Icicles that almost touched the ground hung from the eves. Sleet pelted the windows, turning my road into a skating rink, reminding me of a drive on a very slippery winter morning when light rain was falling, and I didn’t realize some streets were ice-covered.
When roads are topped with thin, transparent ice sheets, called “black ice ❶” you see the blacktop beneath the frozen surface. It’s deceiving because you don’t anticipate it, and you’re caught off guard.
Walking on eggshells is a lot like driving on ice. You’re careful but, you never know what’s around the corner. Some people regularly tip-toe through life because of someone else’s mood.
Do you ever feel like that?
Have you become the scapegoat for another’s negative feelings?
To the outside world, just like icy roads, everything may look perfect, but you’re always careful, afraid of saying the wrong thing, calculating whether a question will lead to an outburst, knowing that one comment can create rage or stony silence.
Sometimes we pretend that the outburst or silence doesn’t hurt us.
Sometimes we fall apart.
Maybe you were abused at some point in your life and think it’s acceptable to be mistreated.
Perhaps, you decided that you caused the problem.
Chances are good you didn’t.
Perhaps, you fear being alone, so you trade the “what if” for the sure thing.
Apprehension invites us to think without clarity.
Maybe you don’t love yourself, so you figure, “I’ve got it coming.”
You may vacillate between extremes: amazing and awful. When calm, you allow yourself to finally breathe, hoping “this time it will be different,” but with the next disappointment, you’re even more devastated. You recognize that you can never let your guard down or fully trust.
Life becomes painful, lonely, or daunting as you recognize that you’re in the eggshell walking process all over again. Everything takes deliberation. If you talk too much, you’re annoying. If you keep to yourself or don’t “laugh on-demand,” you’re sullen.
You can’t win and learn to adapt your moods to the whims of another. When he’s happy, you’re supposed to be thrilled. When she wants space, you step back. You’re like a faucet being turned on and off, dispatching precisely what another wants. Everything’s “unloaded” onto you, then when that dump truck fills up again, you accept the next delivery of anger, bitterness, and rage.
You try to stop feeling, rationalizing that you wouldn’t be used as a dumping ground if you had value.
• stop believing that your needs are unimportant
• recognize that what you seek is not self-centered; it’s recognition of your value
• decide not to lose yourself, to love someone in the way he/she demands
• make different choices if the people you’ve chosen as most significant don’t honor you
• break the cycle of allowing someone else to be the barometer of your happiness
• believe in yourself enough to know that you deserve to be happy
• start the happiness process by figuring out how to be joyful on the inside
• respect and love yourself, and choose nothing less from those you choose to have in your life
Like eggshells, we humans are fragile (even those of us who pretend to be tough), but we don’t have to be broken.
❶Seafarers also use this term for ice that’s heavy enough to overturn a boat.