When we feel under threat, misunderstood, ill-used, or otherwise hard done by, we tend to put up walls. They are our mental defence mechanism, a way of deflecting conversations that might make us feel bad, or uncomfortable, or wrong.
When we say that someone “put a wall up between us,” we usually refer to someone becoming quiet and stony when the conversation gets heated. Silence is definitely a type of wall. But it isn’t the only type.
Some people build their walls out of words. They fill the space between them and the person they’re speaking to with noise. Maybe they don’t let the other person get a word in edgewise. Maybe they turn the conversation into a strange sort of two-way monologue, saying only what is racing through their head and not taking time to address or even listen to the other person’s input. Still others use words to re-direct and deflect uncomfortable conversations on a tangential topic. This is as much a communication wall as the silent treatment, only it is masked with a flood of unhelpful verbosity.
What kind of wall do you build? Do you choose to shut down or refuse to shut up? What can you do differently to break your wall down?