Walking on Eggshells: How To Approach an Unstable Relationship

Have you ever been in a relationship where you feel like all it takes is one little thing taken out of context or blown out of proportion to ruin your day? This is something that many men and women deal with when they are in a relationship with their significant other. However, the good news is that it does not have to continue to be this way!

What Does Walking on Eggshells Mean?

What does it really mean to be walking on eggshells? In this type of relationship, you may be worried about what you say or do, as you know that your partner will then become angry, disappointed, sad, or the like.

You live your whole life knowing that you could do something that will set your partner off. In this type of scenario, it is evident that your partner has an emotionally unstable personality disorder if something minor will lead to a fight. It can be draining on the person who is having to watch how they say things, do things and overall live their life.

For those who are always walking on eggshells, they may feel as though everything they do is not enough. They may feel as though what they do is not appreciated. It is these types of feelings that lead to low self-esteem and a person feeling as though they simply cannot go on in this relationship.

It should be noted that having a bad day here and there does not mean that you are in a relationship where you are walking on eggshells. Everyone has a bad day from time to time. However, if you find that the majority of your relationship is you walking on eggshells around someone while the good days are far and few between, then this is evidence of a huge problem.

Signs of an Emotionally Unstable Relationship

How can you tell that you are in an emotionally unstable relationship? There are red flags that you may be walking on eggshells that show your relationship is not as great as you may think.

  • Do you find yourself anxious, nervous or worried about your partner’s mood? This includes being anxious, nervous or worried about his/her resentment, anger, sarcasm, criticism, glares, frowns, gestures, and the like?
  • Do you find yourself editing your thoughts before speaking to avoid upsetting your partner?
  • Do you second guess your behavior? If you change your behavior in fear that your partner may not like what you want to do, this is a huge sign!
  • Does your partner seem fine one minute then goes into a tirade the next?
  • Do you find yourself feeling tense when your partner comes into the same room with you?
  • Do you find yourself feeling as though everything you do is not good enough?
  • Do you have muscle aches that are due to the stress you feel?
  • Do you have a nervous pit of feeling in your stomach that actually results in stomach distress?
  • Do you get defensive as a reaction to your partner automatically?
  • Do you find yourself getting depressed when you are with the person one on one?
  • Are you tense when this person is near you and only relax once they are away?

If you have any of these feelings constantly, then this shows that you may be in an unstable relationship. If you feel these from time to time, it may mean that your relationship is not as stable as it could be and needs work. One thing is evident though, those who feel emotionally unstable in a relationship can set boundaries and reach out for help.

Stop Walking on Eggshells! How to Deal with an Unstable Relationship

Once you realize that you are indeed walking on eggshells, how do you deal with an unstable relationship? There are a few options that you have:

  • You can call it quits and get out. Many people who notice that they are walking on eggshells realize that they are losing themselves. Their opinions and beliefs may change to avoid angering their significant other. When this is the case, many people decide to leave. It will not be easy, but for many people, they believe that this is the only choice.
  • Get counseling or therapy. Many couples find that if they go to couple’s counseling or couple’s therapy that they find the personality disorder that may be affecting their relationship, along with helpful ways in which they can change and make their relationship completely healthy. Keep in mind; this is not going to be something that is solved with one session. It will take several sessions over the course of many months or even years, depending on how bad the relationship really is.
  • Work on your communication skills. Perhaps you never to communicate better with y our significant other. There are those cases in which a person does not even realize that they are belittling you as much as you are taking offence to what they do and say. The communication on both sides lacks, which leads to one or both to feel as though they are not getting what they truly need within their relationship.

There are several reasons why you may be walking on eggshells in your relationship. From having combat-related PTSD, having a borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, a history of an abusive relationship, impulsive behavior or even a destructive disorder. It is important that the cause is pinpointed if there is any hope of this relationship becoming less destructive.

If you believe that you are in a relationship in which you are walking on eggshells, now is the time to act. You don’t want to find yourself years down the road, realizing that you should have made a change in your life. If you are in this situation, reach out for help to ensure that both you and your significant other are going to treat each other with the respect that you both deserve and be in a happy relationship.

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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