Yes this is just a TV show but I have a psych degree I never use so I am going to dust it off. I will interpret the behaviors of Bravo’s Real Housewives series’ women with what I was taught. I can only analyze what I see, so of course the results may be skewed. Read this with the usual disclaimer for entertainment purposes only, mostly my entertainment to be frank. Bear with me though, I am neither a veteran blogger nor a professional psychologist.
This entry will focus on Jill Zarin but I am determined to uncover all the disorders lurking inside the various housewives, I am just that way. This is the first of a series of psychological overviews on the real housewives.
I begin with my least favorite of the housewives, Jill Zarin, currently one of the featured people on The Real Housewives Of New York aka RHONY. Jill is a classic narcissist. For those of you not in the know there are subtypes of narcissism, Jill is the grandiose or malignant varietal. The grandiose or malignant subtype is identified by marked arrogance, contempt for others and a belief that they should only associate with other special people like themselves. Jill has gone off the deep end since Bravo show has allowed her fantasy that she is somehow better than the rest of the world to seem like reality to her and some others.
Jill has an obsessive need for attention. She has often displayed fits of piqué when she has not gotten the admiration or adulation she feels she has earned. She honestly feels she deserves attention, despite having none of her own accomplishments, simply because she is special for being Jill Zarin. She talks of her husband’s business as though it is her own, despite having been married to Bobby for a relatively short amount of time and seeming to have no real purpose at Zarin Fabrics. She continually acts as though co-star Bethenny’s success is solely due to her, despite having only been a friend of hers the last couple of years. There is also the pesky fact that Bethenny’s success is largely due to being on a reality show, not the good word of Jill Zarin.
Another personality trait of a narcissist is a noticable lack of empathy. Case in point, Bethenny’s father. Jill knew Bobby Frankel was ill, we know this because she told Alex she knew. Jill reaction was to shrug it off and claim Bethenny and her dad aren’t even close. Instead of sympathizing with a woman that she called a friend, she instead went right back to harping about how Bethenny had not been around for her during her husband’s illness, which had since been over. No emotion for Bethenny, no thought for what she might be feeling, instead it is back to Jill and how she needs things. She cannot see past her own interests for a so-called friend. She cannot understand that any parent dying, no matter how bad the relationship, would be painful to someone she claimed to care for.
Indeed Jill had often mentioned Bobby Zarin’s illness, later we all find out that during this period of time Jill had not been around for Bobby, rather she was pictured often out and about in the Hamptons partying while he was recovering from *being split from ear to ear*. This leads me to believe she was more upset about being ignored by someone (Bethenny) than she actually was concerned for her husband. After all she did not feel it necessary to curtail her own social life for his life threatening illness.
Jill has often been said to need *an underdog*, this may lead you to assume she needs someone to help for selfless reasons. In fact Jill just needs to be surrounded by people she feels are weaker somehow than her, not unspecial people by any stretch, just people she can influence who will in turn give her the volume of attention her disorder requires. In LuAnn, Jill Zarin has found a title to leech onto and a complete sycophant to feed her raging ego. More about LuAnn tomorrow though. In Kelly, Jill has found someone exceedingly attractive (a former model) who she shares an enemy with. Kelly is a weak minded and paranoid person but she also gives Jill a good share of adulation which works for Jill.
Jill has never liked Alex and has regularly displayed contempt for her, commenting negatively on everything from where she lives to her family. Alex is just not special enough in Jill’s eyes, nor does she kiss Jill’s ass so Jill has no use for her. You can see a marked difference in Jill’s treatment of her to Jill’s typical interactions with all the other women on the show. When confronted about her bad treatment by Alex I honestly think Jill was put out because its such a habit she cannot even remember doing it. That and she was appalled at someone she feels is a nobody to be questioning her at all. Jill feels above a scolding from a working person from Brooklyn.
Lately Jill has put on quite a show of sorrow over her broken relationship with Bethenny. Ahhh feelings you cry, yes indeed, the sadness of lost potential for attention stealing. Bethenny became the center of attention, with a wedding and a baby. Jill knew that the show’s focus would surely be diverted from her own life. She had been short-sighted and suddenly she saw that she had squandered a chance for captured glory she could have garnered for herself by taking the attention for Bethenny’s latest achievements as she had tried to with Bethenny’s past accomplishments. That is sad for a raging narcissist, as sad as it gets.
Judge for yourself though. There are nine diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of narcissism, you need to only display five behaviorally. To garner a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder you must have a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a pressing need for admiration and a noticable lack of empathy. This behavior should begin by early adulthood and present itself in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- A grandiose sense of self-importance. These people may exaggerate achievements or expect to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements.
- Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance or beauty.
- Believes he or she is *special* and unique. They believe they can only be understood by other special or high status persons and that is who they believe they should associate with.
- Requires excessive admiration.
- A strong sense of entitlement. This may include unrealistic expectations of especially favorable treatment or an automatic compliance by others with his or her expectations.
- Interpersonally exploitative, often taking advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
- Lack of empathy, unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- Often envious of others or believes others are envious of them.
- Demonstrates arrogant or haughty behaviors or attitudes.
I feel my case is clear.
Please feel free to comment and share! Thanks!
For anyone having navigational issues here are the links to the other discussions on the Housewives of New York: