Below is the condensed press release followed by a detailed explanation of how TV Reality shows and cameras impact behavior and relationships…
Update May 01 2012:
Can Kevin Jonas’ marriage survive the reality show curse? – Read Patrick Wanis PhD’s quotes in the article on Celebuzz.com about the new reality show with Kevin Jonas and his wife and what he calls the curse of the reality show and how it destroys relationships and marriages. https://www.celebuzz.com/2012-04-30/can-kevin-jonas-marriage-survive-reality-show-curse-expert-weighs-in-exclusive/
- After 16 seasons of The Bachelor and seven seasons of The Bachelorette, only 4 couples out of 23 are still together: Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum, and Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson.
Update May 30 2011:
Reality stars of “My Fair Brady” Adrianne Curry and Christopher Knight have separated after five years of marriage.
TV REALITY SHOWS AND DIVORCE SEEM TO GO HAND IN HAND:
TV Reality stars Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey, Britney & Kevin, Hulk Hogan & Linda all ended in divorce. Could Jon and Kate Gosselin be next? Why have so many married couples featured in reality shows ended in divorce? Is there a mysterious curse of reality shows or are there real psychological causes?
“TV cameras that constantly hound you for great lengths of time trigger automatic involuntary behavioral responses that result in conflict and which erode & corrode relationships”, says Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert, Patrick Wanis, PhD. “In the words of Ron Howard who directed the first film about reality TV, Privacy is precious…cameras that invade your life distort and destroy it.’”
According to Dr. Wanis, the constant barrage of cameras triggers five key responses that eventually result in the divorce of married couples on reality shows, a phenomenon Dr. Wanis calls “The Curse of Reality Shows”:
- The subconscious desire to please others and gain their approval leads each person to act out the role and say the things that they believe others expect of him or her
- “Emotional nakedness” whereby our critical defenses are lowered and we blurt out and act the truth -what we truly think and feel from our subconscious mind – the things we would usually hide, contain, suppress or try to control
- The TV cameras intensify and exaggerate the best and worst of each reality star: the camera becomes like a person invading your personal space and judging your every thought, action and response with little or no time for a true rest and break creating physical, mental and emotional strain
- The exposure, publicity and fame can result in delusion, a loss of sense of one’s real self and a transformation, corruption or erosion of one’s values
- In the case of a married couple, the TV cameras and reality show also rob the couple of the critical personal, private time for intimacy – emotional intimacy.
Only one married couple thus far has survived the reality show curse: Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. What antidote to the curse does Sharon and Ozzy possess? Get the expert scoop from Dr. Patrick Wanis.
A question from a TV producer from The View:
“I like the concept of “emotional nakedness.” Why does that happen in front of the cameras? What does the camera bring out that everyday life would not? And why? “
Dr. Patrick Wanis, Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert, responds:
“Three opposing factors can create the effect of neutralizing our defenses, resulting in emotional nakedness: 1. a sense of safety and acceptance; 2. a powerful emotionally intense onslaught that creates such fear and anxiety that we no longer operate with our conscious mind (logical reasoning factor) and/or 3. The subconscious desire to confess and/or offload our guilt, shame or some other repressed emotion.
Let’s look at those 3 factors in more detail:
- Sense of safety – we think we will be accepted so it’s OK to be our real self or we no longer care about the other person’s opinion of us or the outcome. Think of people who have been married a long time and so they no longer filter out their words or behavior – they say rude things to each other or fart in bed or at the kitchen table.
- Sense of not being safe – fear of rejection and being hurt or humiliated. The intensity of the fear creates intense stress – the fight or flight syndrome (our brain confuses emotional fear for physical fear) and we no longer are able to consciously control our words and actions
- Desire to confess – the mental and emotional (and sometimes physical) pressure of suppressing and repressing our emotions becomes overwhelming and we want to let them out. Think of the criminal who wants to get caught
So how does the camera achieve any one or all three of these effects?
The stress of the show alone can easily result in any of the above.
Also, when the camera is following you around for such great lengths, the conscious mind can switch off and forget it is there – forget that anyone is watching, thus the reality participant begins to show his or her real self; Paradoxically, the longer the camera follows the person around, the easier it becomes to also become deluded into a sense of grandeur and power, thinking you are a star and therefore you can do no wrong. As producers of the reality show place great stress on the reality performers to create more drama and conflict, the mental and emotional pressure creates stress that causes the reality performer to engage in emotional outbursts. The constant barrage of stress can also trigger the subconscious desire to confess and/or release suppressed emotions.
All of the above can happen in everyday life – but there are two key differences and one unique factor due to the 24 hour reality camera:
- It speeds up and intensifies every single experience;
- It creates extraordinary stress and because it is a TV series (not a one-time interview) the camera and show create the negative aspects of what I call “the fame factor” or “celebrity factor” – delusions of grandeur, power and invincibility. Think OJ, Michael Vick, Governor Spitzer, Christian Bale, Naomi Campbell, etc. All of them have fallen victim to the fame factor and have engaged in grand acts of delusions of grandeur, power and invincibility.
The final point which I have thus far omitted: the camera and reality show creates emotional nakedness because the reality performer loses all concept of his or her real identity and role. This is one of the key reasons most of the married couples end up divorcing. Ozzy and Sharon never fell victim to that because they had already been tested in their marriage and they clearly knew and were grounded in their individual roles and identity as well as their married roles and identity. On one occasion, 12 years before their TV show, Ozzy became so violently drunk that he attempted to kill his wife/manager Sharon. No test in a reality show or curse could break them apart. After all, theirs was not a typical marriage in any sense of the word.”
Wanis first exposed the curse of the reality show in November 2007 – https://patrickwanis.com/blog/curse-of-the-reality-show/