The Histrionic Personality in Relationships: Seduction, Drama and Provocation
The histrionic female’s insatiable need for attention, combined with their tendency to overstep the boundaries of others and flirt with anyone and everyone in the near vicinity, can cause issues in their relationships and friendships. These individuals are likely to emotionally and physically cheat on their partners and also seduce those who are already in committed relationships. They are also likely to use their sexuality inappropriately to get ahead at school or at work.
According to Christine Hammond, LMHC (2015), while female narcissists dress seductively to achieve a certain agenda or goal (such as impressing someone), a histrionic female will don revealing clothing across any and all situations. Her provocative clothing, combined with overly seductive behavior, manufactures scenarios where she is indeed put into the spotlight – often to the detriment of her loved ones.
For histrionic females, this can cause issues specifically in her friendships with other women, because many histrionic females tend to flirt with and attempt to seduce the significant others of their friends. As Dr. Bressert (2017) writes:
“Individuals with this disorder often have impaired relationships with same-sex friends because their sexually provocative interpersonal style may seem a threat to their friends’ relationships. These individuals may also alienate friends with demands for constant attention. They often become depressed and upset when they are not the center of attention.”
The traits of Histrionic Personality Disorder can overlap with traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder as well as Bipolar Disorder (Burgess, 1992; Hamburger et. al, 1996; Ghouse et. al, 2013).
The overlap with these disorders is not surprising. A histrionic personality’s insatiable attention-seeking can mirror the entitlement of the narcissist to be at front and center. Their bubbly, vivacious and energetic theatricality can easily be mistaken for mania. Their blatant self-absorption and need for constant stimulation can be similar to the lack of empathy and need for novelty present in an antisocial personality, while their high degree of emotionality can also resemble borderline traits.
But what differentiates the histrionic personality from the rest of these disorders and how does this type actually behave in real-life contexts?