Monica Geller – High Maintenance and High Endurance!
Her delicious cooking,
Her need to be ‘hostess with the mostess’,
Her desire to have a family,
Her confidence and ambition,
Her openness towards her friends,
Monica Geller launched herself into our lives as the epitome of ‘a strong and independent woman living in a big city’ – and she took over our hearts with her strength, her confidence and her vulnerability. However, sometimes in the midst of all the humor and strong exterior she puts up, we could get a glimpse of the insecure girl that she used to be in her childhood. Monica’s past of being overweight, her need for control, her obsessive-compulsive behavior and her high maintenance personality is often used as a punchline for a joke throughout the series.
But it’s more than just a punchline, isn’t it?
Monica is the youngest child of Jack and Judy Geller – who openly announce whenever they can that Ross, their elder son is their favorite. Her mom constantly criticizes her and debilitates her accomplishments and her choices, and they never fail to mention how smart, intelligent and successful Ross is – most times, while Monica is present right there! While it hasn’t affected her relationship with Ross, it has certainly shaped her personality in more ways than one.
1. The Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
Monica is a control freak. She likes to have everything done her way – which according to her, is the perfect way. She is unable to be laid back and equable even when she tries. The root of this behavior can be spoored back to her relationship with her mother.
Mothers are the primary caregivers for children. A child depends on his/her mom or mom figure for affection, acceptance, love, and undivided attention. A girl-child looks up to her mom and seeks acceptance as she grows up. For Monica, she never got that validation and undivided, non-judgemental attention from either of her parents. This led her to develop a version of perfection for herself whilst coming across as high maintenance for others.
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Monica was constantly trying to be good enough for her parents. As she failed over and over again, against her overachieving brother, it became a part of personality. Whenever her parents come to visit her, she becomes flustered with anxiety to have everything set up perfectly. Even after putting so much effort, she ends up feeling disappointed and undervalued. This spiral of behavior might have contributed to raising a woman with obsessive-compulsive behavior.
2. People – Pleasing Behavior
Monica was never the popular kid – neither in her home, nor in her school. She had an overachieving big brother and a best friend who was super popular and considered extremely attractive. On the other hand, Monica was overweight, and not good enough, according to her parents. This might have led her to develop a mentality of a people-pleaser.
She has the undeniable need to be the ‘hostess with the mostess’ – which means, she likes to host people, cook for them and keep her home open for their comfort. She is so obsessed with being a host that she can’t stand the idea of her friends hanging out someplace else. In one of the episodes, Chandler even asks her if she became a cook so people would like her because of her cooking. To which, she smiles and looks away.
The need to please, the need to be the best at everything and the need for people to like her can all be traced back to her feeling disliked and unpopular in her growing years.
Monica also displays many narcissistic traits. Some common traits that can be identified are –
- She feels as though she is always right.
- She has the strong need for admiration.
- She has difficulty taking feedback.
- She is manipulative and controlling.
These traits didn’t just appear out of nowhere. There can be two reasons Monica developed these qualities. One – her father also has narcissistic traits, so it can be a learned behavior. Second – it can be a byproduct of her loneliness. As a child, she often felt as though nobody understood her, which might be why she developed some attributes that turned out to make her somewhat narcissistic.
Monica Geller – despite these idiosyncrasies, she is still a confident woman, she is still a great friend to have, she is still generous, and she is still driven and successful. She never used her past as a force to pull herself down. She is independent and at the same time, she values relationships. Even though she had a hard childhood, she turned it around, built a healthy relationship with Chandler, developed a great circle of friends and became a successful chef.
We can all learn something from Monica. But the one thing that we should all applaud her for is that – she never let her shortcomings define her or stop her!
Here’s hoping we all find our inner Monica!