Gaslighting and stonewalling are two behaviors that can be damaging to relationships, but can be countered with boundaries.
The truth is, you or your loved one may very well care about your relationship — and a lot. However, without the proper conflict resolution skills, we can become overwhelmed with emotion.
If you don’t know what to do or say in a conflict, you might turn to tactics like stonewalling or gaslighting to cope.
Knowing what these behaviors look like can help you work to counter them or set boundaries when you see them in others.
Defining the terms
Stonewalling and gaslighting are two behaviors that may:
- be defense mechanisms
- signal interpersonal aggression
- be ineffective ways of coping
- be a form of manipulation
They can be just one or several of these things at once.
What is stonewalling?
According to the work of relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, stonewalling is one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.” This is a metaphor for communication styles that are damaging to relationships.