I had just finished writing about the stigma attached to Borderlines and discovered, quite by chance, that HPD is not only stigmatized but charges made against Psychopaths and Narcissists are also being made against Histrionics. PsychCentral warns visitors to their forum for HPDs “Conversations here can be triggering for those who have suffered abuse from HPDs.” Abuse? From HPDs? Wow! I guess all Cluster Bs are personas non gratas.
There is a man named Dr. George Simon who has a lot to say about what he calls character disorders. Posting on the PsychCentral forum for HPDs, someone wrote, “‘Are we codependents better persons than the HPDs’? Dr George Simon says we definitely are!!!” Better? Since when does psychiatry judge people as better or worse?
Who is Dr. Simon? Well, he is primarily a writer with several books published. He isn’t a psychiatrist. The “Dr.” attached to his name is for a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology which he earned at Texas Tech. He has written In Sheep’s Clothing, Character Disturbance and The Judas Syndrome. He has also written a song called America, My Home! which he calls Anthem For the Millennium and he has been interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on Fox News where he complained about our “permissive” society. I think this is enough to identify his political perspective.
It seems Dr. Simon is more concerned with morality than psychology. He rejects the term Personality Disorder for certain people, preferring to call them Character Disordered. He states “By definition, character reflects the moral dimension of personality.” The DSM doesn’t have a category for “character disorders” only Personality Disorders. Simon explains, “So what exactly then is personality? The term itself derives from the word ‘persona,’ which is Latin for ‘mask.'” The DSM sees personality as “an enduring pattern.” A personality disorder is “An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior the deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture.” A disordered personality can cause problems for the person with the disorder and for people he/she encounters. At no time does the DSM judge the morality of individuals. Another doctor, this one an MD, Dr. Scott Peck, actually wants to add “evil” to the DSM. He considers evil to be something objective, something that can be seen and measured scientifically. His book, People of the Lie, promotes this trend of mixing morality with science. I see, not only a dangerously muddled confusion of concepts, but a slippery slope that can lead to theocracy. The United States is already moving in that direction as the bible thumpers grow increasing powerful in the field of politics.
What does all this have to do with Histrionic Personality Disorder? Wikipedia made an interesting observation about a relationship between HPD and ASPD. (Diane Downs immediately comes to mind.)
Another theory suggests a possible relationship between histrionic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Research has found 2/3 of patients diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder also meet criteria similar to those of the antisocial personality disorder, which suggests both disorders based towards sex-type expressions may have the same underlying cause. Women are hypersexualized in the media consistently, ingraining thoughts that the only way women are to get attention is by exploiting themselves, and when seductiveness isn’t enough, theatricals are the next step in achieving attention. Men can just as well be flirtatious towards multiple women yet feel no empathy or sense of compassion towards them. They may also become the center of attention by exhibiting the “Don Juan” macho figure as a role-play.
Some family history studies have found that histrionic personality disorder, as well as borderline and antisocial personality disorders, tend to run in families, but it is unclear if this is due to genetic or environmental factors. Both examples suggest that predisposition could be a factor as to why certain people are diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder, however little is known about whether or not the disorder is influenced by any biological compound or is genetically inheritable. Little research has been conducted to determine the biological sources, if any, of this disorder.
HPD behavior does show up in people with the “darker” Cluster B disorders. Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler and Joan Crawford seem to fit this description. I, myself, have plenty of Histrionic moments, as my partner will attest to.
Yet we have no Love Fraud about people with HPD. Such web sites usually only talk about Narcissists and Sociopaths-Psychopaths. They don’t even mention BPDs although I’ve heard this crowd will often ostracize anyone who admits to this condition.
The more I look at it, the more these Cluster B “disorders” seem to hang together and melt into each other. The spectrum does seem to run from Borderline to Histrionic to Narcissistic to Antisocial (Psychopathic). The Borderline end touches on Cluster C with it’s anxiety which the Antisocial end is closer to Cluster A, detached and eccentric.