Cluster B poker tells for Borderline and Histrionic
BPD, Histrionic Personality Disorder, This Just In

Histrionic and Borderline Personality Disorder poker tells revealed

“They” say you can never win by arguing with someone that has a narcissistic personality type or disorder. I didn’t even want to win. I just wanted normal, rational adult behavior.

The Cluster B person only wants to succeed in traumatizing any person or peer group with whom they manufacture competition. But their covert nature and hidden agendas are inevitably revealed like poker tells on a card player show.

Before sitting down to play a casual game of metaphoric cards with one of them, understand that each type has its own unique style, flair, motivation, attention, and persona.

Not only that, they all tend to flock in packs — meaning several narcissistic people or sociopathic family members are likely to take great comfort in associating with one another, then group targeting (or mobbing) their preferred scapegoat targets for fun, sport, and the idle amusement of the group’s strongest pack predator and Flying Monkey supporters.

Whether it’s a toxic family unit, a narcissistic peer group, a sociopathic boss, or a sadistic school teacher, the effect of being targeted for social abuse by a predator can truly be a life-changing experience. If an abusive person is overtly antagonistic, expect a great deal of loud blustering from them while they strive to attention-seek.

If they are Covert Narcissists, expect years of subtle psychological, emotional, and financial abuse exacted like a toll on your soul, demanded by the Abuser like a tax from you for the crime of being nothing more than a kind person willing to listen to them while making every human effort possible under the sun to please them.

Narcissistic people who have personality types aligned within the Cluster B grouping of personality disorders defined for all mental health and medical healthcare professionals worldwide in the DSM5 may have subtle differences between their types. However, they all share socially competitive and egocentric thinking in common.

Each type attention-seeks in their own way, but all leave their targeted victims and collateral damage witnesses worse for wear, having been used, abused, and psychologically harmed. After dealing with one and being discarded by them for no other reason that you figured them out, most victims report feeling like they were just taken out back and beaten after losing all their money in a poker game to a shyster, hustler, or card shark.

The more extreme the Cluster B person’s personality disorder, the more likely they are to have a strong pack of Abuse Enablers to not only socially ring a wagon around them when and if they are called out, but the willing agents [people who volunteer to act like Flying Monkeys] not only enable them to abuse, they sadistically and for their own alleviation of flatlined emotional boredom actively help them abuse by proxy.

The four classifications of Cluster B people include the following personality types:

The first two types are easy to spot. Look for the most charismatic, charming, manipulative, disingenuous, pathological liars you can find, then avoid them at all costs. The second two Cluster B sorts are lesser-known, perhaps because there are fewer statistically among us. As of 2015, over 6% of the global population is thought to have NPD. Over 4% is suspected of having ASPD. But only 2% are suspected of having Borderline Personality Disorder, and true Histrionics (those obsessed with creating their own version of drama) are thought to be even rarer.

The Narcissistic predator comes in a wide variety of personas, with Overt Narcissists, Covert Narcissists, Cerebral Narcissists, Somatic Narcissists, and Religious Narcissists being the most common and readily identifiable types.

Extreme Narcissists tend to present with all the hallmark and telltale symptoms of Malignant Narcissism, including excessive “the world revolves around me” grandiose thinking, excessive entitlement-based thinking, little to no regard for the needs and rights of other living beings, and a nature that makes them appear conniving and socially hostile toward their self-perceived “Narcissistic Rivals” — meaning the people who for whatever reason cause the Abuser to actively hunt like prey, or a wild animal inclined to socially maul like a civic predator.

People with Anti-Social Personality disorder range from the run of the mill, average “Bored Sociopath” with mild affectations to the all-out Psychopath, overly erratic and wildly illogical, arguably career criminals and deviant monsters.

Without proper behavioral modification, children who are born ASPD or develop it over time in response to growing up in an environment infused with ambient abuse are simply lost. Those who are traumatized directly or who, say, for instance, witness things like a domestic assault on a kind parent during their formative years, oftentimes grow up to lash out at others in ways that are both socially abusive and morally inappropriate.

The Borderline Personality Disorder person — whether a man or a woman — tends to experience wildly unpredictable mood swings. All their friends and family members tend to walk on eggshells when and if this sort of person is around, noting that one minute they will act like the most loving, sweet, and emotionally sensitive person you’ve ever met — until you ask them a question about something they don’t want to answer, tell them, “no”, or you offer one of them a helpful suggestion. Constructive criticism, if it slips out of the mouth of anyone in the vicinity, is subject to immediate verbal abuse by the BPD person.

If something is not their idea… if you tell them no… if you offer a win-win solution that meets not only their needs but yours or the rest of the peer group, employment team, or family unit… all will incur their verbal wrath. The hallmark of a person with BPD is their unique ability to look like a grown adult on the outside, yet they pitch temper tantrums at-will greater than most toddlers having an irrational meltdown. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the Borderline person gets their way employing the same emotional abuse tactic a small child or a teenager with Oppositional Defiant Disorder does: they pitch a fit, then yell and scream, kick and stomp, threaten to kill themselves by holding their breath until they are blue in the face or pass out, and they outright bully.

Most grown adults unfamiliar with the diagnoses capitulate to their self-serving and outlandish demands for no other reason than to shut them up. Why do they consciously choose to enable such twisted and dark, socially toxic behavior? Because it’s emotionally and psychologically exhausting to have to fight with one, noting that the more Cluster B the thinker, the less likely they are to value things like truth, other people’s opinions, or productive honesty.

The greatest fear for a BPD person is you will not bow to their greatness. Such types need people to flatter them, to capitulate to their demands, and to keep them and their needs forever in the spotlight. Other people’s time, energy, subjective experiences, and emotions are simply not something they care about in any way. They are the first to tell you how much they care but the last to actually show up to assist (typically requiring some form of payment).

They claim to be emotionally sensitive, kind, and helpful loving personality types. The truth? They are so tunnel-visioned and out to promote their own short as well as long-term interests that many times it takes years or decades for friends and family members of such types to ever be able to put their finger on what it is about them that’s actually wrong with them.

Connect the Dots
Stop wasting time arguing with narcissistic people


Because the BPD predator preys most commonly on People Pleaser personality types. Out to use and willing to create an entirely false persona to manipulate and lure targets, they are the ultimate posers. Most borderlines exhibit a charismatic countenance but emotional instability. Able to bounce back and forth between rage and sobbing to being the life of the party in virtually a matter of minutes or hours, their friends, co-workers, and family members end up so stressed out from having to deal with their irrationality that they feel like they have been through 12 lifetimes being married to an Abuser who is unmedicated and bipolar.

They also do all they can to foster a POOR ME image, engendering sympathy by saying whatever they think will cause a listener to “bite”. People with Borderline Personality Disorder are the ultimate fishers of men as well as women.

They ask a lot of deeply personal questions about the feelings and emotional sensitivities of their targets, getting the targeted person to enter lengthy dialogs with them. While the Cluster B predator reaps intel, they do it under the guise of pretending to be a truly empathic and understanding, trustworthy confidant and friend. They, once they have their abuse target’s number — meaning they have figured out what makes the targeted personality tick — the long con begins.

Borderlines will make up stories — stories about their family members, like mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents… even their own CHILDREN. BPD stories all tend to contain a legitimate element of some shadow of truth, but factual occurrences or target’s statements will be creatively reframed in such ways that the Borderline person can either self-aggrandize or elicit sympathy from a listener.

They can be some of the most aggressive verbally abusive people, but somehow their victims are expected to apologize, appreciate being targeted and abused, expected to beg for more, and to actually apologize for their ABUSER’S lack of quality character and normal human emotional control.

No person will be painted in a more ugly light than their spouse or long-term romantic partner. Borderlines are deeply emotionally attached to manufacturing triangulations between parties. They will do or say whatever it takes to elicit sympathy and attention from a listener as well as to undermine their abuse targets and relationships with any person who the Borderline feels is a “Narcissistic Rival” — meaning a person who they feel is in competition with them for the sole attention of their targeted listener.

Intelligent and crafty, many Borderline Personality Disordered people exhibit high levels of comorbidity related to NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). The higher the IQ of a BPD person, the more likely they are to make up grand accusations while striving to smear campaign against any person who dared to stand up to them. If a person actually calls them out on their B.S., verbal abuse tactics, and emotional manipulation, expect them to not only throw a massive hissy fit but to launch sometimes years-long “poisoning the well” style attacks.

Passive-aggressive to the extreme (covert to most but overt in front of their closest friends and family members without shame), they are functionally able to hold a long term “vendetta” fueled grudge that few if any people other than their abuse target(s) notice.

They will do things like betraying confidences and spinning words their abuse target stated out of context while seeking to estrange them from their support base (personal, familial, or professional) — all the while being nice and making grand proclamations about how much they love their abuse targets. Then, they will strive to blame the victim for “making [them] do it”, for “provoking them”, and do all they can to victim shame.

Because people with BPD alternate presenting themselves as believably kind-natured and “caring” individuals, it can take ages for their friends and social acquaintances to notice that they have fallen victim to a con artist whose long-term goal is to suck as much life force energy out of their targets as they can.

If it’s possible to fathom, understand they want to waste people’s time while grandstanding, engulfing, or enmeshing. Their family members know better than anyone that total enmeshment between a person with Borderline and their friends, family, and love interests is the ultimate goal of the attention-seekers game.  The way they engender such surface-level camaraderie is to simply show up, to keep talking (endlessly), and to create situations whereby things like social meetings or jobs that should be finished in less than an hour continue on for hours, even DAYS.

If they can get you to hire them for a project that should take four hours, understand that they are likely to expand the project to a five-month event, followed by sending you a whopping bill for all the countless hours they spent needlessly manufacturing chaos and time-wasting activities on the job site.

Smart customers never hire them again; people who are too kind by nature and feel sorry for their sob stories and constant poor-mouthing (complaining about their dire financial straits while striving to get the listener to take pity on them and offer tips, higher pay, or continuing wages) end up making up for work for them to do.

That’s when a Borderline person knows they have a big sucker fish on the line who took the bait.  They know they can behave abominably but see the person they traumatized or abused continue to respond to their attention-seeking and socially abusive antics in a loving, thoughtful, sympathetic, empathetic, or compassionate “engaged” way.

Spotting them on social media is easy and complicated, simultaneously. Constantly bragging about how kind, emotionally sensitive, spiritually deep, and trustworthy they are, they are like double agents who at whim victimize those who they study and observe.

Incapable of true loyalty for the long haul but demanding they be trusted and confided in, they act like vultures. While they seldom approach an abuse target they have fixated on in their own mind as a person of interest to gaslight and acquire when that person is doing well, they will be the first to do crappy things like lurk on social media, wait for a vulnerability to be detected, then to swoop in to be the sounding board for a person going through a difficult transition or emotional time in life.

They prey on the weak and emotionally vulnerable, targeting people who are so kind-hearted and nice they are willing to strive to help the “poor me” BPD in any way they can… if only to absolve themselves of the guilt that a People Pleaser might feel standing up for their own time-is-of-the-essence needs or fundamental human rights.

Their social media profiles are deliberately crafted like lures; Borderlines typically copycat stalk the profiles of Empaths, meaning they tend to all share memes and post links to articles that are designed to appeal to their preferred emotional food source. These particular forms of emotional vampires lure in unsuspecting victims into their lives by pretending to be a person who cares.

But all they really care about is themselves, so take heed — if they share loving and metaphysical memes and bleeding-heart liberal posts left and right that gives a social media impression to a viewer that the person is likely to be of the loving, spiritually in tune, and metaphysically aware type but they act like giant, dictatorial, raging assholes in real life (meaning they are prone to situationally abusing people in private), understand they are the ultimate gaslighting emotional and psychological con artists.

Connect the Dots
Help, my Mommy is a Psychopath!

Unless you really get to know one, chances are you will say he’s a nice guy or she’s a nice girl but that you have a really hard time being around them for any significant period of time. If you breathe a heavy sigh of relief when they finally let you hang up a phone, they leave the house, or they walk out of a room after finishing a conversation with you, trust your gut.

Not only is something “off” about people with Borderline Personality Disorder, but they are also absolutely emotionally fatiguing to have to deal with conversationally, personally, or professionally in everyday settings. Having one in your family or social circle is a social anchor likely to weigh you down until the end of your willingness to enable them to socially abuse you as well as waste your time [or (quite honestly) until the day they DIE].

The BPD male initiates multiple affairs simultaneously while secretly confiding in all his love interests that they are the “love of his life”. Meanwhile, the HPD male’s wife is left clueless about his attempts to triangulate. You see, to her face, he appears committed to the marriage and interested in her, but behind her back? All he ever does is lie, bitch, and complain about how he hates his life, is unhappy in his marriage, is “starved for affection”, and that his cold-fish wife never truly seems to do enough to keep his attention or win his heart.

To a listener not aware that all Cluster B people lie at will, the lies of a Borderline Personality Disordered person typically are manufactured to elicit sympathy and goodwill. Lonely women who have been abused by former love interests are common targets for a BPD male or female to love bomb. Why? Because the Borderline person, as the ultimate attention HOGGER (not just seeker) knows that people living in a depressed state or who have suffered trauma are the most psychologically and emotionally vulnerable. Since one of the most telling poker tells a BPD person has is their conversations tend to drag on and on and on ad infinitum, when they take time to listen for a few minutes to a social abuse target, they expect the target to quid pro quo and be there for them to listen to them rant endlessly in exchange.

When the BPD person spends an hour pretending to listen to a target, what they are really doing is storing up facts to use to smear campaign against that person behind their back while gossiping about them later to others. What’s more, any intel gleaned about what someone could say or do to hurt the targeted and typically clueless kind person is exactly what the Borderline will use later like a barb or verbal jab to bring up when and if they feel like they are not getting their way. In their mind, when someone confides a painful truth or emotional insecurity to them during a moment of human weakness when and if they felt the BPD person was someone they could trust, it’s like having your enemy hand you a blueprint to the fortress that illustrates unguarded doors then willingly hands them a stockpile of ammunition. Expect to suffer through constant betrayals of emotional trust by this type.

The BPD female blames hormone fluctuations and uses mood as an excuse to abuse. To quote Jon Bon Jovi, “She gives love [and all women] a bad name.”

Again, both types are inclined to pretend to rage when and if they don’t get their way. If you have never watched a person have a completely irrational meltdown, try taking a long-distance car trip with one — or spend a few days time working with them on some sort of professional project. Not only will you see them lash out irrationally at other people, but they will also straight up verbally attack and menace you if and when you make normal conversation and they perceive you are attacking them, being critical of them, or they suspect you don’t [best “Southpark” Cartman voice] RESPECT THEIR AUTHORITY. [Pronounced AH-THOR-IH-TAY.] In BPD women, expect tearfully and begging, wildly over emotional and intensely paranoid “I HATE YOU — DON’T LEAVE ME” sobbing alternating with yelling and damaging their own personal property.

In BPD men, expect sobbing alternating with purple or red-faced screaming, foot-stomping, door slamming, cabinet banging. kicking things, throwing things, waving their arms in order to intimidate targets, holes punched in walls, threats of suicide, self-injurious behaviors like punching themselves in the head or face, breaking or damaging items that are of sentimental import to other people then claiming it was an accident or could not be avoided, blame-shifting, fury at the thought someone has a better idea than them (especially if that person is a woman or younger person), and using their intense and blustery demeanor to embarrass people in public and/or to frighten, frustrate, and intimidate them in private.

Histrionic people are the easiest to spot of all the Cluster B personality types. They are the most flamboyant, life of the party type that you can imagine. All eyes are expected to be on them and all subjects ready to prostrate themselves at the feet of such drama queens. They are the Nathan Lane in the hit movie “The Bird Cage” feigning fainting spells and demanding their pirin tablet. [If you have not seen the movie yet, it also stars Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, and Gene Hackman.] They are the single gal who shows up at the local neighborhood swanky cocktail party and strips off her clothes in front of all the enamored husbands (much to the chagrin of horrified wives) and dives in the homeowner’s pool naked.


Because nothing net gains them more attention than to go skinny dipping in public at the most inappropriate of all moments followed by claiming they did it because people were acting too stuffy if and when they are confronted. They bang the side of their glass loudly while drunk, offering blathering toasts while doing all they can to make sure everyone in the room must fix their gaze and full attention on them. The Narcissist, Sociopath, and Borderline will drink or drug themselves in public to an excess, but it’s never quite the same as when a person with HPD does it.

The Histrionic commands attention by using theatrical body language, their sexuality, and a penchant to snark and socially invalidate rivals in such a way that most people sit back, watching wide-eyed, waiting patiently to ask their partner or friends in confidence if they are crazy to have been appalled to see the socially inappropriate and bizarre human spectacle of behavior they just witnessed.

The only thing more outlandish than listening to HPD commentary at public functions or in a room filled with a captive audience is their mannerism of dress. Count on the Histrionic to show up to the black-tie affair in tennis shoes, some ridiculous stained up t-shirt, and dirty shorts — and then to make a massive deal about their attire not being up to par (while making sure all eyes are on them throughout the duration, of course).

They want all eyes on them at all times, so showing up garishly OVER-dressed, under-dressed, or inappropriately dressed is their trademark.  A slinky fabric cocktail dress with no bra seems to be the common attire for sexual attention seekers — one that conveniently starts falling off their shoulders “accidentally” when and if a glass or two of wine is consumed. But they might also get off on having everybody look at them. Look for the gal in the shortest skirt or tightest outfit possible worn to the most inappropriate of places. If they are really needy in the attention-seeking department, they will spend the entire day making sure everyone around them gets flashed a “Basic Instinct” shot of them with no panties.

Connect the Dots
Narcissistic Abuse terminology you need to know if you have been abused

But Histrionic men pull the same sort of shenanigans — like that guy with the enormous looking penis who also likes to strip naked and jump in the swimming pool at a house party. Or the fellow who is constantly bellowing and laughing at the top of his lungs. you know who we mean — that beer-swilling obnoxious douche wearing the most ridiculous, attention-seeking graphic t-shirt he can find to shock, get laughs, or offend… or the guy who spends all his time blah-blah-blah posing as an authority figure on every topic known to man.

Sexual conquesting of targets is a big deal to the Histrionic personality type. They might take decades to seduce a target after gaslighting and manipulating them over the course of years to socially fear or mistrust any love interest except for them. They are the kings and queens of seeking to capitalize on taking sexual and psychological advantage of their narcissistic rival’s “sloppy seconds”. The HPD female flings herself at other women’s husbands, boyfriends, or current lover —  typically while pretending the wife or true love interest of the object of their affections is (for all intents and social purposes) a non-person.

Oddly enough, many HPD males are drawn to excessive showmanship — sometimes even more so than HPD women. They all seem to love dressing up in outlandish or wild costumes and get-ups for parties and other street-festival type events, as Histrionic types are drawn quite often to involve themselves in some way with grand, staged cosplay events or to work in some capacity within the social sphere of the theater arts. The easiest way to describe a person with HPD is moody and self-entitled Drag Queen meets the spoiled, self-centered, drama mama.

HPD people are colorful, entertaining, and totally fun when they are in a great mood and are getting their way. But the drawback of befriending one is they are never loyal, all seem to live to talk nasty behind their closest friends and most trusted confidants’ backs, they love to manufacture triangulations that leave them acting as a go-between between two or more parties that they themselves manipulated in a Machiavellian style to estrange, and they are totally exhausting to deal with for more than a planned “few hours at a time” basis.

Arguably, the most important thing to remember about any and all types of Cluster B people is that their core psychological nature is fiercely socially competitive. All will lie or misrepresent themselves in order to self-promote, harm a rival, or win social favor. They are all pervasively egocentric (although people with BPD and HPD will pretend not to be, instead playing a constant game manufacturing “you owe me” scenarios in which they pay a dollar and spend an hour in exchange for you owing them twelve years of indentured servitude and every dime in your wallet each time they see you for the next eight or nine decades).

The only way to prevent these psychic vampires, sexual con artists, and psychic energy hustlers from causing you psychological distress, physical harm by creating stress-related health issues, emotional confusion, or crippling self-doubt brought on by their constant undermining (that includes pervasive negative commentary and debilitating snarks), is to limit or end all social involvement. In order to save yourself, your immediate family, your professional contacts, your personal friends, and any and all non-related loved ones from a predator’s secret smear campaigning agendas, it’s critical to remember one thing.

Anything they say to you on any given day is highly likely to be based on some Machiavellian plot they either strategized in advance or make up on the fly in order to alleviate boredom.  Manipulative words and “appeal to emotion” persuasive arguments are devised to provoke specific emotional responses from the listener. NPD and ASPD people take great pride in their ability to isolate targeted victims, in essence brainwashing them. But Borderlines and Histrionics with control aspirations also are experts at recruiting Narcissistic Supply Sources who stay with them out of pity rather than fear or pride.

If the person who has targeted you, your workplace team, your family, or your children for Narcissistic Abuse are NPD or ASPD, going “No Contact” is the only way to save yourself. The same advice goes for people who come from toxic families or narcissistic peer groups.

As for people with Borderline Personality Disorder? If you like being used and abused by a person who actively seeks to foster a co-dependent, mutually narcissistic, pervasively toxic, and time-wasting relationship — STICK AROUND.

The safest of all the Cluster B personality types to interact with is the Histrionic. Bottom line, because their behavior disorder is typically so obviously outlandish, limit the amount of social or professional time you are forced to spend with them to the best of your ability. It’s simply easier to depersonalize abuse enacted by their drama and attention-seeking antics because truly — male or female — they are the world’s saddest and most socially provocative, out of all psychological and emotional clowns.

Beat them all at their own game by learning to spot the red flags and warning signs of Narcissistic Abuse, sort them by classified personality type clearly defined by the DSM5, distance yourself from them emotionally as well as physically when and if it’s ever logistically possible, and learn how to go Gray Rock. If you can teach yourself how to observe Cluster B personality types’ provocative behavior, meaning manipulations that are enacted to provoke an emotional response or trigger, rather than feeling compelled to react to it, you will be more readily able to spot their games.

The greatest fear for a narcissistic person is no one will capitulate to their demands for attention. Understanding that they actually get a far greater power boost from negative attention than positive can help a preferred scapegoat target or love fraud victim gain perspective about why it’s so crucially important not to give in and grant them the attention they seek. Know that if love bombing or hoovering tactics don’t work on you that they are likely to lash out verbally and socially in the most caustic and victim-damaging of ways. It is their unilateral modus operandi and it won’t stop them from succeeding in abusing a targeted victim’s goodwill and humanitarian trust, but it can help take the sting out quite a bit simply by knowing that it’s not personal.

Bottom line, Cluster B people are the metaphoric (and sometimes literal) card sharks, con artists, love fraud experts, and pool hustlers of the modern social world. The stronger the gamer, the more likely they are to exhibit the most socially damaging and toxic personality traits.

Plato's Stunt Double

DISCLOSURE: The author of this post is in no way offering professional advice or psychiatric counseling services. Please contact your local authorities IMMEDIATELY if you feel you are in danger. If you suspect your partner, a loved one, co-worker, or family member has a Cluster B personality disorder, contact your local victim's advocate or domestic violence shelter for more information about how to protect your rights legally and to discuss the potential benefits or dangers of electing to go "no contact" with your abuser(s). Due to the nature of this website's content, we prefer to keep our writer's names ANONYMOUS. Please contact directly to discuss content posted on this website, make special requests, or share your confidential story about Narcissistic Abuse with our staff writers. All correspondence will be kept strictly confidential.

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