Histrionic Personality Disorder

Persons having the Histrionic Personality Disorder comprise only six percent of the female population and three percent of the male population. Here are a few of the character traits we may look for in them:

1. Excessive emotionality - Emotional highs are higher than appropriate for a given occasion, and their lows are lower. They may be overcome emotionally when telling you of a actual or imagined situation involving victimization.

2. Constant Attention Seeking - They are uncomfortable in situations in which they are not the center of attention. All interpersonal communications are structured to focus back on themselves. They are insatiable in their attention, affirmation, acceptance and approval needs.

3. Sexually Naive or seductive -If the histrionic is young, they are unconsciously sexually seductive or provocative in dress and behavior. If they are older, they are excessively nurturing, sheltering and mothering. They will over-shelter and overprotect their offspring.

4. Rapid Emotional States - The histrionic can laugh one moment and cry the next, and while the tears are still on their face, turn to laughter again. To others, their emotional expressions appear to be shallow and insincere.

5. Vain and Narcissistic About Their Physical Appearance - The focus must be on the histrionics’ physical appearance. Clothing is often chosen to match their moods, which can be wild at times. Often they choose “costumes” rather than street clothing.

6. Natural Actors and Actresses - The histrionic is very self-dramatizing. It is sometimes as if they are working from a script. When histrionics are on the "center stage in life’s circumstances," it’s literally Academy Award time. Actually, they are often theatrically as well as naturally talented in the arts.

7. Suggestible - The histrionic personality disordered person is easily influenced by others and/or the situations of their lives. Technically, they are not passive, but when the suggestion and their mood coincide, they are easily persuaded. Since they are more led by their right (emotional) brain, than their left (rational) brain, when their emotions lead them, they will follow.

8. Prematurely Intimate - The histrionic will perceive that people are closer emotionally and personally than they actually are. They will tell you their life story within five minutes of meeting you. It will never occur to them that you are not reciprocating by self-disclosure yourself, and are only LISTENING to them.

9. Sexualizes Opposite Sex Relationships - Sometimes through direct and sometimes indirect innuendo histrionics will speak and act as though all opposite sex relationships have a sexual potential.

10. Passive and Dependent - Histrionics are personally irresponsible for themselves in interpersonal relationships. Others cause them to "feel bad" emotionally. They do not feel responsible for their feelings and actions.
They expect others to care for them and make them "feel good."

11. Controlling - The histrionic personality is very controlling in interpersonal relationships. Their need to control spins off their basic low self esteem, and personal feelings of inadequacy. They usually suffer inwardly or outwardly from jealousy of others.

12. Poor Boundaries - Histrionics have poor relational boundaries. Their passivity explains why they are so often exploited by others. They are sometimes seen as "air-headed" or mentally slow. Young children with growing traits in this area are often the targets for sexual abuse. As adults, not only are their own boundaries poor, but often they violate the boundaries of others.

13. Depression Prone - Christian Psychiatrists, Minith and Mier, consider in their book, "Happiness is a Choice," that histrionics are one of the two most frequently seen personality disorders in pastoral counseling. They tend to draw close loved ones into their depressive schemes. They can be interpersonally exploitive tyrants, shifting from fits of rage to withdrawn despondency.

14. Codependent - Histrionics are colossal and hopeless "fixers,"
"rescuers," and "caretakers." While they are outwardly trying to fix the principal people in their lives, they are inwardly hoping that someone will rescue and fix them.

15. Suicidal - Histrionics will sometimes attempt a suicide. Often it is a cry for help, but sometimes it is just another hysterical side show. Boredom sometimes leads them into suicidal ideation, but more than that, it is thoughts of imagined injustice that can lead them into suicide. They will often use pills, because they like to be in control and hate being out of control.

16. Sanguine - Histrionics are fun to be with. They are the life of the party. They are excellent spark plugs for social gatherings. They have a natural love for people. And people are naturally attracted to them.

18. Adult Children - Histrionics are perpetually immature. They are mundane, bored easily, drawn to excitement; hate responsibility and love playing (like children) roles.

19. Extrinsic - They hold fast to an external faith system. Religion is seen as "the letter of the law," and less as "the spirit of the law." Histrionics have chronically low self-esteem and self- concept or self- image. They are black and white thinkers.

Courtesy of Sheepfold Ministries
Pastoral Counselor Rev. Phil Roland, 724-981-5683