The Real Housewives and Projection by Quincy IL
We share a common interest and that is why we are members of the Lynn Hudson “I hate Jill Zarin” web site. We all found our way here from points all over North America (we have both American and Canadian members) because we love to watch the “Real Housewives of New York City.” Many of us were shell shocked in season three and needed a way to explain our dismay in the behavior of Jill Zarin and her interaction with the other members of the cast. When Jill turned on what we assumed was her best friend, played partial messaged for friends and the audience to here, and refused to speak to her best friend; we needed to discuss what was happening and understand what we were watching.
Some of us recognized that something was “off” with Jill’s behavior from the early days in season one. In Lynn’s early blogs, Lynn and board members noted Jill’s behavior when she was not invited to a small cooking party at Ramona’s Hampton estate. Jill was furious and she wanted to punish Ramona. That seemed odd to many of us. In the beginning of season two,” New York Magazine” profiled Simon and Alex. Simon quipped, “Jill’s from Long Island and that shows.” Jill Zarin went to “Page Six” and said that Simon was a falling down drunk. Many of us gasped and were shocked when Jill’s mother agreed that she would have done the same as Jill. What is the problem with being from Long Island and having that accent? The viewing public could not see the connection that Jill made.
Long, long ago in a blog far away, I gave the definition of projection and my reasons that I felt it played a role in what we were watching on our television screens. Having done a search of the word, “projection,” on Lynn’s blog, many others have made that comment long before and after I did. We are not trained psychologists or psychiatrists, but a lot of us had Psychology 101 in college and watch enough television to see that Jill and many other Bravo reality stars project all over the place.
Since many of us have been out of school for awhile, here is the definition of projection from Wikipedia: “ In Freudian psychology, Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings.
Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.” We all project. Projecting helps us survive. We think that all of our friends think as we do and are shocked when someone disagrees. We do this on the board. We do this with family and friends. It’s a way of saying to ourselves that we are thinking correctly about issues or events. It relieves our anxiety and helps us cope with daily life. Jill would never state that she was ashamed that she grew up on Long Island, but there was something about Simon’s comment that made her go to war. My guess was this was subconscious and Jill did not know it was happening.
Jill and Gloria share a perception of what Camille Grammer called, “the pecking order.” Manhattan is above Long Island (and probably Brooklyn.) Simon of Brooklyn and Australia commenting on Long Island, clicked (or clucked since we are discussing pecking order) in Jill’s mind. She went to war. Thanks to Gloria, Jill felt confident that she did the right thing. Bethenny enjoyed the catfight, but she may have spent enough hours on the couch to know what was really going on.
There is an example of group projection in OC that reminds me of our board discussion on Halloween of the Salem Witch trials. It was the crowning moment last season at Lynn Curtain squatter beach house dinner party. For those of use who have watched the OC girls for years, we know that Vicki complains about the amount of work she has nonstop. Her daughter tells us that she understands her mom’s anxiety over work and sees that it causes high blood pressure. When Vicki was upset by Simon’s comments and the conversation during the dinner, she wanted to escape and said that she had to go to work early in the morning. Her husband seconded that excuse. Each of the other ladies and their husbands freaked out. They ripped Vicki to shreds because she implied that they were failure and did not work. Every one of them projected as those young girls in Salem did in 1692. When Vicki refused to admit guilt, Tamara led the gang in dragging Vicki to the gallows.
Kyle Richards of Beverly Hills told us that there was a clear case of projection when Camille Grammer accused Kyle of asking, “Why would anyone be interested in you, if Kelsey was not there?” Kyle tells Camille at the first night dinner in NYC, “I believe you heard that, but I didn’t say it.” Camille has been telling us from moment one that she is stepping out of Kelsey’s shadows and that being in his shadow was an issue for her. Kim, Kyle’s sister, said that Camille misinterpreted her sister’s questions and that Kyle never made that statement. I feel that Camille does not know that she has projected because she has buried those feeling in order to survive. She hates those emotions so when she heard Kyle’s questions about the Hawaii trip, she reacted. We know there was a verbal battle and there were tears from Kyle. We know they did not speak to each other on the return trip and the fight continued in NYC. We know the fight continues today with online comments from Kyle that “not everyone was meant to be friends.” The emotions are so deeply buried in Camille and she hates them so much that she has placed them on Kyle, punished Kyle and sent her to the dungeon.
Jill Zarin has sent Alex and Simon to the dungeon. She is cordial in the press at times, because she is being monitored and her PR agents do have input. Jill Zarin sent Bethenny to the dungeon too. Bethenny and Jill were fighting over Bethenny having the opportunity to star in her own show. That was hidden from us until the third season reunion. We were told that Bethenny did not care enough about Bobby (really Jill) to drop everything and run to his bedside when Jill didn’t tell her how sick he was. The flowers Bethenny sent were equal to the mailman’s flowers. Jill was questioned by the public through Andy Cohen at the reunion, but she can not understand that she was projecting her emotions onto Bethenny because she needs to survive. The jealousy and the anger that we witnessed in Jill’s behavior were subconscious on her part. She was consciously feeling what she told us she was feeling. She felt betrayed by a friend. She wanted us to agree with her and that is why she kept the phone message and played part of it for us and discussed it with Luann, her soothsayer, and anyone one else who would listen. That was season three. Jill trying to suppress feeling of failure that she hated and trying to have us take her side.
That leads us to consensus projection and all of the dangers that we face on our board, in real life and in the twitter universe. There is a video of Taylor and Kyle discussing marriage at bravotv.com. Lynn pointed it out in her blog as significant so I took that link. Taylor tells us that when she first met Russell, she thought they had so much in common. They both like trips to Mexico and vanilla ice cream Taylor weeps that she and Russell can not find a way to go back to the place that they accepted each other totally. That’s the Cloud 9 effect that we all have when we first fall in love with our mates or significant others. Of course, hormones are raging and the mind is affected. “The False Consensus Effect takes place when we overestimate the degree to which our own behavior attributes beliefs that are shared by others behaviors.” (Wikipedia.) When we meet new friends as Jill did with Alex and Simon, there is a period of shared consensus. Jill was generous to Alex. She helped her look at a preschool. Jill had Bobby pay for expensive dinners for the couple. In Jill’s mind, everyone was on the same wave length. Alex tells us of Jill’s constant negative comments about Alex’s family and we watch some of them on the screen. Alex finally begins to tell Jill that they are not in consensus so Jill removes Alex from her existence. You can not be Jill’s friend if you are not in consensus with Jill.
During the filming of season four, we see a tweet from Jill to Alex that was nice. We think Jill has turned over a new leaf, but Simon tweets that leopards do not change their spots. Years of analysis are required to recognize what goes on in our subconscious minds and even then many can not change how they think and interact with others. Leopards do not change their spots.
I mentioned on the board, that I was looking at the various ladies for signs of projection and that I thought that Nene of Atlanta was amazingly healthy. Several members agreed with me. Nene may be loud, but she sees who she is and how she interacts with others. She identifies the issues and tries to deal with them. That is why she can recover from disputes and say she is sorry. She’s amazing.
Lynn and I disagreed about Cat O of DC. In fact, I was in the minority on the board when we discussed the dispute with Erica at Stacy’s home when the kids were invited for an ice cream party. Erica and Cat were jabbing each other for a long time. Erica had feelings of jealousy because someone who was not from DC got that starring role on real housewives and Erica had wanted it. Cat thinks that being honest and sharing her thoughts was acceptable even if those thoughts offended others. Lynda and Mary publicly admonished Erica and gave excuses for the behavior of Cat. In my opinion, Stacy is the only housewife who saw things clearly. She explained to us that there were many comments that had gone on during the months of filming and during the run up to Cat’s run out. When Erica called Cat, “a mean girl,” it hit a nerve. I think that in Cat’s subconscious, she too thinks she is a mean girl. It’s my guess that deep down she thinks her behavior and comments were the root cause of her failing marriage with Charles and past failed relationships. The tears and the gut wrenching that Cat experienced as she walked out that door were a part of her battle to keep her own thoughts suppressed and project the mean girl reality onto her enemy, Erica. There is a reason that Charles walked out and never spoke to Cat again. My guess is: Cat was blaming him for her unhappiness and that is not a recipe for a successful marriage. What is blaming someone else for our own feelings of failure? It is Freud’s projection.
We all project in order to survive. The Human mind is so complicated. Being able to discuss these reality shows and share our personal experiences with so many is a gift from Lynn that I am so grateful for each and every day. When, on the board, we feel that we have consensus, and find that someone disagrees, it is a shock. The key is to read and understand the other person’s perspective. If someone misinterprets a comment, it’s not the end of the world or a black mark on our name. If someone we like doesn’t go to our defense, they are not disloyal. The golden rule of this board: do not attack other board members has saved this board many times and helped make the site popular.
When looking through past blogs, I noticed that the comments often go into the 600-800 range. Long after the blog changes, people are adding to the comments and discussing the blog. It’s amazing to read those comments. So to the regulars, the lurkers and those that comment for months later know that Lynn and others do read your thoughts and they are important contributions to the site.
Please take the time to look at the comments of the last two blogs as there have been fascinating contributions over the last few days. There is a sighting of Camille Grammer at a doughnut shop and someone will tell you how she behaved.
My dream of becoming Santa’s held elf for a brief time has come true. I will be with you over the next few days so any screw ups of this board are going to be on the “my bad list” on Santa’s desktop.
I hope everyone has a happy holiday season. Of course, I will be out there projecting just like everyone else. LOL. If only, I was as healthy as Nene.