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Things Histrionic People Do



People with HPD are sensitive to disapproval. If you suggest they may have done something wrong, it upsets them tremendously. However, if they suggest there's something wrong, they want you to pity them and fix whatever it is. (This behavior is somewhat narcissistic, and therefore, may vaguely resemble the behavior of narcissists you know, but narcissists are not insecure in the same way -- narcissists do not wish to gain reassurance as much as they expect your approval; narcissists believe everything they do is perfect as is.
) Histrionic people want your constant attention, help, and support for their dramas. Generally, narcissists just want your admiration and obedience. Histrionic people have an inexhaustible need for continual reassurance, acceptance and consolation. They have an unquenchable thirst for attention, and frequently, this takes the form of seeking a tremendous amount of ongoing support and empathy.

Note: A need for excessive reassurance is also seen in Dependent Personality Disorder.


Histrionic individuals are addicted to drama. If there's no drama for a few minutes, they will manufacture some drama out of nothing at all. Is everything going fine? That's got to change! They (and you) never have any true peace, because histrionic people find the lack of drama far too boring. If drama does exist, they feed on it, extend it, fan the flames, give all their energy to it, and foster it as long as possible. If there's a shortage of drama, they will go to any length to get some going -- they will even even flat-out lie -- to generate something. Everything is a "big deal", and you cannot suggest otherwise, or else, now it's an even BIGGER deal because you're denying that it's something truly worth getting all upset over!


It's not uncommon for people with HPD traits to be very inappropriate sexually. Their boundaries are usually unhealthy and the rules are hazy (or completely non-existent). Behaviors involving seduction, attraction and sexual activity and contact are common among histrionic people, and these poor sexual boundaries can create a lot of emotional upheaval for people in their circle of influence. Because histrionic individuals are addicted to attention, inappropriate sexual attention may often be sought, and the most inappropriate attention is foisted upon the most inappropriate people in the most inappropriate scenarios. Provocative attire, out-of-line propositions, infidelity and out-of-control flirtatiousness is common. It has been noted that despite their overabundance of inappropriate sexual behavior and provocation, ironically, many histrionic people suffer from sexual dysfunction and other significant difficulties with intimacy.


Talking is o
ne of the easiest ways to capture and maintain peoples' attention, and histrionic people love attention, so excessive talking is often seen in
people with HPD traits. The two most highly-favored topics are themselves and their current drama; however, if that fails to gain attention, whatever topic works will be used. HPD people are often (but not always) very gregarious and chatty, and frequently interrupt and dominate conversations, having little patience for topics not central to their reality. They have a limited or non-existent ability to discuss matters in detail. They communicate in big broad strokes, and their listening skills are generally very weak. Contemplative introspection isn't at all likely. Masters of the attention-grabbing sound bite, they perceive things on a grand scale and do not go beyond the outside surface of topics, and dramatic topics are preferred. Talkative histrionic people love to talk; however, not typically about the nuances of Shakespeare, your vegetarianism, creative knitting patterns, aviation terminology or the economy -- at least not in any kind of detail. Expect to hear sweeping and dramatic sound bite-style tidbits about celebrity gossip, their most recent grave difficulty, the newest dance move, or some kind of tragedy instead.   


Most everything histrionic people do is to get the most dramatic attention possible. What they wear, what they say, what they do (or don't) how they do everything - is all designed to garner the maximum amount of attention. Stretching the truth and lying are common among people with histrionic traits, as is manipulation and game-playing. Nothing must get in the way of their regular supply of dramatic issues, attention, discord and conflicts, sexual tension, rumors, big to-dos, claims of everything falling apart, and needing lots of empathy, approval, or significant assistance from others. Many histrionic people will tell lies to see these goals met, so lies, half-truths and even downright full fabrications are commonly seen in people with histrionic traits.



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Note: Not all people with HPD will do all these things, and some of these things are occasionally done by people without HPD. This list is not exhaustive; these are simply some common examples.



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