Discussing Histrionic Personality Disorder

Discussing histrionic personality disorder with a loved one can be difficult, since he or she is most likely unaware that the symptoms being displayed are destructive or inappropriate. However, if you have a real desire to see your loved one get much-needed help, then this is a talk you’ve got to have. Here are a few tips for making that conversation go as smoothly and positively as possible.

Remember why you’re doing it.

While it’s perfectly normal to feel frustrated with your loved one and his or her behavior, remember you’re talking about it not to point fingers or make accusations but in order to work toward treatment. Even though the discussion may get heated, always make sure you’re coming from a place of love and support.

Don’t indulge their drama.

People suffering from histrionic personality disorder have a tendency to exaggerate and be dramatic. Even if you are coming from a place of love, there is a good chance your loved one might feel attacked and overreact. It’s important you don’t indulge this sort of behavior since it just feeds into the illness. Remain level-headed and firm in your approach.

Be realistic.

It’s unlikely that your loved one will be convinced he or she has a problem after only one talk—don’t go into the process expecting instant willingness to seek help, especially since people suffering from HPD can function relatively normally in life. Setting unrealistic goals for what you want to accomplish through talking will only lead to disappointment for yourself and frustration for your loved one.

Do your research.

It’s important that you learn as much as possible about histrionic personality disorder before talking with your loved one. People are generally more receptive to your thoughts when you sound authoritative on the subject, as opposed to someone who clearly does not grasp the subject. No one is expecting you to have psychologist-level expertise on HPD, but you should do a little more research than simply skimming a few web pages.

Share your side of the story.

A common technique when discussing destructive behaviors with loved ones is to explain how the behaviors have affected you negatively as well. This is a particularly effective method when dealing with sufferers of HPD, since they often have a desire to please others and are highly concerned with their opinions.

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