Table 193 Characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder

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Instability of relationships, emotions, and self-image

Fears of abandonment

Aggressiveness

Proneness to self-harm

Strong emotions

Typical Thoughts or Beliefs Associated with the Borderline Personality

"I'm nothing without you."

"I'll just die if you leave me."

"If you go, I'll kill myself."

"I love you so much that I'll do anything or be anything for you." "I feel empty inside, as if I don't know who I am."

difficulty with relationships, they may form stable relationships if given enoug structure and support. If they find someone who is accepting and stable, who is diplo matic, who meets their expectations for commitment, and who is caring and can diffuse trouble as it occurs, then the borderline personality may experience a satisfying relationship.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

The hallmark of histrionic personality disorder is excessive attention seeking and emotionality. Often such persons are overly dramatic, preferring to be the center of attention. They may appear charming or even flirtatious. Many are inappropriatel seductive or provocative. And this sexually provocative behavior is often undirected and occurs in inappropriate settings, such as in professional settings. Physical appearance is often very important to histrionic persons, and they work to impress others and obtain compliments. Often, however , they overdo it and appear gaudy or flam boyant (e.g., histrionic women may wear way too much makeup).

Histrionic individuals express their opinions frequently and dramatically . However, their opinions are shallow and easily changed. Such a person may say, for example, that some political of ficial is a great and wonderful leader yet be unable to giv any supporting details or actual examples of leadership. Such persons prefer impressions to facts and often act on intuition (Millon et al., 2000). They often display strong emotions in public, sometimes to the embarrassment of friends and family . They may throw temper tantrums over minor frustrations or cry uncontrollably over a sentimental little event. To others, their emotions appear insincere and exaggerated, to the point of being theatrical. Histrionic individuals are also highly suggestible. Because their opinions are not based on facts, they can be easily swayed. They take up whatever is popular at the time.

Socially, histrionic individuals are dif ficult to get along with, due to thei excessive need for attention. They may become upset and act impulsively when not given the attention they think they deserve. Such persons may use suicidal gestures and threats to get attention from others and to manipulate others into caring for them. Their seductiveness may put them at risk for sexual victimization. Other social dif fi culties arise out of their shallow emotional style. That is, they crave excitement and

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