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Over-sexed: Histrionic Personality Disorder and Narcissism

Uploaded 10/22/2010, approx. 3 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Most of the patients with histrionic personality disorder are women.

This fact immediately raises the question, is histrionic personality disorder a real mental health problem, or is it a culture-bound syndrome which reflects the values of a patriarchal and misogynistic society?

After all, no man is labeled histrionic. A man with similar traits to a histrionic woman is bound to be admired as a macho, or at worst, labeled a womanizer.

Histrionics resemble narcissists. They both crave and seek attention compulsively, and they are markedly dysphoric and uncomfortable when they are not at the center of attention. Both histrionic and narcissists have to be the life of the party. If they fail in achieving this pivotal role, they act out, they create hysterical sins, or they confabulate.

Like the somatic narcissist, the histrionic is preoccupied with physical appearance, with sexual conquests, with her health, or with her body.

The typical histrionic spends huge dollops of money and expend inordinate amounts of time on grooming herself and titivating. Histrionics fish for compliments, and they are very upset when confronted with criticism, or with proof that they are not as glamorous or alluring as they thought they are.

Unlike narcissists, though, histrionics are genuinely enthusiastic, open, emotional, warm, and empathic, up to the point of being maudlin or sentimental. Histrionics also strive to fit in, to mingle, to blend, and to become part of groups, collectives, and social institutions. They are very big on belonging.

Histrionics sexualize everyone in every situation. Histrionics constantly act flirtatious, provocative, and seductive, even when such behavior is not warranted by circumstances, or where still is prescribed and highly inappropriate, for instance in professional and occupational settings, or in a funeral. Such conduct, highly sexualized conduct, is often ill-received. People usually find this unabashed directness and undisguised hunger for approval annoying or outright repulsive.

Consequently, histrionics are sometimes subject to social censure and ostracism.

The histrionic leverages this libidinous excess and overt emotionality to gain the attention she craves.

But the histrionics' intensity and unpredictability are exhausting. The histrionics' nearest and dearest are often embarrassed by her unbridled display of emotions, hugging casual acquaintances, uncontrollable sobbing in public, or having temper tantrums.

The histrionics' behavior is so off-color that she is typically accused of being a fake, which she is not.

As the histrionic depletes one source of narcissistic supply after another, she glides from one relationship to the next, experiencing a range of shallow feelings and commitments in the process. This shallowness is reflected in the histrionic speech, which is impressionistic, disjointed, and generalized.

Concerned only with the latest conquest, the histrionic uses her physical appearance and attire as a kind of conscious bait. It is ironic that histrionics often mistake the depth, durability, and intimacy of their relationships and are devastated by their inevitable premature termination.

Histrionics are the quintessential drama queens. They are theatrical. Their emotions exaggerated to the point of caricature. Their gestures are sweeping, disproportional, and inappropriate.

The histrionic is easily suggestible and responds instantly and fully to the slightest change in circumstances and to the most meaningless communication or behavior by others. Histrionics are early adopters and closely adhere to the latest fads and fashions. Society would have been far less colorful without them.

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The Three Voices: Histrionic, Psychopathic, Borderline

Borderline personality disorder is often comorbid with other personality disorders, such as histrionic, narcissistic, and antisocial. Women are predominantly diagnosed with these comorbidities, and borderline personality disorder is a post-traumatic state that is triggered by neglect, abandonment, and abuse. When comorbid with histrionic personality disorder, women seek comfort, acceptance, validation, sex, and intimacy from other men, but conflicting inner voices arise. The histrionic voice says men will make them feel better, the psychopathic voice says don't feel guilty about cheating, and the borderline voice says their sexuality is bad, mad, and dangerous. When faced with the prospect of sex, borderline patients panic because of negative thoughts, and if they cross the line and have full-fledged sex


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Drama Queens/Kings: Narcissists, Borderlines

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Borderline Personality Disorder Patient Therapy Notes

Do is a 26-year-old female diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She struggles with maintaining a stable sense of self-worth and self-esteem, and her confidence in holding onto men is low. She has had six serious relationships in the past year, all of which ended due to violent fights over trivial matters. Do admits to physically assaulting three of her ex-partners and has suicidal ideation, which sometimes manifests in minor acts of self-injury and self-mutilation. She also struggles with drug use, shopping addiction, and binge eating.


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People who fear intimacy have a phobia of exposing their vulnerabilities and committing to a long-term relationship. This fear is rooted in a deep distrust of the world and other people. They tend to devalue their intimate partner and imagine negative scenarios for the future. Fear of intimacy is a form of diffuse anxiety that causes people to withdraw and avoid intimate relationships. It is a cycle that can never be broken or interrupted, leading to a never-ending chase that never culminates in a happy ending.


DANGER! Crazymaking Drama in YOUR Relationship

Drama, crazy making, and chaos are defining features of mental health disturbances, particularly in cluster B personality disorders. The reasons behind such behavior vary depending on the disorder, but they often involve a need for attention, a sense of vulnerability, or a misapprehension of limitations. The drama and crazy making are intended to support the self-perception of the individual, whether it be grandiosity, invincibility, or a need for attention. Those in relationships with individuals with these disorders should be aware of the potential risks and dangers.


Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

Narcissistic abusers often resort to self-delusion when faced with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. They may adopt a masochistic avoidance solution, punishing themselves for their failure, or construct a delusional narrative in which they are the hero. Some may become antisocial psychopaths, while others develop persecutory delusions and withdraw completely from social contact, becoming schizoids. Finally, some abusers resort to an aggressive stance, becoming verbally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abusive towards loved ones.


How Borderline Sees YOU ( Intimate Partner)

Professor Sam Vaknin proposes a new diagnosis called covert borderline, which better suits men as it combines borderline and narcissism. Borderlines have two anxieties: abandonment anxiety and engulfment anxiety, which lead to approach and avoidance behaviors. In the approach phase, the borderline sees their partner as their savior and regulator of emotions, while in the avoidance phase, they become paranoid and view their partner as an enemy. This creates a roller coaster of emotions and pain for both the borderline and their partner.


Militant Feminism, Teen Sexual Grooming, Borderline Types (Interview Excerpts)

Classic borderline women become secondary psychopaths when faced with rejection and abandonment, while covert and psychopathic borderlines become primary psychopaths in intimate settings. The rise of militant feminism in the 1960s led to a divide between men and women, with both adopting toxic traits of the opposite gender. This has resulted in a decline in marriage rates and an increase in single individuals. Lastly, grandiose narcissists are now believed to be a form of psychopathy, with true narcissists being compensatory in nature.

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