Signs Someone Has Built An Emotional Wall Up!

Postby toughbird » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:29 pm

What are the signs and characteristics of someone who has built up an emotional wall?

How does one attempt or break it down?
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Postby Axuda » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:25 am

Hi Toughbird

A wall can be used to keep others out, or to keep things in. Emotional walls are the same,which is why the signs will vary depending on what it is the person is trying to do. And it also affects how you deal with it.

Most of us will have witnessed emotional walls in relationships, and there are certain things which are common, whatever the cause - not looking the other in the eye, short or one word answers, defensive body postures. When you are physically in the presence of someone else and don't want to be for some reason, but can't easily leave (whether it is just for that moment or forever), an emotional wall is the next best thing.

If I am in the presence of somebody who I really dislike, I won't want that situation to continue any more than is absolutely necessary, so I am going to ensure that I give off no signals to that effect. I will avoid eye contact, only speak if spoken to and then just a short response, and try to turn away or otherwise show no interest. If that person tries to push harder, I will just increase my resistance. Realistically, the only way the other person would start to break through would be by acknowledging the situation. If they said something like, "I'm sorry, have I upset you?", I might (just might) feel able to launch into the reasons why. But if they do that, they need to be prepared to listen to the answer.

Alternatively, I might put up an emotional wall because I don't want to let something out. Maybe something has happened to me, maybe a close relative is seriously ill, maybe I've done something that I am ashamed of. Whatever it is, I don't want to discuss it or let it out because I think it might make it worse, or more real, or the consequences would be disastrous. In that circumstance, another person asking demanding questions will just make me want to strengthen the wall, not take it down. What I really need then is to come to the conclusion that I won't be judged, so that the consequences of opening up won't be as bad as I feared, and might even help.

So if a partner or close friend seems to have put up an emotional wall, in simple terms it might be because of something you have done, or something they have done. They don't like you any more, or they don't like themselves any more, either momentarily or permanently. In a worst case, the situation may not be retrievable. But if you are serious about trying to break it down, you have to be prepared to listen, without becoming defensive or judgemental. You might hear things about yourself which seem hurtful or unfair. You might hear things about them which shock you. But if you really care about helping that person, you have to be big enough to take that. Otherwise, the wall is keeping you both safe, for now - until it breaks.

Good luck

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