How to Deal With a Person With Histrionic Personality Disorder

No two individuals will ever be the same. In a random group of people, each person will display certain characteristics that are specific only to his personality.

Of these, there are the harmless and fun-loving, in charge of getting everyone to laugh; there are the serious kind, there are those who keep to themselves and prefer not to speak much, and then there are those who like to grab attention all-the-time.

Those who like to be in the center of all things and know just what to do to get there. These are the kind of people who do not have a very wide fan following. Now don’t get me wrong, every one would like to be the center of attention and get noticed from time to time, that is natural. But no one strives to do only that, and does not make it a mission in their lives. A person who suffers from histrionic personality disorder though, does just that. He/she will concentrate all his efforts on getting everyone’s attention by whatever means it takes. It will be apparent in the way in which he speaks, dresses, walks and all other forms of his behavior and mannerisms as well. This is done to such an extent that it takes on the form of a disorder.

Dealing with a person who suffers from this personality disorder can get to be very tough. Why? Think about it. Would you like to share your space with a person who is obnoxious and underhanded and does all that it takes to get all the eyeballs on him? I’m guessing not. It can get quite exhausting to keep feeding onto their ego. And depending on your degree of patience, if disgust hasn’t already taken over, you’ll tire of it soon enough and want to avoid them. This option is not always feasible and that is why it becomes important to know how to deal with a person with histrionic personality disorder, especially when it comes to dealing with a family member who has a histrionic personality. Then what is one to do?
In this following piece we will look at the techniques and ways of dealing with a person who has a histrionic personality. But before that, let’s get you some more details of what makes a histrionic personality.
What Exactly makes a Histrionic Personality?
The word ‘disorder’ should give you an idea that the behavior that this personality type displays is of an extreme nature. It is said that the reasons for why this disorder comes about is closely related to instances of abandonment and abuse in early childhood. Once this behavior sets in, it becomes difficult to shed because it becomes a way of life for that person. Similarly, others in the family do not realize that they are encouraging this behavior by not calling it at the right time. Thus a histrionic personality will develop. Study this following section to understand the varied histrionic personality disorder symptoms.
■ They have a great set of social skills, they know exactly how to talk and behave. But they will use these to get their work done and to manipulate people.
■ They have an innate need to garner attention. This becomes evident in the way in which they speak and behave, through their body language and even in the way they dress – which tends to border on provocative and seductive clothing.
■ They have a tendency to be overly seductive. This is to shock people and garner attention.
■ They are usually cheerful and dramatic and quite flirtatious. They can charm their way into getting what they want.
■ A histrionic personality will display behavior patterns of extreme natures like acting overly friendly with strangers or laughing out too loud at a joke that was not very funny to begin with (You get the gist).
■ They tend to be extremely sensitive to any form of criticism. It has been seen that they get into depression with the slightest failures in romantic relationships.
■ They display an inability for tolerating anything that happens outside their comfort level or something that does not happen in the way in which they want it to happen.
■ They will never show any concern for others and they do not have the ability to empathize with others in the least.
■ They are known to take rash decisions in the heat of the moment or under the influence of emotions.
■ They are highly concerned about how they look and appear and will make it a point to dress in such a way that they get people to comment on them. They tend to have exhibitionist traits.
■ They usually start out with projects that they never finish. They have a tendency to jump from one project to the other without completing them.
■ They are known to lie and exaggerate facts only to get people’s attention and their way with things.
How to Deal With Someone With Histrionic Personality Disorder
It is exhausting to be with a person who has this personality disorder because of the demanding nature of their behavior. While in some cases it might be possible to stop being around such a person and extricate oneself from the situation, in other cases, especially where family members are concerned, that is never a choice. Then what is one to do and how is one to keep the relation going? Here are some pointers on how to deal with a person with histrionic personality disorder that you can refer to and keep in mind.
■ It becomes important to know the symptoms of this disorder because this is what will allow you to determine the factors that you need to be looking out for. Unless you know the things that a histrionic personality is capable of doing, you will not be prepared to deal with the same.
■ A histrionic personality is used to manipulating people to get his way. Your basic job is to recognize precisely that, catch him/her on his mannerisms and focus on not giving in.
■ They are used to taking up extreme measures to get their way around things, which translates to you being walked over (many times). Do not fall for their threats and feed their behavior by caving in. When they know that they have this effect on you, they will continue to display histrionic behavior.
■ Do not take anything that they say personally. They are adept at lying to get their way in an argument or situation. Try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say. Then do exactly what you want. You need to show them that their words have no effect on you.
■ Sometimes, being flattering or condescending, helps. It saves the negativity that can arise and it gives them the feeling that they have won. You of course, know what the truth is. Though this method cannot work in all situations, yet, it is something that does promise results.
■ A histrionic personality will not believe that they need treatment. They do not feel that anything is wrong with their behavior. That is why getting them to undergo treatment is usually very tough. Yet, if one is able to convince them to do the same, then techniques like psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, family therapy, talk therapy and medication are administered. These will follow specific treatment guidelines depending on the nature and the severity of the case.
Like most personality disorders, this disorder cannot be ‘cured’ because the person will not admit that there is a need for treatment. That is why the word ‘deal’ is the most apt way of putting it. In simple terms, instead of focusing on the treatment, one should focus on developing certain ways in which to deal with the person. The preceding section which focuses on dealing with a person who has a histrionic personality disorder, will give you the required pointers in this direction. The key lies in recognizing the tactics of a histrionic personality and then working your way around it so that you are least affected by the same. Easy to say, tough to carry through.