Once again I have returned to offer my observations on the behavior demonstrated by the Real Housewives on Bravo reality TV. I must point out as always that I while I possess a legitimate degree in psychology, I am not a licensed therapist. This blog is intended for entertainment purposes only, mostly my entertainment to be honest.
Today I will be taking a look at Jacqueline Laurita, one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Jac is an in law of the Manzo women and at one point was Danielle Staub’s best friend. We have seen many changes in Jac over the past two seasons but her attraction to being the passive party in the center of the drama remains a constant. I feel she is a masochist suffering from self defeating personality disorder.
When the series premiered we saw Jacqueline regularly bending Danielle Staub’s ear about her unhappiness with her in-laws. I remember a scene in the bathroom where Jac is complaining about Dina’s treatment of her at a benefit. She seemed very overwhelmed by both of her sisters in law and yet continued to involve herself with them. She also continued to include Danielle in the group even though her sisters in law, particularly Dina, clearly did not like Danielle nor did they want her around.
As the first season progressed she remained friendly with Danielle even though it obviously was contributing her problems with her sisters in law and her husband. She continually sided with Danielle, even though it seemed as if Danielle was pressuring her and causing her distress. At the same time even though she clearly supported Danielle, Jac saw that the relationship caused a lot of the issues with her family members. She still got upset and was hurt when her sisters in law got mad about the friendship and confronted her about the problems it caused for them.
After the first season, Jacqueline moved on from Danielle, choosing to side with her family and Teresa Giudice. This was probably more comfortable for her yet we see a real lack of respect for Jacqueline from these women. They often talk to her condescendingly about her being weak with others. Jacqueline allows this attitude to continue and does not stand up for better treatment. In fact she defends this behavior publicly.
Jacqueline also allowed herself to be sucked into a cordial relationship with Kim G. I think Jac liked having someone outside the family to vetch to as well as a source for information on Danielle. Jac clearly seems to be drawn to the worst people over and over again and then confides in them freely, trusting far too soon. Viewers clearly saw that Kim G was two-faced but Jac did not. She begged an invite for Kim to Teresa’s party, knowing that Kim G loves to dish Danielle, then was slammed by Kim for being obsessed with Danielle. She created that opportunity by her over sharing info with Kim and then allowing her into a *family* event where Kim G promptly turned on her.
Jacqueline’s relationship with her daughter Ashley is another problematic relationship. Time and again we see Jacqueline try to act tough then allow her daughter to walk all over her yet again. Ashley is constantly disrespectful and behaves badly towards her mother. Jacqueline has received plenty of good advice about the situation and yet she feeds the problem instead of dealing with it consistently and effectively. She talks a big game about putting her foot down but we see that it is just talk at the end of the day. She continues to justify her daughters actions and allow the pain it causes her to continue.
I feel like Jac thrives on playing the victim. It is as if she cannot go a day without someone somewhere mistreating or disrespecting her. Even when she manages to get rid of one problematic person she acquires another. Every sign of progress towards happiness is followed by further entanglement in drama and engagement with those that hurt her. Surely there are people in Jersey who she could find to be with instead.
Self defeating personality disorder is marked by pervasive pattern of self-defeating behavior or masochism. The person may often avoid or undermine pleasurable experiences, be drawn to situations or relationships in which she will suffer, and prevent others from helping her:
- Chooses people and situations that lead to disappointment, failure, or mistreatment even when better options are clearly available
- Rejects or renders ineffective the attempts of others to help him or her
- Following positive personal events, responds with depression, guilt, or a behavior that produces pain
- Incites angry or rejecting responses from others and then feels hurt, defeated, or humiliated
- Rejects opportunities for pleasure, or is reluctant to acknowledge enjoying herself (despite having adequate social skills and the capacity for pleasure)
- Fails to accomplish tasks crucial to her personal objectives despite demonstrated ability to do so
- Is uninterested in or rejects people who consistently treat her well
- Engages in excessive self-sacrifice that is unsolicited by the intended recipients of the sacrifice
For anyone having navigational issues here are the links to the other discussions on the housewives of New Jersey: