When a person suffers from a histrionic or narcissistic personality disorder, their views, actions, emotions, and attitudes are misaligned, which makes it difficult for them to operate in the long run.
In this article, we’ll dig deeper into these two conditions, and we’ll bring to the surface the key things about histrionic personality disorder vs narcissism, their main differences and similarities, the process of treatment, and the frequently asked questions related to this topic.
So, let’s begin.
What are personality disorders?
First of all, let’s define what personality disorders are and the key things that everyone should know. Personality disorders are mental disorders that a large percentage of people have, some mildly and others more severely.
Each is a separate model characterized by personality features that might be problematic enough to cause difficulties in maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships.
Types of Personality Disorders
A recent study on histrionic vs narcissistic disorder shows that personality disorders are grouped into three different groups based on key characteristics, symptoms, and features.
People can fall into a single personality disorder category, while others fit into multiple PD (personality disorder) groups. Here are the distinctions:
People with these personality disorders exhibit strange and out-of-the-ordinary behavior. As a result of their odd, distrustful, or disconnected behavior, people that fit into this cluster sometimes have difficulty forming close personal and relationship bonds.
Some of the personality disorders that fall into this cluster are paranoid PD, schizoid and schizotypal PD.
Dramatic or erratic behavior is pretty common for people whose personality disorders fall into this group. Those people who are diagnosed with a PD that fits into Cluster B disorders are more likely to be impetuous, theatrical, reckless, or even criminal in their actions.
Among the Cluster B personality disorders are antisocial PD, narcissistic disorder, borderline personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorders.
The key symptom of this group of PDs is anxiety. Anxiety, fear, and panic are common symptoms among those with this particular subtype of personality disorder. In addition to this, in some cases, folks with Cluster C personality disorders hide or attach to others.
This category consists of PDs like avoidant, dependent, and so-called obsessive-compulsive (OCD) personal disorder.
As we’re comparing narcissistic vs histrionic PD, keep in mind there are numerous overlaps, as they’re disorders from the same group (cluster B).
But despite those similarities, there are crucial differences you should pay attention to.
Traits of HPD
Those who are labeled with this kind of disorder tend to be attention-seekers in general. It’s usual for histrionic personality patients to portray themselves as the “victims” and publicly display their vulnerability. It’s virtually always for the purpose of drawing attention.
Then there’s the erratic nature of their emotions, demeanor, and behavior, which is reminiscent of bipolarity. Furthermore, they use sexuality as their primary means of attracting attention. This type of PD is most common in women.
Traits of NPD
Compared to histrionic PD, this type of diagnosis is commonly met in men. People suffering from this disorder expect to be admired most of the time and expect positive vibes, acceptance, and affirmative feedback all day, every day. They are commonly self-inflated and egocentric.
In addition, empathy is commonly insufficient in this type of PD, which makes them dismissive of other people, and basic emotional expression is definitely a burden.
And, the common feature that is also found in histrionic PD and disorders similar to narcissism is the use of sex as a means of self-gratification.
Differences in attention seeking
Even though both narcissistic and histrionic personalities crave attention, they differ in the style of attention and admiration they demand.
Like we said earlier, NPD sufferers crave admiration, flattery, and positive vibes that are in keeping with their overestimated sense of self-admiration.
Bad attention, negativity, or lack of attention is bad news for them. In contrast, people diagnosed with HPD desire every bit of attention they can get.
Regardless of what kind of attention they receive, from kind words to receiving compliments to spending time with them, everything is welcome.
Both of these PDs have a significant impact on one’s ability to form and maintain relationships with others.
Both cases foster an environment that can set boundaries in relationships with close friends, lovers, and family members, and those connections can easily become unstable or even broken.
Following the major difference between histrionic and narcissistic personality disorder, we can see that NPD sufferers tend to cause a lot of emotional damage to others, whereas those with histrionic PD have a hard time connecting emotionally with other people.
As a result of their lack of concern for others’ feelings, those with NPD may speak and act in a way that’s hurtful to others. NPD sufferers expect their partners to devote all of their attention to them when it comes to relationships and intimacy.
Emotional rejection is likely if the partner tries to express his or her feelings and expectations, as NPD’s requirements are more important. The majority of narcissists blame their relationships for not caring enough or being completely selfish.
Both Disorders Together
According to a specific study on histrionic personality disorder vs. narcissistic personality disorder, we found out that there is a condition known as comorbidity that describes the co-existence of NPD and HPD in the same person.
As we’ve already established the similarities and differences between the two disorders, it’s safe to say that people who suffer from NPD also struggle with other health issues.
People with a narcissistic personality disorder often have other disorders, and histrionic personality disorder is the most common one. In both circumstances, further mental health issues may arise. Depression, for example, is by far the most prevalent.
Possibility of Treatment
When a person’s behavior exhibits a consistent pattern over an extended period of time, a PD may be diagnosed. While the general perception is that persons with certain forms of personality disorders (PD) will never change, scientific evidence suggests otherwise.
Treatment is possible in most cases, despite the fact that progress is gradual. It’s essential for PD sufferers to understand their own psychological state and behavior in order for treatment to succeed.
It’s common for persons diagnosed with NPD, HPD or personality disorder similar to narcissism or histrionism not to accept help because they don’t believe they need it. They feel like they’re just like the rest of us.
Changing the mindset of a narcissist and convincing him or her that his or her behaviors are harmful to others and that he or she needs to seek professional therapy is a long and difficult process.
The most used method for treating NPD is through psychotherapy. Specific approaches and methods based on mentalization, focus transference, self-knowing, etc. are most common when dealing with NPD patients.
Psychologists or psychiatrists can easily provide this treatment, as they’re certified mental health professionals.
Following deep research on histrionic personality disorder, we can easily say that psychotherapy can also help with its treatment. Methods like psychodynamic and supportive psychotherapy are the main techniques used in treating this disorder and produce better results.
Even members of the family can participate in group therapy sessions, but practice shows that in most cases, the patient’s attention-seeking urges and habits make it quite difficult. You need a mental health professional to administer the treatment, as was the case with the NPD treatment.
Is histrionic the same as narcissism?
Despite their striking resemblance, they are distinct due to their individual characteristics. Friendships and intimate connections are in crisis or even broken in both cases.
When it comes to emotional intimacy, those with HPD may suffer, while those with NPD are more inclined to hurt others.
How to start dating a narcissist?
Here are some ways to keep a relationship going with a person who has a narcissistic personality disorder. The first step is to establish clear and definite limits, as well as to clearly articulate your aims and expectations.
Next, be patient and learn to take a break when necessary. Third, don’t mistakenly believe that their behavior is a reflection of your own.
And last but not least, you must be willing to put your own interests ahead of those of others.
Can a narcissist be histrionic?
Yes, they can, and they have a tendency to overreact when they don’t get the attention, respect, or rights they think they deserve.
In order to achieve or keep power in a friendship, partnership, or even marriage, a histrionic narcissist uses his or her sensuality, eroticism, and even reproductive powers.
What mental illness is similar to narcissism?
Similarities can be seen between disorders that belong to the same cluster. As a result, narcissism and PDs in cluster B disorders are very similar.
Narcissists, on the other hand, can have some resemblances to sociopaths, too. Narcissism and sociopathy are frequently confused as a result.
There are many overlaps when it comes to histrionic personality disorder vs narcissism, but they’re different disorders that require different approaches in treatment.
While NPD patients expect to be flattered most of the time and are willing to be the center of attention, people with histrionic PD tend to get attention and admiration in order to evade discomfort.
If you recognize any of these traits in you or your loved ones, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental healthcare professional and seek advice.