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Histrionic personality disorder - CBT Kenya
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Histrionic personality disorder – CBT Kenya

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by constant attention-seeking and emotional overreaction. People with this condition tend to over dramatize situations, which may impair relationships and lead to depression. Yet they are highly suggestible, easily susceptible to the influence of others.

Dealing with a person who suffers from this personality disorder can get to be very tough. Why? Think about it. Would you like to share your space with a person who is obnoxious, underhanded and does all that it takes to get the eyeballs on him? It can get quite exhausting to keep feeding onto their ego. And depending on your degree of patience, if disgust hasn’t already taken over, you’ll tire of it soon enough and want to avoid them. This option is not always feasible and that is why it becomes important to know how to deal with a person with histrionic personality disorder.

What makes a histrionic personality?

  • They have a great set of social skills, they know exactly how to talk and behave. But they will use these to get their work done and to manipulate people.
  • They have an innate need to garner attention. This becomes evident in the way in which they speak and behave, through their body language and even in the way they dress – which tends to border on provocative and seductive clothing.
  • They are usually cheerful and dramatic and quite flirtatious. They can charm their way into getting what they want.
  • A histrionic personality will display behavior patterns of extreme natures like acting overly friendly with strangers or laughing out too loud at a joke that was not very funny to begin with.
  • Are known to take rash decisions in the heat of the moment or under the influence of emotions. They are highly concerned about how they look and appear and will make it a point to dress in such a way that they get people to comment on them. They tend to have exhibitionist traits.
  • These individuals usually start out with projects that they never finish. They have a tendency to jump from one project to the other without completing them.

How to deal with histrionic personality disorder

Like most personality disorders, this disorder cannot be ‘cured’ because the person will not admit that there is a need for treatment. That is why the word ‘deal’ is the most apt way of putting it. In simple terms, instead of focusing on the treatment, one should focus on developing certain ways in which to deal with the person.

  • It becomes important to know the symptoms of this disorder because this is what will allow you to determine the factors that you need to be looking out for. Unless you know the things that a histrionic personality is capable of doing, you will not be prepared to deal with the same.
  • A histrionic personality is used to manipulating people to get his way. Your basic job is to recognize precisely that, catch him/her on his mannerisms and focus on not giving in.
  • They are used to taking up extreme measures to get their way around things, which translates to you being walked over many times. Do not fall for their threats and feed their behavior by caving in. When they know that they have this effect on you, they will continue to display histrionic behavior.
  • Do not take anything that they say personally. They are adept at lying to get their way in an argument or situation. Try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say. Then do exactly what you want. You need to show them that their words have no effect on you.
  • Sometimes, being flattering or condescending, helps. It saves the negativity that can arise and it gives them the feeling that they have won. You of course, know what the truth is. Though this method cannot work in all situations, yet, it is something that does promise results.


People with histrionic personality disorder commandeer the role of “life of the party.” Their interests and conversation will be self-focused. They use their physical appearance to draw attention to themselves. They tend to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are. Their emotional expression may be shallow and rapidly shifting. Their style of speech is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail. They may do well with jobs that value and require imagination and creativity, but will probably have difficulty with tasks that demand logical or analytical thinking.

The word ‘disorder’ should give you an idea that the behavior that this personality type displays is of an extreme nature. The reasons for why this disorder comes about is closely related to instances of abandonment and abuse in early childhood. Once this behavior sets in, it becomes difficult to shed because it becomes a way of life for that person. Similarly, others in the family do not realize that they are encouraging this behavior by not calling it at the right time. Thus a histrionic personality will develop.

Word from CBT Kenya

The recommended form of treatment for histrionic personality disorder is psychotherapy. That said, therapy for people with this diagnosis is often challenging because they may exaggerate their symptoms or ability to function. They may also be emotionally needy and challenge the behavioral boundaries set up by the therapist. Therapy should generally be supportive and solution-focused. If you think you may have histrionic personality disorder or if you are suffering from some of the symptoms of this condition, then you should reach out to a mental health professional as soon as possible to get properly diagnosed and treated.

CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or info@cbtkenya.org.

Author: cbtkeadmin
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