Deranged, Yes. But Are They Certifiable?

“So many of the women you see on TV are out of control,” says Jamieson Webster of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and it’s true: Never in the history of television have we seen so many crazy women. The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen), for instance, offers a half-hour of screaming, fighting, and hair-pulling. Women Behind Bars (WE) follows women imprisoned for violent crimes (often, killing their husbands). And just last week, WE premiered the fifth season of perennial psycho-girl favorite Bridezillas. “These women all fall into the borderline category,” says Webster. We decided to (very unscientifically) test her theory.

Photo: Courtesy of WE TV

Women Behind Bars, WE
Abused by father. Denies she killed him. Has been on both suicide watch and death row at the same time.

Photo: Jay Sullivan/Courtesy of Bravo

Real Housewives of NYC/Jersey, Bravo
Dresses like her daughter and attends junior-high-school dances. Prone to outbursts at parties.

Photo: Courtesy of Oxygen

Bad Girls Club, Oxygen
Prefers tantrums to rational conversation. Extremely loud. Exhibits movie-star fantasies.

Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage

The Hills, MTV
Low self-esteem. Lets friends take advantage of her. Drawn to men who treat her badly.

Photo: Greg Zabilski/Courtesy of ABC

Snapped, Oxygen
Afflicted by overspending problem. And poisoned both her husband and lover with antifreeze.

Photo: Courtesy of WE TV

High School Confidential, WE
Depressed. No longer speaks to her family. Has a history of anorexia and self-mutilation.

Photo: Courtesy of WE TV

Bridezillas, WE
Convinced her future mother-in-law thinks she’s a “tramp.” Very susceptible to panic attacks.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

The Bachelor, ABC
Exhibits delusional fantasies about her future life, including that she will cure a disease.

According to the DSM-IV, patients with borderline personality disorder exhibit “impulsivity” and “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects.” Specifically, they display at least five of the following criteria.

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety).
Chronic feelings of emptiness.
Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptom.

Deranged, Yes. But Are They Certifiable?