Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells? It can be incredibly stressful to constantly be in a state of hypervigilance, not to mention emotionally and physically exhausting. 

If you find yourself emotionally tip-toeing around in your life or within certain relationships, the first step to getting empowered to stop this exhausting behavior is to raise your awareness about why you’re doing it. Only then can you move into the next steps that will begin to create freedom for you to mindfully choose to behave in a way that is authentic to you and aligned with life and relationships you want to create.



First, let’s establish a working definition of walking on eggshells. It’s being self-conscious and cautious about what you do and say and being in a hypervigilant state of awareness about the emotional state of others. It can manifest as automatically scanning others for cues or behavior in order to avoid confrontation, rejection, conflict or that person’s erratic or explosive responses.

You could be walking around on eggshells with a boss, your partner, a friend, a parent or a sibling. It really could be anyone.

The problem with this behavior is that it can exist under the radar in your unconscious and block you from understanding how YOU really feel, what you really want and who you really are.

So let’s dial into the two reasons why you might be walking around on eggshells:

1. You’ve had this experience in the past.

If you grew up in a chaotic, dysfunctional or abusive family system, this kind of behavior can become a habitual response to keeping yourself safe when you were a child. You might have learned to automatically scan the room and other people to avoid being the target of someone’s irrational anger, criticism or abuse. In this way, your behavior in childhood was adaptive to your survival. But then is not now, and your adult self can make a choice to respond differently here in the present.

2. You might be in a relationship with someone who displays dysfunctional, erratic or explosive behaviors. 

If in your current life, you interact with someone who doesn’t have a healthy regulation of their own emotions, it could be a rageaholic, an addict, someone who has their own unresolved issues or someone who is constantly criticizing you, then you might be walking around on eggshells with that person in order to avoid emotional pain.

If there is physical, mental, or verbal abuse, I urge you to seek professional help. Here is a link to my resource page where you can get help 24 hours a day. Please prioritize your safety.

To give you some more clarity about what it looks like to walk on eggshells, here are some common behavioral symptoms:

  • You adjust your own behavior in order to meet the needs and emotions of others.
  • You gage the emotional temperature in any room and are consistently mood checking other people around you.
  • You are extremely dialed into the non-verbal cues of others, checking for shifts in facial expressions and body language.
  • Your body often feels tense or constricted, especially in interpersonal situations.
  • You auto-accommodate in almost every situation. You’re always trying to make sure others are comfortable and to smooth things over in order to avoid conflict or upset.

I know that there are a lot of empaths and highly sensitive people in my crew, and we, in particular, can be vulnerable to this sort of hypervigilant behavior. From my own personal experience and the work I’ve done, I now consider my sensitivity to be one of my superpowers.

There is a healthy way for you to use your natural powers of empathy and sensitivity…it doesn’t have to dominate your entire internal experience. 

In this week’s downloadable guide, I’ve put together five steps that you can take to help you better understand your own past, your current behavior and to get some relief so you can stop walking on eggshells! You can get immediate access to your guide by clicking right here.

We need you. You’ve got to take care of yourself. I want you to feel liberated and free to live your most authentic, satisfying life. And continuing to walk around on eggshells just isn’t going to cut it. So grab your guide and take some time and space to delve into this. I promise you, you can do this and as always, I’m cheering you on like a wild maniac!

If you liked this episode, please share it with anyone in your life you think could benefit. I hope this added value to your life and I am so grateful for you.

I hope you have an amazing week and as always, take care of you.

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.