19 Apr

By Terry Loving

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS – the life of the abused revolves around the abuser. Always careful of what is said and done to not upset him or her.

What mood will he be in today? Who knows, it is always a guessing game. You’ve gotten good at reading his facial expressions and overall demeanor. If he is in a foul mood, the anger distorts his handsome face to that of a stranger. You still haven’t figured out who this stranger is – for he isn’t the man that you love – but he shows up at any time – un-announced.


You are very careful of what you say, how you respond, your facial expressions, and even how you dress. Whatever you do is done to please him – everything! Your happiness and peace depends on his moods, and how he feels about any and everything. Lately, you find yourself adopting his views just to keep the peace. You may not agree with much of what he says at times, but it’s better than a slap across the face. Really, your life isn’t your own; you thought it was – until you met your Knight in shining darkness.


You tiptoe around him, slowly losing yourself – dying inside – bit by bit. Treading lightly in his presence is killing the person that God meant for you to be. You are tired, weary, lost, and confused. “What is happening to me? – You wonder. As his key turns the lock, your heart pounds, your palms are sweaty, and you are not sure how you feel, for you haven’t had an honest feeling in quite some time. Some days upon his arrival you suffer a terrible beating, and other days you breathe a sigh of relief. Yet in all, you continue to “walk on eggshells,” carefully orchestrating your moods to synchronize with your abuser’s ever changing persona. This is no way to live.


The idiom walking on eggshells generally describes a situation in which people must tread lightly around a sensitive topic, or make every effort not to offend a volatile or hypersensitive person. Literally walking on eggshells would require exceptional caution and self-control, similar to the feeling of avoiding conflict with an easily disturbed friend, relative or employer. Family members of active alcoholics or rageaholics often describe their careful avoidance of conflict as “walking on eggshells.” 1

The Cycle of Violence produces the “walking on eggshells” effect – for after the “honeymoon” stage, only the abuser will have inkling when the violence will begin again. You the abused will constantly have your fingers crossed, and walk around your abuser as lightly as you can. Is that living – really living? Isn’t this really about losing yourself, becoming invisible, smaller, and less important in the eyes of your abuser? As a Christian wife, you are joint heir with your husband – which means spiritual equality in the matter of the blessings and grace of God. It cannot mean that you are less of a person in the sight of God and heaven. Only hell would circulate such a lie.


Let me ask you this – does your abuser do the same – “walk on eggshells” – tiptoe around you to not set you off and cause you to exhibit violence and abuse? I think not. Why should he or she? They are in control of your moods and actions, not the other way around. You have become a human robot – an empty shell – doing the bidding of another – even without verbal dialogue.


When you find yourself “walking on eggshells,” this means that you have given up complete control of yourself. And yes, conflict should be avoided in the home, especially among God’s people. But this does not mean that the feelings of one person should be paramount over the other. We are commanded to “love one another.” The love, honor, and respect should be mutual – not a one-way street.


Sit back, close your eyes and imagine a person tiptoeing around another. Imagine you, always struggling to find the right words to say – or trying to match wits with a person prone to violence and abuse. Does it make you emotionally and mentally tired? Does it remind you of tipping quietly in a room where your sleeping baby lies, and you need something from the other side of the room? You hope your feet don’t find the squeaky floor board and awaken a screaming baby demanding attention. Walking on eggshells is akin to surrendering your life to another for all the wrong reasons.


Domestic Violence Awareness Embroidered Patch
(click on patch to see more)

Conflict serves no good purpose, and should be avoided – but not to the degree where one person shines, and the life of another is snuffed out.

It is my prayer that you will be enlightened, and finally see the truth.



What you gave me I know you gave me

You remind me all the time

And how you hurt me and you don’t see it

Again I am the child

And though you tell me that you love me

I can’t feel it and I’m afraid to let you down

It’s all or nothing, I fear that something’s wrong

I’m tired of walking on eggshells so terrified to fail

And in order to please you I’ve abandoned myself

And though it used to hurt me when you push me away

I’m stronger than ever, you made me this way

How I wish you, you suffered less too

It tears us both apart

And it’s not pretty the way you criticize me

And how it breaks my heart

And though you tell me (though you tell me)

That you love me (that you love me)

I can’t feel it (I can’t feel it)

And I’m afraid to let you down

It’s all or nothing, (it’s all or nothing)

I fear that something’s wrong

I’m tired of walking on eggshells so terrified to fail

And in order to please you I’ve abandoned myself

And though it used to hurt me when you push me away

I’m stronger than ever, you made me this way

How I wish you knew, how much I need you

I feel like running but I can’t abandon you

You avoid my gaze, withdraw from me these days

You punish me for trying to be all that you wanted

What more can I do?

I’m tired of walking on eggshells so terrified to fail

(So tired of walking on, don’t want to fail)

And in order to please you I’ve abandoned myself

And though it used to hurt me when you push me away

I’m stronger than ever, you made me this way

I’m tired of walking on eggshells so terrified to fail

And in order to please you I’ve abandoned myself

(In order to please you, I’ve abandoned myself)

And though it used to hurt me when you push me away

I’m stronger than ever, you made me this way, oh



“Emotional Pollution in the Home: Walking on Eggshells”

“Most people want their relationships to go well; they want to prevent criticism, cold shoulders, angry outbursts, or the silent treatment – all common effects of emotional pollution. They go through psychological contortions, second-guessing themselves, editing what they say, worrying if they’re doing things well enough, trying hard not to set him or her off. When you do this over a period of time, you lose a sense of who you are. You either internalize blame for your partner’s resentment, anger, even abusive tendencies, or you take them on and become resentful, angry, or abusive yourself. In either case, you don’t like the person you’ve become.”




The Danger Assessment

The Danger Assessment helps to determine the level of danger an abused woman has of being killed by her intimate partner. It is free and available to the public. Using the Danger Assessment requires the weighted scoring and interpretation that is provided after completing the training. The Danger Assessment is available in a variety of languages.


No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009
All rights reserved.


Posted by on April 19, 2011 in CYCLE OF VIOLENCE


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  1. Marianne Lordi

    April 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    This is so right on. Sadly, too many people suffer silently as the rage of their spouse grows stronger.

    • ssofdv

      April 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Hello Marianne,

      Thank you for stopping by. Yes, it is very sad. We must keep speaking out and placing truth in the forefront of the abuse. Until those who “suffer silently” understand fully what is happening to them, we must lead them to the light.


  2. delbertdelbert

    September 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Terry. Yes dominance is a powerful tool, and suffrage is a terrible toil. We know that there are many factors which act in solidification of abusers and victims. Possibly the key elements of control are FEAR LOVE and HATE.

    Victims are molded into newly formed creatures obeying the WILL of domination offering selves and souls to horrors of violence and hatred. Even children become unwilling innocents to the insatiable appetites of abusers and the never satisfying need of victims to SERVE.

    Until the cycle of abusiveness and violence is acknowledged and brought to JUSTICE it would ever spin out of control.

    Until the VICTIMS decide “I Have had ENOUGH,” domestic violence and all forms of abuse would thrive.

    It is time to STOP THE CYCLE.

    Be Well.

    • ssofdv

      September 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Hello Delbert,

      In short, you have summed up the main components that keeps domestic violence and abuse alive. You are correct in everything you have stated. As difficult as it is to accept that a loved one can be mean and ugly – this is the key to stopping abuse – accept reality.

      Too many of the abused are in denial, and blame themselves for the abuse. And far too many believe they can love the abuse away. Unfortunately, countless sufferers are trapped due to economics and a lack of support. And many will continue to die.

      Abusers are as you have stated, “insatiable” when it comes to feeding their need for dominance. They can change, but most do not see a reason to do so. They are right, and everyone else is wrong. Also, we must combat attitudes that women are inferior. Abusers must be made to understand that wives and girlfriends are not their little children, and their personal lumps of clay to bend and mold to their liking.

      In most cases, unwittingly – both the abused and abusers alike raise the next generation of abusers, and victims. Until this truth is understood and we act upon it, the cycle will continue.

      As always, thank you very much for your comments.


  3. delbertdelbert

    September 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Terry and you are welcome. The battle to wage the war against domestic violence and abuse ever surges. One day the waters would part, forever purging human hearts of these catastophes.

    Be Well.

  4. Donna

    August 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Hello everyone!! I have come to realize that I am a victim of walking on eggshells with my former boyfriend? This is my story!! I live with him in his house for over 2 years now lived with him before in a apartment never was this way until i moved with him in his new home. I go out to shop for a picture for the bedroom wall he tells me that he doesn’t want me to hang it up and put holes in his walls in his home!! I pay him rent monthly and share the food expenses with him also. He gets mad at me bc I say why not hang the picture that I bought for you. I feel he doesn’t only not appreciate what I do for him but now I feel like I have to watch what I say and do with him. my relationship with him ia almost going on 6 years now. He says I have a bad attitude I feel that he does not me. he gets mad over everything at times. I am only trying to be nice to him and I’m constantly there for him then his Mom or daughter is. Tell me what am I to do next from here on? I’m lost, and confused and don’t feel loved by him at times.

    • ssofdv

      August 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Hello Donna,

      I am a little confused. You’ve stated that this is your “former boyfriend.” Well, if you live with him, “Why?” Are you trying to hold onto a situation that he does not want? It sounds like he is pushing you away on purpose. Are you needing him for a roof over your head? Can you pay rent somewhere else where you can have peace, and not be in a controlled environment?

      When you live in a home where your name is not on the lease or mortgage, you are subjected to the whims of others. Living with family even can be stressful, and in a rocky relationship, even more difficult.

      After “six years” it does not seem that marriage is on the horizon, so why stick with it? If you do not “feel loved” now, a marriage would not help anyway, only make things worst. If he is truly a “former” then perhaps you should try finding another place to live, preferably your own. The decision to leave is entirely up to you. Ask yourself why you are accepting this mistreatment. When you come up with an answer, then you will be able to make decisions that are in your best interest.

      I hope things normalize for you very soon.


      • Donna

        August 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        Hello!! I’m sorry I meant that he was my current boyfriend!!! The situation is that its he’s way or no way!! He says that he loves me but we are not looking for marriage in this relationship anyway. I was married before and so was he.If things don’t change within the next month I am moving on and getting my own place whether it be an apartment or renting out a condo somewhere down south. Thanks, for your help and feedback, Donna

      • ssofdv

        August 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

        Hello Donna,

        Thank you for the clarity. Understand one thing, it is very difficult for people to change. Not that I am implying that you should stick it out longer, just facing reality – we can only change ourselves and even that is difficult and takes time and work. Change can be faked, so it is up to you to know the difference, and take a chance that he will change or not. Some people don’t see a need for change, they are satisfied with the way they are.

        With that said, only you will know if you need to make a move. It is a tough situation not being able to be yourself when you are trying to do the right thing. I wish you the best in whatever you decide.


  5. Finding Hope's Sunshine

    February 6, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    I agree that we shouldn’t walk around on eggshells, but I don’t want to upset the whole carton of eggs by making a fuss. I feel like I have to say silent and not upset the cart, so to speak so that all will be good when Daddy gets home from work. I do everything I can to not hurt my children. Am I wrong?

    • ssofdv

      February 7, 2014 at 12:23 am

      Hello Finding Hope’s Sunshine,

      I don’t know your situation well enough to say you are “right” or “wrong.” Sometimes, especially in abuse situations keeping a cool head may ward off violence and abuse of every kind. Only you know what you should keep silent about.

      If you are suffering violence and abuse, then I would suggest that you seek help in some way that is safe for you and your children. Perhaps a soft reply may help you to voice your opinion or concerns. I hope this helps in some way.

      Thank you for visiting this ministry. You may email me privately if you so desire.


  6. wiganhome

    August 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I am a man,and I feel like I am walking on egg shells. over 18 years I have lost my identity,All those things you describe except physical abuse are in our marriage. she decides everything,where the kids go to school ,how we spend money,(except when things go wrong)then she asks me to bail her out. When i talk she hardly listens or give me the courtesy of replying.I feel angry inside but dare not exptess it. etc etc im too emotionally tangled to finish this email thanks.for listening.

    • ssofdv

      August 21, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Hello wiganhome,

      I can certainly relate to what you are feeling and experiencing. A dear uncle of mine suffered abuse before he passed away. His wife has dementia, but there are others who make life miserable because they themselves are miserable.

      Is there any way to get counseling? Even if for yourself? Controllers tend not to do well in couples counseling because they blame everything on their mate. Try to find someone who will allow you to express your feelings. It isn’t wise to hold in anger for so long. Men suffer abuse as well as women. Of course women suffer at higher rates – but the plight of men who suffer at home is beginning to gain ground.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Please feel free to visit at any time. Hopefully you will find information that will assist you in some way. I will pray for you.



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