Have you ever been in a relationship with a person who, when they are not happy with you or their world, they go into a withdrawal pattern? They shut you out and become silent, leaving you to play the guessing game about the why.
Communication is the foundation of a loving relationship, and silence is the opposite of this. The person who shuts you down with silence, is likely playing a power game. They feel powerful when they have you on edge . It is a childlike way of dealing with issues.
The covert message sent by this person is , “you deserve to be punished, and I am going to punish you through stonewalling and disconnect”. Yes, this is toddler like behavior, but we must look at this person with compassion. They operate from a place of fear. Being open is very scary for the stonewallers.
It is easier to have compassion for the stonewallers, when we realize they live their life from a shame based place. Most likely they grew up in an environment where shame was used to control them, and the silent treatment was used by primary caregivers to manipulate them. And so, of course, they carry this into adulthood. It is the interaction style imprinted upon them by early caregivers.
Healthy relationships realize give and take. You speak your piece, and I will speak mine. Healthy relationships are not about disengaging when the waters get rough. Fair-minded people are willing to hear you out, and share their feelings also.
Manipulation and vengeance are goals for the stonewallers. If they interact with you, they might give your ideas credibility, and that does not work for them. In their minds, they are the only right one in the conversation. You don’t need their permission to feel peaceful and calm. You can be confident even if they treat you less than. That is about them, not you.
Remaining steady in the relationship with the stonewaller is key. When they go into game playing mode, you go high. You stay on your path of kindness and good health, not allowing them to set the pace in an unhealthy interaction process.
Stonewallers wish for you to take the burden of the problems and they cast all blame for relational problems in your direction, because taking responsibility is too difficult. They simply can’t and won’t do it.
You will not be able to interact with these sorts in an adult to adult communication style. Think more in terms of interacting, adult to toddler. Asking them what is wrong is unproductive, because they are not honest enough to answer, and in fact, they are enjoying giving you the silent treatment, and watching you squirm, so they are not interested in playing nice.
Give up trying to change the stonewaller. You are trying to be normal and healthy, but attempting to impose healthy values on an unhealthy person, is quite frankly, a waste of your time. It’s not going to happen. Learning to remain composed during their stonewalling is a better plan.
There is nothing you can say to get them to interact. Your normalcy can be a disadvantage, because you continue to try to interact with an unhealthy person, with the same guidelines you use in healthy relationships, and this is a dead-end street with the stonewaller.
Minimizing your interaction with these people is needed at times. Avoiding dealing with people who play games is likely the healthier route . This person thinks they are winning but in reality, does the person with the silent treatment win if you don’t play the game? If they play games in an empty vacuum, then they only have themselves to play with .
Focus on you. You are not required to play this childlike game with this person, and their mood of the moment. A more appropriate adult approach to life is for you to be the adult, and don’t get pulled into the stonewallers games. You determine who you are, don’t give this power to the stonewaller.