Walking on Eggshells

The Logical Heart Knows Best

If you’re in a relationship with someone who does not handle criticism well, who has a fragile ego, who is volatile and unpredictable, you may begin filtering yourself and walking on eggshells to keep the peace. If you’ve grown up with caregivers who behave immaturely, who have poor boundaries, then you may develop codependent behavior for self-preservation. This usually leads to your adult relationships mirroring, or repeating the same dysfunctional dynamics.

People who have fragile egos react poorly and behave manipulatively when confronted with things they don’t like or when it threatens their self-image. They become defensive, entitled, angry, and use manipulative tactics to avoid accountability. They may call you names, say that you’re wrong, will feign ignorance, will deny, minimize, deflect, project and criticize you about something from the past to change the subject so it’s about you and your faults instead of them admitting they may be wrong or have made a mistake.

They will make it seem that you are the one who’s the problem, that you are being unreasonable, or that you’re being too sensitive and need to toughen up. They may stomp and slam around, give you evil glares, the silent treatment, throw things that narrowly miss you and break things, destroy your belongings, drive recklessly(sometimes with you as a trapped passenger), shout, curse, and threaten to leave. They will turn it all around, blaming, scapegoating you, even though all you did was try and hold them accountable. They may use sarcasm and passive-aggressiveness, then say they’re just teasing and accuse you of not being able to take a joke.

After repeatedly trying to address problematic issues with the person who has a fragile ego and their continued abusive, manipulative behavior, you may get worn down and try to avoid causing drama, by tiptoeing around them, being careful not to say or do anything that will set them off. You may limit your interactions with them and keep everything superficial and be agreeable because you’re just tired of trying. It’s just too much drama. In the meantime, you become a shadow of yourself because you’re limiting and denying yourself. You are not free to be yourself and live in fear of upsetting the fragile person, you’re codependent with them. It makes you miserable to be under their control. It’s not a happy way to be. You think it’s keeping the peace, but it isn’t, you’re torn up inside from having to make yourself so small to accommodate the fragile, yet bullying other.

If you’re walking on eggshells, it’s time to enforce healthy boundaries and if the person with the fragile ego doesn’t comply, or if they have too far to go before they’re behaving better(like it could take them many years to improve, if ever)then it’s time to save yourself and leave.

It can be difficult to realize the truth and to go through the process of ending a relationship you’ve invested so many years in, but what’s the alternative? The sooner you remove yourself from the drama, the sooner you get relief, freedom, and a chance for authentic happiness and peace. If you don’t choose yourself and do what’s right and healthy for you, who will? You’re the only one who has the power to do what’s right for you because you’re the only one who knows what’s right for you. You don’t have to live the rest of your life walking on eggshells. You have the power to break free.

Here’s a short video about walking on eggshells.

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Michelle Miyagi
Hi! I was an RN, BSN in mental/behavioral health for 27 years. Now I'm helping empower caring people like me to prioritize themselves by maintaining healthier boundaries for more freedom, peace, and joy. I am also active in Long Covid advocacy.

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