How Not To Walk On Eggshells Around Emotional Abusers

02 Feb 2016

What happens when you learn to walk on eggshells?

the walk on eggshells around an emotional abuserHave you ever walked on eggshells around an emotional abuser?  Did you learn how to walk on eggshells from an early age?  Has walking on eggshells become a way of being that affects every area of your life – whether or not you are still with an emotional abuser?

When you’re trained to walk on eggshells, you learn to tiptoe through life – your own life.  You learn that it’s NOT safe to be you.  Being ‘you’ becomes incredibly unsafe.  So, you learn not to be you.  You learn not to ‘show up’ in your own life.

Over time, you start to forget who you were in the first place.

The worst of it is, the attacks still keep coming.

What an emotionally abusive partner really teaches you, when he teaches you to walk on eggshells, is to constantly expect the next attack.

That doesn’t mean he won’t mix things up a bit: from time to time, he might be charm itself. After all, too much predictability could work against him. But he does like to keep you in a state of heightened anxiety and fear.  He may not be familiar with the notion of emotional flashbacks, but he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve: making you his emotional prisoner.

So how do you break out of the pattern of walking on eggshells?

5 simple steps to break the habit

1. Acknowledge reality

An emotional abuser wants you to walk on eggshells.  Telling yourself that his assaults are ’just something that happened’ and you love each other really, only makes things worse. The only way he loves you is the way a dog loves a bone: he loves what it does for him – and what he can do with it.

2) Stop seeing yourself through his eyes

When you’re in it, you can’t see it for what it is – because when you’re in it, you can’t see the proverbial wood for the trees.  But when you see yourself as 50 Shades of Bad, you’re actually seeing yourself through his eyes.  You only walk on eggshells because he’s taught you that one of your 50+ faults can trigger his nastiness at any moment.

You are at liberty to see yourself through the eyes of someone who is more or less psychopathic if you want to, but why would you?

3)  Stop making your life all about him

Your emotional abuser has plans for your life: he wants it to become his property.  Yes, that sounds weird, and creepy.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop it being true.  He needs a mirror in which to see what a big, powerful man he is: that mirror is your life.

He may be in your life, but he is NOT your life.  Rather, he is the thing that stands in the way of you having a life.

4)  Lose that fear of difficult people

Really, it’s not just him, is it? Most likely, he’s the worst, but not the first significant person in your life who taught you to walk on eggshells.  Early on, you learned to do whatever it took to slip under their radar, or ‘keep them sweet’ – inasmuch as they ever could be ‘sweet’.  Defending yourself, as best you can, from difficult, dangerous people is not a solution.  At best, it’s a holding operation.  But clearly not one that works very well. You have to lose your fear of them before you can be free of them.

A client of mine still lives within spitting distance of her thoroughly abusive ex.  Happily, now, she’s learned to live without the all-powerful fear of what he might do. She is alert to him, in the same way that it pays to be alert to the potential danger from other vehicles when are driving. But now she’s free to enjoy her life, instead of walking on eggshells.

5) Discover who you really are

An emotional abuser, as I’ve said many times before, is an idiot – in the things that truly matter.  He doesn’t value who you are – always supposing he can see it (unlikely though that may be). He only values what you can do to feed his enormous, ravening ego.  You can’t see who you truly are until you tune out to his ongoing snarls and belches or rage and contempt.

He’s a very gifted attention-seeker: and you’ve been a very dutiful attention-giver.  It’s done you nothing but harm.

Time, now, that you learned how not to walk on eggshells, so you can wrench your life out of his maw. Are you ready and willing to do that but don’t know how? My 5 module program “How to Deal With Difficult People Confidently” will teach you everything you need to know  so you never have to walk on eggshells again, around difficult people.  The ONLY thing that stands in the way of you walking through life with your head held high is knowing  the simple steps to tuning out your fear


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

2 thoughts on “How Not To Walk On Eggshells Around Emotional Abusers”

    • Understood, Danna.

      So, here’s what happened. An abuser taught you to walk on eggshells. As a result, you are terrified of leaving.

      But leaving means that you won’t have to walk on eggshells, ever again.

      For now, just hold that thought.

      Warm wishes for your healing and happiness,



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