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Bridezilla Victims - Just Say No To Narcissim

Although Kate Middleton did not appear to be a textbook case Bridezilla when she recently married her Prince William, the British are famous for sweeping all kinds of scandals under the rug.

Who knows what really went on behind the scenes.  While anything's possible, it seems hard to imagine that such a poised and polished young lady like Kate would have acted remotely like a modern day bride from hell.

In America we not only turn what has become a psychiatric disorder into a popular reality TV series such as WE's Bridezillas we future brides brawl, bully and battle with everyone from their future husbands and in-laws to the wedding hairstylist, minister, bridesmaids and wedding planners.

In all fairness the Bridezilla may also spawn the manipulative mother of the bride who tries to make everyone do what her daughter wants, the boorish groom with the backbone of a jellyfish who can't stand up to his bride along with a related cast of less than flattering characters.

On TV's Chuck the recent bride played by Yvonne Strahovski was too busy being a spy to show any bad bridal behaviors.  However, Chuck's mother played by Linda Hamilton stepped up to the plate to become a manipulative future mother-in-law.  As a result Chuck struggled as the prospective groom to maintain peace between the two  most important women in his life.

And speaking of Wedding Planners, the movie about the people truly behind the scenes of a planning a wedding starring Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey and Bridgette Wilson didn't receive rave reviews from critics, but even back in 2001 the Bridezilla was alive and well, although tame by 2011's comparisons.

Note: The top 25 wedding movies of all times offers many examples of Bridezillas and their related cast of characters.

Although it's hard to pinpoint the beginning of the modern version of the Bridezilla, experts often define a Bridezilla as suffering from situational narcissim.  This is a recently acquired psychiatric disorder which is characterized by grandiosity, overall lack of empathy, rage and general bad behavior.

If a bride is going to descend into a full-blown adult-onset Bridezilla malady they often exhibit the beginning stages of this over-the-top narcissism during the engagement or the engagement party.

Bridezillas seem to think it's acceptable to spend months, even years, both before, during and after the wedding dishing out a wide range of hell to everyone from their grooms and parents to future in-laws, friends and assorted extended family.  Some family members defend the brides who they swear were sweet, lovely, adorable women who suddenly go psycho when they "let the games" begin by arranging their very special day.

Bridezillas often become so obsessed with the ultimate perfection of "my day" that they treat their future husband as an accessory like the flowers or bridal veil.  Some brides will be so desperate to have that special day they rush into an engagement with a partner who is not ideally suited to them in order to have that necessary ingredient - a groom - for their special day.

The movie "Runaway Bride" starring Julia Roberts (Maggie Carpenter) was an interesting take on a bride who kept getting engaged to the wrong guy.  As her fourth attempt to marry ended disastrously due to a rehearsal kiss with Richard Gere, she decided to throw caution to the wind since she already had the dress and the venue, and marry a virtual stranger.  In essence, Richard Gere became the necessary ingredient for Maggie to have her big day.

Brides Throwing Massize Sized Temper Tantrums

Even in tough economic times, Bridezillas still throw massive sized temper tantrums until they get the lavish weddings of their dreams.  Some want the wedding of their dreams, even if they or their parents can't really afford it to one-up their friends or relatives who had a lavish wedding.

In the movie "The Wedding Planner" future bride Bridgette Wilson's parent fret about having a wedding that is bigger, better and more outrageous than any of their friends or members of their social sphere.  The groom played by Matthew McConaughey gets completely lost in the shuffle, a virtual afterthought while his narcissistic finance totally disregards his needs, wants and feelings as she pushes for only the best the bridal world can offer.

The movie is very sad in some respects, but has a happy ending when McConaughey realizes that he and his Bridezilla are getting married for all the wrong reasons and he bails just in time to avoid a lifelong continuation of the nightmare.

(Wedding photos from the wedding of Chuck and Sarah on NBC's Chuck - Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker, Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski -- Photo by: Mike Ansell/NBC - All Rights Reserved)

Bridezilla Wedding Hair Demands

One of the most common emails I receive related to wedding hair is bridesmaids in despair because brides who see themselves as directors lash out at their attendants who won't wear their hair the way the bride demands.  Afterall, how dare a bridesmaid have better or prettier hair than the bride?

I heard  of one blonde bride who demanded that all of here blonde bridesmaids go brunette so that she would be the only blonde in the wedding party.  Crazy?  Yes, but it happens.

Hard Feelings Lasting A Lifetime

The era of the dictatorial Bridezilla who takes the "my day" curse to the extreme often creates hard feelings which can last the lifetime of her marriage.

In fact, I  know of one bridezilla that angered so many of her friends, family and future in-laws that when her husband finally woke up to her bad behaviors and left her, the in-laws threw a celebratory party for the groom.  They called it, The Bitch Is Gone party.

Weddings used to be a celebration of the loving union of the bride and groom.   In fairness, all brides are not Bridezillas.  I know of one couple who realized that having a huge extravagant wedding would put tremendous pressure on the bride's father forcing him to work two jobs just to pay for the bride's big day.

The bride and groom decided to have a very small budget based wedding instead because the bride explained "our whole goal is to show our love and commitment to each other as a couple, not how much money we can drain from my father."  This  young woman definitely showed grace and kindness and the true spirit of why couples which to marry.

Unfortunately, bridal planners and related experts believe that the recent Royal Wedding of Kate and William has thrown the era of the Bridezilla into overdrive giving brides more ammunition with which to terrorize their grooms, families, friends and future-in-laws.

Dunning Letters Over Wedding Gifts

On the flip side of the coin, Bridezilla victims are fighting back by refusing to send elaborate gifts or even gifts of any kind.  With the economic crunch still in full swing some wedding guests are deciding they will have to risk the end of a friendship with a Bridezilla rather than go into debt to provide the required wedding gift.

One problem with this approach, some Bridezillas are taking to sending dunning letters to invitees who did not attend or send a gift.  Yes, I'm serious.

The current approach is for the Bridezilla or groom to send emails or notes to those who did not provide gifts to esquire if maybe there was a mix-up in where to send the gifts or even to ask if the gift is "in the mail?"

Bridal Registries With Beds, PayPal Requests Or Similar

And speaking of wedding gifts, Bridezillas are now listing beds, dining room sets and even cars on their registry.  Can you say bad taste?  Couples are not asking for wedding gifts via PayPal which will help with the honeymoon, down payment on the house or to help pay off the wedding.

Weddings back at the end of the 19th century were simple, practical and dignified events celebrating the love and commitment of the bride and groom. When did they become events of psychological torture?

Bridezilla Early Marriage Warning Signs

The good news is there is a positive side to the rise of The Bridezilla.  Astute grooms who witness their fiancees turning into lunatic Bridezillas who terrorize them or their families in the name of the "big day" are getting an early warning of the true colors of the person they are planning to marry.

A groom with a healthy self-esteem should run away, very fast, to save himself what could be an even more disastrous marriage.  Afterall, once the wedding is over, will the badly behaving bride be able to hang up her torture tools or will she only have him to continue to torture with her temper tantrums and bad behaviors?

Esteemed Psychologist Betty Alice Erickson

And for everyone else in the path of a raging Bridezilla?  Esteemed psychologist, Betty Alice Erickson, daughter of the famed Dr. Milton Erickson explained to me once that a good therapist is one who provides advice based on good common sense.  The thing that makes the most sense when confronted by a bullying Bridezilla is to walk away and don't look back.

Setting boundaries with a Bridezilla might look like politely declining their demands to be held captive as a bridesmaid, bowing to their demands to buy wedding or shower gifts you can't afford or be verbally abused in person or by email.

Just Say No To The Bridezilla

Betty would advise all Bridezilla victims to "set your own boundaries" and "just say no" so you can go about living your own life.  You don't have to put up with any bad behavior from anyone.  That means you don't have to attend the wedding or buy into any of the Bridezillas acquired situational narcissism.

It doesn't matter if you're the groom, the in-laws or long time friends.  Think about it.  A Bridezilla won't have "her day" if no one shows up, buys her gifts, does her hair, makes her the center of attention or bows to her bullying ways.  There is never any excuse for bad behavior by anyone under any circumstances.

Have your own Bridezilla story to tell?  I would love to hear it.  Please share your comments.

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