Attention III

Is your desire for attention Histrionic personality disorder?!

It is a bad thing to look for attention if that gets in the way of more substantive goals or causes distress to self or others, causing problems with two or more of affect, cognition, interpersonal functioning or impulse control. Do you feel uncomfortable when you are not the centre of attention? This could be a great motivator. You make yourself attractive, and practise good conversation. You build a good career because people pay attention to successful people. Or, you act out a role in all relationships, and behave seductively or provocatively for a more immediate attention hit. This may alienate friends. Then the downer afterwards just gets worse, and you get depressed. You cannot delay gratification.

Your feelings may be rapidly shifting and expressed shallowly- they are real feelings, but their effect is to get attention. That is, you do not consciously choose behaviour to get attention, your preconscious emotional responses pursue it, in maladaptive ways. You may use physical appearance or theatricality to gain attention, and may be easily influenced.

These characteristics are exaggerated from traits which are entirely healthy, or part of the human condition as a social species- we need others.

I googled “need attention” and found psychcentral.

I read this and recognise myself. So I analyse. Am I like this, in a harmful way? Is it harming me? People have conflicting desires and needs, and learn better or worse ways of fulfilling those needs. I analyse too much, because I am good at analysis, or can produce understandings which please me. I feel unsafe, so analyse in an attempt to protect myself. If I can find what desires give me lasting happiness and the optimum way to pursue them, I can be OK. My moral understanding- what I ought to desire- and my ideology, my false understandings of how to get it, get in the way. “This ought to work! They said so!” I say, and double down on my failed course.

Or I go into a sulk.

I don’t feel safe. All my attention then goes on seeking to make myself safe. Perhaps I am really bad at life- I could write how much people achieve that I haven’t- and perhaps as Hardy wrote, the failure has a unique perspective on how to succeed.

thomas-lawrence-caroline-sotheron

8 thoughts on “Attention III

  1. Clare, there is this cartoon from The New Yorker.

    We need others, their attention and love, and that’s that. Especially as children.

    When not loved and attended to as we need it during childhood, we grow up with a gaping, chronic wound — we call it trauma — that oozes its influence in various ways. One of them is the compulsion to seek attention and love in a futile and sometimes self-destructive manner. Confusion and hurt, and more confusion and hurt, abound as a result.

    So-called personality disorders, like so many other so-called pathological conditions / brain disorders, are, more often than not, methods to cope with that initial trauma.

    And then there are traumas we acquire as we grow. Your statement “I don’t feel safe” raises “trauma” flags in my mind.

    You can heal. Therapy often helps, for example, especially when combined with support and love of others, if you’re lucky to have such.

    Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Yeah, his struggle is palpable. Gotta feel for the poor chap…

        Glad to know you have caring friends, Clare, who are there for you.

        The sorting out, that’s gonna take time, as it does. Little by little.

        Like

        • Oh and for the cartoon:

          Speak roughly to your little boy
          and beat him when he sneezes
          he only does it to annoy
          because he knows it teases.

          I hope there is a good result from the election, and your country can rebuild its civic decency and work together for the common good.

          Like

        • You know, I find Hitler pitiable? In the bunker, a survivor reported under interrogation that, when Goering proposed to negotiate with the allies, Hitler shouted,

          Now nothing remains. Nothing is spared me. No allegiances are kept, no honour lived up to, no disappointments that I have not had, no betrayals that I have not experienced, and now this above all else. Nothing remains. Every wrong has already been done me. I read that quote in William Shirer’s book, and it haunts me.

          The suffering is genuine. That is why he could destroy as he did, because of his sufferings and struggle. I hope you do not have a president who suffers so.

          Liked by 1 person

          • His suffering stemmed predominantly from frustrated entitlement and self-pity, as it is always the case with a malignant narcissist, Clare.

            His disappointments, his “honor,” his betrayals come from the injured overblown ego that demands destruction of others to satisfy its insatiable, pathological drive for power.

            “Nothing is spared me,” he cries pitifully, while slaughtering millions of people “inferior” to him.

            “Nothing remains” is just an expression of the devastation of his inner emptiness brought on by his lack of conscience.

            Yes, we may pity the wretched human being, and even more so perhaps the child he once was, but let’s not forget what he did.

            Liked by 1 person

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