ERP 217: How To Deal With Stonewalling In Relationship

By Posted in - Podcast May 26th, 2020 2 Comments

Today, I am giving more attention and support to a listener’s question, who writes “How do you deal with a partner who stonewalls?”

In this episode, Dr. Jessica Higgins discusses: 

  • What stonewalling is and what it entails. 
  • Common dynamics and patterns that lead to one partner withdrawing or stonewalling. 
  • What is often underneath the stonewalling behavior and what it feels like on the receiving end.
  • Research findings about the differences between men and women as it relates to stonewalling. 
  • Over time, the pain of stonewalling can be devastating to the emotional bond and relationship. 
  • Tips for how to get off the destructive track of the pursuer-withdrawer pattern, so that we can find our emotional balance and start a softer, more positive and constructive conversation with our partner. 


Shifting Criticism into Connected Communication – Free Guide

Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, by Dr. Susan Johnson

ERP 213: How Shame And Grandiosity Relate To Self-Esteem – An Interview With Terry Real (podcast)

ERP 210: How Emotionally Intelligent Men Are Key To A Lasting Relationship – An Interview With Kyle Benson (podcast)


ERP 217: How to Deal With Stonewalling in Relationship

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins: 






Twitter: @DrJessHiggins


Email: [email protected]

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here.

Thank you so much for your interest in improving your relationship. 

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(2) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Alison - Reply

    May 28, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Thank you so very much for this thoughtful and incredibly helpful podcast. From listening to this (and many other of your episodes) I have gained so much more clarity around this issue. I went digging further and found the most wonderful clip from Dr Sue Johnson which helped even more…it’s concepts from Love Sense, which I know you reference often, but it really nailed (for me) the concept of the panic and abandonment I feel when my partner does this. There is a video at (counter) 43 on it which illustrates that such feelings are actually primal. Here is the link: While the stonewalling is still a massive issue in my world at the moment, which might (sadly) become our undoing, I so much appreciate the clarity you have provided around the issue.

    • Dr. Jessica Higgins - Reply

      June 7, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Alison, Thank you so much for commenting and your listenership. Yes, the Still Face Experiment is powerful. and Dr. Sue Johnson does a wonderful job helping us understand the research and how attachment impacts our intimate relationship. I am so sorry to hear about what you are experiencing in your relationship. Please let me know if I can be of any support. Warmly, Jessica

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Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

Stop the criticism loop, learn new ways to communicate
and strengthen the connection with your partner.


Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching