 2017 at 2:56 AM
Thank you. I’ve just discovered that this is what I’m experiencing. And it’s torture. I’m a male and my wife has been almost identically creating this environment and behavior so consistently. I sit in a ball and can’t even speak anymore… I’m so happy to have found this site.
Mike DOctober 11th, 2015 at 12:06 PM
Most men are aware of the stonewalling but do not know that it is so damaging to the relationship. My ex-wife and I divorced over so many issues that I realize I was stonewalling her and her crazy behavior was because of how angry I was making her from lack of caring about her feelings.
Its a shame because had we worked it out over the years, we would definitely be together.
vikkiFebruary 17th, 2018 at 8:28 AM
Good for you for realizing this. However, maybe your wife is the person you should be telling. Only tell her if you know you can do better.
AndrewJune 18th, 2019 at 7:48 AM
I did this to my ex girlfriend who I loved with all my heart and it pushed her to breaking point she suddenly just walked out when she couldn’t take it anymore and although I chased her she wouldn’t officially take me back so I got pissed off that she made her self sexually available to other men by being single and I begged her to at least get back together in the form of faithfulness and she wouldn’t take me back officially but would turn up once a week for months trying to talk about the relationship and I didn’t really give a f*** about the relationship if she wasn’t going to be faithful to it because I’d simply just cut her off forever if a third party got involved. What’s the point of trying to fix something when by being single causes the effect of fear to come back from previous exes that cheated on me or started sleeping around the day you break up and I needed to know that she wasn’t going to be seeing other men in order to work it out with her. Stonewalling comes from fear and for me adultery the scares of the past deep cuts. I knew with in my self that if she continued this behaviour I had no other choice but to permantly cut her off and never speak a word to her ever again. I simply won’t be able to deal with another break up **** other people get back together relationship. The fear of this happening again over whelmed me so I needed to know that step one to save the relationship was to not destroy it and step 2 was to then work it out but she wouldn’t agree to step 1 she refused to be official until I addressed What appeared to be abusive but I kind of refused to address her punishment if she won’t even be faithful. I knew decisively what I had done with precision to use stonewalling as a form of abuse or punishment which created the break up so it wasn’t like I didn’t know how to fix it I could easily stop if I wanted which was what I wanted to do I just couldn’t allow her to reject me with sex because she took it away from me so I then removed all forms of intermecy until she was willing to give then I would give it was a standoff. Woman use sex as power to punish men so men use stonewalling to return the rejection back to them with precision , find out what she likes and needs the most then remove it from her and then make excuses like she does about not putting out and just dismiss her back and go watch some porn. Unfortunately she never knew why I did what I did It all pushed us to far and her rebellion against my male authority pushed me to the edge where I had to draw a line in the sand that if she kept being single and didn’t want me in that way then I had no other choice but to CUT her off.
So I did and she tried repetitively to re contact me but when a man lays down the Law and decides he won’t be abused by sexual rejection or female infidelity any longer then then CHOP OFF and stonewall the ***** for eternity I never once spoke to her again just blocked every single attempt because she didn’t cooperate and didn’t believe I said what I meant when I meant what I said. It’s been seven years I’ve been single I’m not interested in other woman I’m in love with her but I just couldn’t go though the mental scares of the past of not being good enough so I had to block it all out. Still to this day I’ll cut off my nose to spite my face
DeboraMarch 5th, 2016 at 6:34 AM
Stonewalling is definitely my husbands way of showing he’s in control. My concerns or my feelings are of no interest to him.
CassApril 17th, 2016 at 11:04 AM
Men stonewall women to gain control over them, and because the stonewalling partner is the one who has done something wrong- he is silent because he has something to hide, whereas the other partner is forced to become inquisitive because they are the one someting is being hidden from.
Since men are more likely to be nasty and abusive than women, naturally most stonewallers are men.
The reason the stonewaller doesn’t like talking is not because they dislike talking per se, but because talking and revealing information will force their guilt to come out in the open. The victim in this case doesn’t talk because she likes talking, but because it is the only way to get the information.
I repeat- stonewalling is an ABUSIVE tactic that abusers (mostly men) do towards women in order to prevent dialog about (and therefore discovery of) their bad intentions and behaviors.
Furthermore, it is OBVIOUS that stonewalling hurts, and it is obvious why it hurts, and being male doesn’t make it any less obvious. ESPECIALLY after women complain every time it happens. If someone is complaining when something happens, obviously they dislike the thing. Men know perfectly well how hurtful they are to women, but they pretend not to because they want to get away with it and act like they didn’t realize how much pain they were causing.
Please read Lundy Bancroft as he will set you straight on this issue.
RobbyJune 21st, 2016 at 7:29 AM
Stop generalising and trying to make one gender look like the abuser and other like the victim by repeating the same message over and over.
ALJuly 1st, 2016 at 2:00 PM
Robby is right. I’m feel more Sorry for Cass so I’m sorry you were so hurt in your situation. Not all men are like this. I do like what you have written but its best used without so much hatred towards men. It would probably happen to your again if you were with a woman.
JaneNovember 3rd, 2016 at 4:50 PM
Each of the individuals that I know who have practiced stonewalling are female. The individuals represent multiple generations. So it is possible that for the younger group, it is learned behavior. The motivations for the primary abusers appears to have been greed. The underlying motivation is unknown since those individuals refuse communication ongoing now for almost two decades. Their issue may be resentment although the grievance is imagined since their ancestors treated them as fairly as others. Getting to the root is probably futile, however would begin to answer many questions.
RodgerJune 5th, 2017 at 1:29 PM
well spoken Al ,you speak the truth .
RonDecember 7th, 2016 at 9:40 PM
It does go both ways. I literally had my relationship go from good, to distant, to completely stonewalled overnight after she said “Goodnight babe, text u tomorrow” on the phone. No fights, nothing. And then she was gone after a year. Who does that? A sociopath, that’s who. She is not a good person.
DavidJuly 30th, 2018 at 10:22 AM
I am sitting where most of you are, wife left a month ago and will not talk, type, text, write, nothing. She told her Sister she didn’t know why she left, what she is going to do, or what it would take to reunite. She says she is not angry but I don’t buy it. How long shall I put up with this? I lover her but she is toxic
PattiMay 1st, 2017 at 7:23 PM
Cass is spot on! I couldn’t say it better. It has ruined my marraige. He refuses to talk, he refuses to go to counseling, and he refuses to accountable for his infidelity. He feels he doesn’t have to be accountable for anything he does. He is so manipulative and refuses to change so this marraige is over sad to say. I really hoped we could go to counseling and get help. Obviously I am not that important. So I chose happiness.
VeeJanuary 11th, 2018 at 6:37 PM
I had similar experience. 32 yrs of marriage . Refused to go to counselling, infidelity and nor remorse. I moved out and hoping I can find happiness again. We deserve more respect.
JMPJuly 25th, 2016 at 2:58 PM
This is indeed the worst form of Emotional Abuse. I do not know what form of rise that they feel doing this. I know quiet people such as Introverts need quiet to recharge. If they continue to be quiet then, they are rude. It is a very immature attitude. Children practice this when they don’t get their way. I have dealt with it for many years. Some just except it. I also know it is a very dangerous attitude when it comes to Disrespect. People better start thinking of the way they conduct their lives. It says No one I mean no one has the right to disrespect anyone. From a murderer to a Grandmother. Everyone is to be treated equally. The people who do this might not answer for it in this life but, I promise they will in the next life. Keep the bottom thought in mind.
ReneJuly 26th, 2016 at 7:41 PM
AndreaAugust 12th, 2016 at 4:21 PM
My partner has stonewalled me for as long as I can remember, it used to drive me insane, literally insane, back when I had some spirit left inside me, I would rally against it, I would react quite aggressively because I was so frustrated and incensed that my views just didn’t seem valid.
It’s now been almost 26 years and I’ve gone from being an outgoing popular person to a recluse, it didn’t happen suddenly, buts of you get chipped away like a sculpture in reverse until there’s nothing left, his family members, especially his mother, have done things I consider to be unforgivable. They have played mind games and used our son to hurt me
( Refusing to acknowledge his existence, excluding him from family events etc, he’s in his 20s now and I’m ashamed of myself for being so weak, his father doesn’t seem able to defend either of us even though he’s a big man, he is his father too, people have assumed he wasn’t for some reason)
I feel mentally bound and gagged, the lack of vindication, validation and resolution has taken its toll on me. For the first 15 years I despised myself as I convinced I was the perpetrator, the abuser, as he and his family implied, honestly I’m not a weak minded fool even though I sound like one, I know how pathetic I seem. I’ve often wondered why I’ve stayed in this situation but he works away a lot and he’s so very very nice on the phone to me, it always lulls me back into a false sense of security, or my empathy traps me into feeling sorry for him; until recently, when he stated that I’d alienated him from his friends and family, I’ve not been able to get past that comment as I know it’s the biggest lie ever. He’s very good at what he does, whether it’s purposely or unconsciously I just don’t know, nor do I care to know anymore, he’s charming in public so nobody would believe me if I tried to tell anybody, he changes history to a point where I question my own mind, tells me I’m too sensitive and paranoid when I know for sure I’m really not.
But it’s the stonewalling; it’s probably the worst thing, the sense of abandonment and isolation is unbearable and it sets my cataplexy off, plus, it’s so predictable I’ve started just keeping my mouth shut like a step ford wife. I feel no pleasure, no excitement, nothing, I’m completely numb. I brought our son up alone most of the time, he chose to work away and the one time he took a job near to home it was unbearable, he blamed me for it even though I didn’t ask him to do it, it was like living with a Sgt. Major. I would panic when he walked through the door.
Stonewalling is abuse, there’s no doubt about that and it’s usually combined with gaslighting among other forms of psychological torture.
I’m actually mortified at how damn pathetic I sound.
JulieAugust 26th, 2016 at 1:20 PM
Andrea, I feel your pain I’m in a marriage of of 16 years and this has been happening to me for 10 years I read articles on how to cope with someone who stone walls they say leave go somewhere until you can talk well my husband can hold his grudge with me for 5-7 weeks one time a whole year. It has made me insane. I have two kids and being a stay at home mom I have unfortunately come to depend on him and have no where to go. Have you found any solutions or coping skills to deal with a stonewall person? Other than divorce?
AndreaMarch 14th, 2017 at 8:41 AM
Hello Julie, I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your reply! You know what it’s like, you blurt it out then don’t go back again.
No, I haven’t found any coping strategies at all, in fact I’ve attempted suicide twice since that post. There are no coping strategies we are with master manipulators here.
I know how you feel when you say you can’t leave as you have children and all, basically you Are financially trapped like myself. They use financial control, another form of abuse.
The only thing I’ve discovered that had helped me immensely has been lithium orotate, I take 3 5mg capsules a day, nothing has worked for me like this and I’ve tried everything. It stops the bad thoughts from destroying you mentally and physically.
It is the most draining existence to live especially with children. Hiding your face constantly so nobody can see you Crying?
People say get out but I honestly don’t think they realise how difficult it is
Its not just stonewalling, it’s Stockholm syndrome too, the complete decimation of your self, soul and mind. Where are you Julie? Sometimes I think we should just all get together and escape, together!!!!
PatriciaApril 7th, 2017 at 9:59 AM
If you stay in the relationship you must focus on yourself and children and your physical and psychological safety. Melodies Beattie ‘a books on CoDependency helped me a lot – Codependency No More is a good one to start with. Her book of daily reads – The Language of Letting Go is Excellent. Though her work is geared to substance abuse relatiobships her strategies are helpful for abusive and all dysfunctioning relationships. You can keep yourself not only sane but happier till you are ready for any next steps. Focus on you and do not try to change him – that is crazy making- as it’s not going to happen. Good luck
SusanNovember 26th, 2017 at 9:40 AM
My husband does it to me too… It used to last for weeks and I would be constantly asking what was wrong. I do feel that played into his hands and now I just say that I’m going to do something while he sorts himself out. After about an hour, he’ll come through with an excuse for his behaviour though doesn’t actually apologise. We go through this sometimes 3 or 4 a a week and it’s exhausting /soul destroying. I feel I’m stuck for another 2.5yrs see have a large loan that won’t be paid off till then. After that, we’ll have equity in the house and I guess I’ll weigh up my options then…
Nicole MOctober 12th, 2018 at 10:27 AM
In my experience, the person doing the stonewalling never changes, because they don’t actually have a need to. It is a dysfunctional cycle and the only way to break free is to step out of it yourself and not allow yourself to be treated as such any longer. Hard to know, I am there right now, with a divorce that will be final in a matter of days. The person who stonewalls is in a power position, and controls the relationship communication completely, the other person is left trying to appease, or stuff down feelings in order to be spoken to again. A stonewaller is not going to give up that power position, why would they? They have the control, they don’t have to take ownership and they have the other person working in overdrive to fix it all. To cure them will not happen. Showing them how much it hurts you, or lashing out only reinforces their behavior. A stonewaller WANTS you to suffer. So telling them how much you are suffering, plays right into the cycle. If the person was capable of truly loving you, or anyone, they would be mortified at causing the person they love so much pain, but I don’t think people who stonewall to a great degree can love like that. It’s easy to take it personally. Why don’t they love you enough to see the hurt they cause and stop or seek help to stop. But it’s not about your worth. Your worth is not dictated by another’s treatment of you. You don’t own that . They do. I have been in counseling every week for two and a half years, and my soon to be ex went with me one time. I worked on strengthening myself, and learning healthy communication. I learned to not trigger him and how to release control of how he responded. But in all that time, he did no work on his communication, or should I say, lack thereof, and the more I tried to keep my feelings down to not trigger him, the more sensitive he became. No matter how assertive, and calm and thoughtful I was in my communication, he would shut down, and leave and ice me out for weeks, months. So, in essence, the healthier I became the more he tried to regain control over me, and the stonewalling became worse. There is no hope. If there ever was, it would come from the stonewaller themselves, not the person on the other end. One does not seek help for something one does not see as a problem. Best of luck to you.
JackieOctober 27th, 2016 at 1:54 PM
This is very similar to the dismissive-avoidant attachment theory. I’m realizing I’ve been dating a dismissive-avoidant for the past 3.5 years. I highly recommend googling this… it’s given me so many answers!
NicoleJune 5th, 2019 at 4:57 PM
I agree on the dismissive-avoidant personality. I am in school currently to become a psychologist and my ex definitely had this personality type.
AdeleJanuary 16th, 2017 at 10:01 PM
HM, I’m sorry that you are in so much pain. CoDependents Anonymous is a place to go for the journey to heal. You can Google codependents anonymous and find face-to-face meetings, phone meetings which are really great, and online meetings. You can go to their website and read about the patterns of codependency and it is amazing what you may relate to. I am growing by leaps and bounds. Because I don’t have to go it alone anymore. I have wonderful loving members I can reach out to. We read our books and work through the tools of recovery. Sending you blessings. You can start re-creating your life now
LaraFebruary 26th, 2017 at 11:44 PM
I understand exactly what you are saying. I have been through the same thing and reading your comment was as if I was reading my own married life issues.
No you do not sound pathetic. Thank yourself much for putting that up. It sounds so sadly poetic. Yet with each line a heart string was pulled within myself, the memories the tears the isolation. Nobody should have to go through that.
AndreaMarch 14th, 2017 at 8:48 AM
Lara, thankyou for your kind words.
It’s all so wrong, what happens if we never get out. I remember my grandmother telling me that she’d given up on happiness that she wished she’d die in her sleep. She did.
I don’t want that to happen to me.
JudahApril 4th, 2017 at 2:36 AM
Reading the posts and in particular yours Andrea, which made me feel like I was reading my own story, has reminded me about how devastating this cruel, controlling, manipulative and destructive form of abuse is. To make matters worse for me, other than my husband’s brutal stonewalling tactics, is that I have ADHD – something which my husband is not in the meat but interested in learning about so he can support me and learn what aggravates my bursts of anger and over reacting. But like others I have had my nose rubbed in my dreadful sins and blamed for everything wrong in our marriage for almost 20 years that it’s so easy for my husband to be unaccountable, unrepentant, unremorseful because all our problems are due to me. The guilt I’ve felt for years is equaled only by the negl ft and emotional abandonment I’ve endured by someone who just couldn’t give a damn. It’s too much effort. He doesn’t ‘feel’ like being attentive because of MY abuse! And yEt the only time that abuse escapes is when utter desperation and madness breaks free from the chains of reasoning, begging, following around as he walks away. Damn straight I’m angry!!! At least I’m showing SOME kind of emotion and attempting to reach out and communicate. I’ve never b n suicdal but I am withering wwwy from my former social, outgoing, confident, capable self. I have no case to plead becauee the judge and jury closes my case every time I get a chance for a hearing. The mallet is the only response and it slams down a guilty verdict and sentences me to a life of stonewalling. It’s the cruelest punishment when you love the one who locks you up – the only one who can set you free.
I can only continue to pray that his heart or stone(walling – how apt!) will become soft. It’s like a slow agonizing death.
BeyondhopeOctober 28th, 2017 at 7:52 PM
My coping strategy has been to make my own parallel life; I belong to a gym where I go and meet friendly faces plus work out; I walk most mornings before work with a wonderful understanding friend, I run twice a week with another friend, I go to church where I am warmly welcomed and we can mutually encourage one another. Also I work full time where I get to meet other people and focus on my tasks for the day. Without all of the above I would never have coped or stayed here. Mental anguish can be managed if you have a plethora of interests and activities.
EstherApril 4th, 2017 at 9:42 AM
I want to offer my empathy to all of you. I have been experiencing all of the treatment that you are describing in your posts. Albeit from a distance, because I moved 600 miles to a place where he spends half the year, always relaxing and having fun, so it seemed. When he was home it was all business with no time for pleasure. Now after being out here for almost 2 years I realize he recluses here also and has no friends.
I can relate to the lady who said he was so nice on the phone, but when he was home he was like a Sgt. Major. Only this guy was a Lit. Colonel. Insecure, isolated with no friends and always making excuses for everything. He was right, he knew better, He was my superior in his mind, yet scared to death of me rejecting him in his heart.
We never lived together thank goodness. I believe he knew he was mean to me and hurting me. Also I called him on his behavior. At one point suggesting he date a lady that seemed to have a similar personality so he could experience some of his own cruelness. So he did, but he didn’t tell me for months, blamed me for leaving him, because it was me who put the energy into the relationship and made him feel important and not lonely and now I wasn’t taking him coffee, going for bike rides and stopping by to make him feel important.
Exit me, and he had only his own self and inadequacies to deal with. So he called her. He has continued to contact me as he is here almost once a month. Each time stating they are not too serious. playing on my emotions. When I say I can not see him if he is seeing her, he gets agitated and says they are talking about a future. This has happened 3 times, yet he is still wanting to see me and there is no physical interaction. I keep saying if you are serious with her, then why do you still need to see me. She should be all you think of?
He has used just about every form of emotional abuse, yet reporting my weakness as the problem in the relationship, lightly brushing over his short comings stating he needs to work on that, and he will try to do better. He went to counseling and lied about the conversations, stating the exact same thing every week. The lies have gotten out of control and I could see the mass confusion on his face and hear it in his messages. In some ways I feel sorry for him and in other ways, he is getting a huge dose of his own medicine.
In the past he has stonewalled me until I quit the relationship, then the cards and flowers come. I grew so afraid of trying to end things because he always returns, right when I have gotten my self together. This last time I made the mistake of calling thinking it had been enough time that he and she would be great and I could touch base as a friend. NOPE….. the Baby’s, I love you’s, we are connected….blah blah blahs came out. And he was attentive and helpful, right up until I said, look If you want to say you love me and try to kiss me, you need to end it with her.
Then I called her…..her story didn’t match his at all. And he is now stonewalling her. For a bit I thought oh, he is giving her everything I ever wanted, because he was telling me they were doing this and that, all the things I wanted to do with him.
Then I realized people don’t change at 68, yes 68 and that was just trying to hurt me by controlling me and keeping me from having other relationships . I have actually seen them together and he doesn’t give her an ounce of attention. Total stone walling. It is she who is now stuck in the trap of his emotional abuse. It is she who can doubt her own ethics and sense of morality and intelligence. She can spend endless hours wondering how to please him and get his approval. I do truly hope they are enough a like as they both seem to like to control people, they can make it work. I know for myself, I need open and honest. I need a man who can communicate negative feelings and respects me and meets my needs. I highly suggest if any of you are able you find folks that love and support you that you put your efforts there and on improving your own image of your self. One thing I did realize is the more I was independent and went out with my friends the more he tried to win my attention. So if you can’t leave….I will tell you what a wise counselor told me once. You can’t lead a horse to water, but you can make him thirsty. Most people who play these games are incredibly insecure. You know they aren’t leaving and they are all threats and talk. So why not just go live your life and be happy. Maybe they will try harder to win your affections. Maybe they will find someone else they can beat down and have an affair, then you are free to leave. But for heaven’s sake, make sure you have an exit plan. Nothing will make you feel more confident then having a way to take care of yourself. God will provide, He has no desire that you live in torment.
KellyApril 15th, 2017 at 6:56 PM
Your story and honesty breaks my heart. You are not pathetic. You are sound, cognizant, and have power. I used to feel consciously powerful until i started dating my bf for the last 6 years. I still have this e-mail, but I’m no longer a wanderer. I’ve become a different person I barely recognize. And i’m still not good enough. And his family agrees. I don’t have any family here. We just broke up a couple weeks ago and I am realizing the dregree of abuse I endured. It sounds stupid, but I’ve started going to the gym to reclaim my “power”. It helps! I go on the elliptical and I am aware of my power for about an hour 3-5 times a week. That is far more power than I have felt in the last 6 years. Bless you and your son and I hope with all my heart you can find the power to remind yourself and your son what a woman deserves in life and love. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best- without any pressure- just as you are.
EApril 19th, 2017 at 5:56 AM
Read Melanie Tonia Evans and her blogs and on you tube. Good luck. Fight for yourself
GailApril 22nd, 2017 at 6:21 PM
Every word you wrote struck a chord in me because it is exactly what I am going through. I hope you are well or have become better since your last post here. It’s nice to find a place where we can all find a bit of a comfort in our struggle. May I ask how you have coped with your situation? Did you choose to stay or leave?
Mindy AMay 31st, 2017 at 11:52 AM
Andrea Plz do not feel ashamed… We are good, loving , forgiving people.. We have just been taking advantage of by what I call heart-less damaged partner.. I literally have no self-esteem and I am angry with myself everyday that I let this go on for 17 yrs.. my husband is so good at what he does my own family my mother and sister both stopped talking to me and took his side when I tried to leave 5 yrs ago. Not only do I feel completely alone in this world I live in a house that doesn’t even feel like a home Bc of how I am treated .. I wish you the very best .. one day …. one day this will all be behind us. We deserve better .
NicoleAugust 13th, 2018 at 9:00 AM
You don’t sound pathetic, just worn down. I can relate to how you are feeling. My strength has come from knowing that nothing I can do can change the person who stonewalls me and treats me badly, but I can change how I deal with it. You do have power. You can find other people to socialize with and get your needs met. You can choose to make a life outside of your husband with healthy people who will enrich your life and see your value. If you aren’t wanting to leave him, you can strengthen your own sense of self so that you aren’t as affected by his actions. There is hope.
AndreaAugust 12th, 2016 at 4:27 PM
Oh yes, I forgot to add, my mother was a stonewalled too, my sister used to get on her hands and knees follow her around on her knees, begging her to forgive her even though she’d done nothing wrong, dry retching with all the emotional trauma.
So, no, it’s really not a male thing. Though I can understand the misandry it brings out in women.
Some women are worse, especially when that woman is your mother.
PiperAugust 14th, 2016 at 10:56 PM
I feel so grateful for all of this raw honesty. I hope I can learn how to deal with my sorrow. My heart feels so broken for all of this infliction of pain. No one deserves this, no one. I pray that God brings peace to us all. Gnight!
RachelleAugust 23rd, 2016 at 11:25 AM
SMPAugust 23rd, 2016 at 11:54 PM
Let me bring some balance to this whole thing hopefully :-)
I’m a female in my early 20s and I have been a “stonewaller” from day one…..well, developed in early childhood. Unlike some of the people many complain about, my actions of stonewalling have actually been in my defense. I stonewall when I feel cornered, attacked, or antagonized. For me I feel like it is the other Peru who is behaving abusively and aggressive and t cases me to withdraw almost completely every time. My intent is not to evoke emotional trauma or damage to someone (if I really mediate on my thoughts then maybe I could find a manipulative moment or two when I was looking to get someone else to feel something by stonewalling). My stonewalling was have been an almost natural response to unnecessary argument, drama, or when I feel like someone is trying to bait me into a nasty conversation about someone or something and I personally try to refrain from letting terrible things come out of my mouth. So not all people that stonewall are passive aggressive villains; some of us are deeply wounded victims too due to rejection and early emotional trauma :-(
SMPAugust 23rd, 2016 at 11:56 PM
Forgive my typos – smartphone autocorrect.
JackieOctober 27th, 2016 at 1:56 PM
You sound like a dismissive-avoidant.
SMPOctober 27th, 2016 at 5:28 PM
(This is a reply to Jackie underneath)
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t research that same behavior in the past and self-diagnosed because I feel like I identify with it. I can honestly say I agree with you to a degree – dismissive avoidant.
RachelAugust 30th, 2016 at 12:53 PM
I don’t think you’re responses are justified as they are entirely your own responses based on your delusions and beliefs and nothing to do with actual desires to solve problems. They are destructive in nature so it will be hard for anyone to be in a relationship with you
JMRSeptember 12th, 2016 at 3:59 AM
I have been stonewalled by an ex–he emotionally shut down when he felt he didnt want to engage in conflict or its resolution. While I could see it coming, and I know his past experiences made him the way he is, to me it was hurtful. So many situations could have been diffused. I would hope that at some point in time, he realizes that he sabotages a healthy relationship and seeks help in order to utilize healthier coping mechanisms. In the meantime, I now have to mourn the loss of my partner and friend.
sjAugust 31st, 2016 at 8:47 PM
I am in the same boat with you. I have always been the same, it doesn’t matter if its a spouse, if someone confronts me, my natural instinct, is to completely shut down and essentially cower. When i stonewall my husband, i literally have nothing going through my mind except a barrage of negative thoughts and then the tears just run down my face. I know my husband feels like its manipulation and i am sure i would feel the same way, so then he questions more aggressively and then gets even more mad. and i just cower more. He has never done anything to me, but years of verbal and emotional abuse have done this to me. I don’t even know how to stop it as my body literally shuts down and then my mind is going a mile a minute.
but then my husband stonewalls me, because he is pissed and will hold a grudge for days. I would say mine is results of years of abuse, where his is more manipulative in nature, he also learned it from his mother who does the same thing.
sjAugust 31st, 2016 at 8:49 PM
the verbal and emotional abuse was at the hands of my narcissistic mother and my father. just wanted to make that clear
SMPSeptember 15th, 2016 at 6:18 PM
Thank you for your understanding; sorry for your circumstances. I’ve been thinking a bit about it and have been thinking that this “stonewalling” thing can be a piece of something a lot bigger – maybe even a form a paranoia. Idk, but it can be emotionally abusive when that isn’t even intended. I also think it can be spiritual torment that causes us to react in this manner also…I certainly do.
LaraDecember 31st, 2016 at 4:31 AM
I have been stonewalled for 20 years now. I just learned about the term but always thought he was ignoring me. It can go on for 3 weeks or most recently 6 months until I got his brother involved.
I have lost my job, many friends and mostly my self esteem. But after 20 years I am now angry and I issued him with a divorce form.
He is always rude to me, puts me down and has been physically abusive since day one. Most recently after starting his own business he started hiding money from me, lying about how much he was earning, acussing me of taking money that I hadnt touched. All this while I was coming to terms with the loss of my mother to cancer and caring full time for my father who was suffering from liver cancer.
he stonewalled me for 6 months without a single reason that I new of and when my very large inheritance came through he started being extra nice and bending over backwards for me. Deep down I feel he is using me because now I have so much money that it also equals freedom.
EstherApril 4th, 2017 at 10:18 AM
I hope you can openly communicate that its your own negative thoughts about your self running through your head from prior years of abuse, and not your husbands words that are causing you pain.
You came to the marriage with issues as we all do. In some ways you have probably taught him to treat you that way, he gets upset and you can escape… a safe place or at least familiar place for you.
I hope you can confront your issues as well as you articulated them to us.
You are on the road to healing. We are all insecure inside and want to fit in. try to remember that.
NicoleJune 6th, 2019 at 7:02 AM
I think there is a difference between someone who has a tendency to go into flight/freeze mode when presented with something they feel as threatening and someone who uses stonewalling another as a form of control or power over the other person. A flight/freeze response is something done as a form of self protection, whereas the person who stonewalls is using the silence and ostracism as a measure against another.
LunaJanuary 2nd, 2017 at 8:59 PM
I know how you feel 100%
I’m 21 and I’ve been a “stonewaller” since I can remember but for some unknown reason, I was never abused as a child and hardly even yelled at but for whenever I get confronted I shutdown and can’t respond at all; the times I can force myself to respond are only when I’m crying. I don’t even know its happening until I feel my eyes zone out at the person I’m looking at yet their features don’t get blurred like when I usually zone out and then I get the large lump in my throat to prevent me from talking.
I hate myself for having this issue and want to cry because it allowed my last relationship to go from verbal abuse to physical because I could voice my opinion; I hate myself even more now that I’m engaged again because I don’t want my unintentional defensive stonewalling to ruin my relationship.
GlskFebruary 26th, 2017 at 12:25 PM
I completely agree. I’m thinking I’m the one who does this, but out of self preservation. In a female in my 40’s and was in a very verbally abusive relationship for 10 years. It’s definitely a learned behavior to not provoke the dragon, but not all who exhibit this behavior are awful people.
OliviaMay 31st, 2017 at 4:35 PM
So how do we deal with you kind of stonewaller? I’m traumatized to dealing with my spouse that stonewalls me? I’m willing to try anything. He can walk away from me and the kids for 7 weeks last time
RodgerJune 5th, 2017 at 1:40 PM
Total admiration for you speaking the truth,I do exactly the same for the same reason ,only difference is my stonewalling was created by my control freak wife in the last 10 years, I DO NOT have anything to hide as a lot of you seem to believe ,i just do it to protect myself from the savage attacks all the time ,cheers
CarrieJuly 13th, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Thank you for your comments.
RachelAugust 30th, 2016 at 1:16 PM
Actually that sounds quite harsh, I think I meant it is ok to withdraw based on old wounds but that is not stonewalling. If you are stonewalling you would be assuming that the other person is being difficult or entering into unnecessary conversation so then this would be stonewalling as you need to check this is the case. But I think stonewalling is more manipulative.
TinaSeptember 1st, 2016 at 12:48 PM
Thank-you for this article!! Thank-you for your honest comments. I am not going mad, I am not a demanding nagger!! My husband is a stone Waller. He leaves me hanging all the time, I can’t discuss our future plans because he sidelines me. I end up yelling most of the time. We have 3 small kids and I have no idea how to show them positive adult relationships work. My daughter is starting to ask questions about why daddy doesn’t talk. Why daddy doesn’t play with her the way I do. Why is it mummy who always plans things. I am miserable. My self esteem has plummetted. I can’t live like this anymore. I try to talk to him and he just stares at me. Delays the conversation. Gets angry if I try to talk about saving money for the kids or anything a family should plan for. Now, I have a name for it and I understand I am not the problem!!! Now, I just need to find a way to sort this situation out.
OliviaSeptember 16th, 2016 at 6:02 AM
I feel ur pain I have been married to a stone Waller for 16 miserable years. 2 kids I have no family support or friends and I feel like I have no way out. U r not alone. He stone walls me about most any topic we need to discuss then he hides out in the basement last time he ignored me and the kids for 7 weeks it’s de aster me no one get it NO ONE UNLESS TYEY LIVE WITH SOMEONE LIKE THIS
LaraFebruary 26th, 2017 at 11:29 PM
Your story reminds me of my earlier marriage years. I used to be the most sociable person having worked as a medical receptionist for over 9 years. After the marriage and the abuse plus stonewalling my self esteem plummeted right down that I am finding it hard to get back to where I Used to be.
I wish all the best for you I this marriage. I am old fashioned somI pretty much stayed because of the kids but trust me it’s been 18 years and I still get flashbacks which are destroying me mentally.
He hasn’t stonewalled me for a year now exactly because I actually conjured up enough courage to issue him with divorce papers.
So he’s been on his best behaviour.
TPsySeptember 29th, 2016 at 9:29 AM
I’m being stonewalled by my boyfriend as we speak. We discussed it before and I thought he would stop. He did something wrong to me yesterday and instead of saying sorry, he won’t acknowledge me….doesn’t answer my phone calls, just disappears off the face of the earth. It hurts so bad to have him treat me like I’m not alive. It makes me feel so worthless I just wanna die. There’s no way a person can love you if they do this. It’s been 8 years that I’ve been with him and it looks like I have to end my relationship cuz I can’t take this abuse anymore. The fact that he’s the one that wronged me hurts that much more. I hate him for this. I have no hope left.
ChristinaJune 25th, 2017 at 7:35 PM
I feel your pain and I also feel the same way as you do, if someone loves you how in the hell can they treat you like this? How can they make us feel so damn low?? It’s not right they act as if we do not exists! Sh#t after 18yrs of marriage and 3 kids later how the hell can he be so damn cold hearted! He was just telling me 6 days ago how much he loved me!! Well if Sh$t doesn’t change soon I’m going to have to leave I can’t stand feeling this empty especially when he treats the kids like only they matter! Well good luck I’m sorry you are going through this as well! 😔
RebeccaMay 4th, 2019 at 2:41 PM
Please leave this relationship before you lose your sanity. It won’t get better..only worse. Trust me please. I’m 35 years into this. I’m a shell of my former self. I’ve completely shut down. God alone helps me to be able to work 30 hours a week. I was a runner.. can’t even do that anymore. I have no energy. It’s all been drained. I’m trying to get out but financially it is near impossible. So please..I beg of you to save yourself a life of misery. You’re not married and I’m assuming no children with your abuser. They never change and you will die a slow death. So please leave this relationship while you’re still intact and you do not have legal issues to deal with (divorce..damaged children..health issues from the stress) I wish you the very best!
CamillaOctober 6th, 2016 at 8:14 PM
I have been stonewalled by my husband for months and months. since march 2016. i am so devastated nd hurt. He cheated on me in january and moved out week later. The divorce is almost over. I will be 65 next week. I have never been treated this way in my life. he will not speak to me at all. I have cried and cried . This is so hurtful. To be totally ignored and have your self esteem torn to shreds. I am trying to pick myself up and go on with my life. I was married 6 years to this man He is 77 years old. I cannot understand how anyone can treat others like this. It is abuse ..just not physical abuse.
DeborahMay 6th, 2019 at 3:43 PM
I’m wondering if stonewalling was a problem with most men years ago. I’m also wondering if porn has done this to people. It has so many similarities of lots of porn usuage and how men treat women.
dipadbrownOctober 20th, 2016 at 12:14 AM
I have been reading many articles from this site. My husband and I both “stonewall”, are “aggressive”, are “passive” “passive /aggresive” are too sensitive and dramatic and so on and so forth at various times in our 22 year marriage.
I stonewall as a result of this: married two years to second husband and my 6 year old daughter is in bed and its 1030 pm , we just moved to a city and I got a job fresh out of College and need to make a good impression for my first year working in a huge hospital, age 26 for us both. i mention to him please can we go over the bills and plan our money so we have enough cash for food and drinks and gas. He says ok in a minute and I ask again and he says I don’t want to do this now I don’t plan like that. I even tell him to put it on the calendar and pick a day once every two weeks to discuss bills to pay and then we will have more money to save. Plus I don’t like loaning him money during the week and then he has to pay me back later friday I said for a new relationship with a child it is not a good foundation. I have to budget my money maybe he should do that with his. He said ok. But never does.
Now part two: two hours later he comes to bed around 1030pm but is then coming out with a tirade of complaints like you never clean, you are not sweet, you don’t decorate, you are alone in the other room and avoiding me,I don’t think you love me, why don’t you love me, I am a kind person, i don’t lie, i am willing to discuss any thing with you. This goes on for an hour or so. Then tells me that I with hold sex and suffers from depression, I keep a filthy house and , well he guesses that I wasn’t taught any better by my parents. i listen and am quite frankly over whelmed , fuming and hurt, insulted, degraded to where I have to leave to cool off for 10 -15 mins, he chases me and demands I speak now. I say I am over the top with emotions I \cannot control and that a mature thing to do is to take a walk or a drive and then we will talk. He stands in front of me and says you are a manipulating bitch and are playing games with me with his nose to my nose. I say I will talk when we are calm. He goes into the closet and says he will kill hisself and that no one cares. I stay up all night doing this again and again. I call into work because I am a Physical therapist and I cannot help and heal while i am an emotional wreck from my husband holding me in emotional blackmail. Well years later , he was still aggressive and still talking and talking. If I express how I feel about what he is saying about me and that i do see that, that it is his perspective ” for example: but I don’t agree that I used the word “pam” instead of” spam” in that sentence i used just now. These semantics go on and on. I eventually have to say I have to go and leave. i have to be at work in 2 hours. which turns into no sleep. So i am a stonewaller . i have to sleep so I can take kid to daycare and keep a job. Because at some point listening to someone berate you and then say they will kill themselves because that is how miserable i make them is pretty fucked up. So yeh slept in car with doors locked and did super mom thing. And yes after about 8 hours of it persons , such as myself (an emotional abuser , according to you all closed minded -onesided selfiish people,) become an interrupter, walk away and don’t care to listen because I am a defender of who I am as a person i deserve more respect than what he gave me. I still am with him and we are both guitly of all kinds of bad behavior, but for so,me reason i still have my spirt. by the way we had sex daily and he would throw these fits because I think he missed a night. He needed to leave me if I made e you want to kill yourself. So yeah over the years I would see the signs and it took less and less time to leave and i would always offer to talk when we ar calmer be it 5 mins or two days.
I cannot process everything he is saying because I am being attacked,–It litterally makes no sense
CassOctober 20th, 2016 at 11:42 AM
You are not a stonewaller. You ignore him as an attempt to avoid harm or more arguing. Stonewallers- actual stonewallers- do it to avoid being held accountable, to avoid exposing their own nasty thoughts and deeds, or to confuse and anger their partners, which they will claim makes their partners “insane”.
You are not withholding anything by trying to keep safe. You are trying to avoid abuse and he is trying to avoid honorable behavior.
The suicide threats are a manipulation tactic, not his true state of mind, and according to many sources I’ve read people like this are likely to become violent. Read Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? It’s like he lives in your house and knows your husband personally. They all seem to follow the same strategy, the abusers.
Getting up in your face is definitely also abuse because it is designed to scare you into thinking he might do something worse.
SMPOctober 26th, 2016 at 12:48 PM
I’m not understanding; I’m thinking different people have different understandings of what stonewalling is? The article above even mentions this: “…when it is used alone, it may occur as the result of a desire to decrease tension in an emotionally overwhelming situation, or in an attempt to self-soothe.” I point this out because I think a lot of people are under the impression that stonewalling is purely manipulative and aggressive in nature when it really is not. It can be a natural response to avoid emotional abuse – of course IN ADDITION TO being passive-aggressive or bluntly aggressive and vicious. Thoughts?
TpsyDecember 9th, 2016 at 6:30 AM
One sided, close-minded, selfish people?….. Learn what stonewalling is cuz it ain’t what ur doin. If my boyfriend treats me like crap for no obvious reason, then I’ll fully ignore him and walk away too. In my case n many others, my boyfriend did something really hurtful to me and because he feels so bad and guilty about it, he wusses out and disappears, doesn’t answer his phone, doesn’t acknowledge me in any way at all….just because he’s too proud and too much of a wimp to have some decency and say sorry…..and it really reeeeeaally hurts a lot. That’s stonewalling.
ErinOctober 25th, 2016 at 3:09 PM
My husband is stonewalling me as we speak. We got into a fight which was my fault and he doesn’t want to speak about it. 5 days now, 5 horrible days and I don’t see an end in sight. The crazy thing is, we have a great relationship and this was so sudden. I’m so sick, I haven’t eaten since it started, I’m crying constantly and our two children are starting to notice. I love him and can’t figure out how to get him to talk.
CassOctober 25th, 2016 at 3:46 PM
I can’t tell what to do here since you say you started it but you don’t give details. Unless you were really abusive or unfair to your husband I would say the stonewalling isn’t a good response. But like I said you didn’t give details. It is a response that is only acceptable if the stonewaller is honestly trying to avoid harm, which isn’t usually the case.
Regardless of whether this is your husband, please read Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That- even if it doesn’t apply to your husband it may explain some of his behavior. He goes over all different types of weird husband behaviors in that book.
ErinOctober 25th, 2016 at 9:13 PM
I said something I shouldn’t have. Wasn’t abusive. But right now my heart is breaking. I don’t know how to handle this.
HMNovember 30th, 2016 at 7:25 AM
Hi Erin, How have the last few days gone for you? I’m hoping in the last week things have smoothed out. You seem to have a very similar situation as I do, and I am so sincerely sorry. Additionally, I’m grateful for this discussion board.
I’m going through a similar situation, and I agree, it’s pretty much unbearable. It’s been 5 or so days since my Significant Other has spoken to me. I made a decision he didn’t agree with, and now he’s holding it over me by full on stonewalling. He says he won’t seek divorce, but “this is just how it will be now.” I’m completely at a loss, heartbroken, sick, can’t eat. Part of me feels like leaving for a temporary period would at least help me get out of the environment. Before doing that, I’m considering trying to tell him how I’m feeling, but any time I try to do that, he gets this sick smile behind his eyes. Like he enjoys what is happening.
The worst thing is that we have a great relationship. Sure disagreements happen, but we have certainly never gone days without talking. It’s making it impossible for me to focus on work or really anything…I know there are much more devastating things that can happen in relationships, so I have no idea how anyone can deal with this or anything worse.
annonymousgirlMay 26th, 2017 at 8:51 AM
To Erin, I’ve been married for over 20 years and I used to cry…I can’t anymore. Stonewallers know exactly what they are doing to you. Try to live your life as you normally would. If the days turn into weeks- Demand that he seeks therapy for stonewalling, or else. I wish I would have done this in my first year of marriage. Trust me, you don’t want to give them this power for too long. It’s damaging to you and very unhealthy.
vikkiFebruary 17th, 2018 at 8:57 AM
Very good advice. If you are with a stonewaller, he/she needs therapy. Do not let it go on as it take a toll that you may not be able to pay.
SVSJanuary 20th, 2017 at 1:52 AM
My boyfriend is a stonewaller and inflicter of the silent treatment. He stonewalls whenever I bring up any action of his that has hurt me. He mostly refuses to take responsibility for his behavior. After the stonewalling he usually threatens to leave me. It seems like he’s trying to control me by letting me know that when I have a complaint, I better not bring it up or there will be a punishment. Next time he does it I’m telling him “fine, then leave”. I’m so done with his behavior. I don’t want to be treated this way anymore. I’m so so frustrated.
AdeleJanuary 20th, 2017 at 9:34 AM
SVS, my experience with Stonewallers: people who choose to stonewall and punish with silent treatment have not developed the ability to take responsibility for their own actions. They view anyone else’s needs or expression of discontent with their actions as criticism. They cannot tolerate perceived criticism so they deflect everything back onto the other person to make that person wrong. It’s a no win situation UNLESS the Stonewaller wants to get help which would mean they’d have to acknowledge some responsibility. It’s a vicious circle. What we CAN do, is practice self care, learn about boundaries and learn that we can’t fix, manage or control others. EVER. it’s a difficult idea because it could mean that we leave the relationship. And IF we choose to leave, best we don’t threaten this in advance. We either do it or don’t do it. Remember, your boyfriend is not behaving from his Adult Self when he Stonewalls. The Stonewaller is one of his wounded inner children acting out. You may benefit from Co-Dependents Anonymous. It’s been a lifesaver for me and has propelled much growth and now I feel like I operate mostly from my Adult Self instead of my own wounded inner children. Here is a list of the Patterns of CoDependent Behavior. If you identify with any of them, you may want to try a Co depends Anonymous meeting. Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence:
These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self- evaluation.
They may be particularly helpful to newcomers.
I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well- being of others.
I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
I label others with my negative traits.
I can take care of myself without any help from others.
I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation. I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.
Low Self Esteem Patterns:
I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge what I think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
I am embarrassed to receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings, and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.
I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
I am unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I perceive myself as superior to others.
I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
I have trouble setting healthy priorities.
I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger. I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
I am hypervigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
I accept sexual attention when I want love.
I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.
I believe most people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
I freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked.
I become resentful when others decline my help or reject my advice. I lavish gifts and favors on those I want to influence.
I use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
I have to be needed in order to have a relationship with others.
I demand that my needs be met by others.
I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.
I use blame and shame to emotionally exploit others.
I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.
I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
I use terms of recovery in an attempt to control the behavior of others.
I pretend to agree with others to get what I want.
I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward me.
I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.
I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
I withhold expressions of appreciation.
The Patterns and Characteristics of Codependency may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website coda.org (CoDA) for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship.
SMPJanuary 20th, 2017 at 10:32 AM
Whoa, this was long….. I do want to add though that I totally ageee on two points. When people do stonewall it is true, they (we) are operating from a very young mind, a childish defense mechanism. Not always is it childish in a manner to annoy; but sometimes there hasn’t been growth to know how to cope in any other fashion. Also, I do think that people need to understand their reasoning behind their codependency just in case they do end up with a stonealler and feel like there is no way out. It’s very tough communicating with someone who is not willing to speak up and sometimes you do need to walk away. Even if it’s just for a time. The stonewaller and the “stonewallee” both need to heal.
AmandaJanuary 8th, 2019 at 7:11 AM
I have a friend..or sort-of friend…or acquaintance who does this. He constantly forgets things, lies, and keep secrets, The lies are insulting to my intelligence, they are so transparent and illogical. If he does not want to do something I invite him to do, he just stops communicating. Just doesn’t respond to the text, rather than saying that he would prefer to do something else. So rude. But on the other hand, he can be quite generous and fun, inviting me to dinner on my birthday, etc. I think he is largely unaware of what he does and largely unaware, period. When I try to bring any problem in the relationship that I would like to work out, he just stonewalls me. He also stays in terrible relationships where he is treated badly, and pretends it is fine. It just seems his whole life is a jumble of lies, and I don’t even really know who he is. We have known each other for over 30 years, so it’s hard to let go, but I think I am ready. I just feel like crap every time I deal with him.
LisaFebruary 16th, 2019 at 10:06 PM
Hi! I know how you feel, as I am in the same boat. Only trouble is, when you say “fine, leave then”, they will, often coming back to inflict this same bulls*** in another month. I’m in the process of calling it quits with my husband as we speak. But I know when he comes back from his week away, he’ll try and say he doesn’t want this. Again. It’s a broken record. Leave him before you lose your dignity. I know I almost lost mine!
ElizabethFebruary 10th, 2017 at 5:11 AM
I have not being coping as a steparent generally but my stepdaughter has been living with us for over a year (19 now), which I never wanted…nor the son now 21 and moved on. I have been becoming increasingly unwell and spending less and less quality time with my partners and my 8 year old son. Anyway…getting help from 19 year old around the house has been an issue ever since day 1. I have been there step for over 10 years and between ex wives, partner leaving me with his kids a lot of the time while he worked and feeling like an outsider and alone generally I cracked it with SD again and she walked out. It is coming up for a week of stonewalling and I find it quite cruel. I understand he has lost his daughter but I lost my sense of self a long time ago. I feel like I have been used and if something didn’t give my health both physically and mentally would. Step decided to go as she was walking on eggshells and couldn’t cope! Ok I can accept that, I am 53 and menopausal and suffer from depression. Anyway parner has not spoken to me since roughly a week ago and sees all my justifications as excused. We are of course all hurt.
anonymousFebruary 22nd, 2017 at 7:37 AM
I am guilty of stonewalling… it is my protection against sever overstepping of boundaries and rude behavior from my partner. Frankly, I don’t give a sh*t if he feels emotionally abused, since he clearly does not care that I feel abused and greatly disrespected in the first place. I am biding my time to get out of that hell (need to secure some stuff first)… stonewalling my way through it. I am sick an tired of engaging in “talks” that are nothing more then judgements about me and telling me I do not deserve his love or affection. Why would I engage with him in such situations? Why would I want subject myself to this bs over and over again?
No – stonewalling can be a powerful tool of self-protection .. even if one get’s physically attacked for refusing to talk. I don’t care, he can’t take that away from me and it is MY power to hold – the only one I have left.
Hopefully I am out by the end of next month
AdeleFebruary 23rd, 2017 at 1:42 PM
I have found that stonewalling hurts the stonewaller more than the stonewallee. Though it’s a hero’s journey, staying in one’s own garden, not allowing the other’s negative comments to trigger our own wounded inner child is a strategy that has good results. I do the following steps this order: 1. Recognition that my spouse’s inner child is wounded and acting out. 2. Removing myself physically as best I can. 3. Recognizing my own inner child’s wounds are being triggered by my spouse’s inner child’s behavior. 4. Telling myself he is mentally ill and can’t help it. Again, it takes strength for sure and it’s working. Good luck to you.
EstherApril 4th, 2017 at 10:09 AM
You are so good at hiding you can’t even use your name.
Can I ask what kind of power are you hoping to gain? Clearly you do not feel like yo have any power in the relationship.If you had any strength at all, any ounce of caring for other humans or compassion, you would apologize and change your behavior. It’s been my experience that people do not talk to their spouses about problems that don’t exist. For some reason you can not see that it must be difficult for the other person, your spouse to bring up the situation that hurt them, your behaviors… especially when they know you will stonewall. Trust me they are all ready of thinking of leaving you or they wouldn’t bring it up. Stop thinking you are perfect and incapable of hurtful behavior and be glad someone cares enough about you to tell you they are hurting and that they want to work it out.
Try not to disillusion yourself that there is someone out there that will accept your behaviors. If there is someone that will let you treat them poorly, you will not respect them. maybe that’s what you want, someone to beat up on, someone to take all your pain and anxieties on because no one listen to you?
Well your spouse is trying to listen to you and they see you are hurting and they want to reach out. Have you considered owning up to your weakness and fears and trying to live in harmony, by being kind and humble? Have you ever thought that apologizing might allow someone to keep loving you?
JudahApril 6th, 2017 at 12:54 AM
To Esther, Who is your intended to be to? You say ‘you can’t even use your real name’ .
How would you know? And what does that have to do with anything anyway?
If you are replying directly to me then you seem to know an awful lot about my situation to pass your expertise and commentary. You are in no position to judge and make suggestions (which weren’t asked for). If you’re sticking up for my spouse then I have to ask why? And how would you know anything about the situation?
AngelaJuly 11th, 2017 at 10:43 PM
I met this guy 2016 and he didn’t tell me that hs married I suspected that due to his unavailability that’s questionable after hours when I call him insisted so he can tell the truth and eventually he did but said he doesn’t have a marriage certificate can u believe man! I rlly love this man and we have strong feelings we connect sexually and we’ve done things tht I’ve never done before with anyone. The chemistry tht we have is dangerous and hs confessed sed that this is new because he is not used into such. I make him crazy but I’ve got an issue with this guy. He can’t handle a conflict he switch me off and detach himself and disappear for weeks come bck wanting me bck. We’ve broken up for more than 3 times and got bck together and I’m tired of this back and forth. Before I used to pursue a chat when he starts with his immature behavior but now I stopped talking cz I felt this is draining I mean he needs to e the one begging me I would try to reach out but he would just ignore me. Now we not talking we had a conflict and he detached himself and switch off… I’ve been quite and ddnt ask him anything but I feel this has to stop. How do you handle this issue cz I’m rlly hurt and I love the guy
TinaFebruary 28th, 2017 at 9:30 PM
I can’t believe just how common this problem is. Reading everyone’s posts has really opened my eyes. So many of us are just stuck in a cycle of frustration without knowing how to get out. At least we can all talk here 💕 Vent a little bit. I wish communication with our loved ones was easier…
TSOMarch 4th, 2017 at 4:01 PM
This is happening right now. Been with my husband for 14 years. About 10 years ago he stonewalled me for 4 days which has been the longest time. Almost a year ago he stonewalled me for 3 days. Today is the 3rd day of stonewalling. 3 weeks ago I found calls on his cell phone to a female coworker that was made after work hours. I asked him about it and of course he denied and offered little explanation. We’ve been having marital problems already before this happened, with several threats from him of “I’m leaving, I’m not in love you with anymore, this isn’t working out,” etc. So I’ve been trying my best to make him happy and make things work for almost a year now. But he’s been expecting me to be perfect, which means I have to be ok with everything he does and never disagree with anything he does. So when I found these calls, his explanation was “I hardly talk to this girl, nothing’s going on. You need to believe me.” That was it. I needed to accept that explanation otherwise take it or leave it. That was 3 weeks ago. 4 days ago he forgot his work cell phone at home. I decided to check it and, lo and behold, this female coworker’s number was in the call log like crazy. Calls during work hours, after work hours. I called him while he was at work and asked him why was this girl’s number all over his work phone. All I got was attitude for looking at the phone, denial, and anger. He offered no explanation and refused to talk about it saying “I’m at work, I don’t have time for this, I’m not doing this now.” He kept hanging up on me and then blocked my calls. Out of frustration and anger, I called the female coworker on his work cell. I asked her what was going on between them. Her reponse was that there was nothing going on and that the relationship was strictly platonic. I was not rude to her in any way. I thanked her for answering my questions and asked if she would keep the conversation between us. Of course she didn’t, once she got to work she told another coworker about the call who then told my husband. My husband was furious. He started calling me names like psycho, insane, and weirdo. He said I am so disrespectful to him. How dare I call her and embarrass him like that in front of his coworkers. He said I had no right and that I should of waited until he was ready to explain. He gave a lame excuse that another coworker was using his work cell to call this girl because he was in a committed relationship with someone else and didn’t want to get caught. Yeah right. My husband said our marriage is done over this and that I’ve gone too far this time. He said “if HR gets a word of this, I could lose my job,” then proceeded to try to make me feel guilty that he was going to lose his job over me calling this coworker. He accepts no responsibility whatsoever. He puts all the blame on me, not just in this particular situation, but most of all our fights. I am sick and tired of this and I refuse to apologize and kiss his ass when I feel I’ve done nothing wrong! He said he was moving out but he hasn’t moved out. I think I would prefer him moving out than dealing with his stonewalling. I hate it! I have such anxiety and frustration. I feel so dejected and depressed. I deserve an apology and he feels I don’t deserve one because of what I did. He said “after what you did, you don’t deserve an explanation or apology. I am so sick of this. I wish he would just leave. He doesn’t make that much money, i’m the bread winner, so I think he hasn’t moved out yet because he can’t afford to. To anyone reading this, you are not alone if you are being stonewalled. I’m going through it right now and it is horrible. You and I deserve better.
LaraMarch 4th, 2017 at 11:50 PM
Sorry to hear about this TSO.
It sounds like he’s blocking you in an instant from asking any questions about this girl.
He wants to send you a message that you are to ask no questions.
Nobody deserves to be told I don’t love you anymore and the marriage is over. What have you done that is so terrible that the marriage needs to end.
You just be feeling so sad but please lift your spirits up and try to be strong. I have been through exactly this. I was so low down that I suffered from anxiety.
Are you able to get a part time job or enrol in a course somewhere so that you are not always alone thinking about this issue?
All the best and take it easy.
TSOApril 6th, 2017 at 4:55 PM
Thank you for the reply. I am getting stone walled again! At first I was dying and so depressed, but now I am so angry I’m glad he’s stonewalling me! I know it’s probably not healthy, but the anger helps me cope! I think about what a P.O.S he is with his emotional abuse and it makes me feel better. He did something wrong and instead of accepting blame and appologize he flips it around on me and gives me the cold shoulder. Well F*%* him! I’m so sick of this crap! I still don’t have the guts to kick him out but if he leaves, like he’s been threatening to for the past year, I won’t care a bit! I know I will be sad but thinking about all the pros of him leaving lefts my spirits. No more getting taken for granted, no more walking on eggshells, no more verbal or emotional abuse, no more getting blamed for everything, no more unappreciation, no more hurt!
Someone1May 19th, 2017 at 3:19 PM
@TCO Just because your husband was hanging around a woman at work doesn’t mean he’s cheating on you. Maybe they’re working on a project together or something. I had a male colleague once I was good friends with and his wife fussed about it – which was really weird. We never did anything, we’d hang out after hours and get drinks together, but never had trouble keeping our hands to ourselves or our clothes on. His wife getting jealous was toxic to our work relationship, and that kind of behavior is toxic to women in the work place as whole. If you got drinks with your male colleague to talk about your asshole boss, would you want his wife to treat you the way you treated her? I also don’t know if he does on call work, but it’s pretty common to call colleagues after hours these days, especially in fields that keep a 24 hour operations (smaller companies do this informally). If you really don’t believe your husband can talk to a woman on the phone without breaking his vows to you, you either need help, or a new husband.
TSOMay 27th, 2017 at 4:29 PM
@someone1 Yes I understand you can have a friendship with a coworker of the opposite sex, but if you are married, that friendship should be known to your spouse. Especially if you make plans to hang out with this coworker after work, that should also be told to your spouse and not hidden by a cover up lie of “hanging out with the guys.” And no, my husband does not do any kind of “work projects” with this female. They work in 2 different departments and completely different fields. If the friendship is strictly platonic, there is no need to keep it hidden from a spouse. I am not jealous, I was blindsided by this situation since my husband chose to hide it from me. I did not even know this girl existed. Since my husband wouldn’t answer my questions, I chose to call her and see if she would answer them. My husband is the jealous 1 since he constantly accuses me of cheating without any evidence or proof. I have never cheated on my husband. I believe he projects his own dishonest behavior onto me.
GailApril 22nd, 2017 at 1:17 AM
My husband has been stonewalling me for weeks now over an issue I would say we both have faults. It’s so hard to talk to him even if I use the gentlest approach. Whenever I reach out to him, I feel like I am laying my hand on a sleeping lion. He could either feel the tenderness of my words and touch or… growl at me. Lately, it’s been the latter and I feel so hurt and exhausted. We keep falling into this viscous cycle where he would torment me with his coldness, creating walls where I can’t seem to reach him. How do I break this invisible wall without enraging the lion?
TsoMarch 4th, 2017 at 7:43 PM
This is happening to me right now. The first time my husband stonewalled me was about 10 years ago. It lasted for 4 days. Almost a year ago he stonewalled me for 3 days. Today is the 4th day that my husband is stonewalling me. 2016 was a difficult year for us. Several times in 2016 he said he didn’t love me, didn’t want to be with me, he was going to move out, etc. I read a lot of “save your marriage” books and articles and my husband didn’t move out. However, whenever there is an argument, even if it’s his fault, I get blamed. My husband does not take any accountability whatsoever. If he does it’s “I’m sorry but you made me….” do that, act like that, respond like that, etc. 3 weeks ago he called a female coworker after work hours. When I asked him about it he first denied it, said the number belonged to a male coworker until he finally gave me a feeble excuse and a reply of “nothing’s going on, I don’t hardly ever talk to her. That was the 1st time I called. You need to trust me. You need to believe in me.” Now cut to 4 days ago, he forgets his work cell phone at home. I look thru the call log and, lo and behold, guess who’s number is in there like crazy? The female coworker’s. There are multiple calls during work hours and after work hours. I call him when he’s at work and ask him about it. The response I get is attitude for looking thru the phone, indignation, denial, and anger. He tells me “I don’t have time for this. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t call her. I’m at work. Leave me alone.” He hangs up on me repeatedly, then he blocks my calls. Out of frustration and anger I call the girl on his work cell. She tells me there’s nothing going on and that their relationship is strictly platonic. I am not rude to her in any way. I thank her answering my questions and ask her to keep the conversation between the 2 of us. Of course she doesn’t and she tells another coworker about our conversation who then tells my husband. My husband was furious. He called me crazy, pyscho, insane, and a weirdo. He said I should have waited until he was ready to explain. He said I have no respect for him and I embarrassed him so badly in front of his coworkers. He said I went too far this time and that he is done. He said our marriage is done. He tried to make me feel guilty by saying “if HR gets wind of this, I can lose my job. You’re trying to ruin people’s lives, especially mine.” He said because of what I did, I don’t deserve an apology or an explanation. Although he did give me a weak explanation that it was a coworker who used his work cell phone to call this girl, because he is in a committed relationship and doesn’t want to get caught by using his own personal cell phone. Yeah right. So now I’m being stonewalled. My husband is calling my actions unforgivable. I do not deserve this. It is not my fault! I have not done anything wrong! All I wanted to know was the truth, and if he wasn’t going to give it to me, I had to find it somewhere else. He expects me to grovel and apologize, but I will not. He hasn’t moved out yet but I wish he did. I think I would feel better with him being gone than dealing with his stonewalling. He doesn’t make much money, I am the bread winner of the family, so that’s why I think he hasn’t moved out yet. He can’t afford to. It is unbearable dealing with his stonewalling. I feel so dejected and unloved. He makes me feel worthless. I do not deserve this. And if you’re reading this and you’re being stonewalled too, you don’t deserve this either.
KellyMarch 24th, 2017 at 9:03 AM
My mom climbed over the stonewall and ran free 20yrs ago. Now, i have a stonewall and its so high i am not sure i can climb to freedom….but i will surely try!
DaveApril 22nd, 2017 at 3:42 AM
Wow this is SO close to home here! My wife is the classic stonewaller in our marriage, and after doing some digging and detective work, I learned that she was exactly the same in her previous marriage (he asked to leave after six months, then she hid and stonewalled their divorce so she could string out his health insurance benefits). So there is a pattern: in our marriage, I communicated. She did not, except for talking in circles, creating chaos, and defying logic at times with her stories. When I’d get to the point of having to suspend disbelief just to hear her, I’d point out that something didn’t make sense or didn’t align with reality and then BOOM!… she’d just shut down and stonewall. I got blamed for everything… I talked too much, wanted to know too much, didn’t know when to shut up, etc etc… these were her favorite weapons to use when she would begin to stonewall. Her covert abuse, the rejection, the controlling silent treatment, all of it drove me to the brink of craziness. I had invested everything in us, she invested nothing. It was cruel. She has convinced herself and others that, because I felt it was best to always tell the truth and get to the basis of a problem… that I was abusive. Her silence and apathy has been more abusive than ever.
GailApril 22nd, 2017 at 6:16 PM
I understand and feel for you. The same thing is happening with me and I am really lost. I cannot agree more when you said her silence and apathy has been more abusive than ever. I heard that no amount of coaxing can thaw this wall of ice. On the contrary, the more we talk, even the best way we know how, they only shut down to us even more. How do we live in a marriage devoid of love and communication?
BradApril 23rd, 2017 at 3:08 PM
Wow. Just wow. I’m a stonewaller and I have it. It’s not done to gain control of my wife. I can’t control it from happening. It kills her and she always reacts more aggressively. She suffers from PTSD so I shut down once I see her going into a panic attack or if the situation is escalated. I’ve tried leaving the house, suggested seperating, and nothing is working. Granted, stonewalling is not a healthy way to resolve anything, but how does one stop? I can’t leave or take a time out because that triggers her and then I get to deal with threats of suicide, then that leads to more Stone walking. I’ve even been Baker acted as a result of all of it. So don’t go saying we all do this sh$t as a way to control things. I don’t want that control whatsoever, I want the conflict to end. I shut down because it feels like if i say how I’m feeling, it’ll add fuel to the fire. a few of you mention gaslighting, as does my wife. So how is it that if someone shuts down and you react violently, or with anger, that itself isn’t gaslighting? It makes us question everything too!!! So while I do agree that some people will utilize stonewalling to gain control. It’s unfathomable to say that’s the case for everyone. I get verbally abused and keep my mouth shut so I don’t further escalate the issue, but then I get called abusive for it? That’s bull sh#t people. My wife has no clue how I feel about most things because I’m so terrified that if I open my mouth, her PTSD kicks in and to avoid the cops showing up, I stonewall because let’s be serious, I can’t mess anything else up if I just shut up!!!
GailApril 23rd, 2017 at 6:56 PM
I never meant to say that stonewallers do it on purpose to abuse. Sorry if any of my comments offended you. I guess I just feel so dead-ended, like banging my head on a stonewall, because my husband has shut down on me. I believe your reasons and I do believe it’s his too. My husband is a highly logical person and on our better times, he did tell me that by being silent he feels that he is saving the situation, saving us from further hurting each other. I do see his logic but I guess I’ve just always believed in communication. I worry that this shutting down on each other, while it saves us from another heated talk, will create a growing gap between us.
As a self-confessed stonewaller, how do you hope your wife can approach you on your issues? Hope you can help me find some light.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 3:52 PM
Gail, stonewallers do do it on purpose to abuse. I think Brad’s confused about the definition of “stonewalling.” Someone who’s tongue tied or afraid–isn’t stonewalling. They’re unable to talk. And they would have no problem of telling their partner that …eventually. Brad, tell her what you told us. But a “stonewaller” doesn’t want to talk to his partner or resolve anything. He just wants to do whatever he wants without any consequences and doesn’t care about his partner’s issues. That’s abusive. Brad can go to therapy and learn to communicate. The true stonewaller never will get help or change his ways. Unless he wants to.
KatieJuly 5th, 2017 at 2:51 PM
Hi Brad, I see your point, and its not fair to assign all stonewallers the same motive, not is the other partner always faultless. I am with a stonewaller right now, and its just the lack of communication that hurts. I feel crazy sometimes, but in order to have peace I stuff my feelings down to the point where I am not even an authentic person anymore. I wish my partner realized he was a stonewaller and how painful it is. I want to have open communication and I want to be a loving supportive partner, but I need to be heard too, without being punished. I hope you and your wife can find some help, and there is hope, I think, since you recognize the behavior in yourself. It takes two to tango as the say, and I suppose everyone here would be helped if they realized that.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 3:48 PM
Brad, come on, man. 1. Of course you can control your stonewalling. You’re the ONLY one who can control yourself. so cut -out the b.s. You can get therapy. You can tell her what you told us. You can…etc. 2. Of course “stonewalling is not the best way to resolve anything. In fact, if you continue stonewalling you are guaranteed NEVER TO RESOLVE ANYTHING. So stop lying to yourself and learn to communicate. Or else go live in a cave by yourself. Please.
MarianMay 23rd, 2017 at 11:09 PM
After reading maybe 1/3 of these comments, I feel very gloomy and almost hopeless. I won’t comment on my own relationship in this post — maybe I will later; we’ll see. I am discouraged that so many relationships seem to be poisoned and hopeless. I realize that happy people don’t complain and so we don’t hear from them. But, if you read comments like these often enough, you come to believe all marriages are in a mess. My heart goes out to all those who wrote who are hurting. I hope things improve for you before long. Remember, my friends, “It’s always darkest before the dawn”. I hope somebody finds this saying helpful. – M.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 3:56 PM
Unfortunately, Marian, there are far too many unhappy marriages. We need to teach nonviolent and fair conflict resolution to our children. It’s hard for them when they haven’t many good examples of it. Including our own President. But we can all try to help each other and call out bullying and abuse when we see it. And insist on fair conflict resolution. If we all insist on it–things will change.
HeatherhowaMay 26th, 2017 at 8:55 AM
So, my husband has been stonewalling for a good portion f my marriage. One day, he was caught chatting to a female co-worker about me in the worst way. So, remember – When stonewalling is taking place between you and your partner – it may mean that your partner is in communication with someone else who is helping to drive and prolong this energy. Be careful!
RodgerMay 30th, 2017 at 4:21 AM
Hi, I have just been told by my wife that she feels she is being ” stonewalled ” by me , what does that mean? , I asked, google it was the reply , so I did and here I am reading a lot of the responses , WOW !!!! What a mind opener , GUILTY !!!!! Yes I proceed with this form of behaviour purely in fear of being put down again in everything I do , say ,etc , I would rather have minimal conversation rather than get into a $?@/ slanging fight over trivial nonsense, Ladies,with all due respect , from where I sit the balance of the scales appears to be very heavy on the male side, as my dear old mom always said to me , son , just remember this, it always takes two to tango!! Yes , I am guilty but for reasons of fear , insucurity, no ability to communicate at the higher level , just wish to be happy without living in fear of retribution ,I could say more but I dare not in fear of being found out of talking about our relationship in public to a bunch of strangers, thanks and good wishes to all
Jill T.June 1st, 2017 at 3:14 PM
Hats off to Rodger! Thank you for seeing and understanding what some of us are going through. Please use this to help your situation, if you love your wife and want to keep her happy, sane, loyal and confident, then try even slowly to let her talk and you participate in a conversation that if done properly out of love, total love, it will help any situation. Good luck!
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 4:03 PM
Uh…Roger nope! Just because YOU have insecurity and communication issues is NO excuse for your stonewalling your wife. Minimal conversation guarantees your conflict will never be resolved and your marriage will always be hell. If not divorced in the end. The very fact that you say, “rather than get into a $?@/ slanging fight over trivial nonsense” is a dead giveaway. 1. How do you know it’s trivial nonsense if you refused to listen and discuss it. 2. What you may consider “trivial nonsense” may be very important to your wife. 3. What’s your goal? If it’s a good marriage, happy life and peace on earth–you’d better learn to communicate. Because ALL relationships will have conflict. The trick is learning how to resolve it. It does take 2 to tango–and from where you sit–you ain’t dancing, son! Now learn to communicate, get some therapy, read some books–whatever it takes and DANCE!
ObscurityknocksDecember 29th, 2018 at 4:25 PM
It doesn’t take two to tango, it takes one to abuse. The form of stonewalling that is used to shut someone down for the fear of emotional abandonment; it is actually abuse, it results in the other partner keeping quiet about things that hurt them, because they know it’s just a waste of time. It’s invalidation and the stonewaller chooses to do it, if it was done pretty early on in the relationship it’s all part of the grooming process to put the health of the relationship onto the other partner’s shoulders so they think they’re always to blame. The stonewaller doesn’t understand the concept of accountability and never will. I’m not talking about people who shut down for fear of confrontation. I’m talking about total invalidation and emotional abuse, real stonewalling plays a massive part of it and, to be honest, a real stonewaller wouldn’t dream of admitting that it’s what they are. They never take responsibility, not ever. They all sing from the same hymn sheet and the tactics are almost identical. Most people on here recognise the similarity immediately. These comments could be written about the same man or a group of men who know one another. The tactics employed by emotional abusers are generally the same.
RodgerMay 30th, 2017 at 4:43 AM
Having read the posted comments and feedback, I now would like to understand more on this subject, as I am seeking help I now know I have a subject to discuss ,before I was not able to express my emotions, feelings with the marriage and now I have a chance of getting a better understanding of what is happening to me and how long this had been happening without me realizing there is an unresolved issue ,I now really would like to resolve it , thank you all for enlightening me, cheers .
AnonymousJune 1st, 2017 at 10:03 PM
I haven’t been able to communicate my thoughts for many years. When my boyfriend wants to talk to me I clam up. About anything really. He’s currently sleeping on the couch because he’s angry and frustrated that I don’t talk to him. It’s equally as frustrating for me that I can’t verbalize or even think of an answer. Its like my brain shuts down. I absolutely hate it and I know it’s going to be the reason I end up alone. I don’t know what triggered this or why I can’t just have a normal conversation like everyone else. I’m either afraid of what his reaction will be or that what I say will be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Sometimes I want to say something so badly but then I just can’t get the words out. I was in abusive relationships in the past, I’ve suffered from bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety and depression. I don’t know if it’s stemming from my previous relationships or if there’s just something wrong with me. How can I force myself to speak when I physically feel like I can’t? It’s not just during arguments. I haven’t been able to talk to him about my past, what I want for the future or what’s wrong when he asks me. I hate it. I love him and want to be with him but I just can’t seem to communicate. I can write my feelings down but can’t say it out loud (or even bring myself to show him the many notes I’ve jotted down about what I was thinking and feeling). What’s wrong with me? I don’t know what to do.
Jill t.June 2nd, 2017 at 1:03 PM
Believe it or not I am a survivor of extreme physical and mental abuse. I on the other hand feel a need to express myself. My ex would not let me talk or defend myself during or after his explosive fits of rage. I am dealing with the stonewalling from my boyfriend off and on during our relationship. You mentioned that you write things down but have not had the courage to give them to your boyfriend. While in the two different abusive relationships I had back to back, over a period of about 25 years combined, with would write all of my feelings down in a notebook and hide it, this is extremely therapeutic to me. Maybe if you start out as if you were writing a book on yourself, explaining your life and your past in detail, then start adding where your relationship begins with him and write it through the present time. Explain your fears and be as honest as you can, even if it’s embarrassing and painful. I truly believe he would see things in a different way once given all the details of your life. If he has a heart and loves you it would have to crush him to his core. I believe you might have some type of panic attacks when any confrontational issues occur with the relationship. If you seemed overwhelmed with giving him the letter/journal then put it in a box, drawer, somewhere and if you have to text him the info to find it and read it. You can even mail it to him regardless if he lives with you or not. There has to be a way to break free from this. When you’ve been abused the abuser keeps winning as long as we let those memories and baggage interfere in a negative way. So we have to try and break free from it somehow. I was so damaged from growing up with some issues, then suffering from abusive marriages that once I divorced the last time I didn’t date for 13 years. If you feel like you can’t cope on your own I beg you to seek help outside your home. Everyday that we are not happy is a day we can’t get back. Life is to short and precious not to be happy. I truly feel your situation can be helped. Everyday I look in the mirror I see signs of what I call survivor scars, yes I have suffered a lot, but God has kept us alive for a reason. Please take baby steps if you have to, I think once you take that first step you will feel such a release, it will eventually get easer until hopefully you can start verbalizing some of your thoughts. I pray you receive the strength and courage to move forward one step at a time.
AnonymousJune 2nd, 2017 at 7:29 PM
Thank you for your kind words. I like your ideas and appreciate you sharing with me. I will try that and hope to be able to make progress.
HiteshOctober 25th, 2017 at 4:44 PM
You might have Asperghers, please get yourself a diagnosis. An understanding well-wisher.
ErinJune 2nd, 2017 at 3:01 PM
This is one of my fears. I didn’t have a word for it (until I read this), but I am afraid that I will become an unhappy, bitter person who pushes people away and can’t connect with people. I do this now as a way to avoid conflict with my mum who expects things to be a certain way – since moving back home, I’ve realized how every so often she’s vehemently judgmental of people’s struggles… so far she hasn’t hit on anything I really struggle with, but I’m not giving her any ammunition just in case. But I don’t like myself very much whenever I do that – I’m successfully defending myself, at the price of my values/what I believe is important!
Reading this blog is actually just procrastinating in looking up apartment rentals. I’m leaving this situation and learning to like myself again.
TimJune 7th, 2017 at 11:14 AM
I’ve experienced this for 6 years whilst married, and it’s continued on after the divorce, horrendous cruelty where even now I’m suffering every day.
I’ve a wonderful son, so I have to try and communicate with my ex. When money’s mentioned I get a reply but everything else is ignored. She also took my son and moved five hours away, I had no idea this was going to happen.
I stopped looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve tried, tried and tried for nearly 7 years, I would of achieved more if I just hadn’t tried at all.
Once the police established that my son had a roof over his head and went to school, that was all that mattered.
I was and am in no mental state to deal with anything really. Child taken, money taken, depts left with me.
I feel that there are no answers to my situation, made especially hard when She’s a counsellor and is now living with a policeman. Honestly! All true.
I’ve never been able to carry out suicide, but imagined. This has left me in a situation where when she continues to stonewall me, my brain is unable to think, cope or carry on with daily tasks. Trying to keep all bills paid whilst suffering from the symptoms of stonewalling is really hard.
Taking my son, she could not of done anything more cruel.
If anyone out there can give me a crumb of hope, I’d appreciate it.
Jill T.June 7th, 2017 at 1:26 PM
If you can try to imagine a life where you can be happy and have all the things you’ve ever wanted in a relationship to be given to you. We suffer in different types of relationships but at the end of the day God will send you someone when you least expect it that will make all of this worth it I promise. His timing is his timing, I am having just a small issue with stonewalling but in comparison to the extremely abusive relationships I’ve had, physical, mental, emotional, cheating, this that I am experiencing is nothing like I’ve had to deal with . I just didn’t know there was a name for it until I looked it up. My boyfriend doesn’t do it all the time but enough that it’s irritating. He was cheated on for years and thought this marriage was normal with no affection and lack of sex, she didn’t act like a wife but a sister or roommate. He thought of suicide many times and lost over twenty pounds the first month, he drank every night just to pass out so he didn’t have to sleep alone in the bed they once shared. He was in the darkest place possible. He met me and had his feelings and heart closed off , but after five weeks into us dating he wanted to be exclusive. We have been together ever since, two and a half years later. He says he wished he had met me fifteen years ago, and I know he means it. I am so good to him that he says that he doesn’t deserve me, that he is the luckiest man in the world. If he had gone through with his thoughts during those dark days he would have missed out on what he has now. God truly doubled his reward. Just try your best to think there’s a different life for you out there, one day you will see this as just a bad memory. If your ex want talk to you then perhaps you can get a third person involved from one side of your family’s or a mutual friend. Maybe you can relocate closer to your son at some point. If this doesn’t work for her, then hopefully she will move back. Just tell God what’s in your heart and I know without a doubt he will listen. Try to stay busy and don’t isolate yourself from family and friends. If you can find a support group in your area that would be helpful. Local churches have programs for divorced men and women. Try to stay positive and FaceTime your son and keep in touch with him as much as you can. You can even watch tv together through FaceTime. It’s the next best thing when your miles away. Try to get your family on board to go visit him regularly so the trips are easier all the way around. This will all come back on her one day, you do what’s right and God will take care of the rest! Good luck and please keep us posted, we really care about you and your situation.
KatieJuly 5th, 2017 at 3:01 PM
Hi Tim, For what it’s worth, I think moving the child away was a cr@p move on her part and I am sorry you are suffering through that. I know it’s not much, but I wanted you to know that someone out here in cyberspace ‘hears’ you. Katie
ChristinaJune 25th, 2017 at 7:22 PM
Ugh I Am so BROKEN right now!!! My husband has been stonewalling me for 5 full days now! And it so damn hurtful because we got into such a stupid fight there has to be something else that’s bothering him but he refuses to open up and discuss it with me!! He won’t even eat the food I make for him he just looks away as if I don’t exist! I have learned so much about this horrible behavior of his! This is him being controlling and enjoying the fact that it is killing me inside! I honestly feel as if this marriage is about to end! So heart broken right now I can’t even think straight! And I can see this is hurting our children too God help us all my heart goes out to all who are being emotionally abused with this horrible personality trait or condition whatever the hell it is!!! Thank you for letting2 me vent on your page!
Thx, Christina B.
KatieJuly 5th, 2017 at 3:04 PM
My stonewaller does this too! He won’t eat food I make. He won’t even eat dinner or help me with the kids. The stonewalling extends into these areas of our lives.
WendyJuly 26th, 2017 at 5:30 AM
It is so frustrating…I feel your pain! I just came off a twelve day stonewalling because I shared I was overwhelmed with some things in my life one and most important one was my friend dying of CA. My therapist tells me to to look at him with compassion because he truly thinks everything I feel is about him…everything! He is damaged goods but being the one to bring them back to reality when your emotional needs have not been met is difficult. I build resentments and then we get in a stupid cycle. Without our therapist I wouldn’t still be here…I would have walked. It may still happen but I am trying to use the tools they gave me…that is all I can do. I cant fix him! So frustrating!
chrisMarch 3rd, 2018 at 3:20 PM
How about a man that yells and screams to prevent a discussion about which widget to buy. Looking forward to your reply. maybe i should explain.. the object up for discussion is something used by us daily and not related to female chore nor male chores.
CarlJune 28th, 2017 at 7:25 PM
I live with my mum, I am 50 and because my mum has been divorced for 15 years she fears to live alone. It has now come to a point where I feel completely controlled by my mother and I am unable to live my life how I want, I work on living my life around her fulfilling her needs first. For about a year now she has developed a habit of asking me to repeat what I have said even if she heard it the first time and today I told her today she has created this habit which she needs to lose and that comment turned into an argument and she accused me of spoiling her happiness, I told her we need to discuss this situation of whenever I mention something that is negative about her that I am accused of spoiling her day, bringing her down and always demeaning her. I tried to explain that I brought this up for her own benefit and people around her won’t want to keep repeating themselves after every conversation, she got all angry and continued to accuse me of destroying her happiness, so I bring up the notion that with my age its time I live alone, that we start living our own lives and have time away from each other and after I said that all hell breaks loose, she cancels her day out and storms out of the house and leaves me feeling like a rotten son who shows no care, I feel like I have been stonewalled and even though I plead that she talks this through with me like an adult she refuses and walks out. So what do I do? is it time for me to flee the nest and start living my life my way, without her constant control and being the person that she can always have around to rely on?. I love my mum but I feel that as she ages she gets more control over me, she told me I can only leave her once a year if I want to go on a holiday by myself and this makes me feel so controlled that I feel like my life is not my own. I wish my mum could discuss this with me in a adult manner but I think she does not want to do that because she does not want to reach a solution that will see her having less control over me, Since I was a young boy she has had a big control over me, when I reached age 20 it was an incredible emotional struggle to leave the nest and probably due to her losing her parents at 7 years old and living within an abusing foster home, she had two terrible marriages and she has very few friends or family who offer support, I am her only constant friend and support. She also suffers from depression and she relies on me most of the time to be her companion, she rarely does anything unless I do it with her. What do I do, I am so lost, any advice would be appreciated.
MistyJune 29th, 2017 at 4:14 PM
I dated a stonewaller…two actually. Worst thing in the world. My first ex- when he would stonewall it was 90% of the time because he was thinking about breaking up with me. Ironically we’re pretty decent friends post breakup. My most recent ex would stonewall, but it was to try to avoid things he didn’t want to do. I asked for him to send me a pic of him while he was visiting Europe. Nope. He danced around it until things escalated into a pretty intense argument. I told him that he was being unfair and using a double standard since he would ask for selfies from me and that I should be allowed the same. And that the reason I wanted a picture was because I missed him, and wanted to see pictures of his experiences. Nope. No explanation, just that we will no longer send pictures to each other and that he didn’t want to talk until he got back from his trip because I was being unreasonable. Then silence for 5 days. When he finally called it was to berate me for “losing it.” The funny thing is that my “losing it” didn’t happen until he said no contact, which led to profuse apologies and tears on my end. (all of this was communicated via text) Fast forward one month, I fly down to visit him for a few days (he had moved to a different state for work). I asked if we could go swimming together. Nope. No explanation. Never held my hand in public down there like he did back home. Berated me for refusing to watch a movie that I told him was against my beliefs. (He thought it was a stupid reason) He did let me use his car, so I guess that’s something. I come home from this lousy trip, and have a really cool spiritual experience that I want to share with him, so I naturally try calling him. (We’d text 10+ times a day. So we had constant communication.) His response is that he’s tired of being on the phone since he was talking with his mom and his friends all day, so I can just text it to him. I try saying that I was really wanting to talk with him and that it would help me feel closer to him. I’m told that “I’ll be fine.” I snapped, called him a jerk, and then ten minutes later apologized for losing my temper and asked to talk about something else. Silence. Day 2- silence. I text him by the end of day two asking if we can set up a time to talk since I’m sure he’s really busy. Silence. Day 3 I text him in the afternoon saying that I’m upset, that I don’t like being ignored, and ask again if we can talk on the phone. He says that was his bad, tells me I have nothing to be upset about, and sidesteps talking over the phone. I ask again if we can talk on the phone since I am still upset and that I don’t want to communicate via text to avoid miscommunication as I want to work this out with him. Silence. Three hours later I tell him that it would mean the world to me if we could talk on the phone. Still silence. Day 4- I tell him that I really need to talk with him at the end of the day. Silence. (And I know for a fact that he read my messages) By the end of the day I reached my limit and said that I couldn’t be in a relationship where he refuses to talk to me and that if he doesn’t call me back by the end of the day that I know he doesn’t want a relationship and that I don’t know what else I could do to reach him since fb, texting, and calling didn’t work. Silence. Day 5- I tell him that I’m sad for the way our relationship ended, but that I still wished him all the best. Silence. A week later I feel that my parting message to him was too brief and cold so I send him a lengthy message via fb thanking him for the things I’ve learned from him (gave specific examples to help boost him up), that I forgive him, and that I hope someday he can forgive me too. Silence. I really really hate stonewalling.
MerleJuly 4th, 2017 at 7:44 AM
I used stonewalling as a tactic to avoid a confrontational spouse and only when I’d already decided to divorce. This was in late 1970’s. I needed to avoid getting myself into bad situations. I had no intention of working on the relationship. The tactic of stonewalling while not always easy to do eventually worked for me and let me have more times of calm. Today I found out my sister is in abusive relationship and I’m cautiously recommending stonewalling for her to accomplish the same. She always wants to engage especially if she is under fire – the target of a conversation which can only end in bigger anger on both sides. I m also giving cautions as to what may result using stonewalling. all relationships are different and I have no idea what may happen in her case if she stonewalls. I’d like to offer any additional effective tools to her and appreciate any suggestions.
MerleJuly 4th, 2017 at 7:52 AM
I should add that in my situation, I was coming up with a plan to return to school and prepare myself to support myself and my children. the plan took almost 2 years and my husband took job which took him away for two or more weeks at a time, then home for same amount of time. I tried to be as normal as possible and only used stonewalling when the situation seemed to call for it. I hate arguments especially with someone who believes he has no blame in anything that is wrong. During our marriage I was called stupid, lazy, fat, and worse. I got therapy and stonewalling was a suggestions to avoid conflict. Like I said, it did stop almost all situations from becoming violent and I stopped participating in / engaging in arguments where there was never a ‘win’ for me.
CleoJuly 9th, 2017 at 8:41 AM
I have learnt a lot from your experiences. I have always thought I am a stonewaller . But reading some of the comments I dont think I am. In my nature I am the kind of person who shuts down when I feel like I am cornered, I cant defend myself when I feel i am being attacked. My husband is always confrontational, and thinks he is never wrong. When he has an issue with me , he talks to me rudely like I am a little kid, I end up keeping quite cause I avoid getting into any fight. Then in turn he retaliates and stonewalles me for days, speaks to the kids only. And it really pains me a lot cause I have to share same room and bed with this person who seems to resent me a lot. In other situations, when I have issues with him, I cant bring them up cause he would stonewall me for days. So I spend most of my life walking on egg shells around him. It is like the world revolves around him. He is the one responsible for the mood in the family. I am always scared of saying something that will cause him to go into his stonewalling spells. It is just too tiring.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 4:13 PM
Let’s get one thing clear. When your husband is “confrontational,” “rude,” “always right,” “calling you names,” etc. He is NOT communicating. He is ABUSING you and you have every right to disengage. You are not “stonewalling.” You are defending yourself. You must ask him to go to therapy or communicate fairly—if he refuses. Good bye! Otherwise you are committing slow suicide. You can get private therapy to help yourself leave an abusive relationship. God bless you.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 4:16 PM
Cleo. P.S. Please do it for the kids…I just read where you said your hubby sometimes only talks to the kids. Don’t you know your kids are watching this horror and learning the wrong things? I know it’s difficult. But you love them. Make that your highest priority. And get some therapy to help you–(shop around and make sure it’s someone who understands when you’re being emotionally abused. Because, sweetie, you are.
CaseyJuly 25th, 2017 at 3:57 PM
My husband’s version of stonewall is to say “You are done, and you are not talking about this anymore” or to say “I’ll let you know when I decide to listen to you.” Funny thing is, he never comes back and tells me he has decided to listen to me or let me talk. 17 years of this and I have finally gotten enough courage to realize that I am not a defective person for thinking this is behavior is not ok. He likes to tell me that I am. If you find yourself with a man who has you feeling like you can’t talk to him about anything, trust me, it doesn’t get better – it only gets worse. Two marriage therapists, 17 wasted years, and he still thinks this is totally appropriate. Get out now.
Karl B.July 28th, 2017 at 10:13 AM
I am obliged to write this as I have been labelled as a stonewaller… a term I was not even aware of. I love to communicate and know my girlfriend at all cost. In fact I talk too much and she needs to keep on reminding me to let her talk on occasions. The problem between us is we are both strong characters and do not give an inch when we argue. This arguments are not relationship threatening etc. Petty stuff. Just because I love my girlfriend and back off to give her ample time to cool off and come to her senses does not make me or any other person a stonewaller. How can to avoid a person you love and intend to marry to spend the rest of your life with? In certain situations if one partner can back off rather than throwing fuel on fire, I think it’s called common sense. A person who can think rationally hence avoiding a confrontation. In our case if we carry on arguing, I know it will never end. I, after we have had a few issues in the past, have decided to swallow my pride and ego and just shut off till my girlfriend cools off. It has worked in the past and we both have acknowledged that we were both in the wrong as our love for each other is far too strong.
gustavoJuly 31st, 2017 at 10:48 AM
If you knew your girlfriend, you would know that stonewalling is the worst thing you could do. If you want to take a break from an argument, you still need to tell her “why don’t we take a break and come back to this when we have both had a chance to cool down” or something like that. She needs to know that you still care about the relationship. Stonewalling says you don’t care about her feelings or the relationship any more (whether you think it does or not). You have to communicate, not shut down. Otherwise your partner will eventually mentally check out.
Remember: Your relationship should cater to BOTH of you – her feelings are JUST as important as yours.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 4:18 PM
Carl. Easy. Tell her what you’re doing and why. Then make a date. And communicate. resolve the issue! But don’t stonewall. Learn conflict resolution techniques. Learn them together? It’s fun!
ElizaJuly 31st, 2017 at 8:23 PM
My husband is the master of all Stonewallers.
I never knew what to call it, but it is extreme. When the kids were little, he’d go sit in the basement and not talk to the children or me for two weeks. Yet, he could go to work and be the biggest phoney with small talk and superficial subjects. Everyone thinks he’s so nice, but he is a manipulative abuser whose behavior makes me feel invisible. He is unaffectionate, selfish, chronically depressed and just a miserable human being. We should be having fun and making the most of every precious day of life, but he is a bastard. He is the biggest jerk now. He sits all day, doesn’t eat, and sleeps. Our son thinks he has something medically wrong with him, but how do I get him to be evaluated? He is so uncooperative. I am in therapy, but he won’t go. I have been married to him for a long time. I know now I should have left him while I still had some life left— I fear now it is too late for me.
JonathanAugust 13th, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Why would it be too late for you Eliza? Leaving could be best both for you and your kids. It does indeed sound like your husband has a chronic condition. Don’t give up on your dreams, you deserve better.
KymAugust 14th, 2017 at 4:57 PM
Hello, there has been some very familiar comments that has me thinking I have finally found the answer on how I have been feeling for 8 yrs.. I never wanted to believe my loved one was not in to my concerns I would brush it off he might have never experienced good communication so he would have to learn comfort with in him so he can express his feeling. As time went on I started feeling like a lot of ladies feel, NOT HEARD, JUST NAGGING, B#TCHING, and what ever else that would be said in a negative way to turn the conversation to an argument. What happens them he would be done saying anything telling me ” just let this rest it will work out” now I’m worked up and feel ignored so there I go I end up on the couch no more conversation crying because there’s no situation that’s resolved and wake up tomorrow still in a bad mood and he thinks everything okie dokie. So I’m left having to deal with the problem I feel the problem I know the problem my problem to overlook the problem I have to deal with and just forget everything even happen and it normally pops up about every week. I called that putting a Band-Aid over a room and not dealing with that and it gets infected and it festers now I think that frivolous things aren’t required to have the importance of carrying it through to the next day but I do think that there’s serious problems with the realtionship when there’s alway that one person that alway shut down feelings and conversation.. that’s not love that’s not care that’s not respect that’s not sympathy that’s not empathy that sounds to me that someone just don’t want to face the facts and fix the problem….
ClaireSeptember 5th, 2017 at 6:50 PM
My husband of almost 29 years has mastered the “art” of stonewalling. It is one of the most destructive forms of emotional abuse, and my husband uses it every time I say anything he does not want to hear. I’m not talking about an argument, I am stonewalled if I am accused of wrongdoing and “dare” to defend myself. If I ask a question about his intent for our future. If I express ANY disappointment, disagreement with him about anything… He uses it as a form of punishment, and to discourage me from speaking about almost anything meaningful. He has been diagnosed as a narcissist, and he also practices projection (falsely accusing me of things HE does). Right now, he is stonewalling me because I asked him to decide if he wants a life with me or not, as I have had it. His response was to play the victim and complain about me and all the “chances” he’s given me. He just won’t answer me, and this is what he does to try to control me. I am almost ready to walk away and leave him to his own devices. I still love him (or who I thought he could be), but life is passing me by waiting for him to get a clue. Nobody changes unless they want to, and since all he wants to do is blame and control me, he is never going to change. It’s a hard truth to face, but people like him are totally willing to let another spend their whole life jumping through hoops for them. No more.
AdJanuary 20th, 2018 at 6:57 AM
Claire, I hope you manage to find a way to free yourself from this man. If he is already diagnosed with NPD,
there is little chance of change in this abusive behaviour. I spent countless nights being abused with every name under the sun, until I was a shell of myself. That was five years ago and I now can’t believe I put up with it for even a day. Find a therapist who specialises in this area to help you regain your perspective on reality. The only way a narcissist can keep hurting you is if you do not love yourself enough to get away from them. Good luck. You deserve happiness X
bcSeptember 6th, 2017 at 2:35 PM
I have been married for 40 years, the first 25 with horrible emotional abuse because of my husband’s baggage from a sick controlling mother who used stonewalling and guilt. After 25 years he realized he needed help and went to counseling, totally changed and is now a different person. Unfortunately our two sons are now exhibiting the same behaviors directed at us and blaming us for their unhappiness. Children watch, learn, and imitate and these problems cycle from one generation to the next.
KateSeptember 9th, 2017 at 4:18 AM
I am so happy that there is a name for this and I’m not alone in going through this. My girlfriend stonewalls me everytime we have even a minor disagreement, or even if she wants to do something and I don’t. She will literally not speak to me for days at a time, she will just stare off into space no matter what I do – even asking basic things like whether she’s hungry or where something is. Nothing I do makes a difference and I hate myself every time. It makes me so full of rage in a way I have never experienced before and also so incredibly sad to feel that she doesn’t care about my feelings or even our relationship to discuss what’s going in. She will just stare into space or play on her phone – absolutely anything to avoid even eye contact with me. Each time this happens I tell myself that this is the last time and if it happens again I will leave, but I never have. Simply because after usually 3-4 days she will come home from work and act as if nothing has happened and I am so happy and relieved to be acknowledged again and so scared of starting the whole thing off again that I don’t say anything to her. Yet she has never apologised for the way she treats me. Each time I apologise for becoming angry or shouting at her during it but she will just say it’s ok and move on… just like that. It makes me so sad that she doesn’t care about my feelings and thinks that this behaviour is acceptable but I’m at a loss of how to fix it. I can’t bring it up with her or she will stonewall me, and I don’t want to leave because I love her and I think she loves me, most of the time. Anyway, it comforts me to see that I’m not alone in this.
AngSeptember 13th, 2017 at 5:12 PM
My sister passed away last week. My family called at 3 pm to say I needed to be there and my husband didn’t tell me till 6pm by that time it was too late for her to recognise me , she died shortly later . He has blanked me ever since when I’ve mentioned it and walked away.
AdJanuary 20th, 2018 at 7:00 AM
That is horrible Ang. I hope you fin the strength to leave this man. This is not the actions of someone who empathises with your experience and has your best interests at heart. There is no way this could be interpreted any other way than wrong.
Sorry for your loss and sending you strength X
TerryNovember 13th, 2017 at 5:02 AM
While I fully sympathise with all of you ladies who have had this done to you as a tactic and a form of control, I would really like some advice, I’ve upset my partner a fee times and I’ve come to see because of the contempt she’s shown me I’ve treated her like the enemy, I don’t want this and want to move forward, but when we speak she shows contempt and belittles me, I struggle with talking in an argument because I do feel overwhelmed and like I’m going to say the wrong thing, what can I do to change this
L. AnnNovember 18th, 2017 at 5:46 AM
Hi Terry, that would be tough. I give you much credit for seeing it and admitting why you have. In my opinion people who true stonewallers usually do it without given a reason. It’s auto for them. It leaves the partner completely confused as to what just happened. Also know that contempt, at least in my experience, is one of the latest stage reactions to stonewalling, I really do not care anymore, it’ll never change type of attitude. This followed years of wondering what I did wrong, that I must not do “enough”, that I must be lazy, that I didn’t cook the right dinner, that I’m being a bad wife, that the house isn’t clean enough, that somehow I annoyed him, and the list goes on. It was always . . . my fault. At least that’s how the partner feels because the lack of communication, Because no way would someone’s spouse treat them with silence for no reason, it seriously took years for me to put the pieces of the puzzle together and actually consider it wasn’t me at all. It was an epiphany but that turned to anger wondering what made him think his family deserved to be ignored. It’s so innate that they can’t say why. And they never, ever (or rarely) know that is what they do let alone admit to it. It seems to go much deeper and was a behavior developed well before getting married or into relationships. About your situation, some questions would be, has your wife always talked to you with contempt and belittling, like it’s her “style” of talking to you? Or, is that in response to years of unresolved issues and talk in which she has no patience anymore? I can say after years of total passiveness peppered with anger, and everything was dumped on me , it can make the best of people exhausted and short with the person who is sharing a life with you. I learned to live without conversation so when he does talk to me it’s usually a snide, demanding, bossy demand or comment and now I don’t take it. He really isn’t happy that I no longer respond in a concerned manner. After years of trying to talk lovingly and kindly (got to walk on eggshells) about it just to be stared at straight faced, no comment at all, and back to watching tv) I really could care less about what he thinks. There is contempt. So, reflect upon if that’s her way of talking from the beginning or ask her why she talks to you like that. Truly ask in a loving way. . Really try to help her and let her know how it makes you feel. If you think that you have a tendency to shut down over the years know that you’re much further ahead to acknowledge it. Can’t fix what isn’t acknowledged. You can only ask her and try to make things better. She may appreciate that you are trying to make things better. Hopefully she’ll meet you in the middle. If it’s her way of talking, hopefully she will see how it has affected you. Communication is key. Can’t force someone to be cooperative but you can try to show a difference. Hopefully she’ll take your concern to heart because it sounds like you have learned the damage stonewalling can do. You’re a step ahead. Good luck.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 4:25 PM
Terry–get couples therapy–or personal therapy–but don’t let it continue. Contempt is one of the precursors of a breakup. Along with no communication. That’s 2 out of 4. The other 2 indicators are resentment and criticism and defensiveness. Also there are LOADS of good books out there to read up and learn about this, Terry. There is a way out.
L. AnnNovember 16th, 2017 at 5:30 AM
It’s sad people resort to this type of mental abuse. At first, I thought that I did something horrible and that he must’ve really been annoyed or upset with me. It started off not talking for a few days then would go into a couple weeks then maybe a month and then the longest I counted was about seven months of no talk before I decided to change and make myself happy. Now that I no longer acceot it, it’s a constant stonewall. Doesn’t end. Like others, he had good qualities such being a hard worker, taking care of the children’s needs , was helpful and nice but a little shy. Couldn’t put my finger on ‘it’ but never thought, ever, it was this extreme. Bait and switch at its best. Those good qualities seem to to overshadow the stonewalling at the beginning however it started about 1 year after marriage the stonewalling became very prevalent. Currently, any glimpse of a normal conversation has been replaced with hours of watching zombies and the apocalypse on television as well as drinking.
I no longer wait for my husband to start any type of attempted conversation, show any kind of emotion or plan anything fun. Kind of like s robot, or a shell so to speak, of a person. Just blank as blank could be. I decided the best thing I could do is to make sure my children are not exposed to his blankness majority of the time. I focus on making the lives of my children and myself fun, happy and focus on my children’s well-being, try to make life as “normal “as possible. I also make sure to take care of my own self and stay strong for my children. Because, as others have mentioned, this can definitely hurt the self-esteem of the strongest people out there. Suck the life out of the best and strongest. It’s immature, emotionally deficient, cruel, and these type of people are in need of major therapy and should not get in any type of relationship or have shared parenting. Hence why probably most of us stay in while we have young children. My worst nightmare would be three days alone with his blankness peppered with anger and yelling when he does finally open his mouth. Hang in there and focus on you and your children. Remember, when they see you get upset the stonewalling is reinforced and it continues on. Go about your own business If nothing changes redirect your focus of your own life in the present and in the future.
LETS TALKDecember 23rd, 2017 at 4:29 PM
LAnne. I don’t know you. But I can feel your pain. This is completely UNACCEPTABLE. My question is:….I wonder.,…do you think this is good for your young children? No matter how you try or think you’re shielding them. You can’t. Kids are smart. And they know. And this will affect their adult lives. Not for the better. I’m sorry if I hurt you–but think about it–please?
L. AnnMarch 12th, 2018 at 5:54 AM
Hi LETS TALK, you bring up a great point. Sorry it took a while to get back. You didn’t hurt me. Very valid point that you had made. I went through different scenarios and where I live it usually results in shared parenting. As long as I can be around my children 100% of the time, I am convinced that is a better option than court ordered shared or even weekends. I get my children around other family members and coaches who are great role models. I have seen it first hand with other family members and tenants of mine (single moms) who HAD to hand their child over to someone they knew would be neglectful/emotionally abusive. I can minimize it and redirect. Kids are very observant but I don’t trust the courts at all. Just because a child doesn’t have physical bruises doesn’t mean there isn’t abuse. I refuse to get into that back and forth with him. I can’t even get him to respond to text messages appropriately so as long as I have access to my children 100% of the time now, I believe in my heart it is a better situation. Not long after my first post I did tell him his yelling is no longer acceptable and he can leave if he’s not happy. In addition, told him his behavior is no longer tolerated and that I wish for him to go and take out his angries elsewhere. He didn’t leave and shut down again. He then had a panic attack a month later (he thought heart attack) and ended up in the hospital where I believe the doctors had addressed some of his issues. Maybe they got the hint when they asked if we wanted to sit with him in the hospital room while running tests and I said no. He can have alone time like he normally likes. He seems to have had a good spiritual “awakening” so to speak.
Achie88949November 17th, 2017 at 6:56 PM
Hi, we’re not married but have 3 young kids together and been with eachother for 10 plus years now and he is definitely a Stonewaller. It to the point where I can’t handle it anymore. I feel crazy and like have to walk on eggshells around him, it’s so exhausting to live in our home, plus taking care of the kids! I’m a stay at home money and he controls everything else but I just wanted to let everyone know there is hope to leave always! I went down to talk about my options and resources today and made a plan to leave! I haven’t felt to relieved in years and hopefull for the future even if it means being a single mom. Stonewalling has ruined everything in our relationship and all I feel towards him is anger now. Please seek help if you need it!! It no way to live with this emotional abuse!
L. AnnNovember 18th, 2017 at 4:35 AM
Achie88989, you’re an inspiration. Please update on your journey. Coincidentally relieved is the exact word in which I feel when my husband travels for his work and I’m at home alone with my kids. I fantasize about not having that negativity around and we get a taste of it even for a week. It is a total sense of relief, like a huge weight lifted, a dark cloud clears. We can eat dinner and laugh, we are just relaxed. I encourage lots of chitchat with my boys. My kids do not miss him much. There is no yelling, abrasiveness, harshness then silence. Energy and clear thinking comes back. Knowing that I have no plans to do endure this too much longer gives me light at the end of the tunnel. I have already told him I can’t live like this long term and the time will come when I’m done. So, he knows how I feel. I encouraged him to talk to a counselor years ago when his blankness started. He wouldn’t despite the conflict he had (has) with me, his parents and co-workers. One co-worker once told me that my husband can hold one of the best grudges ever. This was an elderly man. It’s across the board. Anyway, good luck and have peace and happiness with your three children. Please update your journey.
lacieDecember 11th, 2017 at 1:07 AM
I love my husband, but he’s been stonewalling, I reckon, his whole life. Since he left home at 16 to join the navy. He’s so emotionally constipated, I fear what will happen if he ever starts feeling. But there is me to think about. I feel lost.
VeeJanuary 11th, 2018 at 6:43 PM
I had similar experience with husband of 32 yrs. Refused to go to Counselling over years, Infidelity and shows no remorse. I have now left the marriage after another episode of cheating. Time to move on for happiness.
ChristieJanuary 18th, 2018 at 7:23 AM
Its not my relationship but rather my daughter’s. Married only 7 yrs. Her husband is stonewalling as a result of arguments that he views as nagging. She is changing her behavior but he wont. They are on verge of divorce as he says he hasnt yet decided to stay or leave. They have 2 children ages 6 & 1. He views divorce as doing it FOR the kids not TO them! She is trying to save her marriage. They cant afford couples therapy. What to do?
AdJanuary 20th, 2018 at 7:27 AM
To everyone here, as a former sufferer of narcissistic abusers, I hope you reach out to a really good therapist to help you understand the reasons you accept someone emotionally abusing you until you feel ‘crazy’ and filled with rage and hatred. I see my former self in every one of these comments as I have been in relationships identical to those described over and over again. The final straw came after I briefly dated a true sociopath, who then became a violent stalker. I truly realised then that learning to love myself had become a matter of life and death, as I knew that if I kept on putting myself in these types of relationships, either I would date the ‘wrong’ man who would kill me or I would commit suicide from the pain of stonewalling, emotional abuse and neglect.
I was lucky that I had a brilliant psychologist at the time and she helped me understand that I accepted abuse due to co-dependency problems relating to complex post-traumatic stress disorder following a severely abusive childhood.
Because I was always so open and trusting with my life story, it was always easy for my partners to paint me as ‘crazy,’ or ‘overly emotional’ because of the effects of child abuse. I would always accept this criticism, because I felt so guilty and ashamed about being ‘damaged’ and a ‘burden’ to them. Once someone knows this tactic works, they have got you right where they need to keep you in order to maintain domination.
Life alone is difficult, but it is nothing compared to how hard it is being afraid, belittled and tortured by an emotionally abusive person day in and out.
You can break the cycle of abuse you are suffering by leaving your abuser and seeking your own help. Stop trying to fix them and give them what they need and focus on understanding and giving yourself love. Even if you have been living with this emotional torture for 10, 20, 40 years, it is never too late to seek your own fulfilment and joy from life. You can do it.
I cannot recommend bell hook’s book ‘Communion: The Female Search for Love’ enough. This book will change your life.
Good luck to you all. I hope you can give yourself love, joy and power XXX
SarahJanuary 22nd, 2018 at 9:16 PM
I have been with my husband 7 years. He is great at stonewalling. So much that it truly has changed every piece of who I am. I have two small children and we had seperated for 7 months last year. I wanted the marriage to work so we moved back in together and sought therapy. He hasn’t worked on his anger or issues… and they are all starting to resurface to the same man he was when I left him. He is so angry all the time now. I get stonewalled because he expects so much more out of me. Although I am broken from years of emotional neglect. I am scared for our kids. If I stay, they learn this as a “healthy” relationship… if I go, I miss out on half time with them as we would have joint custody and it absolutely breaks my heart to miss so much time with them. As I speak I have been stonewalled for 4 days. I tried to speak to
Him three days ago and he had nothing to say. Threw my sons birthday party and got ignored through the whole thing. Not even a thank you for the party. He wonders why I can’t love him anymore, it is so hard to love someone who does this every week. I just have been living my life these past few days, and haven’t said anything to him. I figured I’ll wait til he comes around but then I’ll get blamed for ignoring him. All of this because he doesn’t think I texted him enough at work during the week. I want out of this life. I felt myself again during those 7 months, but my heart breaks having to be away from my kids 😭. Any words of wisdom and strength and kindness would
RubenJanuary 31st, 2018 at 9:01 AM
To Sarah and all women,
I don’t know why a man would stonewall his wife, this is very unmasculine behaviour. As always, therapists put the blame on men and generalize so much it’s disgusting. People who stonewall have childhood issues they project onto you. This happens also with women. Stonewalling is learnt through a mother or father who did the same whilst they were young.
Men in general search for answers and confront issues cause, if we don’t, then this world would never work or be sustained in any way. A lot of women avoid responsibility, that’s why they dynamite an argument and say hurtful things in order to avoid the discussion.
If a man is cold, unaffectionate or harsh towards his wife, its because he is mad at her. Reasons? Many. Mainly that he has wanted her to change in a certain aspect and she fails to do so, unwilling to accept responsibility. This causes the spouse to become passive aggressive, since he cannot divorce his wife without consequence, an women know this very well.
Stonewalling is infantilism. Anyone who stonewalls is a child and an idiot.
chrisMarch 3rd, 2018 at 3:32 PM
Wow. I wish my husband would leave me. I qm the responsible one. He is the aggressive one that I support. I am afraid there are more options than listed.
chrisMarch 3rd, 2018 at 3:40 PM
Yes he is mad at me and yes he wants me to change. He hates me analyzing products and choices… for one thing… and so he screams to stop me from sharing what i learn through homework. However it is not a matter of the woman refusing to take responsibility. He hates me being the responsible one except that it alloows him not to work. Poor thing feels trapped now because he doesnt want to lose this plush life. But it is anything but plush because he is always a screaming freak. Any advice. Pretty hopeless at this point.
chrisMarch 3rd, 2018 at 3:59 PM
Is he doing this to get attention. Sorry, no question mark 0n the keypad. is he doing it to hurt you. Are you able to enjoy life on days of the silent treatment. For me it is better than getting screamed at and verbally abused but i would have to find a way to go about my day in such a way that he missing out. Fun with children perhaps. If i had a female friend or an old couple in the the neighborhood and children then my husband can be silent. Great. Wow, reading this page is making me think i should give my husband the silent treatment he wants. He doeent want me to speak unless i am spoken to. I offer to discuss and and all complaints he has about me. I offer to follow any and all house rules he would like. He says i am trying to be in control when saying that and refuses to tell me what he wants as if i somehow win by this. I am in my bathroom to write this and he is constantly bugging me to come out but i came in here because he was yelling at me. What gives. Why bite the head off of the person you apparently want to be around. All the curses at me. The only constant in our marriage. I feel bad for everybody on here.
RubenMarch 5th, 2018 at 12:35 AM
I didnt see your other messages.
Look: he is venting a lot of stuff on to you, he is probably mad at you and you havent done your part to change. Marriage is a HELP for people, not a chain and a torture! When two people finally realize that, by being patient to one another, understanding WITH LOVE, an active love, that being a ladder for each is something really beautiful. But you need your part done, and he his, OR IT WILL NEVER WORK.
And you will be single having regretted not giving your 100€, and you will remarry being the same lazy *** person you were before. And the cycle goes on.
Love is the motor for all change. Accept it and try to love.
chrisMarch 9th, 2018 at 6:26 PM
Did i say i was fat or is it just what is yelled. Do i watch tv. Nope. Not sure who u r talking to but clearly not based on anything said or true. Buddy, iam gone13 hours a day for work. I do my own thing. He is the needy one. Smh.
Nicole MApril 7th, 2018 at 9:15 AM
Hello Sarah, after reading your story, I have a small bit of advice and encouragement for you. Have you thought of counseling just for yourself? It sounds like you are in a great bit of pain and confusion at this point in your life. I know the roller coaster ride of having a husband who is “there” and seemingly in the marriage at one point and “gone” at other times, returning to the stonewalling manipulation and the isolation and depression it causes. It is tempting to hold on for those highs, thinking it will stay that way. I would encourage you though to look at past cycles as they are the best predictor of future behavior. Without change in action there is no change in result. If you focus on building yourself up, learning healthy coping techniques for you and your children, it can do nothing but good for you. Leaving a marriage with children is a difficult choice, but you must assess if your staying is guaranteeing your future unhappiness over the fear of leaving and having a possibility of future happiness. Children do learn things without us even knowing though, more than we realize. I wish the best for you, and you are worth happiness, and respect and a partner who will put effort into positive growth in the relationship also.
chrisMarch 3rd, 2018 at 4:12 PM
Anybody want to trade husbands. I want a logical thinker who does not scream in response to anything. A provider so i dont have to work, although if we trade you will need to be employeed. Just being silly. Why cant i do amything the typical way. I was too logical and i suppose untrusting to be the dependant one.. I bet he would have avoided me if i didnt have a good job. He admitted that he would have avoided me if i had children. Deep down i do not think he has any interest in me even if he wants to preach the word of God in heaven to me. Poor thing has too much fear and no foundation to be a formal teacher but want to give me sermans when im not prepared and cant keep up. I really feel like he pushes me away from Jesus. Then asks others to pray for me. So wrong.
RubenMarch 5th, 2018 at 12:28 AM
Your comment is unfair.
Women avoid men, all the Got Dam time, for not having a “descent” job. Any normal, self respecting man will avoid a single mother like the Ebola.
Yes, your man may have some deep seeded issues from childhood, thus thats why he acts that way, but you, you cannot (in this day and age) want a provider “just cause I’ll feel better”. Tough luck.
This is 2018, we are experiencing climate change (not man made BS PC lies), and we will see a HUGE spike in food prices like you have never, ever seen before. Work while you can and save, stock up.
Dont be a Netflix woman, get busy. Get your mind off of him and do your own thing.
chrisMarch 9th, 2018 at 6:33 PM
Really dude. It is self disrespecting to be with somebody with children. In that casejust being with him was very stupid and he is right everytime he calls me stupid u truly have no idea what u r saying. I am more than prepared by your standards and make it possible 4 him to play all day. He doesnt work. His son called peoplewho work dumb at the same time he was accepting hand outs.
RubenApril 9th, 2018 at 5:07 AM
Well, if he plays all day then he doesnt have love for you. You are not meant to be together. Or, he is in a state of deppression and he doesnt want to talk about it.
My ex-wife never wanted to talk about anything, and I mean anything. She just layed low and never, every wanted to be confronted with issues. Its not all men you know. Cut the feminazi BS maa’m.
You need for him to talk to you and openly state why he is acting this way, if he avoids you, then get out of that relationship.
It cost me several years before I split up, and it cost me years of putting up with someone who, in the end, never truly loved me.
BBMarch 19th, 2018 at 10:40 PM
My adult son walks out of the room whenever I talk about something emotional and/or negative. He did this tonight when I talked about how I went through horrible bipolar episodes years ago and how I’m always afraid that another one will come. He does this when I talk about the pain I’m suffering over estranged family members, my brother’s death, health issues, and countless other things.
Is this stonewalling?
It really hurts when he does this, because it makes me feel like he doesn’t care enough to listen. It also trivializes my pain. I’ve also started feeling as if I have to rush to say anything to him out of fear that he’ll take off.
Nicole M.April 7th, 2018 at 9:03 AM
I have read most of the comments here and it is sad that this this is such a prevalent situation for so many of us to be in. I myself am divorcing my husband who is a high functioning alcoholic in denial that also stonewalls me regularly. This is his preferred method of “punishing” me for bringing up any sort of issue or talk about any feelings that he deems to be negative. I have been in counseling two years straight, I have my own business and I go to school full time to get my psychology degree. I have been in abusive relationships in the past, but experiencing this level of stone walling is by the most painful of all my relationships. To be stonewalled makes one feel invisible. When I am stonewalled, especially after I use every tool I have learned about healthy communication, it leaves me feeling hollow. As if I am not even good enough for a response. Obviously I know this is not true, but that is how it feels. I sympathize with every single person who has endured this passive aggressive abuse. In my experience, I don’t think that people who have learned to cope and control others with this tactic ever really change. One has to be willing to admit they are in error before being open to learning new skills and someone who uses stonewalling generally is very immature as far as communication skills and also very set in their ways after years of using a technique that allows them to so greatly control others, while at the same time, “keeping their hands clean” by not using overt forms of control or abuse. It is an insidious form of abuse and from the outsiders point of view, is rarely ever seen for what it is. The one time that a person reacts out of fear, hurt, frustration to the stonewalling is what outsiders see, and the perpetrator capitalizes on this and uses it as the “reason” their victim is “crazy”, they are justified, or in my husband’s case he called me “reactionary” because he knew it was my hot button. After all the time I’d spend learning, going to counseling, even before my current two years of counseling, he knew for a fact that I worked very hard at becoming a skilled and healthy individual and communicator, so that word stung the most. But we are all human, and we do have limits, that is different from a prevalent and destructive dysfunctional behavior pattern that is employed without any effort to stop it or learn something more functional. I would suggest to anyone who experiences this with someone new in their lives to leave. Value yourself and trust that this is a behavior more likely to never change than many other unhealthy coping efforts out there. To those that are in the situation over the long haul, and have come to recognize this pattern, I’d suggest counseling, if not for couples at least for yourself, to gain knowledge, and to be able to recognize your worth so that if your partner shows they are not going to change this behavior, you will have the coping skills and foundation to be able to say no and walk away, no matter how long the relationship has gone on. Each day is a new day, no matter how many are behind us, that day is still full of new possibilities, and new hope. No one can make someone who uses this form of abuse stop, but everyone can stop accepting it. Take back your power. Don’t let them see their behavior bothers you, even if it does. They want that reaction, it reinforces the behavior. Be the bigger person, work on getting yourself healthy and strong, and find people who can help you focus on something more positive. It seems huge, their rejecting behavior, but in essence, it is a small effort in the hands of a dysfunction individual to control you, no one has the right to control you. I wish everyone here the best, to brighter days my friends.
Antonio C O.May 14th, 2019 at 12:31 PM
lets make a sight for non stone wallers hook ups.
L. AnnApril 9th, 2018 at 7:08 AM
Hi Nicole, you said something that hit it right on the nail, “As if I am not even good enough for a response. Obviously I know this is not true, but that is how it feels.” I had always worked on making sure I communicated properly with people, listened to people, knew when to offer advice, when to just listen, etc. I had many healthy friendships/relationships throughout my life and knew it wasn’t me but after time when you can’t have a normal conversation, no back and forth talk about even the weather or where to go to eat, pretty much nothing, just staring and grunting or maybe a yes or no, it really makes you feel like you’re so undeserving of a conversation for something you have no idea what but you feel like you must have done something. That’s the twisted part because these people usually don’t start off this way or at least it comes across as shy. I found myself constantly trying to start a conversation to get something out of him. Anything.
After time and attempts at trying to talk to my husband if he’s upset or if I did something, maybe not happy in the marriage, and I’m looked at and responded to in a “you’re crazy for thinking that” I actually entertained the thought that maybe it’s not me and could be him. That’s when things changed. The confusion was still there but I started to see clearly. My focus is my happiness. I am happier, I look healthier, I feel better and do what I want without worrying about his opinion (the only time he talked, to complain). I became so much wiser, stronger and have better faith in myself. I too wish brighter days for others on this site. Keep your head up, surround yourself with positive people, focus on your happiness and the happiness of others in the family (kids) until the next step in life needs to be taken but don’t let anyone steal your happiness.
Pastor’s WifeApril 29th, 2018 at 12:11 PM
This has been the most comforting article I have ever layed eyes on. My husband is a Pastor. He works 9-5 as a director and he runs a church. Anything that has to do with church or work…. he is there front and center. When I have a complaint or an issue with him, he RUNS! He runs out the door. Almost like he punishes me for even having the audacity to try and work out our marriage problems. He will leave and stay at the church, sometimes for days. Then come back and pretend that nothing was ever wrong.
I have been so desperate for him to just come home, I would pretend with him. But it always happened again, the same issues. I would try and talk to him, first calm then it would go to tears then I’m grabbing his arm while he is running out the door and I begging him not to run! It has been making me looney toon!
He would even use bible scripture to manipulate his stonewalling. The church elders would be looking at me like I run my husband off and am full of hell fire!
Now before he gets a chance to run I tell him to get out (even though I don’t want him to go). It gives me a sense of security in my own mind. It became a vicious cycle.
I read him this article and he was shocked. He has agreed to Counseling, and I need therapy after dealing with this, but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel!
SusanJune 24th, 2018 at 10:20 AM
I stumbled across this while looking for answers to my not so good relationship I have with my husband. I have read many articles and knew that he is passive aggressive, will do anything to avoid an uncomfortable conversation and sometimes he gaslights me. But this….stonewalling….this is what he’s been doing to me for many years. We went through couples counseling this Spring, with a counselor who uses the Gottman technique. The problem is he sweet talks everyone who he wants to impress, and the counselor couldn’t see that. Everyone loves him, such a nice guy, and no one suspects or would believe that he can be so mean to me. We have been married for 44 years and have 6 children and 13 grandchildren. We are a very close family, despite the fact that all in the family feel he’s the nicest person ever and tell me I’m the one who needs to change. This is because he never says or does anything in front of them and doesn’t treat them like he treats me. I tell them some things he’s done or said to me but they feel I must deserve it “because he’s so nice”. I find it I don’t say a word, never disagree with what he says or does we get along great, but as soon as I disagree, politely, with him he gets angry and says horrible words to me. He calls me names, last night said I was a “sick person”. This was after I disagreed with him about a memory we both remembered differently. Five minutes later he said he said “this is a sick conversation”. I told him, no I remember exactly what you said and he finally admitted it, although a few minutes later he tried to say he didn’t say it again. He lies to me often, he won’t keep me informed of our financial situation (he’s self employed), he won’t tell me how much money he has, he doesn’t smile at me, only touches me rarely, the only intimacy I get is sometimes a peck on my mouth when we go to bed. He sleeps in a separate bedroom, that started about 8 years ago. For the first couple of years I begged him to come back then after a while I found it was peaceful having my own bedroom. But the maddening part is he insists it was me who wanted separate bedrooms. If I tell him how I remember it he gets angry and calls me names. I know he has a very hard time expressing any kind of emotion. I knew his parents well and his mother was exactly the same way. She would never talk to me about anything other than the weather. She’d get up and leave the room. I feel we can’t get a divorce. Our family would fall apart. We are all so close, that would change everything. I also feel that I’m in a hard spot. Seems I have to stay in this loveless marriage. I am 72 years old but I can’t believe I’ll go the rest of my life never receiving love or caring. We will get along well for weeks then one conversation sets off a world of hurt on my part. I have no idea how he feels or how this affects him as he doesn’t talk. I feel hopeless.
SusanJuly 13th, 2018 at 3:01 PM
I received an email saying there was a new comment on this blog. I can’t figure out how to respond to “Jackie” who wrote a couple of days ago. But, Jackie, if you read this, my advice to you is you might want to get out of your marriage. You have been married only a little over a year and are already being stonewalled. I must say though that my husband was worse when we were first married. He would not speak to me for days if I said something that sounded emotional to him. He actually moves on much more quickly now, and will speak to me only minutes after we had a discussion he didn’t like. But a different subject, one that did not make him feel feelings. But the bad news is we don’t have any kind of relationship that is close and caring. It is phoney, just like he likes his conversations to be. But as I said, it’s too late for me. I have been married for almost 45 years and I don’t have a way to support myself alone. I can manage, life is quieter now that I have learned when to talk and what subjects are accepted. You are young, you can start over, and maybe find a man who is in touch with his feelings and is not afraid of his feminine side. Good luck to you!
DeborahAugust 11th, 2018 at 11:02 AM
This is just like my husband of 25 years. It makes you hate them. I can’t have any conversation at all with my husband. He never looks at me when I talk to him and he frequently just walks out of the room. He considers everything I say as political and he hates it. It is not the love that I had worked for when I first got married to him. He was into porn for a long time so I think it changed him. He has never liked sex with me while before I married him, I was enjoying a great sex life. My marriage has been sexless for many years. It all came down to I was supposed to take care of him and then it was over. He said that I would be alright. I am 65 and miserable. I’m hoping to get a job and may change some things. This marriage has never had the love in it that the first marriage had even after finding out my first husband was a jerk. I knew that he loved me.
ObscurityknocksDecember 29th, 2018 at 4:33 PM
Susan, it’s covert abuse, textbook abuse. A decent counsellor would ask to see you both separately, would know how manipulative these people can be, I think the charming public face is one of the worst aspects of it, because people just don’t believe you even when you do pluck up the courage to tell somebody. Being with them in public when they’re playing the perfect man is soul destroying, you just want to scream “ it’s not like this, it’s a lie, he’s a monster!” There is a book called how he gets into her head by Don Henessey and why does he do that by Lundy Bancroft. If you haven’t read them, please think about taking a look. This isn’t your fault, it’s his, he chooses this.
SusanFebruary 20th, 2019 at 10:29 AM
Obscurityknocks, I just saw your post from December. Thank you for your advice. We did go to a counselor just about a year ago. He asked to speak to us separately once, for a few minutes each. I don’t know what he and my husband talked about, but I asked my husband later if he told the counselor about slamming me against a wall because he didn’t want to talk. He said yes, he told him, but it was never discussed during any of our sessions. So either my husband lied to me, and he does that often, or the counselor feels that men are allowed this if their wife gets too close to the truth. My husband has every trait of a passive aggressive person, but he won’t admit any of it. I feel this is a safety persona he has developed since he was a child, as a way to handle things that he is not comfortable with and I worry that he could do most anything to avoid ever being honest with me about his feelings. My son (school psychologist) gave me a copy of Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, several years ago and said I might understand Dad better. I love this book, the main topic is vulnerability and how so many can’t allow themselves to be vulnerable. I know all the issues my husband appears to have but I have no idea how to deal with them. I re-read my post, telling how our marriage had improved last summer and what I did to help that happen. So I reminded myself what I need to do. But it’s not fair! Why do I have to pussyfoot around him, not upset him, to make him feel he can be with me? I guess I have not choice, I simply can’t support myself financially and now I’m 73, getting older all the time. I sat yesterday and tried to figure out how we could split up, but no matter what I thought of it came back to it would be easiest to continue living the way I live. Basically I’m on my own. He works long hours, self employed, so he can work all he wants. I retired 2.5 years ago, and sit home alone most days. I do some fulfilling volunteer work and have the grandkids some, but it’s mostly a pretty empty life. I hate thinking this is all there will be for the rest of my days, but I don’t see what I can do to change it. I don’t have enough money to travel as much as I’d like and don’t really want to travel much alone. Our youngest lives on Kauai, I have a ticket to go there in May. Hubby couldn’t make a decision, but hopefully he will join me for the last part since he can’t go for 2.5 weeks like I can. But, that’s where he threw me against a wall last time we went so maybe I’d have a better time by myself. I have notes about that trip, how he was goading me into a fight, just harassing me to fight with him, because he has no idea how to simply communicate. Everythings a fight to him and all my fault of course. I looked up the two books you recommend. Thank you.
Antonio C O.May 14th, 2019 at 12:41 PM
You waited too long. I am handicapt and getting worst and her stonewalling getting worst. Its hard to find out what is going on. I finally had enought and getting people envolved . Due to the 3 children experiencing this. I say if she can treat a guy at work with a ‘goodmorning’ ext. Then i have the same respect due to me staying at home doing everything. while the stone waller sleeps confortable. Tell your children . Get them involved. my 4 year old is telling her not to treat her daddy bad. But the demon mother smiles sideways and continues.
SusanAugust 13th, 2018 at 10:54 AM
I’ve read the latest additions to this blog and want to say how much my marriage has improved lately. It was pretty much at the bottom, but I really don’t have a way to leave and be able to support myself as I’m a 72 year old retiree with a small retirement. I’m wondering now if low self esteem has much to do with men who stonewall. Because as soon as I started being positive, not complain and try to support him whenever I could he changed. It didn’t happen overnight but in the last couple of months. We had a big family reunion in July, four of our grown children came with their families. We had a total of 10 adults and 10 children, we went camping twice and spent two weeks together, a week at our house, then camping. I was determined that we would be happy grandparents when they were here. It’s no fun pretending all the time so I really just was truly happy. A choice I made. My husband responded very positively. It was like all he wanted was for me to quit nagging him about when our house will be completed (we’ve lived in an uncompleted house he’s building us, for two years), and to be happy about where we are right now. I am not the type of person to coddle another person so they’ll be happy but this is working. We are happy, content and our days together are pleasant. Still not sleeping together, and no sex, but more cuddling and hugging. It is worth it to me to put out more than I’m receiving for the peace in our lives. I hope we can keep this up, although I am aware that life has it’s ups and downs. It’s a daily struggle but I’m not giving up after 44 years.
Young JerkSeptember 4th, 2018 at 3:10 AM
I’m with my best friend of nearly 8 years. I mean that. I think some people say that in an obligatory way, but we’ve been through a lot of sh** together. We’ve always been there for each other in the most healing of ways. Personal stuff. Dark stuff, at times. We’ve been each others confidant through thick and thin, seen each other at our most vulnerable, encouraged each other, spent long hours deep into the night exploring interests and talking about out mutual interests, which, to be honest, are pretty strange topics to most people. When I realized I Loved her, it was a lightning bolt. We transitioned over the next several months from best friends to just *knowing* we want to be with each other. I mean, it’s beautiful. We have some issues though. Bad past relationships. And I mean abusive. we both come from a history of childhood abuse, absentee parents, and a whole lot of anxiety about everything. We’re the overthinking types.
BUT our mistrust and anxiety about being in a relationship at all… it’s like we started projecting things onto each other. One of us would do something to remind of us a terrifying or scarring experience with an ex and BAM. Suddenly we’re treating the other as if they WERE that person. We scream, we say mean things and have this awful tendency to just……ugh….it’s like she immediately revokes every sweet thing she has said, and all the good things she’s said about me are BS. She disappears until 3am, or locks herself into her car until I beg her to come in. Why? Because she’s mad, and I have retorted with a bunch of immature namecalling, screaming and doing everything but getting my point across or making the situation better. Then the next day or two we reassure each other of our Love and friendship and things are awesome again.
But reading this caused a realization. Because we’re non-confrontational and don’t want to rock the awesomeness of when things are good? We both totally stonewall. “No, everything is great! Love you!”. We’re both empathic and know when the other is full of it. But, we are trusting and give the other the benefit of the doubt because, hey sometimes a bad feeling is just that. Or it’s one’s own anxiety.
I don’t want to be one of these guys that you’ve all expressed so much frustration, or – dare I say – even hate at times for in 10 years.
This is not done out of malice, but because we’re both scared of causing each other pain. meanwhile we sit there and build up steam and then BOOOOM. Need a release valve.
ChrisJune 5th, 2019 at 10:49 AM
My wife does this all the time. It is so frustrating. I have gotten to a point where I try to not bring up anything that might trigger her to stonewall me, but I feel it is unfair to me so I do speak; but it usually ends with her retreating. Some how I am always the issue and when I can admit my areas of fault, I try and discuss it and she’ll say you shouldn’t have made mistakes. When she falls short, I kindly express how I didn’t like something and she go days with out talking. Recently after not talking to me for 16 hours she says “did you learn your lesson.” I felt I had to agree. Then she became pregnant and it got even worse, I understand hormones and stuff; but she had been partaking in this behavior so now it’s worse.
I love her, ha full disclaimer, but good lord this is frustrating.
Recently her friend asked to come stay with us for a few days which I agreed, then she told my wife a male friend of hers will be coming with her. I said I don’t mind, but who is the guy.. not someone my wife’s “best friend” has talked about ever? So he is a stranger coming into our home. I just asked for her to ask who he is to her and what’s there relationship so I can have an idea of who is coming over. My wife got angry and cut me off, discredited my request and said I’ll get a hotel and stay with them and hasn’t talked with me for 24 hours. Then blocked me on everything.
Something so small to this. It’s ridiculous. Now as a man I feel uncomfortable talking to anyone about it and since she’s pregnant my statements could be voided. So I am venting on this post lol.
NicoleJune 5th, 2019 at 4:52 PM
Unfortunately, sometimes we love people who are unable or unwilling to love us back as we deserve. I can’t speak for your situation, but for my own, I had to decide that I deserved more than to walk on eggshells and more than only being able to be part of myself, not the fully expressive and feeling person that I am. I do hope for your sake, you know you should always speak your truth, no matter what comes, because anything else, is not the full truth and will never lead to your happiness or to hers ultimately.
JoanJune 5th, 2019 at 1:55 PM
Ugh, what an awful situation! You should not have to put up with that. Can you get to a counselor, either with or without her? I can imagine she will only get worse once the baby is born!
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