Histrionic Personality Disorder is the name of the personality type that always leaves the person with it pretending they are acting on a high drama stage.
HPD, the nickname for Histrionic Personality Disorder, presents itself as a behavior pattern where whoever has it seems to lack the ability to control their emotions.
Many signs of HPD start to show up in children as they reach their puberty and early adult stages. You know who they are — the children with a flair for the dramatic who end up consumed with emotion.
When and if HPD in a child is nurtured, the child is likely to become an adult who is intensely self-conscious and desires to be in the social and emotional spotlight all of the time.
HPD people are incredibly concerned with things like what other people are thinking and saying about them to the point of grandiose irrationality. They are likely to insist the world literally revolves around them, typically making life hell on earth for anyone around them when they do not get their way or when someone else net gains any form of social prioritized or focused attention.
Narcissistic Rivalry tends to form in the mind and behavior of Histrionic people. Most are obsessed with their appearance — something that even when disheveled or a mess instead of being well-groomed or Somatic in nature is always calculated by the HPD person to maximize social effect.
Resist the urge to conflate eccentric behavior and Autistic inability to appear as if folks are part of a crowd. People with HPD are intentionally Machiavellian and never oblivious when they are making a scene or toying with other humans’ emotions.
People who are on the Autism Spectrum are oftentimes difficult and have a hard time seeing things from other people’s perspective if and when other people’s behavior is illogical, irrational, or patently foolish. People who are Histrionic revel in flinging around logical fallacy notions and Word Salad arguments to intentionally cause people to pull energetically away from collaborating with them with the intent of placing themselves in the spotlight as the for-better-or-worse center of all social and emotional attention.
The pathological desire to be the center of attention at all times defines Histrionic behavior in the most simple to understand form.
If you are unsure what it looks like in real life, watch the Robin Williams movie “The Birdcage”. Nathan Lane’s character is full-blown HPD but his character lacks the social malice of someone who suffers from comorbid ASPD.
The character is oftentimes seen needing extra social coddling and attention in order to prevent him from throwing a fit. Using a mix of Borderline Personality Disorder emulating temper tantrum throwing and threats to self-harm in order to net gain control of other people’s time and emotion and dramatic flair to make himself the biggest personality in the room at all times — especially when it makes no sense for him to intrude or to meddle — typifies the best parts of dealing with an HPD person.
Histrionic people are colorful, exhausting, and bigger feeling to be around than anyone else in normal life.
Think about every EMO kid you ever met. Or back in the 80s — the guys who wore skin-tight Spandex tights, shock rock t-shirt images, eyeliner, and big hair.
Or the theater majors. You know who they are — not by their typically wonderful behavior but because they deliberately strive to make a non-stop spectacle of themselves… always socially competing for control of the attention of a room.
HPD people are a risk to themselves because they are so easily influenced by toxic people’s social and anti-social opinions. They dwell on things other people say and think in an attempt to impress them — not to become a better person.
With histrionics, all moods are extreme.
When someone with HPD is happy, the world is Orange. When they are sad, it’s black and tears and sorrow and seemingly endless wallowing in their self-pity and abject misery.
The longstanding forensic psychology pattern of attention-seeking with extreme emotionality in all circumstances does not reflect high levels of emotional intelligence in the person exhibiting the toxic self-soothing and simultaneously hyper-sensory stimulating behaviors.
People with HPD oftentimes present with a seeming need or deep-seated desire to use dramatic antics and emotional hedonistic self-indulgence to win over control of their Narcissistic Harem’s time and emotions.
Of all the Cluster B personality types, those on the HPD spectrum have the ability to be readily contained. As in having their sphere of influence limited to just a few caretakers.
Putting them on stage and encouraging them to use their emotions to make art is actually wonderful therapy for HPD people. On a plus note, getting them involved with things like local theater, painting classes, drawing classes, improv classes, singing in church, you name it can be a wonderful way to have them become more pro-socially involved with their community while relieving their anxiety and giving a few moments of time to simply sit and rest for their caregivers whenever the person in question is distracted.
Histrionic people have been historically defined by people like the American Psychiatric Association as disordered due to their excessive attention-seeking emotions.
Medical organizations note that the pattern of displaying excessive emotionalism, things like hypersexualized behavior, and grandstanding persona tend to begin to show in early childhood and manifest fully by or before early adulthood — typically being evident in children from early adolescence, forward.
HPD negatively affects cognition, personality, interpersonal relationships, ability to self-reflect with accuracy, and things like impulse control in the person who is saddled with the likely mix of by nature and by nurtured dysfunction.
Expect people with the condition to do things like:
- behaving in overly seductive ways by habit
- dressing to net gain attention — not to blend into the environment or to show respect to other people
- be overly concerned at all times with physical appearance and social concepts of aesthetics above and beyond Somatic obsession
- behave in ways that are excessively emotional at all times in order to control other people’s emotions
- blame other people for their personal failures or when striving to make a social excuse for times when they were obviously behaving in ways that were mindfully abusive
- act needy — even when they are perfectly fine or able to take care of themselves… demanding special treatment based on their desire to be catered to rather and oftentimes without being appreciative of other people’s time and efforts made to include and to please them
- blurting unhelpful or rude and socially competitive commentary
- prone to actively engaging in self-destructive high-risk behaviors to net gain the attention of loved ones and handlers
- low to no tolerance for being made to wait or to take turns
- pervasive attention-seeking in every social circumstance
- feigning mood swings by the minute, hour, or day to manipulate — not because they are authentic
Only a mental health professional such as a licensed psychologist or a Psychiatrist can diagnose HPD formally, but the armchair diagnoses observations of pattern behavior reported typically by the problematic person’s closest friends, loved ones, family members, co-workers, greater community members, neighbors, religious authority figures, and other folks like the people who used to have to deal with them when they were children or in school actually are the gray rock reports that can help the Histrionic be protected from their disorder in life.
Behavior management is essential to use with and on the person who exhibits signs of being Histrionic. Loving, firm establishment of boundaries is essential if you choose to strive to remain physically around them.