art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Stonewalling in Conflict

Similar in some ways to the idiom ‘beating around the bush’ described in a previous ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog, the expression stonewalling refers to the tendency to avoid responding to a question or to be evasive. For me though, stonewalling seems to conjure up a stronger image of obstruction and uncooperativeness.

There are different opinions on where the term originated and according to one source, the first known use of stonewall was in 1880. The phrase generally means unyielding or immovable – like an actual stone wall or the famous Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Reportedly, the most common use of the word means “to intentionally delay using specific tactics. Those gifted at the art of stonewalling avoid answering questions, halt a conversation, and even cause the other person to forget the subject altogether”.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider when you are stonewalling, or have stonewalled – or someone has stonewalled or is stonewalling you within a conflict. Or possibly, doing so is leading to conflict.

  • When you have stonewalled or are stonewalling someone, what have you done or are you doing that fits with the meaning of this expression?
  • In general, under what circumstances do you find yourself stonewalling someone?
  • How may you describe what the stones are made of that build the wall you experience?
  • Considering a specific situation in which you are stonewalling or have stonewalled the other person, what have you achieved or are you achieving by stonewalling her or him?
  • By stonewalling, what possible things, if any, are you missing from knowing or happening? As you think about this, how else does the image of a stone wall impact you and the conflict?
  • When someone stonewalls you, how do you experience that?
  • What do you think the other person’s intentions were or are in a specific situation when she or he has stonewalled or is stonewalling you?
  • What image does her or his stonewalling conjure up for you?
  • What opportunity do you feel you are missing out on due to the other person’s stonewalling? What may she or he be missing out on?
  • Going forward, what may you build instead of a stone wall to accomplish the outcome you want in a conflict?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

This entry was posted in Conflict Coaching, Metaphors, Reactions. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *