Diagnosing “The Real Housewives Of New Jersey”

I must admit I’ve really been enjoying “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” this season. Not so much as a TV show, but as more of a psychological guessing game. What the hell is wrong with these women? They must be the most screwed-up people on Bravo, putting the Atlanta and New York ladies to shame. When I was in school studying to be a counselor, they used to give us these case studies of patients who sought therapy. We would read about their issues and have to diagnose them according to the DSM IV, which is basically the bible of psychology. As I was catching up on some episodes of the circus that is “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” I was having a blast trying to match the ladies with a clinical diagnosis. Danielle Staub is like a textbook case of Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s serious, people—she needs help. I can so imagine them showing clips of her in psychology classes around the country. “Watch and learn, students. This is what BPD looks like.” After the jump, the results of my diagnostic guessing game.Housewife: Danielle Staub
Diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder
Symptoms: Unstable relationships, poor self image, inconsistent moods, and significant impulsivity. People with this disorder fear abandonment so intensely that they cling to others, are very needy, feel helpless, and become attached immediately, or push others away to avoid rejection. When they are rejected, they’ll do anything and everything to get those people back, including self-harming behaviors or outbursts of anger or revenge.
Show Behavior: All of the above, her checkered past included. Of particular interest, her relationship with Jacqueline and her children … classic borderline. And what’s up with her thinking that the woman who owns the boutique is her new bestie? Trouble ahead! Her attempts at revenge against the Manzos. Her luncheon to celebrate her daughter’s magazine cover. Her daughter wasn’t even freaking invited. She did it to get back at Caroline, Dina, Teresa, and Jacqueline. WTF? She needs to get off the show and seek therapy … stat.

Housewife: Teresa Giudice
Diagnosis: Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Symptoms: Narcissists exhibit a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a sense of entitlement. They may be overwhelmed with fantasies involving unlimited success, power, love, or beauty and feel that they can only be understood by others who are, like them, superior in some aspect of life. They get irritated when the spotlight isn’t on them. They are all about appearances and see others, especially family members, as an extension of themselves. It’s all about image and appearances for these people.
Show Behavior: Have you seen her house? Her new bubbies? Her wardrobe? Or how about how what she does to her poor girls? It’s all about dressing them up like little mini-me dolls. Wait until those girls become teenagers. They are going to have a house full of eating disorders, drug problems, and nymphos. S.O.S.!

Housewife: Dina Manzo
Diagnosis: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms: General feelings of anxiety and excessive worry. Sometimes panic attacks.
Show Behavior: I wasn’t sure what Dina’s issue was this season. Why is she pulling away from everyone? Why is she always alone in her house with the cats? But it all became clear when I saw the episode where she was visited by her “Energist” who saged her house and gave her special bracelets to wear. Why does she need so much help to relax from a life where she does virtually nothing? Anxiety and lots of it. I think the show is really getting to her. And just as a side note, where is her daughter and her mysterious husband that we’ve never seen? I think she needs a therapist in addition to her “Energist.”

Housewife: Caroline Manzo
Diagnosis: I would recommend that she seek help for being a passive-aggressive, control freak with a tinge of paranoid tendencies.
Symptoms: Making digs or spewing put-downs with a smile. Needing everything her way, on her terms. Imagining that someone is out to get her.
Show Behavior: She pretends not to care about Danielle when you know she is on a campaign to get everyone to hate her. In fact, she is always talking about how great she is and how wonderful her life is while you can tell that she’s pissed underneath. How about a little honesty, Caroline? Also she tries to control Jacqueline by making her feel bad about herself. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sleeps with a knife under her pillow thinking that Danielle is coming to murder her family in the night. Get over it! This is not “The Godfather.”

Housewife: Jacqueline Laurita
Diagnosis: People Pleaser
Symptoms: She’s trying to live her life to make other people happy — her husband, her daughter, her sisters-in-law, etc.
Show Behavior: She’s always listening to and considering everyone else’s opinion about her life to the point where she doesn’t follow her own instincts. Case in point, she let her husband tell her she can’t see Danielle anymore. Lame! I mean, it’s probably a good idea, but she needs to get that on her own. Her instincts are totally shot and it makes her appear naïve and spineless. Backbone, Jacqueline, backbone. Stop trying to make everyone happy … it’s impossible.