When you speak to your partner, do you feel that you are talking to a wall? Even after saying something four, five or even six times to your partner, do you feel they haven’t heard you? Instead of getting answers, do you often get a dismissive shrug? Well, your partner is using the psychological tactic of emotional withholding on you.
They are willingly withdrawing their affection, working with a specific goal to hurt you or control you. Humans have a natural need to be loved and cared for in a relationship. Such silent treatment from the person they love the most is particularly distressing.
Emotional Withholding: A New Culprit in Relationships
A survey conducted by YourTango.com concluded that communication problems were the #1 reason leading to divorce in 65% of the cases, where 43% of the couples are unable to resolve their conflicts on their own. Contempt, defensiveness, criticism of a partner’s personality and stonewalling were found to be the four major types of communication problems that could lead to divorce.
A leading psychologist offering marriage counseling in New York, Linda Charnes, added that many restrict communication to withhold their love and affection, in an attempt to communicate their anger. However, what they end up doing is creating a great deal of anxiety for their partner, who, in most cases, cannot even begin to guess the reason for such withholding. Such behavior feeds on the victim’s fears of being rejected, being abandoned and worthlessness.
Linda added that individuals who emotionally withhold against their partner often ignore or belittle their partner and leave them in the cold, especially when their partner wants to talk to them about something that matters to them the most.
Impact of Emotional Withholding
Emotional withholding, also known as avoidant abuse, is seriously devastating emotional abuse, where a person uses their presence and affection to torture their partner. They do this by maintaining a controlled face,says an article on Humans.
After receiving such cold behavior, the victim is often seen wondering if they mean anything to the person on whom they have invested so many years of their life. Do they even exist in their partner’s life? They feel that all their accomplishments have gone unrecognized. No one cares to mention their contributions and sacrifices, which they have made in order to make the relationship work.
If you too are a victim of emotional withholding, it is best to consider marriage counseling, before it causes irreparable damage to your relationship.