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How to handle being stonewalled

Community Member
I am in a relationship with a female.
Her defensive mechanism when she is overwhelmed is to shut down/ stonewall.

I am dealing with my own depression and anxiety, and I want more then anything to be there for her.

I have never experienced being stonewalled or shut out.

How do I handle the situation when I am being stonewalled?
20 Replies 20

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Noharmstartingover

Your post resonated with me, as I also shut down and basically just go to bed when overwhelmed. It doesn’t happen often and it takes a lot to push me there, but it does happen.

In those moments I just feel I can’t cope, can’t think and I need to give my brain a break. I simply can’t handle one more thing—not even a conversation. For me, I usually emerge stronger and ready to face whatever issues I am facing the next day.

What I need from my husband and family during a shut down is time and space. No pressure. Quiet. As much as I love them all, I need to be left alone and I need my needs to be respected.

I am so grateful that my partner and family give me space when I need it. I love them for their patience and understanding. I appreciate that when I am ready to engage they are always there for me.

Kind thoughts to you

Thank you for you insights. I am learning to be patient and not take it personally. I dont want to contact her as I dont want to add to the issues. But I want to let her know that when she is ready ill be there.

I am unsure whether to approach first, or let them come to me in their own time

Hi noharmstartingover.

You could let her know that you are there for her and to listen to her when she is ready to speak with you.

Hi noharmstartingover

My husband/kids usually give me a few hours and then check in with an “you right?” Or “want a cup of tea?”. If I’m not ready to re-engage, I just say “not yet”.

I like to know that they care and they’re there but your partner may be different.

How about asking your partner what she needs? It’s okay to ask what her expectations of you are in those moments.

Hopefully it could lead to a great discussion and you could also communicate what your needs are. It could be that you just need a sign that she’s ok, so you don’t worry and your anxiety is not triggered. Does that make sense to you?

Hopefully if you can talk it through everybody’s needs can be addressed.

kind thoughts to you

Community Champion
Community Champion


Summer rose and jsua have given you helpful information.

My partner sulks and needs time alone and at first I just wanted to talk. Eventually I realised he was different to me and to leave him alone. I find that hard but we all have different ways of coping.

Hi Quirkywords

I found your use of the word “sulks” interesting. We are all so different!

When I shut down I’m not even capable of sulking, I’m just done.

Glad that you can put up with your partner and so glad my hubby is accepting of me.

Kind thoughts to you

it does make sense, thank you

she has said she just wants to be left alone and its not personal. I have been finding it hard to not ask and I guess annoy her. I care deeply for her and don't want to be to distant. I checked in today but I don't hear anything from her for hours and hours and am hesitant to contact her as I don't want to trigger anything more for her.

thanks, I'm hoping that just leaving her alone, and letting her know I'm here when she is ready will work