Histrionic Narcissists: How They Use Sex And Lies As Weapons Of Manipulation

histrionic narcissist

Just like narcissistic people, anyone who suffers from histrionic personality disorder has the ability to destroy someone’s life, along with their mental health, peace, confidence, and everything they believe in.

Key Points:

Cluster B personality disorders consist of narcissism, borderline, histrionic, and anti-social personality disorders.

Negative personality traits can also overlap between specific diagnostic criteria.

An individual does not need to have a clinical diagnosis to showcase negative personality traits.

Cluster B disorders are a collection of negative traits organized into four classifications: narcissism, histrionic, borderline, and antisocial personality disorders. Personality disorders as a whole are described as enduring, maladaptive patterns of thoughts and/or behaviors that deviate from one’s culture (APA, 2013). These thoughts, beliefs, and actions are inflexible and overwhelmingly negative, and pervasive.

Despite our best efforts, we all have negative traits and unhealthy habits. What makes a trait pathological is the inability and unwillingness to change and improve. Even the kindest person on the road to sainthood can lash out in a fit of anger and ego. The act of being human comes with the free will of thoughts and actions. We all have the innate ability to be a narcissist; however, what separates non-narcissists from the crowd is the element of self-control and choice.

Related: Histrionic Personality Disorder: How This Type Of Narcissism Works In Women

We can choose to use people for our own intentions and then discard them; we choose to lie and hide; we choose to cheat and sneak around. This is one reason why the diagnosis traits for Cluster B disorders are so low: the individuals with these problems do not seek help because they don’t believe they need help in the first place.

Of course, to be clinically diagnosed with a specific disorder one must have a specific number of signs and symptoms. An individual can have traits of narcissism but not be officially classified as a narcissist.

Links Between HPD And NPD

Narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is most easily identified by the individual’s lack of empathy and overwhelming ego.

However, many victims of narcissism report their abuser’s sexuality and emotions as being sharpened into weapons. These overtly sexual and dramatic individuals have what the American Psychiatric Association calls histrionic personality disorder (2013).

Whereas narcissistic personality disorder is predominantly diagnosed in men, histrionic disorder (HPD) is diagnosed primarily in women. As with most personality disorders, histrionic individuals cannot be cured by prescription medications. Only the co-morbidities, such as depression and anxiety, can be treated. So whereas the depression can be lifted with the right treatment plan, it won’t do anything for the person’s egotistical actions or cold behaviors. The same goes for histrionic personality disorder.

Histrionic personality disorder has several similarities to narcissism but also distinct differences. The use of theatrics, emotions, and sexuality stands in stark contrast to the cold and egotistical narcissist. However, many of the hallmarks overlap.

Like positive personality traits such as openness or conscientiousness, negative personality traits can also overlap across disorders. Just because individual displays several traits of narcissism doesn’t mean they also can’t act with traits of the histrionic disorder.

Histrionic individuals have wildly exaggerated emotions and an overwhelming need to be noticed. In fact, the term histrionic means “dramatic” and “theatrical.” These people are well-known drama queens and busybodies who can’t handle being left outside of the circle of attention. The self-esteem of histrionics relied heavily on the opinions of others and can wax and wane according to their reputation.

When they fall from grace, histrionics are more at risk for depression, crying fits, and desperation to turn the story around in which they are the victim. Narcissists, on the other hand, may become angry and challenging and generally be stupefied by negative public opinion. They were—up until this moment—untouchable. If narcissists keep their negative self-image hidden and covered up by an overblown ego, then histrionics wear their self-centered hearts on their sleeves.

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Kristy Lee Hochenberger

Kristy Lee Hochenberger is a doctoral student of psychology at Capella University and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. A graduate of prestigious Wells College, Kristy Lee is also a licensed funeral director and co-founder of Salt City Legacy Scholars, Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that awards scholarships and financial assistance to young women across New York State. In addition to her Bachelor's degree, Kristy Lee has an Associate's Degree in Occupational Services as well as a Master of Business Administration. A native of Queens, NY, she currently resides in upstate New York where she is an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and University of the People.View Author posts