This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of ignoring someone with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) while providing insights into how to navigate relationships with individuals who exhibit histrionic attention-seeking behavior.
If you have someone in your life who constantly seeks attention and is excessively emotional, you might be asking “How to deal with someone with a histrionic personality disorder” or “Is it better ignoring someone with a histrionic personality disorder” or even “What happens when you ignore a histrionic entirely instead of staying with them?”
When you have any type of relationship with someone who exhibits histrionic attention-seeking behavior, it is important to understand and manage your relationship carefully. Individuals with histrionic personality disorder can:
- Become uncomfortable when they are not forever the center of attention
- Interact with others using provocative or sexually inappropriate behavior
- Display shallow emotions
- Use their physical appearance to steal attention
- Exaggerate or dramatize emotions
- And consider personal relationships to be more intimate than they really are
Without learning to manage these relationships, you might be on the receiving end of inappropriate sexual behavior, or someone who is regularly dramatic and attention-seeking, yet believes you have an intimate relationship when you don’t.
So, does ignoring someone with histrionic personality disorder really work?
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Recent data from the DSM-5 have found that HPD affects around 1% of the population. In clinical settings, it is diagnosed in females more frequently than in males.
Common behaviors associated with histrionic attention-seeking
Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by excessive emotional behavior and attention-seeking behavior. These patterns usually start in early adulthood.
Center of Attention
Someone with histrionic personality disorder can seem very dramatic and lively, like the life of the party, drawing people in and being very open and flirtatious at first. However, these qualities typically wear thin as that same individual starts to feel unappreciated or uncomfortable if they are not the center of attention.
If, for example, an individual with HPD is not the center of attention they might do things like create a scene or make up stories so that everyone brings their attention back to that individual.
The same individuals are likely to be inappropriately provocative or seductive, not necessarily toward people with whom they have any romantic or sexual interest but rather toward anyone with whom they have an occupational, professional, or even social relationship.
Their emotional expression is usually shallow and it shifts dramatically from being exhibitionist in nature to being arrogant and controlling.
That same individual could cause embarrassment to friends or acquaintances by way of excessive displays of emotion like embracing casual acquaintances regularly, throwing temper tantrums in public, or even sobbing uncontrollably during situations that are borderline sentimental at best.
Ignoring someone with Histrionic Personality Disorder: Pros and Cons
So what happens when you ignore a history on it? Is ignoring someone with histrionic personality disorder an effective tactic?
- Establishing boundaries and protecting personal well-being
When you ignore someone with HPD you can choose to establish boundaries. This enables you to control your part of the relationship and protect your well-being By ignoring someone entirely or ignoring specific behaviors when they manifest.
- Minimizing potential conflicts and dramatic episodes
By ignoring histrionic attention-seeking behavior you can minimize potential conflicts as well as dramatic episodes you might have with that person. Ignoring certain outbursts or provocative Behavior means they don’t get the response they want but you also aren’t causing any conflict by trying to address the issue and change it.
- Encouraging professional help-seeking behavior
Sometimes people with HPD don’t realize that they need professional help but ignoring someone with a histrionic personality disorder could help them recognize that there is a bigger issue at play and that perhaps it’s time to reach out to someone else.
- Potential escalation of attention-seeking behaviors
However, choosing to ignore someone could potentially escalate attention-seeking behaviors rather than minimize potential conflict. There is always the chance that someone will not respond well to you ignoring some of their behaviors or advances and as a result continue to up the ante.
- The strain on personal and professional relationships
Ignoring someone, especially someone with whom you have several friends or colleagues in common can put a strain on your personal or professional relationships. If you work with someone with HPD, for example, choosing to ignore them might not be feasible in the workplace, and choosing to ignore them when they are not directly speaking to you about work-related issues could be awkward and cause strain on your relationships.
- Ethical and moral dilemmas
There could be ethical and moral dilemmas associated with ignoring someone with histrionic personality disorder. Choosing to simply ignore someone rather than address the issue at hand or talk to them about getting professional help might be morally or ethically unsound. After all, if you have an issue with someone it’s always best to talk to that individual directly rather than just ignore it and let the issue compound.
However, if you have already gone out of your way to address the issue with them and bring up the behavioral problems but they persist, then ignoring them may not have the same moral or ethical dilemmas.
Alternative strategies for managing relationships with individuals with HPD
Histrionic attention-seeking behavior can be dealt with in other ways apart from simply ignoring the issue.
Environmental and lifestyle factors
Several environmental and lifestyle factors can alter OCD symptoms, particularly as it relates to things like hormonal changes. For example:
- The first thing you can do is utilize empathy and understanding. This is particularly important at the start of a relationship. Maybe you were drawn into someone who was the life of the party and very enthusiastic or open but now those qualities are getting on your nerves because the relationship is one-sided and they continually demand to be at the center of everything. If you know that they are struggling with a histrionic personality disorder, try to utilize empathy and understanding, recognizing that they may not always be acting out on purpose.
- The second thing you can do is engage in constructive conversations. An individual may not realize how harmful their behaviors are in which case you can have an open conversation as soon as the attention-seeking starts to rear its ugly head. This is a good chance to speak openly about the importance of mental health and seeking treatment where necessary.
- The third thing you can do is involve mental health professionals directly. If this is someone with whom you have a relationship of any kind you might be able to encourage them to get professional help. You can even go so far as to recommend a reliable psychiatrist or therapist in your area who has experience with a histrionic personality disorder.
What happens when you ignore a histrionic? This depends on the situation. There are pros and cons to ignoring someone with histrionic personality disorder. However, there are also viable Alternatives like engaging in constructive conversations or recommending professional help. If you know someone with HPD it’s important to understand the condition and help them try to effectively manage their symptoms.