Do you believe that you are just as important as anyone else?
When you refuse to express what you need and want to those around you- those who love you- you are training them to walk on eggshells.
You may live in a home currently where you are the keeper of the eggshells- or you may live in a home where you are at the mercy of the whims and moods of one who refuses to communicate what they need, want or think, so instead they say, ” oh, whatever you want!” All. The. Time. And then they get mad at you when you are unable to READ THEIR MIND. This person generally seems unhappy, anxious, is full of self-loathing, and they likely had one or two parents growing up who neglected them, abused them, or did not meet their needs, or had other intense traumas at an early age. That is how they learned to walk on eggshells.
When you make others walk on eggshells, it is through your withdrawn and secretive behavior and inability to to tell anyone how you feel. This may be your mode of operation for your self-preservation. Say for example, too much noise and screaming makes you anxious, but you don’t want to say it out loud. Why would anyone care? It’s just in your home, with your kids and spouse… so, you’ll deal. Until you can’t, and you explode in anger, because you didn’t express yourself earlier, constructively, with honesty. Or, you internalize your feelings by over-eating, over-exercising, over-consuming alcohol or some other distraction. One hallmark of the keeper of the eggshells is that they are masters of distraction. If they distract and deflect, then they never have to deal with the issues that keep them down, mired in self-loathing– but what they fail to see, is that they are not only hurting themselves with their silence, but they are truly hurting those around them with their emotional unavailability. All while actively teaching others how they want to be treated. Most people do not respond well to having to walk on eggshells for extended periods of time. Eventually, they shut down and disconnect from the person who has been forcing them to walk on eggshells. within a close family unit- this is devastating. Trust breaks down (if there was any in the first place), marriages falter, and children don’t have a firm ground to stand on.
Masters of distraction oftentimes can be found living vicariously through their kids. If they keep their kids super busy, it’s a win-win. They can focus on what their kids are doing, set their own needs aside yet again, and they have no time to potentially work out the heart of their issues. Bonus! They won’t have to tell their spouse how unhappy they are because they’ve created so much activity and busy-ness that they don’t ever really have to see them! The keeper of the eggshells oftentimes has practiced this behavior for so long that they have no opinion of their own anymore- they live and die by the news of the world, and spit out the opinions of others- blowing in the breeze depending on what the latest sensationalist headline is. This learned and practiced disconnection from the self only makes them more anxious. They are losing touch with their very soul. They can’t make a decision, but they don’t really understand why this is, or why it is a problem. They don’t understand how their actions and behavior have actually pushed others away. And it hurts. It is so beyond painful because it was not their intention in the first place, but rather, for many, it is all they have ever known.
In a household ruled by an eggshell keeper, oftentimes their spouse and children stop caring about their needs and feelings. This is because the eggshell keeper has trained them to stop caring, by their repeated deflection and rejection of the family’s efforts to care and help…not necessarily what the eggshell keeper was going for, but unfortunately, that’s the eventual outcome. The ones who love the eggshell keeper are exhausted from trying to get them to express what it is they want or need and don’t understand why the person they love so much is making everything so difficult, getting mad at them all the time, and in some families, this is the sort of thing that destroys marriages. Passive aggressive behavior is so damaging. The family has been taught that nothing that they do or say is right or helpful to the eggshell keeper, so eventually in the name of self protection and living their own lives, they give up. Now- the eggshell keeper is in a real bind- and their worst fears are being realized! They don’t matter, they are not important, and the most important people in their lives seem to reiterate this! How did this happen? Could they have caused this themselves?
The sooner we realize that we all have hurts and issues to work through, and we decide to put in the hard work to work through all of those things and break those learned, multi-generational patterns, the sooner we are free. Look at it this way- think about your own parents. Do you resent them? Do they resent you? Are they/were they happy? Can they express their needs? Or were they bound up, anxious and full of self-loathing? Did they get angry at you for caring, or for trying to communicate with them about your own thoughts or feelings? Was there a pattern of quiet and not talking about anything from them, and then eventual emotional explosions? Did they want to know everything about you, but would give you nothing of themselves in return? Remembering yet again that patterns are repeated in families, because we learn the ways of those who raise us. Do you like your mother/ father as a person? Are you close to them or do they continue to push you away to this day? Do you have a relationship of laughter, happiness and commiseration, or one of fulfilling mutual surface level needs and codependency, and resultant underlying resentment because of an inability to express how they feel or what they truly need in their heart? When we, as their children, refuse to do the work, guess who becomes the new keeper of the eggshells?
Perhaps the single worst part for any keeper of the eggshells is that they have inadvertently created a situation where people stop trying to help them, when all they needed and wanted in their heart in the first place was to be cared for and loved- the same thing we all want. But because they could not express that- and refused to do the hard work to find their voice and their self-worth- these learned, multigenerational patterns have continued, and they feel so alone. They cannot express to their spouse or partner what they really need because they are so out of practice, they don’t even know anymore. This is because they were taught as a child that their own voice did not matter. They were not free to express what they were learning or question anything of their parents about life, love, sex, adolescence- all of the tough things that we go through growing up. We were not meant to do it without guidance or healthy communication.
Nobody can convince you how worthy of love and respect you are. Nobody else can make the best decisions for you. It’s no fun to grow up in a house where you have to walk on eggshells around one or both parents, and the saddest part is that you are teaching your children to be the same way and continue these distructive, hurtful and lonely patterns by refusing to do the work to heal yourself. When you speak your truth in love and with honesty, that is all there is. Then you let it go. It is not up to you what someone else does with or thinks of what you have said. Do you want your kids to be able to wisely choose a life partner? To make good decisions about college and a have job that will bring contentement to their heart? Then we have to model to them an honest communication, where we are able to speak our own needs and our own truths without shame or regret. You are not fooling anybody. Children learn what they live. Not what they are told to do.
Distraction only works for so long before your entire world implodes. And your health will follow. When we do not care for our souls and know how to effectively communicate with others, we hold it in, and this causes disease within the body and the mind. Our body hears what we think of ourselves, and of others-and responds accordingly.
Find your voice. Seek a trusted counselor. Stop compromising because you are paralyzed with fear and insecurity. Know in your that you are so loved. Have you taught others how to treat you by your own crappy behavior? You don’t have to keep pushing people away. But it all starts with how you see yourself. We do not find happiness or success in our lives if we don’t like ourselves. It is not possible.
In truth and love,
The Mint Pixie