Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MLM and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)

Today's post is going to be a little different again. I haven't had any personal experience with this disorder in MLM, but I have read many stories that resemble this disorder. There are many similar characteristics between this disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, but this disorder is more related to attention grabbing through promiscuity.

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD): Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of attention seeking behavior and extreme emotionality. Someone with histrionic personality disorder wants to be the center of attention in any group of people, and feel uncomfortable when they are not. While often lively, interesting and sometimes dramatic, they have difficulty when people aren’t focused exclusively on them. People with this disorder may be perceived as being shallow, and may engage in sexually seductive or provocative behavior to draw attention to themselves. (

When I was rereading about this disorder it made me think about people I have seen in the sales industry as well as people we focus on in current popular culture. When we see advertisements, sales attire, and commercials, we are constantly bombarded with some sort of sexual influence. This is used to generate attention, because as we know, sex sells. We have also seen trends constantly pushing the envelope between what is considered socially acceptable versus inappropriate. When combining these two subjects we get something similar to the transition of cover images on the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. We love to idolize our favorite good looking stars, and we love to see something sexual, so putting that together is essentially a home run.

HPD is essentially these advertisements being displayed by people. They are highly flirtatious, scantily clad, and emotionally fragile. They do not have regard for social norms, and will break boundaries to be recognized as the center of attention.

Do MLMers have HPD??? Honestly, I'm sure there are instances of this, but again I have not personally experienced it. This post was designed to see if current/former MLMers have had experiences where someone has been extremely promiscuous to get their way. This could come in many different forms whether it was an upline drawing them in because of their attention grabbing efforts, a partner in a relationship showing symptoms of HPD to generate a downline, or maybe someone from a conference/meeting that is more interested in being seen than they are in selling the products. Other bloggers have mentioned downlines sleeping with uplines and doing what they can to "move ahead" in their organizations. So, tell me your story, preferably related to MLM, and let's try to recognize behaviors with ulterior motives.

Below is a list of the common symptoms found in people with HPD:

  • Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
  • Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
  • Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  • Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attentionto themself
  • Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  • Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  • Is highly suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
  • Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. Well, we should distinguish between a normal and acceptable use of one's physical charms to attract people or to make friends, and the flaky, semi-deranged use of them that you describe here. A beautiful woman can't be blamed if she makes use of her beauty to gain some advantages, nor can a handsome man be faulted for trading on the value of his good looks. That's just the way of the world, and always has been.

    But what you are describing in this "Histrionic Personality Disorder" is something really pathological, and my own opinion is that anyone suffering from it would have a very hard time in ANY business, whether an MLM or something else.

    From my own experience I can tell you that there were countless persons (mostly female) of the HPD type back in the 1960s. They were wide-eyed, self-absorbed, suggestible crackpots of the worst sort, and yes, they were desperate for attention. We young men used to refer to them as "brainless bimbos," because they were extremely easy to seduce. On the other hand, you didn't want to get overly involved with these women, because they were emotionally needy and very "clingy." Yes, they certainly had what you call "rapidly shifting and shallow emotions," and were "extremely impressionistic." As for theatricality, they had it in spades. They were consummate drama queens. Apart from the sex, it was no fun hanging out with these girls.

    However, I can't imagine any of these females ever being in an MLM, except perhaps at some totally subordinate and profitless level. They simply don't have the focused minds and directed energy that even the simplest MLM scheme demands.

    Were there men in the 1960s who suffered from this syndrome? Sure. My friend Peter was an example. He was absolutely wrapped up in himself, and couldn't bear it if her wasn't the center of attention. And he was insufferably theatrical, emotional, and prone to inappropriate acting out of the stupidest sort. But he would never have joined an MLM scheme. I know, because when my cousin attempted to show Peter the Amway "Plan," Peter laughed in his face and said that the people in it weren't "cool."

  2. Anonymous,

    Great points in your first paragraph. This disorder is not meant to be characterized as people manipulating their image to garner an advantage, but rather a more pathological desire to gain attention through promiscuity.

    I also believe people with HPD would have a difficult time in MLM, but not necessarily impossible. The overwhelming emotions and theatrics will eventually wear on downline, but they could also attract a lot of downline. The people at the seminar I attended were more interested in the superficial nonsense than they ever were in the content. They ogled at the videos of success played before each speaker, and they were "fired up" by the stories. I do believe the downfall of someone with HPD will be their focus and drive to continue to do the same thing repetitively. However, I also believe these people could find themselves falling for different MLMs over and over again.

  3. My former sponsor, who has spent more than 20 years chasing the end of the rainbow has never gone beyond the platinum level and last I heard, was less than that recently.

    When I was active, he told me that his motivation was not strictly money, although he had dreams of early retirement and residual income. His biggest motivation was to speak and receive adulation from the crowds. It's also why our group always had additional "night owl" meetings, because he liked being the center of attention and being the key speaker in any discussion.

    What I saw and he didn't though, that was his desire for these additional meetings ended up in people quitting left and right because nobody wants to make it a habit to stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning at night owl meetings every week.

  4. Well, there you have it. The guy was desperate for attention. He probably didn't care that Amway was costing him tons of money.

    This is why I say that the motivation to be a CORE Amway type is not financial at root. It is something psychological and emotional.