Histrionic vs Narcissistic


Histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder are more common than one can imagine. There are studies that have estimated the percent of people in a general populace who have these disorders but those estimates are at best, extremely conservative. Most people with personality disorders don’t realize they have a problem and thus they never get diagnosed or treated. In other words, a person can be suffering from histrionic or narcissistic personality disorders and he, she or anyone around him or her may not even know it.

Common Symptoms and Characteristics

Most symptoms or characteristics of these disorders are regarded by ordinary people as character traits. They are not always seen as warning signs of a personality disorder, not unless the symptoms get severe or some serious consequences stem from the actions of the individual.

Histrionic vs. narcissistic personality disorders can be understood by knowing the basic difference between the two. Histrionic personality disorder or HPD is a condition that makes a person long for attention, seek approval at all times, to try and be the centre of attraction and will always need the attention of anyone and everyone around him or her. Narcissistic personality disorder or NPD is a condition where a person is obsessed with his or her potential, achievements, false sense of prestige or actual prestige, vanity and pride. A narcissistic person is in many ways the polar opposite of a histrionic person. While a histrionic person seeks constant approval and attention from others, a narcissistic person doesn’t seek approval from anyone and believes staunchly that he or she is getting everyone’s attention anyway. At the same time, a histrionic person can also be narcissistic in many ways.

Some signs or characteristic of a histrionic person are extremely exhibitionist or provocative behavior, heightened sensitivity to any kind of disapproval or criticism, self obsession to a certain extent and adamant against change, seductive portrayal of oneself and vehement mood swings. A histrionic person will make hasty choices, will believe there are relations when there are none and that a few relations are very intimate when they are not. A histrionic person will also be dramatic, gullible and have little sense of accountability or self realization.

A narcissistic person believes that he or she is superior to others, either by the virtue of some accomplishment or due to their own thinking. Such a person believes others to be beneath him or her. A narcissistic person also craves for attention but instead of taking the histrionic route, he or she would demand the attention and will also believe that there is enough attention due to their superiority. A narcissistic person wants to be praised all the time, thinks only about himself or herself, doesn’t empathize with others and envies everyone while believing that he or she is the subject of envy for others as well.