Refusal to listen to another point of view with openness
Refusal to compromise
Refusal to collaborate
Refusal to support the other person’s plans
Refusal to accept influence
Stonewalling is a widely-used strategy in most unsatisfying relationships. It may become a fundamental tactic, because it is a way to apply pressure that seemingly can’t be confronted, because it is exactly “not doing anything.”
Part of the deliberate intention of stonewalling is to keep the survivor ‘on the hook’ and not really able to pursue alternatives because the issue is still ‘open’ in some technical sense.
However, in an abusive relationship, isolation and threats are usually present, and the survivor has no safe options to pursue needs except through the primary aggressor.
Stonewalling is a complete pattern of non-communication and non-cooperation that only works from a position of power.
Steve Becker, LCSW:
“You don’t have to be a sociopath to stonewall. Plenty of non-sociopaths stonewall. But many sociopaths are stonewallers, and the act of stonewalling itself contains the cold, callous attitude of the sociopath.”
Stonewalling = the act of refusing communication, stalling, or evading, especially to avoid revealing embarrassing information and escape accountability.
The stonewaller isn’t necessarily a sociopath, but the act of intentional stonewalling contains the cold, callous attitude of the sociopath. Absence of empathy is characteristic of stonewallers, and they may relish a sadistic pleasure in watching their target twist, squirm, and make humiliating efforts and bids to be heard. Stonewallers, whether sociopaths or not, are seriously disturbed communicators. Their indifference to the stonewalled party’s experience, as noted, can be chilling. Stonewalling often reflects character pathology, in which case they won’t change—they will always be stonewallers.
Stonewalling is a tactic commonly used by bullies wanting to control, humiliate, and frustrate a target who attempts to resolve a conflict through reasonable discussion or negotiation. Accusations of mental deficiency, harassment, and even bullying, are other typical methods of asserting dominance, intimidating the target, and discouraging objections to the abuse from both victim and bystanders. To the insightful observer, these behaviors reveal the bully’s true motivations.
Stonewallers, whether sociopaths or not, are seriously disturbed communicators. Their indifference to the stonewalled party’s experience can be chilling. Their stonewalling often reflects character pathology, in which case they won’t change—they will always be stonewallers.