Cluster B is called the “dramatic cluster.” While people in the other clusters tend to internalize problems like anxiety and neurotic problems, we Bees are more likely to externalize. Histrionic Personality Disorder is, of course, known as the dramatic “disorder” par excellance. Histrionics are often called Drama Queens. But people with Borderline are right in there. After all, without conflict, there can be no drama and Borderlines’ psyches are battlegrounds of conflicting needs. They need the security of a relationship. But they also need space and can feel claustrophobic if the significant other gets too close. Borderlines seem to be torn apart by their intense emotions. Histrionics have emotions too but their emotions seem more shallow and short-lived. A histrionic may be embroiled in a drama of life and death but a half-hour later, on to something else.
Histrionics are known for an eye-catching manner of dressing. They can look really sexy, sharp, or eccentric. Whatever gets them attention. They are also seductive. They often attach more significance to a relationship than the other party does. Despite their handicaps, they usually have good social skills. Regina George in the movie Mean Girls is said to have been histrionic and she had a lot of power in her social circle. It’s obvious how similar many histrionic traits are to narcissism. Narcissists can also look hot and act seductively but that only describes some narcs. Sam Vaknin described two kinds of narcs, somatic narcissists and cerebral narcissists. The latter aren’t particularly interesting in excelling through their bodies or sexual prowess but concentrate on their mental superiority instead. Histrionics want any kind of attention they can get but narcs prefer admiration. Narcs also are more interested in power than histrionics.
Famous people who are considered histrionic include Marilyn Monroe, Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton.
A classic book about Borderline is I Hate You — Don’t Leave Me! Written by Jerold J. Kreisman, M.D. and Hal Straus, it captures the trapped feeling borderlines must experience. They resort to self-harm (cutting and other things), drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, whatever can offer some relief. Another characteristic is “splitting,” black and white thinking. Someone is either a savior or an evil enemy. All of these things bespeak the desperation inside. My friend and fellow-blogger, Lucky Otter, who has borderline, says that most therapists don’t want to treat people with this disorder. The prognosis is too poor. Nevertheless, others have said it is one of the easiest personality disorders to cure. While I Hate You — Don’t Leave Me discusses traditional psychotherapy, some other methods have been Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), “a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression,” and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). “The term ‘dialectical’ means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change. For example, DBT therapists accept clients as they are while also acknowledging that they need to change in order to reach their goals. In addition, all of the skills and strategies taught in DBT are balanced in terms of acceptance and change.” It is now recognized as a gold standard treatment for Borderlines. It is a kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which, in turn, is under the umbrella of Mindfulness.
DBT includes four sets of behavioral skills.
- Mindfulness: the practice of being fully aware and present in this one moment
- Distress Tolerance: how to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: how to ask for what you want and say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
- Emotion Regulation: how to change emotions that you want to change
Like histrionics, borderlines share some characteristics of narcissists. Narcs are notorious in the social networks of the web for their ability to cause harm to others. They are even more notorious for this than psychopaths. That is why I was surprised that Joan Crawford (Mommy Dearest) is considered borderline instead of narcissistic. Others so named are Courtney Love and Princess Diana. Mind, none of these people have been professionally diagnosed.
Although psychopaths and narcissists are the most notorious of the Bees with a reputation for harmfulness, borderlines are no slouches. As such, they are stigmatized almost as much as the former two. There is a blog to fight the stigma.
- Are BPD “Drama Queens” Manipulative, Sadistic and Worse?
- The Perfect Storm in Borderline Personality Disorder.
- Borderline Personality Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health
- Kings and Queens of Chaos.
- Field Guide to the Drama Queen.
- Your Field Guide to the Colorful Personality.
- Histrionic Personality Disorder.
- The Allure of the Dark Side.
- Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms. Psych Central
- Histrionic Personality Disorder.