“Walking on eggshells” definition: 1) To be overly careful in dealing with a person or situation because they get angry or offended very easily. 2) To try very hard not to upset someone or something. 3) A metaphor that is often used when describing a feeling of being trapped by another’s will and our voice being silenced.
When I was growing up, all of our family knew mostly when it was time to be “walking on eggshells” around my father. He was a volatile man and known for his scary rages that usually ended in some type of violence against my mother or brothers. I remember hiding in my bedroom to escape his rage.
Later when my mother remarried the “walking on eggshells” episodes were much fewer. It only happened when the drinking started. Then I had to be careful of my stepfather or his friends. These drunk men were prone to make unwanted sexual advances toward me, now a young teenager.
When I married, my husband was much more insidious, being a narcissist. My learned codependency was full blown trying to please him in any way possible. I knew where the eggshells were with him and very seldom trod on them. The few times I approached him about my needs in the marriage (which was very scary for me) he carefully explained my needs away and dismissed them. My needs were always overshadowed by his needs and demands. It seemed very rational to me because of my past.
With my next marriage the tables were turned. I was going to be heard no matter what! My poor boys and stepchildren learned to “walk on eggshells”. I was now the one to blow off the handle if what I wanted was not done. My control issues were out of hand. My poor husband, who is also codependent, tried his best but mostly ignored me and my ways of handling the kids. This caused a great strain on our marriage and made me only want to “speak louder to be heard.”
Gladly now in my fourth year of recovery through CoDA, the only eggshells are for me, by me.
As I try to navigate my recovery, I can step on an “eggshell” and recognize a need to change whatever caused that. I can give myself grace and mercy that these are reminders to work the program and use the tools I have learned. I am fully heard in my weekly CoDA group during our sharing time. I can journal, call my sponsor or read a meditation to help me through the “eggshell” minefield I am facing. There are many ways to develop healthier ways of communicating with my loved ones. CoDA taught me the ways and reinforces them all the time. I bless God every day that through these reminders I can grow into the worthy and loved person He wants me to be!
The other good news is that I have made amends to all my children and my marriage is doing better than ever thanks to the Twelve Steps.
Joyce M – 2020