Stonewalling–Is That A Man Thing?

It is normal to be upset when upsetting things occur. “Normal” doesn’t mean good or healthy, just what is expected under the circumstance. So, for example, someone, let’s call her Caroline, might scream because her husband had been attacking her relentlessly, even waking her up at night to do so. Phil, her husband, might be jealous and that could be “normal” in that it makes sense under the circumstances. His jealousy was a result of his insecurity which was a result of his relationship (or lack of one) to his parents growing up. But all of that doesn’t make it good or right. What Is Stonewalling? What about Ben? Ben is a nice, friendly guy. He’s good to his friends, gives a hand when needed, plays ball with his sons. But when he and his wife argue, he is cold as ice. She can yell at him and he remains calm. Why is that? No, Ben has not had years of meditation or yoga. Ben had a rough beginning, spending nearly all his time at home waiting for the inevitable beating from his father. There was some point his father needed to make and he would hit harder and harder to make it. Although there was no escaping the beatings, Ben learned that he could still “win” the battle of wills if he could somehow let his father know that his point was not taken. The cooler Ben would be, the more furious his father was, and amidst the pain, Ben felt good inside. So for Ben, experiencing pain while being unfazed became a desirable combination. Any threat of...

How To Get Your Needs Met When Someone’s Not Listening

In my last post, I defined co-dependency. The key ingredient in it is that the supposed “victim” gets something out of the spouse’s bad behavior. Today I want to look at it from a different angle. Above all, a marriage is meant to be a friendship. It cannot be a one-way street. If one person is indulging in something harmful and the other person either tries patiently to get the spouse to change, or allows the indulgence because of some reasonable reason (such as illness), I came to the conclusion that this does not constitute co-dependency. However, there is a catch. If the life of the couple centers around the person who is being indulged and the other person’s life has no quality and his or her needs are not being met, then there is cause for concern and cause to want to investigate further. Let’s take the case of Sally and Al that I brought up in the last post. She is not co-dependent as she is getting nothing out of Al’s drinking binges on weekends. She hates it and has been unsuccessfully trying to get him to change. She doesn’t want to leave the marriage because she loves him. She does not appear to be enabling him yet she is not putting strong enough obstacles in his way either. Her needs for love, attention, care, and friendship in the marriage are not met. It is at this point that a person whose needs are not being met must take a second look at how she is dealing with the problem. She has tried nagging and of course,...
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