Good Narrative Principles

Histrionic Personality Disorder


Since word of Jerry Sandusky and his alleged histrionic personality disorder hit the headlines, everyone has been on their best behavior. Take yesterday. I ran into “Mary” (we’ll call her that for now, but you know who you are) while perusing the Deli Counter at the local A&P. Just after I stole a glance at the Boar’s Head clock to see if I had the spare twenty minutes required to “catch up”, she waved goodbye. Generally, Mary has a big drama going on in her life and is only too eager to share the grisly details with me. There’s the guy(s) who never return her call, her parents who continually harangue her about moving back home and the hairdresser, best friend or lovely lady who she used to go to Yoga with every Saturday. They either up and moved, left without a forwarding address or simply disappeared. Sure, it’s about her, but I do get something in return. Her face, very mobile becomes more so when she’s gripped by a tale that she absolutely must share with you (or unload on you). She thinks nothing of reenacting the critical moment, the point at which insult shook hands with outrage. She mimes opening the door, sculpting the air with her hands (she probably invented jazz hands) and in general is entertaining. That’s the thing about people with histrionic personality disorder. They suck the air out of the room, but in exchange they offer you a glimpse into a life that’s bigger and way more dramatic than your own.


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