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Histrionic Personality

 

Explanations > Personality > Personality Disorders > Histrionic Personality

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The Histrionic Personality occurs where a person is often overly-dramatic in displays of emotion that draw attention to themself.

Noticeable symptoms may include:

  • Being forward. Seeking everyone's attention.
  • Very concerned about how they appear to others.
  • Dressing and acting in a particularly seductive way.
  • Often dramatic, with exaggerated emotional displays.
  • Likes to impress. Also impressionable and easily influenced.
  • Very sensitive to criticism and disapproval.
  • Frequent changes in (often shallow) emotional states.
  • Believing relationships are closer than they actually are.
  • Seeking immediate gratification. Easily bored.

This condition is more common in women, possibly because of the social position in which they find themselves. It often starts in early adulthood.

Discussion

We all get upset from time to time and are often concerned about how others perceive us and so how we appear to them. The histrionic personality takes this to extreme, dressing and acting in ways beyond what most would call 'normal'.

In their craving for attention, their focus is more on themselves than others and they ignore the normal social rules about sharing attention and praise. The main reason they will flatter others is to gain even greater praise for themselves.

Most people are happy delay rewards and gratification, even enjoying the anticipated pleasure. The histrionic person wants gratification now and gets frustrated at any delay.

The attention-grabbing and excessive use of emotion as a persuasive lever can result in others viewing the histrionic personality as being rather shallow attention-seekers.

It is possible that the histrionic personality did not get much attention when they were young and learned that being dramatic was a way of getting this. Alternatively, they may have received too much attention and now find difficulty in accepting adult rules for sharing attention.

In some ways the histrionic personality is opposite to the Avoidant Personality, in the way one seeks attention whilst the other shuns it. Both often do not understand what others are really thinking.

The Histrionic Personality Disorder is one of the ten DSM-IV personality disorders. Talking therapies can be very successful in treating this.

See also

Attention principle

 

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