Bling Empire Shows That Money Doesn’t Make you Happy

I find the show Bling Empire fascinating. It’s a show about extremely wealthy people who exhibit a tremendous degree of psychological dysfunction. It’s impossible to know how much of it is authentic and how much of it is scripted but the characters would have to be incredible actors to demonstrate the specific psychological issues that I’ve been noticing.

As a psychiatrist with a few decades of practice, it’s not difficult for me to get a sense of where someone is at psychologically if I have an opportunity to observe them over a period of time. I don’t feel bad making comments on the cast’s behaviour because they have chosen to be on reality TV for everyone to watch. Viewing the second season has confirmed many of the hunches I had about the characters from season 1.

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The first person I want to talk about is the character Kane. Again, I can’t know how much of his behaviour on the show is authentic but I suspect that it’s real because it would be very hard for him to fake it.

Initially, Kane seemed like a good friend, but in season 2 he came across as someone who was completely incapable of taking any kind of constructive criticism. When anyone tried to give him feedback about his bad behaviour, he became instantly defensive and refused to engage. This seems like a person who is so frightened of facing himself that he deflects all attempts at healthy confrontation.

The other issue with Kane, is that he appears to engage in an awful lot of gossiping. He took confidences from one person and shared them with other people. He seems to constantly revel in telling one person’s secrets to another.

People who are happy, confident, and who have inner peace don’t tend to gossip and don’t tend to be defensive. From Kane’s behaviour, I have to conclude that he is not a happy person and that he engages in gossip as a way to gain social points. Unfortunately, it’s just making more trouble for him and his life as it appears that his friends are starting to lose trust in him.

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Another character who’s problematic is Kim. She has been playing hot and cold with Kevin. Initially, she refused to go out with him, and then she relented. They had an excellent date where they got to know each other better, but after that, she subjected him to a lie detector test to make sure she could trust him. Even when he passed the test with flying colours, she told him that she couldn’t continue going out with him.

Kim revealed that she had been dating a famous singer previously and that he’d cheated on her. It seems like that experience really undermined her ability to trust men. It didn’t help that Kane came in and stirred the pot, accusing Kevin of sleeping with another woman a week before their date. Kim chose to believe Kane, the trouble-maker, rather than Kevin who seems to be a nice guy and an honest one.

Kim did not seem capable of having an honest and open dialogue with Kevin about her feelings. It’s unclear why she chose to go out with him at all, given her anxiety around betrayal. It’s also strange that she would believe Kane and not believe Kevin even after he passed the lie detector test.

Kim is beautiful, successful, wealthy, and troubled. All of her wealth and fame have not enabled her to have a successful romantic relationship with a good guy.

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Finally, I want to talk about the conflict between the characters Christine and Anna. It’s not clear why they have so much animosity between them. They seem competitive toward one-another and in season 1, Anna appeared to be deeply offended when Christine showed up at her party wearing the same necklace that Anna had just purchased. That seems to have been an unforgivable offense.

All the drama between Anna and Christine is great for TV and makes for fun watching for the viewers. However, as a psychiatrist, it makes me sad to see these women who have every luxury imaginable but they are still engaging in this petty rivalry. All their wealth doesn’t buffer them from these nasty fights. Anna seems enraged by Christine’s behaviour, and Christine was sobbing over something that Anna supposedly had said. These are not happy people.

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We watch shows like Bling Empire because we want to live vicariously in a world of wealth, luxury and glamour. But what we see is that all the wealth doesn’t make any of these characters happy. They are in dysfunctional romantic relationships (Kelly’s attachment to her ex-boyfriend is a good example of that). They are unable to process their emotions. They don’t know how to sort out their differences. They seem jealous and resentful of one-another.

Rather than making them happier and more peaceful within, they seem to be more frustrated and stressed. They compulsively go shopping as though consuming more fancy stuff will somehow fill the emptiness inside them. They don’t seem to have conversations about anything meaningful. Their world as portrayed in Bling Empire is all about superficial acquisitiveness as opposed to having some type of true fulfillment in their lives.

I feel sad for these people. Most of them would probably benefit from some good psychotherapy. Unfortunately, despite their enormous wealth, they don’t seem to be accessing the kind of help that would enable them to live more joyful, purposeful and satisfying lives. The moral of the story is that we only need enough money to survive. More money makes more problems.

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Marcia Sirota

Marcia Sirota

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Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series