Take the Walking on Eggshells Quiz

It’s not breaking the eggs that does the lasting harm; it’s the continual walking eggshells. Emotional damage has a way of lingering in the times between resentful, angry, or abusive flare-ups. The empty, dull ache of unhappiness is most accurately measured in the accumulative effect of these small moments of disconnection, isolation, and dread.

The following quiz reveals what it feels like to walk on eggshells day after day. Read it aloud – the objectivity in hearing your own voice say the words – especially your answers – is the first step toward healing.

Walking on Eggshells Quiz
Please put a check mark next to your answer.

I am anxious, nervous, or worried about my partner’s:

Attitude
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Resentment
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Anger
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Sarcasm
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Criticism
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Glares
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Frowns
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Gestures (like finger-pointing, making a fist)
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Chilly moods
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Cold shoulders
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Stonewalling
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Do I edit my thoughts before I speak and second-guess my behavior before I do anything, in fear that it might “set him off” or cause “the silent treatment?”
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Is he fine one minute and into a tirade the next, all seemingly over nothing or about the same thing over and over?
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Do I feel tense when I hear the door open or when he comes into the room? When I walk by him, do my shoulders tense, until we get past one another?
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Do I think that if I just tried harder things might be all right?
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Do I feel that that nothing I do is good enough?
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Is my marriage in a cold stand-off (disagreements are minimal, but there’s a chilly wall between us)?
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

Are my defensiveness and other reactions to him on “automatic pilot,” like they just happen on their own?
Never ____Sometimes____Most of the time____

If you live with a resentful, angry, or abusive partner, you probably have a vague feeling, at least now and then, that you have lost yourself. In your constant efforts to tiptoe around someone else’s moods in the hope of avoiding blow-ups, put-downs, criticism, sighs of disapproval, or cold shoulders, you constantly edit what you say. You second-guess your own judgment, your own ideas, and your own preferences about how to live. You begin to question what you think is right and wrong. Ultimately, your perceptions of reality and your very sense of self change for the worse.

The cold fact is that it’s hard not to lose yourself in the morass of what you should say or what you need to do (to keep things peaceful) and how you’re supposed to be at any given moment. If you have to be one thing one minute and behave a different way in another (depending on your partner’s moods), your confidence and sense of self can seem to disappear. You begin to feel that you cannot reclaim yourself or begin to feel better until he changes and starts treating you better.

The understandable but tragic expectation that you are dependent on him for your emotional well being is the first thing you must change. You must heal and grow, whether or not he changes. Although our inborn sense of fairness and justice tells you that he ought to be the one to make changes, your pain tells you that you need to become the fully alive person you are meant to be. This means that you have to remove the focus from him and put it squarely on you. Happily, that is also the best thing you can do the help him and your relationship. This book will help you reclaim your true sense of self. That is its primary goal. But it will also help change your relationship.