Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

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Personality Disorder of the Day: Histrionic!

Why had I never read about this one??

Roughly equal numbers of males and females [come from unstable homes], but males are much more likely to become sociopaths whereas females are much more likely to develop histrionic personality disorders.

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by exaggerated attention seeking behavior, sexually inappropriate, seductive or provocative behavior, a tendency to be easily influenced by others and to perceive relationships to be more intimate than they actually are. Harpending and Sobus (1987) have argued that histrionic females are employing a cheating strategy that is equivalent to that of sociopathic males. Because the reproductive strategies of males and females differ, the cheating strategies of males and females must differ accordingly. A male sociopath should be adept at seducing females and deceiving them about his degree of commitment. A histrionic female should be adept at exaggerating her need for the male and her vulnerability in order to induce him to lavish love and attention upon her. The histrionic female should also show a readiness to abandon her offspring opportunistically (former mating partners or their close kin typically take care of the abandoned offspring).

This indeed, is the pattern displayed by these two clinical groupings. Sociopathic males are typically charming, charismatic, promiscuous, and deceitful. Histrionic females are skilled at exaggerating their needs to desired males while masking their true promiscuous nature. They often seek to control their partner through emotional manipulation. Histrionic females manipulate others to gain nurturance whereas sociopathic males manipulate others for material gain.

This passage comes from one of the very best graduate-school level textbooks I've ever enjoyed: Evolutionary Psychology by Palmer & Palmer. That link is to their pretty good website which contains a lot of excerpts from the book. If this is at all your thing, check it out!
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