Lying for Attention with Histrionic Personality Disorder

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Histrionic personality disorder, henceforth referred to as HPD, can be described as a psychological condition that leads an individual to engage in attention-seeking behaviour. Some aspects of the behaviour may even lead the person to engage in lying so that they can manipulate others.

Although there is no concrete research to strengthen the debate that individuals suffering from HPD tend to lie more frequently than other liars, that doesn’t mean that this is not an issue that currently exists. This is because anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals suffering from HPD tend to exaggerate the truth or lie.

That being said, this article will closely examine HPD and its connection to lying. The last part will discuss how people can successfully deal with manipulation and lying.

What is Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)?

Personality disorders are characterised as psychological conditions that tend to affect the way that a person behaves, feels, and thinks. As such, these conditions could cause a person to act outside a spectrum that would be normally acceptable. In addition, it may also cause problems and distress when creating and maintaining relationships.

As such, HPD can be defined as being a cluster B personality disorder. These disorders can cause an individual to experience difficulties in terms of keeping their emotions in check and maintaining healthy personal relationships.

The highlighted feature of HPD is displaying superficial and excessive emotionality and sexuality in an attempt to focus attention on themselves.

Other than that, a person suffering from HPD may also exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Feeling depressed or underappreciated when they won’t find themselves to be the centre of attention
  • Have shallow or rapidly shifting emotions
  • Be extremely emotionally responsive and dramatic. This may reach such a point that they would embarrass family and friends publicly
  •  Have a grandiose presence
  • Be persistently flirtatious and charming
  • Be overly concerned with their physical appearance

What Causes HPD?

HPD could be found to be one of the least understood mental health conditions. However, numerous studies that have been conducted have been able to identify some of the underlying causes of HPD.


According to research, histrionic personality disorder has been known to run in families. For this reason, researchers think there may be a genetic component to this disorder.

Childhood Trauma

Children may be coping with trauma, such as the death of a loved one or child abuse. Later in life, this trauma may manifest itself in the form of disruptive behaviours, overall becoming a large part of a personality disorder.

Style of Parenting

Children experiencing parenting styles that lack boundaries, are inconsistent, or are over-indulgent are at a greater risk of developing histrionic personality disorder. Furthermore, parents displaying inappropriate, volatile, erratic, or dramatic behaviour also tend to put their children at risk for developing this disorder. Some researchers tend to point towards the fact that problems existing in parent-child relationships tend to lead to low self-esteem being developed. This then ultimately leads to HPD being caused.

What Role Does Lying Have to Play in HPD?

The simple act of lying or the act of creating embellished and dramatic stories can be found to be a typical behaviour amongst individuals suffering from HPD. These lies serve as tools to control interpersonal situations or capture attention. The lies typically tend to be exaggerated or theatrical, designed to garner fascination or sympathy from those around them.

Lying in HPD is not always necessarily driven by a conscious intent to deceive or malice. Instead, it can be found to be a broader pattern of attention-seeking and dramatic behaviours. As such, people suffering from this condition may not recognise that their lies are indeed lies. They may see them as a creative and necessary embellishment of reality.

Dealing With Manipulation And Lying

Rather than beating about the bush, one crucial truth that you have to accept is that maintaining a relationship with these kinds of people can be difficult. After all, their behaviour could damage relationships and also affect a person’s well-being.

That being said, it’s important to remember that the person engaging in compulsive behaviour or telling lies does not seem to be in control of their actions. Avoiding blame and judgement while simultaneously creating and maintaining solid boundaries may help you protect yourself and the relationship.


There are specific techniques that are helpful when dealing with manipulation and lying. These are listed below:

  1.     Seeming uninterested or not directly engaging with them.
  2.     Setting down firm boundaries and saying no when required.
  3.     Understanding that the liar is responsible for their own behaviours and feelings.
  4.     Helping them identify their motives for manipulation and lies.
  5.     Helping them seek support and treatment.

Can HPD Be Prevented?

Even though HPD cannot generally be prevented, there are treatment options that exist. This can allow an individual prone to this condition to explore productive ways of dealing with triggering situations, thoughts, and behaviours.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, HPD can be described as a personality disorder that could cause a person to engage in attention-seeking behaviour or exhibit exaggerated symptoms. Part of this behaviour may also include manipulation and lying so that they would be able to gain attention from those around them.

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