The Histrionic Parent
Histrionic parents are dramatic and crave attention. They are dependent upon approval and very easily influenced by others. Sexual inappropriateness is common.
Histrionic parents are among the most frustrating and perplexing parents to deal with. Their need for attention is central to all that they do, and they seek and develop high-conflict situations and relationships. Though the methods by which they attempt to gain attention may be ever-changing to suit different situations and possibilities, the end goal - dramatic attention - never changes.
The behavior of histrionic people can be very difficult to predict. Their children grow up in a dysfunctional environment that is shaped by their parents' need for manufacturing emotional tension and frequent emotional outbursts. The behavior of histrionic parents is in direct conflict with childrens' needs for a sense of security, regularity and stability, as well as their normal developmental need to be the center of their parents' attention on a fairly consistent basis. As with narcissists, histrionic individuals tend to lack genuinely meaningful curiosity about others, and this presents a problem for children, who have a need to be seen and reflected by their parents.
People with HPD do not like it when others are at the center of attention, and are likely to make attempts at shifting the dynamics in their favor. Depending on circumstances, histrionic people are either the life of the party - your instant best friend - or the one causing a scene, whichever will work best for their needs at the moment. When fishing for negative attention, if these parents cannot find something wrong, they will make something wrong (and if that's not possible, they will proclaim something imaginary is wrong to get the drama started). They may exaggerate or feign illness for attention.
Histrionic parents typically have weak boundaries, and can perceive interpersonal closeness where none has developed. Many are unrelentingly talkative, flashy or provocative dressers, and flirtatious and inappropriately sexually involved. Histrionic parents can have difficulty empathizing properly and are self-focused. Children of people with HPD experience the negative consequences of these behaviors.
These parents are not the good listeners or the thoughtful, stabilizing influence children require, and typically, their children are caught in between their need for their parents' attention and their parents' need for their attention. Their children enter into adulthood with both a need to finally be heard, seen and understood, and the habitual expectation that they will not be.
High-quality psychotherapeutic treatment can improve the functioning of people with HPD a small amount. Click here for more...
Not Your Parent? Change Tack...
www.lightshouse.org Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.