My apologies for such a long stretch between postings. I will be getting back to the other versions of the real housewives but I have hit a bit of a wall in my analysis there and was getting a tad frustrated. I wanted to branch out a little and find a bit of a clear-cut yet totally new disorder to delve into. Aha I thought, the women of the OC are ripe for bloganalysis!
This blog is indeed about analyzing the personality disorders displayed by the Real Housewives on the various Bravo TV programs. Once again I must issue the disclaimer that I do have a legitimate psychology degree but I am not a practicing psychologist. These blogs are intended for entertainment purposes only, mostly my entertainment I must confess.
This installment I will be taking a closer look at Vicki Gunvalson, one of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Vicki is defined by her job, she works incessantly, one could say obsessively. She is perfectionistic, judgemental and rigid. I believe she has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.
Most people think OCPD is about cleanliness and for some people with OCD it is, but for people with OCPD it is not always a cleaning thing. The primary symptoms of OCPD are preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, and schedules; being very rigid and inflexible in their beliefs; showing perfectionism that interferes with completing a task; excessive focus on being productive with their time; being very conscientious; having inflexible morality, ethics, or values.
Personal and social relationships are often under serious strain because the OCPD individual insists on being in charge and the only one who knows what is right. Sometimes frustration with other people not doing what the OCPD individual wants spills over into anger, this is disinhibition. People with OCPD, when anxious or excited, may tic, grimace, or make noises, as in Tourette syndrome. They may also do impulsive and unpredictable things, including risk taking. About one in four OCPD individuals may display rigid and stubborn characteristics, a defining criterion.
Vicki will constantly tell you she is working, she has to work or how many responsibilities she has on her plate. She looks down upon the other housewives because she feels they do not work at all, mostly because none of them work in the exact manner she does. Vicki makes it clear that if you do not see work as she does that you will never be successful. At times she hints that indeed you have no worth if you do not think and do exactly as she does.
Work is everything to her, coming before her relationships with friends, her husband Donn and even her children. When her daughter Brianna needed a biopsy for a possible cancer her very first reaction to it was that she had a meeting scheduled that day. I cannot imagine that even occurring to me in that moment personally. In Vicki’s defense she ultimately worked it out and went with Brianna. I will say though if your first inclination is to think of work rather than the well being of your child, clearly you have an issue.
Vicki raises her children with these ideals as well, she rigidly believes they should always do everything exactly right, according to the rules. When Brianna missed one bill Vicki freaked out, making the kids attend a financial seminar. It was complete with lectures about responsibility and doomsday scenarios for any mistakes along the way. She had a point, as she always does, but the manner in which she went about it was completely overboard.
Vicki recently broke up a friendship with Jeana. Most of her issues with her were money based. It seemed to start when Jeana was supporting her ex husband, which Vicki clearly did not approve of. It continued when Jeana rented out a house for Vicki to another friend Frankie. Vicki felt she should be getting more money than the house was worth in rental fees. Jeana reasonably pointed out that the house was in disarray and that Frankie deserved the cheaper rent. The resulting blowups over it led to a significant rift between the women. Clearly the money was worth more than the friendship to Vicki. The straw that broke the camel’s back, as stated in an interview by Vicki, was when Jeana asked for a loan. This was a personal affront to someone like Vicki, who was clearly disgusted by Jeana’s neediness. She seems to feel that there is a fundamental defect in people who cannot behave as she does financially or in regards to work. It is unreasonably rigid.
Vicki also has had a lot of difficulties with other castmates. Whenever someone does something that is not right in Vicki’s mind, she judges. She especially does not like any signs of dependence on a partner. Lynne, Alexis, Tamra and Gretchen have all been called out by Vicki for being too dependent on the men in their lives. Vicki does not seem to be at all dependant on Donn, in fact she goes overboard and barely ever includes the poor man in her life at all. I think any sign of neediness in herself at all makes Vicki completely uncomfortable.
Overall I feel Vicki Gunvalson meets enough of the criteria of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder for my assertion of it as a diagnosis.
- Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
- Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
- Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
- Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
- Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
- Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
- Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
- Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.
- Shows rigidity and stubbornness