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.

Both narcissists and histrionics may use threats of suicide as an attention grab or a way to obtain sympathy and forgiveness. Neither type of individual can have a normal relationship for very long.

Histrionics wear their partners out with their rapid mood swings; narcissists break down their partners with abuse and confrontation; both classifications generally exhaust the ability of friends and lovers to fulfill their grandiose demands for attention.

Related: What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder and How To Manage This Intense Need for Attention

Sexuality As A Weapon

A major distinction between histrionic and narcissism is the use of sexuality. Narcissists are known to be more prone to cheating in their personal relationships, but histrionics are far more overtly sexually exploitative and provocative. Histrionics use sex and seduction to solve virtually any problem that arises and bring the attention back to them; narcissists use their sex as a method of control.

A narcissist cheats because they feel they can, they deserve it, or they need something done for them in return. In contrast, a histrionic will engage in cheating to fulfill a desperate need for attention that they believe they aren’t getting from their partner. Regardless of whether the person is a narcissist or a histrionic, the cheating is not their fault.

narcissist and histrionic

Jack recalls when he caught his ex-wife cheating. “She had been cheating for years with different men. She said it was because I didn’t pay enough attention to her and these men did, and they made her feel beautiful and worthy. The cheating was my fault because I didn’t make her feel beautiful.”

Anthony’s ex-wife, in comparison, attempted to deny the charges when presented with the evidence of her cheating but also took on the role of the wronged party. Narcissists are expert liars and actors and can maintain their false persona much better and for longer periods of time than a histrionic. Anthony recalls that eventually, she began flaunting her cheating instead of being embarrassed by it.

“Cheating wasn’t her character flaw; it was mine somehow. She used it to belittle me and make herself the poor victim,” Anthony says.

Again, keep in mind that to be diagnosed a histrionic, one must check a specific number of boxes of the diagnostic criteria. Being confident and in control of your sexuality does not make you histrionic; likewise, being overly dramatic is also not a way to diagnose someone as histrionic. Someone can be sexual and seductive without being histrionic, and not all cheaters are suffering from a histrionic personality disorder.

Female narcissists are particularly dangerous and use their sexuality as a weapon to straddle the fine line between NPD and HPD. Histrionic narcissists use their seductiveness and even reproductive abilities to gain control of a relationship, maintain the upper hand, or just simply hurt someone.

Related: The Female Facade: Female Narcissists May Be Statistically Uncommon, But Highly Dangerous

Histrionic women cross into the narcissistic territory through abuse of power and gender roles and the exploitation of relationships. Using children, pregnancy, and other family members to obtain what they want is never out of the realm of possibilities for a histrionic narcissist.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). DSM-5. APA Publishing.

Kristy Lee Hochenberger can be contacted for life coaching at ExcelsiorLifeCoaching@gmail.com and facebook.com/excelsiorcoaching

Written By Kristy Lee Hochenberger
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today   
histrionic narcissist pinop
histrionic narcissist pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

The Narcissistic Stare: How A Narcissist Uses Stare To Control You and 5 Ways To Protect Yourself

Narcissistic Stare | Why Do Narcissists Stare? Coping Tips

The human gaze holds immense power, capable of expressing emotions, desires, and even hidden intentions. Among the many intriguing forms of eye contact, the narcissistic stare stands out as an enigmatic phenomenon that both fascinates and perplexes. 

But what is the narcissistic stare? Well, have you ever encountered someone whose gaze seemed to penetrate your very soul, leaving you feeling exposed and uncomfortable? 

Let us delve into this fascinating concept, exploring what is the narcissistic stare, why do narcissists stare and the different variations it takes on, including the malignant narcissist stare and the female narcissistic stare.

What is the Narcissistic Stare?

Up Next

Sociopathy Vs Narcissism: 10 Critical Differences You Need To Know

Sociopathy Vs Narcissism: Critical Differences

When we toss around the terms “sociopath” and “narcissist,” it’s usually to describe a villain in a movie or that one ex we’d rather forget. But in reality, these are complex personality disorders that go beyond just being the bad guy, which is why it’s vital to understand the differences between sociopathy vs narcissism.

Sociopaths and narcissists can be charming, intelligent, and the life of the party, which makes it tricky to spot the deeper issues. While they share some overlapping traits, like a disregard for others’ feelings, there are key differences that set them apart.

Let’s unravel these d

Up Next

5 Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship (And How To Escape Their Trap)

Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship: Toxic Cycle

From euphoria to despair, the toxic relationship cycle leaves lasting scars. Learn the stages of a narcissistic relationship to protect yourself from the emotional rollercoaster and avoid lasting trauma.

Narcissistic relationships often go through a painful cycle that is a predictable outgrowth of narcissistic personality disorder. Central to understanding a narcissist’s behavior is that their relationships are transactional.

Their impaired boundaries and lack of empathy prevent them from seeing other people as separate three-dimensional beings with needs and feelings of their own.

Up Next

Disenchanted Childhood: The Effects Of Self Centered Parenting on Children

The Harmful Effects Of Self Centered Parenting on Children

When you are on the opposite side of self centered parenting, it can have far-reaching effects on you and your psyche. Growing up with selfish parents can take a heavy toll on your mental and emotional health, and these effects can be felt even when you are an adult.


Self absorbed parents create role-reversed relationships with their children in which the child psychologically caters to the parent.

Children show psychological responses to selfish parents depending upon the child’s personality.

Some children acquiesce to self-focused parents’ demands, while ot

Up Next

Why Are We Attracted to Self Absorbed People? Unpacking the Appeal

Why We Are Attracted To Self Absorbed People: Insights

Being attracted to self absorbed people happens more often than you would believe. What is it about them that attracts us? Being attracted to self centered people is bad for us but still we find it hard to resist them. Let’s find out why.


Self centered people can immediately attract others with visual and auditory cues.

Initial positive attractions to self focused people do not hold up over time.

People attracted to narcissistic people possess their own distinctive traits.


Up Next

Dealing With A Narcissistic Parent: 5 Steps That Can Help Children Cope With One

Dealing With A Narcissistic Parent: Things Children Can Do

How to deal with a narcissistic parent? Communicating with a narcissistic parent or living with a narcissistic parent is without a doubt, one of the hardest and emotionally draining things a person can do, and even more so, when it’s their child. This post is going to talk about what it entails when it comes to dealing with a narcissistic parent.


Non-narcissistic parents can take specific steps to help children attain emotional health and coping skills.

Goals are to decrease role-reversal, increase assertiveness, and decrease enmeshment.

A new coping skill inc

Up Next

8 Signs Of A Toxic Sister In Law And The Best Ways To Handle Her

Signs Of A Toxic Sister In Law And How To Handle Her

Navigating family relationships can be as tranquil as a serene lake on a calm day or as tumultuous as the ocean during a storm. When it comes to in-laws, the waters can get particularly choppy, especially if you identify the signs of a toxic sister in law.

This relationship is peculiar; it’s not one you chose, like a friendship, nor is it one you’re born into, like a sibling. Instead, it’s a bond formed by marriage, which sometimes means the rules of engagement can be confusing and the boundary lines blurry.

At the heart of the family dynamic, sisters-in-law can be a source of great joy and camaraderie, or, u