Walking on eggshells, what is this? What are the effects it can have on us? And how to deal with this now?
Walking on eggshells is the term most commonly used when a narcissist trains us to be careful of who we are when around them, for fear of reactions from them, fear of them getting angry with us, or fear of abandonment.
We begin to shut down and hide our real selves, as when we are ourselves around a narcissist, they invalidate us with “Are you going to wear that?” Or “You look bad in that.” Causing us to doubt ourselves. The same with our true feelings. We begin to hide them through those fears, as often, when we try to express our feelings to a narcissist, they will gaslight us with ”You’re too sensitive.” We give up on our opinions for fear of causing an argument, of them giving us the silent treatment. We slowly lose who we are to please the narcissist. Mental abuse is often a subtle form of abuse by the narcissist coercive controlling us, and it’s gradually training us on how we should behave around them.
Walking on eggshells is what people end up doing around negative, toxic or abusive people. Most often, subconsciously, we end up doing this over time in order to protect ourselves from further abuse. Usually, when we still can not work out the situation we are in, that we are indeed being abused, and we are slowly losing our own values, beliefs and boundaries.
Most of the time, we don’t even realise we are being abused. Most abusers will create an environment of insecurity, instability, confusion and fear, so they gain full power and control over us, all while telling you they love you.
We then end up walking on eggshells to please them. Some examples are.
1. If you’re afraid to speak up about anything, in case it causes an argument or for fear of reactions, fear of abandonment through the narcissist’s past silent treatments when they then blamed the silent treatment on you. You were told things like, “If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t.” never getting your feelings validated, getting told that ” You’re insecure.” Just because you would have liked a conversation, their gaslighting crushes your self-esteem and leave you full of self-doubts.
2. Fear of receiving anger from them or passive-aggressive reactions.
3. Fear of making a noise that might disturb them and never knowing what their reactions might be, from the incredible sulk, guilt trips, silent treatment or rage.
4. Fear of dressing how you want for fear of what they might say or do. Overt narcissist “You look fat in that.” Or covert narcissist, “are you really wearing that?” The covert doesn’t directly point it out like the overt, and both ways still plant seeds of self-doubt in your own mindset.
5. Fear of not responding to their messages or phone calls instantly, as you know you will have consequences from them and questions of why you didn’t, where you were etc., it’s a case of they say jump, and we say how high.
6. You are afraid to live your life and be exactly who you want to be.
7. Fear of asking others for help in case they don’t believe or understand you.
8. Fear of not making their meals right for reactions.
9. Fear of going out with or talking to friends, so slowly you end up becoming cut off from those who do love and care for you, they cause arguments before you go out, or when you come home, or the silent treatment you, or they say things like. “They don’t even like you. Why go out with them? They only talk about you behind your back.” a form of triangulation.
10. Fear of being judged by others if you speak up.
Breaking free from any narcissist, you might still suffer from these as you’ve been programmed to think this way, so you fear reactions from others who wouldn’t react to you in an abusive way. You have to focus on your freedom now, even if it’s things like turning your music up loud when you please, hoovering whenever you’d like to.
Effects of walking on eggshells are.
1. Anxiety. You may now fear the phone ringing or a message coming through even though that’s your past and not in your present. As your mind has been subconsciously programmed to respond that way to the phone or tuning the hoover on, fear speaking up for yourself to others who are not abusive in case they react, and saying no to others, you might become a people pleaser in order to protect yourself from judgment.
2. Loss of self-esteem from the criticism and put-downs the narcissist has drip-fed you over time.
3. Feeling completely shut off from the outside world and others, no longer feeling able to express yourself or your feeling.
4. Constantly apologising to others.
5. Leaving your own inner critic sounding like your abuser and continually putting yourself down. Does your inner critic ask if you’re going to wear that? And do I really need to hoover now?
6. Loss of personal self and freedom due to anxiety also, no longer wanting to do things for you, as you’ve been programmed to ask the narcissist first. Or avoid situations full stop as you already know how they’ll react.
7. Fear of speaking up for yourself.
8. Full of blame and self-doubts, always questioning how you think or feel if you should or should not do something. Worried in excess what others think of you. Scared to just be yourself.
What can you do about it?
1. If you’re still around the narcissist, start working on a safe plan to get out safely, be careful.
2. Start working on yourself. Some are dangerous, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it in front of the narcissist if you’re working on a plan to get out. If you are out, start to express yourself again and your own personal likes and dislikes, your needs and your wants.
3. Surrounding yourself with positive, happy people who are happy to show any and all emotions, and this will set you free to do the same.
4. Create new boundaries. If something doesn’t feel right to you, say no, and stick to your no, and you must enforce these boundaries.
5. Create new core values and standards of the things that matter to you.
6. Choose to surround yourself with those who raise you up and walk free from those who drag you down.
7. Keep asking yourself. “Who am I.” Or “Who do I want to be.”
8. Reconnect with old friends. Those good ones will be understanding. Ask yourself if this was one of your old friends and they came to you with your story. Would you want to help? Most people would definitely want to help.
9. Think about the things you genuinely enjoy doing. Could you start these up again? Or start new hobbies, finding the things you love for yourself, creating new dreams, and then taking steps to achieve these new dreams.
10. Taking care of your thoughts, each and every moment, don’t allow others to put you down and work on no longer putting yourself down.
Replace “I’m not good enough.” With “I am good enough.” “I can not.” To “I can.” We can all have doubts and fears, yet when it comes to creating a whole new, much happier life, we have to learn to level up on our thinking, which takes time and practice.
11. Take those baby steps. It’s the only way, and keep going each day. You’re allowed to step back now and again. Just dust yourself off and go again. Find your path of the right way that suits you. There is no wrong way or right way to live your life. With good intentions, there’s only your way.
Stay strong, and you’ve got this.
Walking on eggshells.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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