What is Masonry? How This Defense Mechanism Affects Relations | Brittney Lindstrom
Researcher and couple therapist John Gottman famously described what he said The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in relationships — communication problems that are most likely to predict the eventual failure of a marriage.
These four relationship problems are: criticism, contempt, advocacy, and wall building.
What is stone masonry?
Also known as masonry “silent treatment,“It is a defense mechanism in which the bricklayer shuts down, avoids, withdraws, or refuses to communicate with the other person in the relationship.
The blocker may want to stop further discussion and create distance, in response to feelings of discomfort, shock, or being overwhelmed, and because they may want to shut down emotionally.
Directly or indirectly, this means that their partner’s feelings are worthless and often leaves the other person feeling vulnerable, confused and deeply hurt.
As a ripple effect, physical intimacy is often stalled, which can lead to lower self-worth, self-esteem, and insecurities. Studies have even shown thatBuilding a wall over time leads to “excessive musculoskeletal wear and tear and the development of musculoskeletal symptoms.”
Examples from literature
1. Avoiding verbal and nonverbal communication.
2. Refusing to talk about the topic or changing the topic.
3. Leaving the room without saying anything.
4. Ignoring you while talking.
5. Refusing to answer questions.
6. Engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.
7. Reject or nullify your concerns.
8. Being reluctant to address wall-building behaviors.
Why do people block others?
When a partner goes quiet, there are many reasons why. It can be avoiding conflict, avoiding discussing related issues in the relationship, or avoiding communication in general.
Unfortunately, the damage done to the partner who was exposed to bricklaying can be psychologically damaging. links with depression. A Study published in 2016 found evidence of depressive symptoms in both partners as the common denominator was a general decrease in marital satisfaction.
Is building a wall a form of abuse?
Although counting as abuse can be subjective, building a wall can be seen as emotional or mental abuse because of psychological trauma caused.
Building a wall not only affects the person surrounded by the wall, but also relationship, ultimately, as a whole.
The experience of living with someone who is cold towards you, talking only about superficial things and avoiding any real or deep conversation It doesn’t leave me every day.
Every day I would ask myself how I could make it better and create reasons why it was my fault. Why else isn’t he contacting me and working on our issues?
Unsurprisingly, she dumped me. If I wasn’t confused, hurt, angry, or disappointed among many more emotions, I certainly am now.
I felt lost… I felt abandoned… I felt worthless.
I spent and still have sleepless nights trying to figure out when things started to go downhill and whether it could be prevented. How could he do this without hesitation? For weeks, I felt like I was constantly punching my stomach. I still feel it from time to time.
When I ask him questions about the relationship, I either get ignored or get very vague answers. Best avoidance. I was planning to spend the rest of my life with this man, who was now a stranger to me.
This avoidance and emotional withdrawal will never be forgotten. The feeling of being so lost and confused will forever remain a mystery as to why everything happened the way it was. The depreciation and insignificance of someone I sleep with every night still bothers me.
The emotional investment I put forth until the day he left makes me tired even to think about it. So, I think it could be somehow some kind of abuse As I dig myself deeper into a pit in my attempts to help him and our relationship, it’s because of a conscious effort to withdraw emotionally from the relationship.
What should you do when someone has blocked you?
According to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Lianne AvilaTo stop wall-building in a relationship is largely up to the bricklayer.
She suggests physiologically self-soothing to calm yourself and adopt healthier ways of managing conflict and emotions.
For those who are blocked, it’s important to give the bricklayer time to calm themselves down rather than trying to handle a situation right away.
You can suggest that you are not against them when things are hard to talk about at a time when things are not heating up and you are just trying to make things right. Relax and go for a walk, meditate, do a yoga session, watch a funny episode of one of their favorite TV shows, keep a journal, read a book, or do some deep breathing exercises in solitude.
This allows them to self-soothe and calm their reactions of immediate distress and emotional distress before returning to the discussion with a clearer non-fight-or-flight mindset so that they can talk more constructively with their partner. .
Ultimately, however, you have to tackle the brickwork together so you can take the blame on both sides of the relationship and think of it as collaborative communication.
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Sometimes the best way to do this is to seek professional help, such as couples counseling. This way, you can identify the root causes of why walling is occurring.
Either way, try to learn how to stop and listen to each other before responding, and try to accept what each person says as feedback rather than criticism.
Be thoughtful and empathetic about where the other person is coming from, and pay attention to tone of voice, word choice, and body language.
Finally, if things get too hot, decide to put the conversation on hold so both of you can calm down, have a physical space that each of you can go to, what each of you can call a “safe space.” come to the table or determine when it is best to do this.
While building a wall is one of Gottman’s Four Horsemen, it certainly doesn’t mean the end is near.
Try to think of this as a sign that prioritizing communication in your relationship comes first.
Brittney Lindstrom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
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