So finally, after having a ride with talking about the three horsemen, lets now lastly talk about the 4th and the last horsemen which are stonewalling. It is shutting down during an argument and becoming unresponsive to your significant partner. There is no confrontation, no listening to each other patiently, no interaction, whatsoever during any fight which makes it ugly. The probable reason for this happens to be, being overwhelmed or physiologically “flooded” (a term given by Dr John Gottman himself). This, in turn, means that they would need some time to be on the go for having a detailed talk on what their partner desires.
But what is not realized enough is that stonewalling leads to major resentment on the other partner who is actively interested to have a conversation and get things sorted in whatever way possible. It is a fact that couples at most times stonewall because they think that the situation is worse and their partner is already angry, so talking about it may lead to more arguments which in turn would lead to more problems. On the other hand, the other partner might feel unloved, rejected and ignored which would make things even more difficult ahead.
Antidote of stonewalling
As already mentioned above, when a person begins stonewalling, they are physiologically flooded which means they have an increased heart rate, the stress hormone releases or a fight or flight response which makes it utterly difficult to discuss the issue patiently while sitting down respectfully and being an active hearing ear as they are not in a state to do so.
Try practising physiological self-soothing. At this point, when you are physiologically flooded, you need a break where you do not think about this situation, your partner or all the quarrels that have been successively happening and focus on your self-soothing. Try going to a space that makes you feel at utmost peace. Try to focus on your breath or just distract yourself by picking an activity that is all new and you know you thoroughly would enjoy. This is easier said than done but making an active attempt won’t harm.
With this, we now come to an end to the first series of the blog, The four horsemen. Now that we have talked about each horseman in detail, we know how to manage our day-to-day conflicts healthily with all the antidotes suggested by Dr John Gottman. Every relationship deserves to get flourished and no one just wants to keep fighting, life is just too short for that. If you still don’t know what to do, consult an expert to guide you. The next time you see any horseman kicking in, just remember that it can be fixed keeping them actively at your bay. It certainly won’t be easy but it all depends on your approach whether to push or to pull.
Know your Author!!