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

histrionic narcissist

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

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