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Julianne Wainstein: We Are on Planet Bethenny

Jules thinks everything must revolve around Bethenny at all times.

Since coming into this group, I've often asked myself, "Why is there always yelling and screaming? Why is someone always storming out of the room in tears? Why is someone always being mocked, insulted, judged or left out? WHAT PLANET ARE WE ON?!" And then it hit me like a meteor: We are on planet Bethenny. Unlike on planet Earth where friendships are formed and shaped through mutual support and encouragement, on planet Bethenny (which is circled 24/7 by a moon named Carole) it is acceptable for friends to disparage one another behind their backs, to judge, berate and abandon one another on an almost constant basis.

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Unfamiliar with the customs and rituals on planet Bethenny, I lost my temper "out of nowhere" during a recent visit. Back on planet Earth, my outburst might have been precipitated by months of dismissive, snide, insensitive comments and scrutiny of everything from a flick of my hair to the the food on my plate and the homes in which I live (how quickly we forget the just plain nasty Hamptons "visit"! On planet Bethenny, that never happened, I suppose) and months of watching women around me get verbally assaulted. Another thing I quickly discovered during my recent trip to Bethenny was that there is no empathy on this planet, and the popular phrase "zero f---s" literally means "to have zero self-awareness."

Dinner at Joanne's was so painful for me; the complete lack of empathy from Bethenny and Carole really struck a nerve. If someone bore their soul to me like I did, I would have leapt across the table and given them a big hug. Recovery from any illness is hard, and it's rarely a linear path. I thought I was ok. I wasn't ok and I admitted it, was dealing with it and moving forward again -- that's what people do. What people don't do is sit around judging and shaming a person in recovery and projecting their own issues onto them. After admitting my recent setbacks, the all-knowing and morally-superior Carole responds with a sneer of disgust ("Oh Jesus!") and accuses me of being in denial. Bethenny once again makes the entire issue about herself and her own childhood. On planet Earth, gravity is defined as "a natural phenomenon by which all things with energy are brought toward one another." Not so on planet Bethenny, where all things always revolve around and are drawn back to one person. Heaven forbid anyone attempts to pull the attention away from Bethenny.

On the bus to Mohegan Sun, I learned that the laws of sound and speed on planet Earth also do not exist on planet Bethenny, and people sometimes cannot hear conversations from one foot away in an enclosed space. Imagine my confusion/delusion. I also learned that on planet Bethenny, anything can be reversed at any given moment - pure hatred and animosity like what Bethenny displayed towards Sonja just a few weeks prior can be turned into feelings of affection and admiration on a dime. Nothing actually changed between the time that Bethenny unleashed her fury on Sonja and the Mohegan Sun bus ride — Sonja didn't change her course of action or behaviors — yet for some reason Bethenny went from, "I don't accept your apology and I never want to see your face again" to "I really miss you" in an instant. Could it be to make sure I was as uncomfortable and alienated on that bus and trip as possible? Common sense or paranoia? I guess that depends on what planet you live on.

Getting self-absorbed sometimes is human — we are all guilty of it from time to time. Going through life with such extreme selfishness and self-centeredness that you cannot distinguish other people's problems from your own, empathize with anyone, be proud or happy for anyone, that's just plain narcissism. I'm no rocket scientist (duh) but in my opinion, whatever signs of life exist on planet Bethenny today are doomed to self-destruct.

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