RHONY’s LuAnn de Lesseps – Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorder

My apologies for any delays in responding to some of your great comments, observations and questions on my other posts here. I am trying to get to that as much as possible. I really do appreciate all the input from everyone and am learning a lot here. Honestly I had not expected the volume of responses and have been a bit overwhelmed. Delightedly so. Some of the conversations in responses are every bit as enlightening as what I write here, I urge everyone to read through and enjoy.

Read this post with the usual disclaimer for entertainment purposes only, mostly my entertainment to be frank. I have a legitimate degree in Psychology as well as one in Early Childhood Development but I am not a practicing mental health professional. I am determined to uncover all the disorders lurking inside the various housewives in trying to better understand them and how they interact with the world.

I continue with another one of the featured people on The Real Housewives Of New York aka RHONY, the Countess LuAnn de Lesseps. I will warn you I may slip and call her countless or LuMan, not professional of me but funny at any rate and force of habit.

LuAnn is, in my opinion, a compensatory type narcissist. The compensatory narcissist covers up a deep-seated deficit in self-esteem with grandiose behavior. Bear with me as I illustrate how I came to this conclusion, because it did take me awhile to pinpoint what exactly was going on with Ms. de Lesseps.

One of the most memorable moments to me on RHONY was during the reunion show. At some point the women were all discussing LuAnn and her book about class, making the usual catty comments when suddenly LuAnn bursts into tears and says with utter shock, you don’t think I am a classy woman? The raw emotion and shame she showed has never been seen by LuAnn on RHONY before or since. Her persona as a Countess with class is so important to her that pointing out it might be mere illusion seems to be the only thing that can drive her to tears.

Other than this we do not see much emotion from LuAnn. She maintains a veneer of polite interest and at times enjoys *witty* depreciation of those she considers beneath her. For the most part though we seem to see very superficial displays of emotion from LuAnn. She maintains a demeanor of somehow being above it all, as if emotions are common and not something a Countess should indulge in. She makes plays at empathy towards Jill but she does not seem to genuinely want to help her or anyone else, in fact she is usually adding to any drama in her subtle and passive aggressive way.

LuAnn recently went through quite a life changing event, she divorced. Much of LuAnn’s self-esteem was tied up in her title and her lifestyle. She has lost the lifestyle which makes her cling all the harder to her to her delusions of grandeur. When Ramona’s husband Mario referred to her as *Countless* it was such a personal affront to her that she could not let it go. She talked and talked of it, a one-off remark, as if it were the worst insult someone ever gave to anyone. A definite overreaction.

The event even resulted in the two separate parties that fateful Labor Day weekend. LuAnn would not attend Ramona’s party until Mario called her personally to apologize for the Countless comment. She threw her own party in revenge and tried to steal all Ramona’s guests. At Ramona’s were Bethenny and Alex and at LuMan’s were Kelly and Jill. Thus the season of two teams started, all because of LuAnn’s revenge play.

LuAnn had a memorable conversation with Bethenny in season one where she corrected her introduction of her to a chauffeur, telling Bethenny that she was to be introduced as the Countess de Lesseps and not as LuAnn. I understand she possessed a title but even real royalty seem to be less concerned about the proper usage of their titles. Throughout the seasons this need to be addressed as the Countess continues to come up.

The fact that an American who merely married into a title insists on its usage even after a divorce from the person who bestowed it on her just strikes me as odd. She clings to it like a security blanket. I believe the fantasy she has created of herself (the Countess) is more valuable to her than her actual self (LuAnn de Lesseps). To call herself a Countess at this point seems to be a wee bit of an exaggeration as she was not born to it and is no longer married to a Count. There is insecurity in being merely LuAnn hiding behind her elegant Countess façade.

I also see her insecurity in her relationship with Jill Zarin. Two narcissists but Jill is clearly the alpha dog. LuAnn bows to her advice, needs her for housing in New York, defends her vehemently to others and seems lost at the idea that Bethenny may intrude on this friendship. LuAnn seemed bound and determined to thwart any reconciliation of the two women. She took every chance to point out the ill behaviors and *betrayals* of Bethenny and seemed to egg Jill Zarin’s rage on. She certainly seemed to be right in the middle of everything and was not ever trying to foster any good between them.

LuAnn continues to seek recognition in other ways. She wrote a book called Class With The Countess, attempting to push herself as a royal version of Miss Manners. During this process she took time to mock Alex and Simon’s attempts to write a parenting book. Even though the topics were different, I think she perceived a threat and went on a bit of a mocking passive aggressive type attack. LuAnn will spin it as wit but there was an underlying hostility that was unwarranted.

When the book failed to generate the glory that LuAnn craves she moved on to a singing career. Referring to herself as a female Barry White, she found a fawning producer to create utter dreck with. This career move was as sudden as the book, out of the blue LuAnn magically is a singer. No further training, seemingly no thought or plan. She just rushed headlong into it, seeking immediate gratification. She is not just doing this as a lark either, she has delusions of an actual career as a singer. Typical of a compensatory narcissist.

Judge for yourself though.

Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorder presents as a pervasive pattern of unstable, overtly narcissistic behaviors that derive from an underlying sense of insecurity and weakness rather than from genuine feelings of self-confidence and high self-esteem, as indicated by ten (or more) of the following:

  • seeks to create an illusion of superiority and to build up an image of high self-worth
  • has disturbances in the capacity for empathy  
  • strives for recognition and prestige to compensate for the lack of a feeling of self-worth 
  • may acquire a deprecatory attitude in which the achievements of others are ridiculed and degraded
  • has persistent aspirations for glory and status  
  • has a tendency to exaggerate and boast
  • is sensitive to how others react to him or her, watches and listens carefully for critical judgment, and feels slighted by disapproval
  • is prone to feel shamed and humiliated and especially hyper-anxious and vulnerable to the judgments of others
  • covers up a sense of inadequacy and deficiency with pseudo-arrogance and pseudo-grandiosity
  • has a tendency to periodic hypochondria
  • alternates between feelings of emptiness and deadness and states of excitement and excess energy  
  • entertains fantasies of greatness, constantly striving for perfection, genius, or stardom
  • has a history of searching for an idealized partner and has an intense need for affirmation and confirmation in relationships
  • frequently entertains a wishful, exaggerated, and unrealistic concept of himself or herself which he or she can’t possibly measure up to 
  • produces (too quickly) work not up to the level of his or her abilities because of an overwhelmingly strong need for the immediate gratification of success
  • is touchy, quick to take offense at the slightest provocation, continually anticipating attack and danger, reacting with anger and fantasies of revenge when he or she feels frustrated in his or her need for constant admiration
  • is self-conscious, due to a dependence on approval from others
  • suffers regularly from repetitive oscillations of self-esteem
  • seeks to undo feelings of inadequacy by forcing everyone’s attention and admiration upon himself or herself
  • may react with self-contempt and depression to the lack of fulfillment of his or her grandiose expectations

For anyone having navigational issues here are the links to the other discussions on the Housewives of New York:

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/kelly-killoren-bensimon-update-schizoaffective-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/rhonys-jill-zarin-the-classic-narcissist/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/rhonys-bethenny-frankel-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/rhonys-ramona-singer-cyclothymia/

Posted in Real Housewives Of New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 128 Comments

RHofOC’s Vicki Gunvalson- Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

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
Posted in Real Housewives Of Orange County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

RHONJ’s Danielle Staub – Antisocial Personality Disorder

I want to thank everyone for visiting, reading and responding to these blogs. I am astonished at the amount of interest and I am pleased to read each and every one of your contributions. I enjoy my bloganalysis and am happy it is making other people think about the Real Housewives women in a new way.

Once again, this blog is about examining the psychological disorders displayed by the Real Housewives in the various series featured on Bravo. I do have a legitimate psychology degree but I am not a practicing psychologist. These writings come with the disclaimer that they are intended for entertainment purposes only, mostly my own entertainment.

This time I will be taking a closer look at what makes Danielle Staub, the lightning rod of The Real Housewives Of New Jersey, tick. Danielle herself states you will either love her or hate her, with her there is no in between. The other four housewives seem to be on the side of hating her, I find her entertaining. This is not about taking sides though, it is only about psychology. I believe Danielle is a prime example of antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy.

People with antisocial personality disorder use charisma, manipulation, intimidation, sex and even violence to control others and to satisfy their own needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please. They violate social norms and expectations when necessary without guilt or remorse. They often commit crimes, fail to hold jobs and otherwise fail to conform.

Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, antisocials may appear larger than life. This image of forcefulness and confidence combined with their charm allows them the ability to tell the most bold-faced lies in a manner that will have otherwise rational people believing them. The ultimate spin doctors, they can twist anything in a way that will best suit their ends.

People with antisocial personality disorder usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to examine an individual’s behaviour. Instead they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the antisocial person to manipulate and extract what she wants from others.

When they are trying to manipulate others, antisocials often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt. They can even cause otherwise rational people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning their motives. Antisocial people say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.

Danielle has told a myriad of people time and again about the tragedies that have befallen her in life. According to Ms. Staub she was; abandoned as a child, suffered childhood physical and sexual abuse, was a survivor of rape as an adult, was beaten, her dog was killed by an ex boyfriend and she lost a child.  If true, this is cause for quite a bit of empathy. Various websites have pointed out discrepancies in many of her stories of victimization though. Apparently the details have changed depending on whom she was talking to.

I have also seen time and again Danielle use past trauma to justify her actions. Her stories do seem to have an effect of rallying people to support her. She presents herself as a courageous survivor so I understand why people are stirred to her defense. As a survivor of a traumatic event myself though, the way she talks of her past just does not ring true to me. I cannot imagine using my past horror as any kind of excuse ever, it makes me uncomfortable to even think of it. She talks of things far too casually, as if she is going through the motions of it and it does not genuinely cause her pain. I could be reading into it though.

Antisocials have consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations. We have seen her complain about money issues from her divorce but Ms. Staub has yet to make an attempt to obtain work for herself. She remarked last year she was “too pretty to work” and this season has seemed to indicate that her daughter Christine should be the breadwinner for the family and buy Danielle a house with her earnings. Danielle seems to disdain work, insulting her nemesis Dina by telling us about her past as a salon employee, as if that is beneath Danielle.

Danielle also has a criminal history. She was involved in a kidnapping and extortion plot and was charged accordingly. She was also charged with intent to distribute cocaine. As part of a plea deal, Danielle only had to plead guilty to the extortion charge and serve five years probation. In return she testified against the others involved. When this has been brought up on the show she has answered in a myriad of ways, all evading the exact truth. Time and again she rationalizes her behavior, blames someone else, or denies it outright. Danielle seems to have no sense of guilt or remorse for any harm she may have caused others. She does not comprehend why her past would concern anyone else, including her castmates and RHONJ viewers.

Danielle has demonstrated signs of aggressiveness and tendencies towards revenge tactics. She has issued many verbal threats and even has engaged in borderline stalking activities. I can see where she makes people nervous and I can see where her past might up other’s cause for concern.

That being said I can also see her appeal to her fans, she has a Tony Soprano type charm.

I do think Danielle fits the profile for antisocial personality disorder and is indeed a psychopath. Judge for yourself though. Diagnosis is made by observation of a majority of these behaviors:

  • Selfish, callous and remorseless use of others:
    • Glibness/superficial charm (smooth-talking, engaging and slick)
    • Grandiose sense of self-worth (greatly inflated idea of one’s abilities and self-esteem, arrogance and a sense of superiority)
    • Pathological lying
    • Conning/manipulative (uses deceit to cheat others for personal gain)
    • Lack of remorse or guilt (no feelings or concern for losses, pain and suffering of others)
    • Emotional poverty (limited range or depth of feelings)
    • Callous/lack of empathy (a lack of feelings toward others; cold, contemptuous and inconsiderate)
    • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

     

  • Chronically unstable, antisocial and socially deviant lifestyle:
    • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (an excessive need for new, exciting stimulation and risk-taking)
    • Parasitic lifestyle (exploitative financial dependence on others)
    • Poor behavioral control (frequent verbal abuse and inappropriate expressions of anger)
    • Promiscuity (numerous brief, superficial sexual affairs)
    • Lack of realistic, long-term goals
    • Impulsivity
    • Irresponsibility (repeated failure to fulfill or honor commitments and obligations)
    • Juvenile delinquency (criminal behavioral problems between the ages of 13-18)
    • Early behavior problems (before age 13)
    • Revocation of conditional release (violating parole or other conditional release)
    • Many short-term marital relationships (lack of commitment to a long-term relationship)
    • Criminal versatility (diversity of criminal offenses, whether or not the individual has been arrested or convicted)

For anyone having navigational issues here are the links to the other discussions on the housewives of New Jersey:

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/rhonjs-jacqueline-laurita-self-defeating-personality-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/rhonjs-teresa-giudice-emotionally-unstable-personality-disorder-impulsive-type/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/rhonjs-caroline-manzo-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/rhonjs-dina-manzo-functioning-well/

Posted in Real Housewives Of New Jersey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 287 Comments

RHONY’s Kelly Killoren Bensimon- Paranoid Personality Disorder

Welcome to my second blog about the psychological disorders displayed on the Real Housewives series featured on Bravo. Once again I do have a psych degree but I am not a practicing psychologist. These blogs are intended for entertainment purposes only, mostly my own entertainment I will admit.

Thanks so much for the responses on my first attempt at bloganalysis. I do love any and all comments, feel free to disagree or point out flaws in logic. I am open to anything.

I could not resist tackling the juicy subject of Kelly Killoren Bensimon today. If you watched last night, I am sure you know why. Kelly is one of the women featured on Bravo’s Real Housewives Of New York City, also known as RHONY. It does not take a psych degree to see that Ms. Bensimon is suffering from a case of paranoid personality disorder.

People with paranoid personality disorder are highly suspicious of other people. They also are usually unable to acknowledge their own negative feelings towards other people in any realistic way. They generally do not work well with others, feeling as if they will be exploited or otherwise harmed. When paranoid people are in any way confronted or feel threatened, they tend to respond either by detaching emotionally or reacting with hostility that can even manifest in physical violence.

Kelly on the surface seems to be a very social and self confident individual. We see her party hop, chatter and generally act the part of typical socialite. Appearances can be deceptive. Kelly may also be active in her social life but she fails to connect with anyone, even her own children, on any significant level.

Case in point, when she posed for Playboy magazine. She took her daughters to lunch for a conversion about what was going on and I imagine to prep them for what was to come. The entire exchange was fraught with complete misunderstanding by Kelly of everything her kids said as well as a total misread by Kelly of how the children actually felt. There was no connection, it was a going through the motions type of talk. At one point her daughter praised her for working hard for them and Kelly took it as she was saying Kelly was hard on them. Why would that be where Kelly goes? Odd, no?

Kelly does not like Bethenny Frankel. Instead of telling her that or owning that emotion to others, Kelly instead will tell you that Bethenny hates her. She will add that Ms Frankel has attempted to smear her in the press and even that Bethenny has tried to kill her and harm her innocent children. I don’t think Ms Bensimon has any clue why Bethenny or anyone else would dislike her or her behaviors, any negativity is perceived as a direct attack and not dealt with rationally.

I will give her that Bethenny does not like her and indeed has probably made many comments that have made it into the papers. I am sure every housewife is guilty of that in varying degrees, some is probably just normal talk that worms its way down to reporters and some probably is indeed blatant feeding to the press trolls. That kind of press goes with reality TV and really any type of fame in general and you need to realize that going in. I think most rational adults would.

The idea though that any of the housewives tried in any way to harm Kelly’s children is patently ridiculous. I am just not drinking that Kool Aid thanks. As for the Bethenny is killing me comments, well if it had been said in an ironic tone then I would get it. Trouble is, it was not. Kelly honestly seems to believe that Bethenny Frankel is legitimately plotting to kill her. Yes that is indeed paranoia and crosses into legitimate full blown disease.

Kelly maintains a façade of self confidence. If you watch her interactions carefully you will see how often she engages in approval seeking. I think that may be some of the reason she ignores other women for the most part socially, she perceives them as a threat. With men she gets the positive reinforcement she craves, as they are more apt to appreciate her appearance.

Her relationships with women, when she does have them, are odd. She has befriended Jill and meekly accepts Jill’s corrections of her behaviors, even her way of speaking. She is obviously desperate for the acceptance of Jill Zarin, that would not be the case if she truly had self esteem. She defends this woman to everyone (to her own detriment) and in return gets how many times she says *like* counted at her. Yes that is a whipped puppy’s behavior, not the alpha dog. 

Kelly does not work well with others. Awhile back the women tried to organize a charity event Jill Zarin was hosting. Kelly’s first reaction was to insist she doesn’t put her name on anything, implying that her good name would somehow be harmed if she were associated with the endeavor. She seemed suspicious of the motives of the others for being involved as well.

During a vacation shown this week on Bravo, Kelly displayed a lot of her general feeling that everyone is out to get her. A varying times she refered to others as witches, mean, vile and even accused one castmate of “channeling the Devil” himself. She at times self isolated and at others lashed out toward at least three of the women. Her ramblings were illogical, at times even unintelligible. Her anger was of an inappropriate level to the given situations as well.

Whenever emotions were shown she grew more uncomfortable and agitated, even when the emotions were innocuous or not directed at her in any way. She read into every situation a threat against her personally. She raged against anyone who was visibly feeling anything, claiming it was *so 1979*. I confess the amateur shrink in me wonders exactly what happened to Ms Bensimon during that particular year as it is an otherwise completely random choice. She told numerous people to zip it and otherwise shut their mouth, as she clearly could not handle conversation of any type. A true breakdown occurred and I doubt we saw even close to the worst of it.

I also must go into a real life incident off show. Kelly Killoren Bensimon admitted she hit her real life boyfriend Nick Stefanov in March of this year as part of a plea deal. She in return did not have to plead guilty and served two days of community service. When this incident was mentioned on the show it was presented as Kelly volunteering. The fact remains she did legally admit to resorting to violence in a confrontation with her then boyfriend. Not exactly the action of someone in control of themselves. I think after watching a recent episode I can see how it might have come about.

I think Sonja Morgan may have saved more harm coming to anyone else during the vacation scenes. She calmly and rationally made everyone realize the powder keg was ready to blow. Do I think it could have escalated in something dangerous? Yes I really do. Luckily dispassionate calmness is indeed the best way to defuse paranoia.

At any rate I do indeed feel that Kelly Killoren Bensimon is a true case of Paranoid Personality Disorder but again, judge for yourselves.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Concern that other people have hidden motives
  • Expectation that they will be exploited by others
  • Inability to work together with others
  • Poor self image
  • Social isolation
  • Detachment
  • Hostility
Posted in Real Housewives Of New York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 238 Comments

RHONY’s Jill Zarin- The Classic Narcissist

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:

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/kelly-killoren-bensimon-update-schizoaffective-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/rhonys-luann-de-lesseps-compensatory-narcissistic-personality-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/rhonys-bethenny-frankel-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/

https://angelofdevs.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/rhonys-ramona-singer-cyclothymia/

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