Histrionic personality disorder: what is it?

What is the histrionic personality?

It is often said that someone has one histrionic personality when their behavior exhibits patterns of theatricality, dramatization and, ultimately, actions and attitudes that seek to attract the attention of others.

What are histrionic people like?

In order to attract the attention of those around them, it is common for people with a tendency to histrionics to use strategies such as seduction or victimhood.

Histrionic with a tendency to seduction

The histrionic personality who tends to use seduction repeatedly is often well appreciated by others. In fact, they are people who have a good ability to establish social relationships, and they generally occupy good positions in companies thanks to their gift of people and their eloquence. However, when unable to attract attention, they are susceptible and tend to victimize themselves, claiming that they don’t feel valued or understood.

Histrionic people they live in a continuous movement of emotions and feelings. They are very emotionally unstable, and therefore their mood fluctuates rapidly; they can go from joy and jokes to sadness and melancholy.

Discover histrionic personality disorder

When the personality traits we associate with histrionics become chronic, they can paint a picture that mental health experts know as Histrionic personality disorder.

Traits of Histrionic Personality Disorder

the traits, signals and behaviors of histrionic personality disorder are:

  • Overly “seductive” behavior To other people. They can assume and take to the extreme certain traditional sex roles
  • influential. They are usually carried away by the opinions and advice of others
  • Very concerned about his image and its aesthetics
  • drama. They take emotions to the extreme, both positive and negative
  • susceptibility. They are too vulnerable to criticism from others
  • They tend to perceive as very close and intimate some personal relationships which are in fact superficial.
  • They blame others for their own failures or disappointments
  • They constantly seek the approval and trust of others (Wendy syndrome)
  • Very little tolerance for frustration

  • Episodes of intense emotion, loss of control
  • They repeatedly seek to be the center of attention
  • The mood is constantly changing, No stability

the causes

The histrionic personality usually begins to take shape during childhood, although it is often noted that manifests itself in adolescence. There is not a single cause of histrionics, but it is a number of factors that can influence: too absent and inattentive parenting style, psychological abuse, having suffered contempt and humiliation, or a style educational without guidelines and without clear boundaries.

Other factors, such as low self-esteem, feelings of dissatisfaction with physical appearance, and insecurity can help build and maintain this personality type.

Practical advice

Living with someone who has these traits can be tricky.

To try to help him realize that his way of acting is dysfunctional, and also prevent people nearby from also becoming psychologically affectedWe have compiled this list with various points to consider.

1. We accept reality

Sometimes it can be difficult to accept it as it is. And even more so if the person close to us has behaviors that we do not understand. however, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to act to try and change the situation.

It is important to keep in mind that the histrionic personality is not the result of a whim, but is a dysfunctional and consolidated way of expressing oneself. Of course, we should avoid saying phrases like “You shouldn’t be editing these scenes”. For the affected person, their perception of these expressions is not. The histrionic person sees nothing strange in the way they express their emotions, because these are behaviors that are deeply rooted in their personality.

Therefore, we have to keep in mind that these are people who have serious difficulty in controlling their emotions and have a distorted and unrealistic perception, which will surely affect them more than we realize. It is not a good idea to treat these people in a charitable and compassionate manner like we would reinforce his victimization behavior. We need to make them understand that we all have our rarities and difficulties in life, and that no one is perfect.

2. We set clear limits

Just because we accept his personality doesn’t mean we don’t try to fix it, nor that we have to be gentle and submissive to histrionic people. We can be understanding but at the same time establish clear frameworks: there is no point in justifying everything.

We must try to act with moderation and objectivity and stress that we are also worthy of respect. When the histrionic person enters one of the phases of excessive expression of his feelings, we must be firm, but polite. For example, we can say, “I think you are very upset right now, I will be back in a while and we can talk about what happened. I am sorry for the situation and it is important that we understand each other. “Or,” I can’t consent to my disrespect. I respect and appreciate you, and that’s why I don’t understand your attitude. As soon as you realize it, we can talk about it again. “

3. Let’s not fall into certain traps

It’s not a good idea to get into their manipulations and games. You need to treat these types of people like adults, even though they may behave like a child. If you follow her game and act like you’re her dad or level up on her, the relationship ends up going into a swampy area and neither you nor she earns anything.

If you are able to communicate with this person face to face and responsibly and tactfully, they will give up their desire to have you play their game.

4. We positively reinforce their adult behavior

When that person behaves in an adult and mature manner, It should be noted that our attention to him is greater. As your usual histrionic behavior gives way to responsibility and maturity, we need to value and point out to you that we love it.

In fact, sometimes it’s easier to discourage dysfunctional behavior positively reinforce the opposite behavior when it occurs. In short, note that we are dry and lively (but polite) when he behaves in a histrionic manner, but that we are still attentive and positive when he shows adult behavior.

5. Don’t laugh and despise

This point is important: do not laugh or make fun of someone with this problem. Although in many areas of life humor can be a good way out and can put problems into perspective, in the case of histrionic personalities it is not advisable as it could have more negative than positive effects. .

If they perceive that you despise and disrespect them, you may change their emotions further. Keep in mind that these are very sensitive people and it won’t help them at all to notice that others are laughing at them and treating them with disrespect.

6. We act with caution

It is important that we maintain criteria of prudence and responsibility. If not, we can go from angles to demons in a second. Histrionic people tend to switch from idealizing to hating loved ones.

They follow extreme logic. Therefore, we should not feel too praised when we are flattered, Because in a short time it can come to denigrate us and our feelings will be affected. In an extreme case, if we do not take enough distance from their opinions and evaluations, we can acquire some emotional instability. To avoid this, we need to relativize your impressions of us.

Treatment of the histrionic personality

People with Histrionic Personality Traits suffer from a range of conditions that cause them discomfort and reinforce their dysfunctional behaviors.

The underlying problem is that they do not perceive their behavior as negative and therefore fall into victimization and do not consult a mental health professional who can offer them therapy according to their needs.

In fact, people with histrionics end up in therapy when circumstances in their life have worsened or suffered an emotional setback, such as after a breakup, generalized anxiety, or depressive symptoms.

Psychotherapists often agree that once therapy has started, the main stumbling block is usually inconsistency and little commitment to it, With relatively high levels of discontinuation of treatment within a few weeks.

Bibliographical references:

  • López-Ibor Aliño, Juan J. & Valdés Miyar, Manuel (eds.) (2002). DSM-IV-TR. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Revised text. Barcelona: Editorial Masson.
  • Luciano, MC (1996). Manual of clinical psychology. Childhood and adolescence. Valencia: Promolibro.
  • Millon, Theodore and Davis, Roger D. (1998). Personality disorders. Beyond DSM-IV. Barcelona: Editorial Masson.
  • Pérez, M., Fernández-Hermida, JR, Fernández Rodríguez, C. and Amic, I. (2003). Guide to effective psychological treatments. Madrid: Pyramid.

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