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Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

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Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby krp34 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:06 pm

Hey --

I was wondering if anyone has experienced a friend or partner with histrionic traits/tendencies who exaggerate. For example, I was parallel parking the other day, and I accidentally, very gently, bumped the car behind me. But then my friend retells the story and says I was "crashing into cars!" Or he tells me his boss threw a pencil at him but when I said, "What? You should tell someone? That's not OK," he changed his tune to, 'Oh, well, he through It in my direction," but the truth was he threw the pencil at the floor.

It reminds me of when I was like 12/13 years old, and I'd embellish something to impress my friends. Like if I saw a soda can fall off a shelf at the grocery store, I'd embellish and tell my friends the whole shelf fell and It was this crazy mess. So I guess I can empathize on that level, but what is It? Attention seeking?
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby xdude » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:50 pm

Hey kpr34,

The DSM-IV identified this as a style of speaking that is impressionistic, lacking in detail, emotional oriented. I think the DSM-IV got it right, though this might have been dropped in the DSM-V, for other reasons.

Here are two examples -

a.) They/I bumped into another car at low speed.

b.) They/I CRASHED into car(s)!

The first version is factual, but doesn't evoke much emotion. The second version does evoke an emotional response (and the plural, cars, though not true, is more emotion provoking than a single car).

Here is the hard thing to accept for those who chose version A...

From a certain point of view, and for some, version B is more emotionally intelligent, in that it does evoke an emotional response/interest in others, so if one's goal is social approval, to capture the attention/interest of others, then B is smarter.

On the flip side, there is another group of people who respond better to version A.

There is an excellent book that sorts this out in great detail - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

Short version is that 'fast' thinkers respond better to version B, while 'slow' thinkers respond better to version A. By the way, 'slow' does not mean dim-witted, quite the opposite, it means that they are more aware of their own emotions and others, and less reactive to their emotions. But the reality is many people are 'fast' thinkers, and impressionistic speech does work for some people, or at least works for a while...

Another criteria the DSM-IV also mentions is an appearance of being emotionally 'shallow'. Some impressionistic speech is probably socially smart, but when it becomes a constant, others in longer term relationships (business, friends, romantic, family) do eventually turn it around in their minds, and then what worked for a while, can also become a liability. When everything is overly 'embellished' to use your words, then eventually others become numb to an impressionistic way of speaking, and start asking the questions.
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby histrionicsgetlit » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:37 am

This is a very interesting question. I only gave it a little thought when I recognised it in myself and it was something very easy to change. One thing that did happen when i was changing it in response though was that i swung the other way and went too detailed in what i was trying to say because for the first time in my life i was speaking the truth rather than wishy washy #######4.

Let me give some examples.

Histrionic:
'Oh my god! I just had the best time ever down at the swimming pool!! I love it there so much!! I go there all the time! I swam for ages and did heaps of laps."

Change when i was starting to get better:
'I went to the swimming pool at 10am. It makes me feel very good. The facilities are standard community pool. I go there 4-5 times per week. I swam for 15 mins today and did 40 laps'

Now:
'I went to the pool today. It's been really good for me and i'm swimming a few times a week'

When i'm speaking with friends and being a bit cheeky i will still chuck an "OMG' in there. I have words that come in a out of my vernacular like 'that's hardcore' or 'i did some hardcore meditation today'.
It is very difficult to work out what is the histrionic DISORDER and what is just my personality. There are lots of other people who have the histrionic personality but not the disorder and they are similar with language.

I think i used that type of language because i'd seen it in movies. The other thing is i experienced high excitability so a phrase like 'i'm so excited for dinner out' is true in a way because i am experiencing more excitement than a normal human probably is. It's just that maybe the words are expressing a behaviour that might not be so appropriate for a situation.

The shallowness of the words like 'I love you babe!' to friends or people you've just met is actually dangerous because for me, i was saying 'i love you' to people that i didn't actually love. That meant that when my mom was writing messages to me that said 'i love you' at the end, i believed that she was just saying it for the sake of saying it. I didn't realise that she was actually telling me that she loved me. I am shedding tears writing this because this can be very detrimental to someone. I went through a full blown drug addiction getting those messages from my mom with out realising what she was actually saying and not feeling the love. :(

I am way more particular with what i say now. Especially when having serious discussions with my boyfriend and in professional settings
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby xdude » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:03 pm

I enjoyed reading that reply histrionicsgetlit.

Yea, I keep thinking that movies are affecting too many people. They are adopting traits they see from fictions, where people are paid to act in extreme ways.

From a purely biological, sociological, point of view... the language (and emotional expressions) we use with each other is social currency. Problem is when everyone gets an 'I love you' then 'I love you' becomes valueless. Similarly when everything is OMG, over-the-top, then nothing is.

It would be like if everyone got a bag of diamonds as a prize in a box of cereal, well then diamonds would have no value. The value is in that they are rare, received on special occasions, for someone who is special.

On a personal level, I remember telling me EX, the problem is when everyone gets a flirt, then flirting between us isn't special. I know she wasn't happy with saying that, but I do think she eventually understood it.
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby xdude » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:08 pm

p.s. I wanted to add, related to the other thread I just replied too, the other problem with exaggerated/embellished speech ties in with actions and their affect on our emotions. When we are acting in a way that is over-the-top, we risk muting our emotions (and our awareness of others) as well. Sort of like if we keep turning up the volume when listening to music to get a bit more of a rush, our ability to enjoy quieter levels, and to hear it, diminishes.
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby histrionicsgetlit » Tue May 01, 2018 7:25 am

That last point is very interesting xdude because something that is connected with the 'i love you' issue i point out with my mom is the same with the language or really the phrases.

I realised very early on with awareness that i was saying things to people that i wasn't actually feeling. I was just on auto response of what i thought was the right thing to say. Especially with the repressed negative emotions. It wasn't until i unrepressed them (i still have fear to go), that i was able to actually start feeling something and then honestly responding.

Someone would lose something sentimental and i would just say 'oh that's so sad!' but i wasn't feeling sad about it at all for them. It's not a lack of empathy, it's just #######4 statements.

'Omg, that's the best!' to a new brand of orange juice, a $2 jacket at the drop off centre, getting a free ride on the bus. None of these things are best.

'I'm so happy" with manic look on face. It's not happiness, it's egomania.
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby xdude » Thu May 03, 2018 1:02 pm

A former moderator here, who struggled with HPD herself, had written something really deep about this.

She explained that she realized she was in the habit of engaging in impressionism when communicating with others. Impressionism sways others on an emotional level. The alternative is expressionism, to express what we are really thinking/feeling, without the attempts to sway others emotionally, and leaving it up to others to respond as they really feel/think.
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby ShowJumpingRabbit » Fri May 04, 2018 10:08 pm

xdude wrote:A former moderator here, who struggled with HPD herself


I like Masquerade's posts, even though I wasn't posting on Psychforums at the time she was moderating.

In the US, everyday conversations can veer impressionistic sometimes: "It's amazing", "you're awesome" etc. In and on itself those little phrases are pretty anodine. But on the long run, if everything is awesome, then we tend to lose track a bit of what is of value.
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