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Confused about Daughter’s Teacher’s Behavior — Possible Histrionic Personality?

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My daughter’s 3rd grade teacher behaves inconsistently and unusually, which makes it difficult to interact with her. Within weeks of meeting her, she asked me to be her friend (though clarifying that we couldn’t “hang out” until after my daughter graduates her class), shared overly personal information (e.g., menopause symptoms), and stated that she needs me in her life. She has been married for 30 years and has three grown children. One moment she acts like we’re close friends, the next she’s strictly professional and aloof. Very hot and cold personality, though always cordial. She talks excessively about herself, is almost always over the top enthusiastic and energetic (hypomanic), expresses self doubt/seeks validation, wears some revealing clothing, is dramatic in emotional expression, and a BIT overly concerned about her appearance. She looks years younger than her 55 years and “brags” about her college sorority affiliation and circle of women friends. She subtly flirts with me on and off (we’re both female), some examples being: Excessive, flirtatious compliments (e.g. “Why are you so cute?” “You’re so pretty”), intense eye contact, and making reference to having a “girl’s overnight.” Can someone have HPD and still be in a seemingly stable marriage and hold a stable teaching job for 30 years? Are these simply HPD traits or something else completely? I am simply baffled.

Confused about Daughter’s Teacher’s Behavior — Possible Histrionic Personality?

Answered by on -

A.

Rather then see these collection of behaviors as indicative of a personality disorder it is probably safer and easier to say that they make you feel uncomfortable. Nothing more after this needs to be identified.

What I hear very clearly from you is that you do not want to be friends with her. That is the bottom line. I would not invest energy or time in the relationship and then keep a close watch just be sure that your daughter is treated well by her. If not you may want to follow up by talking to the school’s principal.

Everything about her approach and interaction with you seems to have raised many red flags. Don’t ignore them. Worry less about whether or not she has a disorder, but find ways to be consistent with your behaviors and interactions that inform her you are not interested in a friendship.

Diagnosing her is less important than understanding how you feel about her.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Confused about Daughter’s Teacher’s Behavior — Possible Histrionic Personality?

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Confused about Daughter’s Teacher’s Behavior — Possible Histrionic Personality?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/07/confused-about-daughters-teachers-behavior-possible-histrionic-personality/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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