Search

How To Stop Walking On Eggshells In Your Relationship

Are you always looking over your shoulder? Never feel good enough? Do you recognize that you are walking on eggshells? If so, that’s a big first step!

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissistic person, you may find yourself walking on eggshells all the time. You tiptoe around them, careful not to do or say anything that might upset them. But this isn’t sustainable in the long run. Eventually, you’ll start to feel like you’re losing yourself.

In this blog post, we’ll explore four ways you can stop walking on eggshells around a narcissist. With these tips, you can begin to take back control of your life and start living on your own terms again. Narcissists thrive on control and chaos, so by taking away their power over you, you can disrupt their hold on you. So let’s get started!

Difficult, toxic people — I call them Hijackals® — want you to tip-toe around their egos, wants, power and control needs…giving, giving, giving.

Oh, and they want you to expect nothing from them at the same time. You’re just there to meet their needs. Sounding familiar?

Then, YES! You want to — you need to — stop! Why? Because it never works. It especially never works for you. It only works for the Hijackal in this toxic relationship!

You deserve to have honesty, respect, safety, trust, and reliability in your life. None of that comes from being with a toxic person. Toxic people are those with toxic behaviors. They:

  • Create drama in most relationships.
  • Like to be surrounded by drama, especially if they created it.
  • Need to manipulate people and circumstances to get what feeds them.
  • Need to be in control at all times — of people, situations, expectations. 
  • Want to be the center of attention— and it doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative attention.
  • Use other people to meet their needs.
  • Love to criticize others, find fault, and tear them down.
  • Are jealous of anything that seems like another person’s success.
  • Complain, whine, and moan that life is not going their way — constantly in victim mode.
  • Often use alcohol or drugs to mask their fear of not being perfect and in control.
  • Think they are perfect and therefore need no help.

Wow! Now, does any of that sound like someone in your life? It could be your parent, partner, ex, teenager, or co-worker. Past or present, that person’s behavior can be taking a toll on your life and relationships.

“But, I love them!” I hear that so often in my practice,

“I love them so much, and I cannot imagine life without them. It’s like I’m addicted.” You likely are addicted to their drama, and maybe, you didn’t recognize that until this minute.

Yay! Good start to stopping walking on those fragile egos — I mean, eggshells — and step onto solid ground.

Why are you addicted? That’s simple, but not so easy: You value their love for you over your own love of you.

Boom! It’s true. You may not want it to be true, but, it is.

Here are 4 ways you can stop walking on eggshells in your relationship with a narcissistic person:

1. Recognize the anxiety and stress you feel is caused by someone else’s demands.

Hijackals like to blame you for everything. If they are unhappy, it’s because you did or didn’t do something. If they are fired up, it’s because you’re too demanding or needy. It’s that absurd, yet, until you see the pattern, you’ll be in the cycle with them.

Most people feel anxious and stressed when they’re dealing with the expectations of someone else. Whether it’s a difficult supervisor at work, an overbearing partner at home, or a relentless friend who needs way too much of your time and attention, these situations can be overwhelming. It helps to recognize that these feelings are being caused by these external sources of pressure, rather than on you as an individual. Letting go of the burden of guilt or shame associated with not meeting someone else’s demands can help to relieve anxiety and stress. Finding healthier ways to manage these external pressures (through assertiveness training, boundaries setting, etc.) can help you take back control of your life in a constructive way.

2. Realize that you are allowing other people to cause you that stress

It’s not easy to take responsibility like this, and there’s no reason you have to do it alone. Seek comfort and support from trusted sources while also finding ways to better manage your emotions and reactions. Remember that you are worthy of care, love, and respect, so start by giving yourself these things first before extending them outward.

Don’t beat yourself up. See that you are not saying “no” to the behaviors…yet. Then, start saying “no” by setting boundaries. You don’t have to be demanding or aggressive, especially at first.

Just say, “No, that doesn’t work for me. What would is ____________.”

If the person will not respect your stated boundary, then, you’ll have to add a consequence.

“No, that doesn’t work for me. What would is ___________. However, I’ve mentioned this a few times and nothing has changed. The next time this happens, I will end the conversation and walk out of the room.”

That’s how you begin to set boundaries. It may be new to you, and you’ll have to practice with everyone in your life to really get comfortable with it.

3. Recover your self-esteem and self-confidence.

To be self-confident, you have to believe you deserve to take up space and draw breath. First step.

Taking up the space you deserve and believing you are worth it can be daunting. It’s a challenge to move away from beliefs that might have been instilled in us by our families, friends or society since childhood.

The first step in becoming more self-confident is being mindful of these thoughts. Notice when they come up and take some time to reflect on why they might exist and where they might be coming from. Move away from self-defeating patterns by choosing how you want to think, feel and behave with kindness towards yourself.

Once you start believing in yourself, it will be a lot easier to choose in favor of yourself, and have the confidence to set boundaries – and enact consequences – when a realtionship is not proving to be healthy for you.

4. Determine to never be “Hijackal Bait®” again.

Now, you’ve got your self-esteem restored and your self-confidence regained, you will be better able to sense the energy of someone who wants to use you, to have you turn yourself into a pretzel to please them…and run!

Walking on eggshells is a poor way to get your exercise! It’s harmful to you in every way. Get help. Give it up.

Need help to understand if you are in a toxic relationship? Take my free “Am I in a Toxic Relationship” Checklist here.

stay updated

Get every episode of Save Your Sanity by email, when it’s published.

Log In is required for submitting new question.