Hi Pete! I'm sorry I was away for a few days. Thanks for your patience.
Pete, you know the question you're asking is really impossible to answer: can we give a systematic explanation for what's in her head?
She would have to be in therapy for an accurate diagnosis and statement of motivations, drives, etc. You've mentioned now control and narcissism and we discussed that before. This time, you're introducing elements of behavior that are associated often with features of Borderline Personality Disorder. Again, I'm not suggesting any diagnostic opinion. I'm trying to give you a better understanding of her behavior based on what you've described. Because the literature available for BPD sounds like it may help you understand better than the literature on narcissism might. I've worked with former partners in therapy of people with both NPD and BPD and your description of the whipsaw effect and especially the walking on eggshells effect is so consistent with BPD.
Amazingly enough, when I work with people in this situation you're in, it's uncanny how often they say they feel like they're on eggshells. Whether it's English speakers in the US, Canada, or in Europe, when we started out, this exact phrase would be expressed. And in fact, it's the title of a book that you can look at to see if it indeed resonates with your experience:
Randi Kreger wrote a book with Paul Mason called Stop Walking on Eggshells. Her is the American Amazon page for it:
She also has a wonderful online group called the Oz Online Community for Family Members. There are tabs for both BPD and NPD on the top because the behaviors can be so associated. You need to really get to know her resources because they'll help you with what the people in your life are going through. She's a very nice person, too. Here's her site:
So, again, I can't tell you what Nicole's situation is exactly. However, I hope this will point you in a direction that gives you that peace of mind you're seeking. The most important element is that you're recognizing that you're only human and that this relationship is not one you can make into a satisfying or healthy one for yourself. And this is the important understanding for you to have.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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