Much of our communication in our relationships comes before we’ve said a single word. We often have conversations and arguments in our minds and expectations about how a specific experience will go if it doesn’t happen the way the partner expects.
In couples counseling, one of the phrases we hear most that relates to this is the feeling that you are “walking on eggshells.” This phrase can be incredibly revealing about the relationship, and a sign that there are communication issues that need to be addressed.
What is “Walking on Eggshells?”
The exact origin of the phrase “to walk on eggshells” is unknown. But when we use that phrase, we’re typically describing a situation where we feel if we make one wrong move, and if we’re not cautious, our partner is going to respond in a negative way.
For a marriage to get to a place where one or both partners feel they’re walking on eggshells, it typically means there have been communication issues for quite some time:
- They may be quick to argue.
- They may feel they are treated unfairly.
- They may believe that their partner sees them as a failure.
Often, if at least one partner says they’re walking on eggshells, it can indicate a lot about the state of the relationship. Not only does it make it sounds as though at least one partner feels like there is a lot of criticism – it also means that the partner that feels they’re “on eggshells” is already upset at their partner for a slight that hasn’t happened yet.
What We Mean By Communication in Couples Counseling
“Communication” is an often misunderstood term in couples counseling. Many assume we’re talking only about what you both say to each other, and whether or not you talk about your problems. Communication is much more than that. It’s how you talk. It’s what you don’t say. It’s body language. It’s how you feel when you talk. It’s even about what you’re saying in your mind when your partner is not even in the room.
What we work on in NYC couples counseling is this idea that a marriage is made up of two people, both of whom are trying to figure out how to be understood by their partner. During couples counseling sessions, if a partner says that they feel they’re walking on eggshells, we may ask both of you questions about your tone, your eye contact, your frustration levels, and any factors that affect your ability to communicate.
We want to help you reach a point where you both can share your feelings and needs with each other, and know that you’re being heard. We also want you to be able to hear your partner, as there are often uncommunicated needs and feelings that lead to this “walking on eggshells” feeling. If you’d like to learn more about our Brooklyn couples therapy services, please call Flourish Psychology, today.