Friday Counseling Issues: The Personality Disorders

Histrionic Personality Disorder.  The name seems to cover it, but there are some nuances that separate this one from Borderline, which it closely resembles.


It wasn’t hard at all to find images that describe Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD).  The disorder is fascinating, but it wears you out–whether you have it, or you’re close to someone who does.

It takes a lot of energy to keep up the kind of drama that characterizes HPD.  The person who has it is demanding, needy, and convinced that the things that happen to her have never happened to anyone else, and that the whole world is fascinated by her experiences. She loves to talk about herself, and takes or makes every opportunity to do so. She rarely sees the distaste or the boredom in the eyes of her captive audience, because she is consumed with her performance and has very little awareness of other people.

You go ahead and try to have a normal conversation with  a person who has HPD.  Good luck. Your first sentence will likely prompt him to go off on one of his own stories, totally taking the stage and derailing what you were trying to say.  Everything is about him, all the time.

Here’s a good list of diagnostic symptoms, taken from :

  • Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
  • Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
  • Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  • Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attentionto themself (my sharp-eyed son caught this egregious grammatical error.  Himself, not “themself.”  Oy.)
  • Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  • Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  • Is highly suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
  • Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

HPD cannot be cured, but as with all personality disorders, it can be mitigated with good therapy.  Sometimes, medication can be helpful in calming the extreme attention-seeking and impulsive behaviors.

As with all the personality disorders, a biblical approach is often the most effective therapy.  When a person truly comes to Christ, it changes him.



4 thoughts on “Friday Counseling Issues: The Personality Disorders

  1. Smith

    “Themself” is used in place of “himself” or herself” to identified a person of unspecified sex. So “themself” was used appropriately since HPD affect men and women. Your article stated “she” frequently, which is not accurate; since it does not only affect women. This also does not make sense as to why you feel it should be “himself” seeing as you wrote the topic towards women with the disorder. To belittle “these educated” people without taking into account why the term was used is not very Christian like. This post is very old but in research stumbled upon it..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Themself” is incorrect on two levels. “Them” is plural; “self” is singular. The two should not be used together. “Themselves” would be the correct construct here.

      I did not write the article solely to women. Because my cartoon used a female character, I used the feminine pronoun in the first paragraph. The next paragraph switches to the masculine. I am fully aware that HPD affects both genders; the statistical reality, however, is that more women than men are affected.

      As a former English teacher, I do feel that the people who wrote the list of symptoms ought to know better than to combine a plural pronoun with a singular noun. Such errors have been the result of our need to stop using the masculine pronoun in the sense of “he” referring to all mankind, or humankind, if you will. It has made writing clumsy and awkward. To please the politically correct folks, we have to say “he or she” and what happens eventually is that silly words like “themself” are used in an effort to not offend the ladies.

      The post isn’t all that old–just a bit over a year–and after reading it over, I don’t think I would change it. You are assuming that I didn’t take into account why “themself” was used. The truth is, I’ve become so accustomed to seeing such misuses that I didn’t notice it. I agree with my son, who pointed it out, that “these educated” people should have known better.

      I don’t think it is unChristian to want to use correct grammar.


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