Histrionic personality disorder

Histrionic personality disorder… It starts at an early age. They are overly emotional. They trouble themselves with almost every bad situation and cry. They constantly expect attention. They feel uncomfortable in situations where they are not the centre of attention.

Striking clothes, seductive behaviour and talk is often used. They are unable to form a deep emotional relationship, they remain superficial. They don’t take much into account what effect their behaviour has on others. The main aim is to impress others. The content does not matter. Their manner of speaking is aimed at making an impression on others and lacks content. They show off, have an artificial mannerism and display their emotions in an excessive and exaggerated fashion. In short, they display theatrical behaviour. They are open to suggestions and are easily influenced. In spite of all this they believe that relationships should be more intimate than they are. In summary, they are people who try to draw attention to themselves, give a positive and emotional impression, who appear as if they are role-playing, and who are thinking of nothing else other than impressing others. Compared to Narcissists they take more care in their attitude towards people around them. The tendency to all over sudden want to help, statements like “I will save you from this problem”, whereas they actually are unable to consider or love anyone other than themselves, are the main traits of this personality. Everything gets sexualized. If you ask them they are not sexualizing. In fact they think of everything other than sex. The condition is not only seen in women but also in men. Usually there is a problem in the mother-father-child triangle. They are trying to be “the father’s daughter” or the “mother’s son”. Girls have serious conflicts with the mother, boys with their fathers. They seem to be constantly squabbling. In summary, they are unhappy people. But they give the appearance of being happy. In fact, this is called “la belle indifference”… It is a special symptom. Judging by the impact the condition has on those people close to the person, it must be very hard to be the son or the daughter of a histrionic. A mother or father who is constantly trying to seduce you… This must really be traumatic. It is clear that for a histrionic the main issue is the constant need for love, and the use of exaggeration, sexuality, in other words every means possible in order to receive it. They want to be the centre of the world. Unfortunately this is not possible and the histrionic person is condemned to be unhappy until the end of his life! And as the biological parameters are not well known there is no proper treatment either. What remains is only the long and difficult therapy technique of psychoanalysis… Strangely, it is known that at least one out of three histrionics have anti-social tendencies. I think that this has something to do with not knowing any bounds and believing that in reality everything belongs to them. In this disease often encountered in our country there is another point which caught my attention and which I am studying: their inability to divert their attention… When they set their mind on something, they never give up and are only interested in that… In fact, when they experience difficulties they get angry and display the same kind of anger they show when they are not the centre of attention… Anyhow, the main outcome of a successful treatment is surely the realization that the individual is too small to sit at the centre of the universe. And who knows, maybe it is to settle for a quiet prayer…

Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan