Do you hold back things you want to say to the Narcissist out of fear of a reaction? Do you notice that when you do say anything that your words are twisted around? Do you choose your words carefully? Do you avoid discussing certain topics in order not to offend the Narc? Do you do what you can to avoid conflict with the Narc at all costs?
If you answered yes to the above questions, what you've been experiencing is called "walking on eggshells."
I first heard the term when I discovered the book "Stop Walking On Eggshells" by Paul Mason and Randi Kreiger. It is a term used that shows a relationship between the careful way a person will tread around a volatile person with the popular idiom referring to how difficult it is to literally walk on eggshells.
I am an argumentative person by nature. Not to the point of being unhealthy, mind you. But just to the point where I've always spoken up to voice my thoughts and opinions. To spark a healthy debate, even. To talk things out to reach a solution with the person to whom I am speaking with.
But with a Narcissist, nothing is ever healthy. No discussions. Ever. It's always the Narc's way.
For a while, I would speak up and argue with my NX. It would fuel his fire. I learned that no matter what I said or did, he'd find fault. So I began to avoid using certain words or mentioning certain topics.
Choosing words carefully
In the beginning with my NX, I didn't have a filter in terms of what words came out of my mouth. I sometimes spewed out a string of hateful things, not caring what I said. I verbally fought back. Stuck up for myself.
It didn't take me long to learn that many of the things I said got him even angrier, sending him into a Narcissistic Rage. (Read my post on The Narcissistic Rage for more information.) From that point on, I began to choose my words carefully when speaking to him. I was so petrified that anything I said would send him into a rage.
Looking back, I realize that was no way to live! Because I know now, that no matter what I said or did, he'd find fault with and pick a fight anyway.
The end result
The result of walking on eggshells for so long will leave the victim in a highly fragile state. I was left feeling unwanted, unappreciated and invalidated. Feeling that way is detrimental to a person's psyche!
What you can do
A Narc's moods come in cycles and will repeat themselves. Even when I was still with the NX, I had begun therapy. And even though the therapy then wasn't working (because I was still in the relationship), I did find some things useful.
1. Observation. I learned that observation is vital to beginning the road to recovery. As Mason and Krieger note, "Your intent is not to make judgments, but to stop reacting to the behavior emotionally and start learning from it." And when you do that, you will realize like I did that the Narc's behavior has nothing to do with you. It is all about them.
2. Minimize reactions. I also learned that minimizing my reactions also cut down on my NX's tirades. It's not that I was walking on eggshells, it's that I was teaching myself not to outwardly react in front of him. Ever hear of the phrase "Don't let them see you sweat"? That kind of applies here. The Narc just wants to push your buttons to get any kind of reaction out of you. You are essentially teaching yourself effective coping strategies.
3. Boundaries. Like I discussed in my post on Boundaries, Narcs will do what it takes to rip your boundaries to shreds. Whether it's "Don't call past a certain hour" or "I do not want to be disrespected in front of the children", the Narc will work hard to push to boundaries as much as possible. Stay the course and hold steadfast.
Have you found yourself walking on eggshells with the Narc? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Jenn, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
The Top 10
Here you will find my most popular posts for easier discovery.
How Narcissists Make Sure You Never Solve Problems In A Relationship
Effects of Emotional Abuse
The Fake Apology
How I Lost My Identity
An Open Letter To All Survivors Who Just Got Out Of An Abusive Situation
Emotionally Abusive Behaviors
The Great Manipulator
It's Okay To Be Angry At The Narcissist
Going No Contact: A List Of What To Do And What Not To Do
Why You Should Never Defend Yourself Against The Narcissist's Smear Campaign
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.