Emotions influence behavior and my daughter became very sensitive to emotional fluctuations. A simple harmless comment would cause an angry emotional outburst along with associated bad behavior. This caused me to feel like I was walking on eggshells whenever I was around her. I was afraid to speak in case it brought on an angry outburst. This was tough and I always tried to be especially conscious of the words I was using. I have heard this same sentiment from other family members. It’s no fun when you can’t speak for fear of causing a huge emotional outburst from your loved one. After I had learned to handle the anger through good communication, I became more comfortable and do not worry about angry outbursts. I still have to be very careful with anything that could be construed as criticism because my daughter’s self-esteem is still very fragile, and even non-intended criticism sends her into depression.
Embarrassment is emotional discomfort, not physical pain. Many years ago I made the mistake of hiding my wife’s illness and did not speak out or become involved because I was embarrassed. I realize now how stupid that was. Having now become totally open and involved with my daughter's illness I can see the benefits of not allowing the fear of embarrassment to shut me down. Now I am no longer embarrassed about having mental illness in the family, and will talk to anyone without feeling shame.