Walking on eggs shells,
What this is, why this happens and how you can overcome the long term effects it can have on you.
Walking on eggshells is the term used when you feel like you have to tip toe around someone else for fear of anger, rage, abuse or abandonment. Did you find yourself tip toeing around someone to avoid these reactions? Then you was more than likely with a narcissist.
You keep your real self and your true feeling deeply hidden to please the narcissist. It’s a direct result of the narcissist manipulation of you, by gaslighting you, giving you silent treatment, starting arguments out of no where, and using words to manipulate you into self doubt. They have groomed you to give yourself a prevention strategy. That is where the walking on eggshells around them term comes from. This usually occurs when your still trying to work out what is going on. As the narcissist often shows you a glimpse of the golden period now and again. Using manipulative words, they have left you to question yourself and your own actions. So you don’t recognise the abuse for yourself. When you first start to see it, with how the narcissist manipulates you still question. Is it abuse or am I making it up in my head? It varies from person to person how long it takes them to see it for what it is. It also depends on the type of narcissist you are with. The narcissist disorder is on a spectrum. So although narcissist all use the same tactics, the severity varies between each one.
Most of the time you don’t know you are being abused. Abusers create an environment of instability and insecurity also causing you to be trauma bonded to them. They do this to control your behaviour and affect your self esteem, your values and your own opinions. This leads you to think twice or more about everything you do, leading you to walk on eggshells.
So perhaps the narcissist doesn’t like the noise of the washing machine or the hoover. So you alter your routine to suit their every need. Or they don’t like it if you don’t answer the phone as soon as it rings. So you are constantly self aware that your phone is on you at all times and set to loud. You will drop whatever it is you are doing to answer that phone to avoid any arguments at all cost. Possibly telling yourself in the beginning, that it’s only because they care, usually because at the start of the relationship in the golden period. Everything was so good and it seemed like they truly loved and cared about you. They only messaged and called to see how you were because they care. Yes it’s all just another manipulative tactic created by the narcissist.
It takes time after you’ve come out of a relationship with a narcissist to leave your phone downstairs whilst you nip up stairs. To put the washing on when it suits you. To hoover when convenient and not worry how someone will react. I will add just because someone worries you don’t pick up the phone it can be because they care. Or if someone doesn’t like the hoover in a morning it’s because they want to sleep. Normal relationships have give and take, so they may wake up and hoover for you, consideration towards each other. A narcissist will make you feel so bad for doing something, you’ll simply no longer do it.
Another sign you’re walking on eggshells is you are to afraid to tell an outsider how you really feel.
Another sign your too afraid to go out with friends, talk to a relative on the phone, you are too afraid to love your life and do what you want to do. Everything is centred around what the narcissist wants to do.
You’ll not want to speak up for yourself, you will keep all your own thoughts feelings and opinions hidden. for fear of reactions.
Or it can be you no longer wear the clothes you want because you get. “ are you really going to wear that?” Or “ wow you look a mess in that.” They might say “ you look better in this” choosing for themselves how you dress. Those words stick in your head, when said often enough.
Some narcissist will do all of these things. Some a lot more, Some just a few again it depends on the narcissist.
After You have left the relationship it might cause triggers in you.
When that phone rings it might trigger anxiety and you may panic. Even though you know it’s not them. I have a couple of post on how to help you with anxiety afterwards.
After being with a narcissist and walking on eggshells for so long, to will be left with anxiety, no longer being able to express your own feeling. So you feel shut down towards the world and those around you. Loss of self worth and who you are. Loss off confidence in your own opinions. Your inner critic will be talking to you how the narcissist used to talk to you as it’s been programmed into you.
If you are still with the narcissist and all this sounds familiar. Stop trying to fix the relationship with the narcissist. Start working on a plan to get out and fix you.
When you do get out, or if you’re already out and building yourself back up, work on the fact you are allowed your own opinions and start working on expressing those to yourself.
Step one is get out first as some narcissist are extremely dangerous so I wouldn’t recommend expressing yourself if you are still with them as every narcissist is on a different level, to how they manipulate and the weapons they use against you from the silent treatment, to throwing things and much worse.
When out start working on your self worth. Start expressing yourself again. Give yourself permission to be you again and find who you truly are again. Believe it’s possible you changed for the narcissist now you can change for you. Cry if you want, laugh when you want. You will soon feel the freedom and it’ll get easier. Talk kindly to yourself again, always look for the positive in every day.
If possible find a positive happy friend and spend time with them, observe them, it becomes contagious when you surround yourself with positivity. Negativity brings negativity. Positivity grows positivity.
Create a new set of values, standards and boundaries, so learn what matters to you, what you find acceptable and unacceptable from others, then create boundaries around those values and standards. Then you need to have the courage to enforce these boundaries, good people will stay with you, bad people will walk away when they can not get you to drop your boundaries. Remember if what someone is asking you to do doesn’t feel right, just say no to those people. Chose people who you can be yourself with.
Ask yourself “ who do I want to be” think about what being you would look like. Then ask yourself “ what’s stopping me from being who I want to be” then learn about yourself again and go be who you want to be for you.