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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary

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Walking on Eggshells: The Relationship Hazard of Being Too Careful

Photo via Pixabay

Do you and your partner never fight but never connect intimately either? Do you feel like you give and give but don’t get much in return? Do you constantly worry about upsetting your partner? If you feel like it is extremely important to keep the peace at home, it is possible you and/or your spouse are walking on eggshells.

The problem with being too careful

Sometimes we are too careful with other’s hearts. We put our partner first but don’t actively engage with them. We mold ourselves to the values we perceive they have but don’t really know their values.

We do this to avoid conflict. We do this because we are afraid. What if their values or needs don’t align with ours? What if they don’t care about our most important topics? Isn’t it better to maintain harmony or maintain blissful ignorance?

No, because intimacy is lost when we don’t inquire to know their real selves or share our own values. We keep things safe and surface, but not sensual, truthful or vulnerable. We think we’re being considerate but we’re really limiting our relationship’s growth.

Walking on eggshells makes us dread time with our partners. No one likes to feel inhibited or afraid. We may avoid toxic dialogue but we also avoid relaxation and real closeness.

No fighting does not equal harmony

I have years of experience with the eggshell walk. My ex-husband and I probably both thought we were being civil and mature by not yelling or fighting.

When values are not mutual

I subconsciously followed his lead when it came to family values. His extended family seemed so successful with their professional careers and lack of divorces. I assumed his values were more socially correct and respectable than mine, so I lived by them too. I also encouraged our kids to adopt them.

Withdrawal is worse than walking on eggshells? 

Toward the end of the marriage, I felt more and more sad. I had suppressed my family and personal values. All of that careful walking— guarding other’s ideals and feelings —made me feel lonely. But instead of talking it over with my husband, I withdrew. I talked about it with others, but I pulled back from him.

I once again avoided showing my feelings, because the reigning values in our home emphasized finances and success over feelings and failure.

I also knew my feelings would hurt his feelings.

Needless to say, all of this tip-toeing only caused my husband and me to grow more and more distant and unhappy.

From careful to careless

I eventually hit my tip-toeing tipping point. I became more vocal with my discontent. I stomped on those eggshells and surprised the heck out of my husband. He had assumed I was 100% on board with the lifestyle and values we embodied, and why wouldn’t he believe that? I had kept the peace and nodded my head for years.

Now, instead of being too careful with others’ hearts I was too careless. I let the pendulum swing very far the other way and crushed any chance we had to correct our avoidant behavior and subsequent suffering.

Get in there and care

According to Dr. John Demartini, the key is to aim for caring, instead of careful or careless. Dr. Demartini is the author of forty books on personal and behavioral development. Caring relationships involve two people who actively engage with themselves and with each other. Caring couples know and honor each other’s highest values, while still maintaining their own values.

As I describe in my book, The Quiet Rise of Introverts, we mature as humans by developing independence and ultimately, interdependence. Interdependence means valuing and relying on our own integrity and wholeness, while honoring and depending on the same in another person.

Interest and intimacy evolve from caring, sharing and honoring each other’s values and feelings. Too much focus on the other person and we are walking on eggshells, missing out on full connection.

Are values honored fairly in your home? Does one person often give in to keep the peace? Do you feel like you are walking on egg shells with one of your key relationships? 

 

 

 

 

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