(This Blog Post is written in HPD style…so you can see what it looks like. I would typically edit this down, but I think you can see it more if I don’t)
“I wrote this article, not so that people can be negatively judged or condemned for displaying these traits, but so that compassion and understanding can be used in relating with these individuals. Often histrionics are not even aware that their behavior is harmful to themselves or others and they also may not know how to change.”
One of the 12 steps in any recovery program is to recognize that you have a problem and that your life had become unmanageable because of it. Thank you 2018 for finally arriving so that I can do that.
I’ve not really wanted to write this post for fear that it would actually be symptomatic, and frankly, the social condemnation that it could bring. So maybe I’ll post it and take it down again.
The reason I decided to write this was because while I was searching the internet for some sort of treatment for my histrionic personality style… I came across more negative information then positive. I’ve been in therapy for years, I thought simply to get through my divorce. But my psychologist just brought HPD to my attention a few months ago. It would have been more helpful to me had I known about this three years ago. Further, it took someone I cared about bringing it to my attention, then me mentioning it to my psychologist before we started treating it.
Note….in mental and behavioral health…sometimes, just like in physical health, you will be mis diagnosed or not receive appropriate treatment. Make sure you have people in your life who can help you see this, then don’t be afraid to change providers. It’s okay.
Sometimes you have to start fresh with everything, including your therapist. I have a tendency to hold on to people and things, so 2018 is about letting the leaves of my life go, so that Spring can bring new life and new growth.
I came across a forum for HPD, but it wasn’t for treatment, it was for partners who had been affected by it. It was like watching a train wreck. These partners, absolutely emotionally crushed, discussed how much they loved their HPD partner, and how they were devastated by them at the same time. It seems the drama can happen on both sides. The Non-HPD partners were angry and discussed the classics, boundaries, shutting their HPD partner down when they reached out for connection again. I understood both sides, and it really is heart wrenching. Often, the non-hpd partner felt that that they were given an “act” from the HPD partner when it came to love. That it wasn’t real, it was all a show.
I can attest, that HPD people do have the ability to manifest connection where there is none. That’s the problem sometimes. Sometimes it is all an act. And why, if left untreated or unknown, they can cause emotional harm.
However…I would like to say…it is also very true, that many of us love deeply. And that connection is not an act. I can say this truthfully because I have experienced both…when it was and when it wasn’t. So for HPD’s who are wondering if you truly are “in love” with your partner, I will tell you this…you will know when it is really really scary. Scary because you will actually feel connection, it will feel so wonderful and that will feel very odd to you because you have never probably felt connection before. You may not know what to do with it because for the first time, you can’t act and control it, you can only feel it. And that feeling is something bordering on the divine, yes….we HPD types like flowery language, and yes…we really do feel it like that when it’s real. We just have trouble allowing ourselves to go there all the time. Feeling life can be a bit overwhelming.
I can tell you for me at least, real love is they physical sensation of butterflies in my chest-consistently. That’s how I know if it’s true attraction. I’m sure most people get this feeling, but for HPD types, we can create connection with just about anyone, so knowing the difference between what is real and what is not is very important.
We struggle just as much, and hurt just as much, and our behavior isn’t meant to hurt…it’s often a cry for help, we just want to be loved, we want you to feel loved. Sometimes we act out, then…then spend an inordinate amount of time tearing ourselves apart over our behavior….alone. I experienced several of the negative and positive traits of HPD, mentioned in the article attached. Not all…I don’t throw temper tantrums and I’m not a compulsive liar (that’s something that I’m not sure how one would work with) deflecting and projecting…is something I have actively participated in. I can disregard rules, for example, parking tickets and library fines…really…don’t they know who I am??? Who has time to return books on time LOL…that’s the way we think sometimes. I’m great at breaking my own rules; for example declarations of, “I will never speak to you again, this I promise” Then violating that very same boundary two weeks later. (I’m rolling my eyes as I type that, ugh…if I could take back the ridiculous emotionally driven emails I’ve written in the past 12 months). The emotion wasn’t ridiculous…it’s just that they could have been a paragraph instead of 3 pages.
My overly impressionistic need to get my point across often lends itself to me writing lengthy emails. That’s when I know I’m exhibiting the tendency to over emote in my HPD zone….now I stop myself…and give myself a 3 paragraph limit…of about 4 sentences in length. If I can say what I need to say in two…even better. I save the overly impressionistic writing style for my blog and my books. It works well in books, not so much in “why don’t you love me” emails. *sigh*
You see…we desperately want love and connection, but we haven’t learned it’s also consistency and boundaries. Sometimes we need to dial it in a bit because it’s hard for people to believe us because can be a bit, shall I say…”heady”. We need to slow down and actually listen to people, hearing them, and not go crashing someone’s inner sanctum party to say…”Hey…look at me!”
We can also make our love and emotions disappear like a horrible magic spell. It’s a form of compartmentalization. Trust me…it’s as awful for the HPD person as it is for the receiver. Where did it go…that feeling? Why is it gone? Sometimes it’s replaced with agitation and a desperate searching. Sometimes a lashing out. Crisis moments are the worst for me, when someone is highly charged emotionally, I often feel overwhelmed and what I learned in my family of origin was to go cold. “If it’s messy we are not dealing with it, talking about it, and if something is not right…it’s probably your fault…so deal!” They are not awful people, they can be very loving…they just taught me not what to do in challenging times. I spend a lot of time unraveling what’s been done, not blaming…I’m trying to break the cycle. Daily practice helps. I do that with my daughter. When she is upset, I tell her to come here, and I wrap her up in my arms with love. So that’s my advice to those HPD’s struggling in relationships with your loved ones. Do the opposite of what you think you are supposed to be doing. Walk into whatever it is, what ever challenge armed with love and open arms.
Do NOT CREATE DRAMA WHERE THERE IS NONE! I hope you read the caps there….repeat that phrase please. If there is no Drama in you life….great! You are in a good spot. Life’s dramatic enough, you don’t need to go mucking up your relationships by creating drama. There are numerous ways you will try to do this, you will either over emote or you with withhold. Yep…welcome to crazy town. Please…just stop yourself. Watch Victoria, Outlander, or Game of Thrones, take an acting class (which I might start doing again), write a book, have a dramatic conversation with your friends, do something to re-channel your need for drama, here’s a good one…if you are in a committed relationship…bring the drama into the bedroom. Or ask simply, is what I’m doing or saying loving? Every single moment you speak or interact with someone….now this can get tricky because you might get into 4 page letter land, or sending people gifts that they don’t want, or emailing them incessant warm fuzzy smiley gram like positive quotes….*sigh again* yes…I’ve done that too. Here’s what you need to do…stop…be mindful…does this person want to hear from you? If it’s a yes…go for it (nothing is better then basking in a HPD’s full on affections). If it’s a no…stop…then go turn on Outlander and write some amazing prose or love poetry.
Also…remember…love is listening…listen very deeply to the people in your life and what they are asking of you.
Remember…your day to day is more beautiful then any “play” that’s being acted out in your head. That man that looks at you with loving eyes, and those children who need you…focus on them. Remember that next time you are having a selfish moment and say something incredibly stupid. Think how your actions are affecting others…it’s not about you! If that came off harsh…it’s because it is, plus it will save you and your loved ones a hell of a lot of pain if you actually listen to me.
DO NOT COMMIT EMOTIONAL BETRAYL. That’s easy for us when we are flitting from one emotion to another. Jut realize you are doing it…that’s all and redirect, you have more control over yourself then you think you do. This is why first you have to know you have a problem so you can recognize the emotionally “flitting” when it happens…then stop it.
We’ve got push and pull down pat…that’s why…”know thyself” is an important mantra for HPD. Lack of compassion, this one is hard for me, because I’m actually very compassionate…, but when people I love are struggling I have displayed a dreadful lack of compassion on occasion. That’s the problem with dealing with HPD…its part of who you are…but not really who you are. It’s kinda awful sometimes…you react in a way that’s not in alignment with your true self. It sucks…because after your reaction, you feel awful. Sometimes the damage is done though…that’s why it’s important to get treatment so you can get ahead of it.
I do believe there is hope for HPD types. But they have to realize that they are HPD and learn to work with it, and channel it positively. Left unattended, we create a mess in our lives and the lives of others.
There’ s beauty in being able to charm the room and the person that you love. Use your drama and color for developing a deep relationship with your partner, not using it to garner attention. HPD people are colorful and interesting. As long as that color and interest has been developed in a deep sense of self. Then using that color to focus on other people…not themselves.
And here I am going off on a tangent again…I guess the whole point to this is: we can recover. You don’t have to be ruled by it, you can learn to manage it. If you are a person who has been in a relationship with an HPD person, please know there are options. If your partner is willing to accept who they are and get the help that they need. Don’t give up on them. Unless, you need to for your own mental health and your partner doesn’t think there is a problem. And you should absolutely let them go if they don’t realize they have a problem or are not willing to get treatment. Treatment is so important!
When they do, you can work together through healthy boundaries to create stability. As long as your HPD partner is willing to learn to create stability on their own, then bring that to the relationship. This is hard for us, but we can do it. I work on it daily. I just did it yesterday, caught my behavior, then dialed it back in. Awareness is the key.
You can learn to color…but color in the lines. When you do learn to color in the lines, I think you will find you bring stability to yourself and much joy to others. They want the color….they just can’t have life looking like a Jackson Pollack all the time. (PS…I really like Jackson Pollack)…he’s fabulous…like Keats.
HPD people also need to know who they really are. Some of us have very deep loving compassionate natures. We are inspired by beauty. We enjoy sparkle. We consider ourselves the bubbles in your champagne, we like to keep an interesting house, and have interesting conversations, and eat foie gras, and travel, enjoy the occasional tattoo, and dying our hair every few months just to keep it interesting. We absolutely love life! And we love you too. We think the way you smell in the morning before you shower is fantastic, we love the way you flick your wrist while turning over ham in a skillet, the way you sip your coffee delicately when you are annoyed, we enjoy your emotions sad happy, joyful, depressed…because we are sensitive like you, we know the feeling…your smile lights up our world. We can be fantastic partners and friends; especially if we learn to manage our own mental health and take responsibility for our behavior.
I think you will find, it wasn’t an act…HPD people do love with all the magic and beauty of a symphony. All the negative drama will be transformed into healthy drama, the kind they write books about.
I will conclude with a quote from one of the readers of the articles below.
“HPD is not as well known as other psychiatric disorders such as bipolar or depressive disorder so I am glad to see an article about here it. I have been dating someone with this disorder for over two years now. I had never heard of it until this relationship. I thought it might be important to point out that not all histrionics suffer from such extreme symptoms as the long list provided in this article…..As you might expect they express love beyond the normal boundaries…that has made dealing with HPD worth it. I have never experienced love at this level and probably never will again. As a life experience it has been worth it to me….”
Yes, we do express love beyond normal boundaries…and that is one of the reasons that I can embrace this part of myself. Actually, reading his response made me cry, because it gives me hope. I feel it’s my duty as an HSP person to give love beyond normal levels…but do it consistently with those people who desire it, that’s our gift.
You see…healing isn’t ignoring or trying to be something you are not, it’s about understanding, acceptance, then…making positive changes.