Let us begin by first placing a definition at the feet of this disorder.

The American Pyschiatric Association notes as a pervasive pattern of excessive Emotionality and attention seeking behavior, which is most prevalent in females and commonly develops in late adolescene and early adulthood.

Tami paced the floor impatiently waiting for the phone to ring. Allison had promised to call her to go on a shopping spree. Tami looked at her watch and realized that Allison said she would call by 10 am and it was now 10:08 am. She mused whether Allison realized that she had better things to do than wait around for her call. Exasperated, Tami calls Allison’s cellphone. As Allison answers the phone, Tami demands to know why she hasn’t called. Allison, shocked by the abrupt and irate inquiry, apologizes and informs Tami that she was dropping her daughter off at the babysitter. Tami, realizing the impulsivity of her call and inquiry, quickly regroups and apologizes for being intrusive and indicates that she was worried that something had happened to Allison. Tami’s life is characterized by similar situations.Whenever Tami finds a new acquaintance, she grabs and holds on as if this person was going to escape. Tami cannot describe herself, unless it is in context with another person. Tami is someone’s wife or someone’s best friend. Tami has a long string of friends, acquaintances, lovers, and husbands. All have left her. As Tami characterizes herself as a part of someone else’s life, she has no authentic perception of herself alone. Tami is incapable of being alone. She has no persona that defines her as an individual. Tami’s history of relationships is a pattern of intensity and then abandonment. Her fear of abandonment motivates all of her personal interactions; however, it is this fear that is exhibited in her behaviors that drives others away. Tami is either monopolizing the time of a friend or she is between friends and desperately seeking out a new one. When Tami identifies a new acquaintance, she moves in quickly to establish a commitment. She also perceives the friendship as more intimate than the other party and she sets herself up for failure. Tami not only monopolizes the leisure time of the new friend, but also exhibits jealousy if the friend talks with or goes out with someone other than her.

When Tami hears of her “best” friend having lunch with someone else, she initiates an aggressive challenge that is offensive to all parties. She demands to
know where they went, what they did, and why she wasn’t included in the activity. Tami will not initiate the daily contact expecting the other party to do so in definition of her commitment to the relationship. When the other person does not call, she is furious and demanding. It is only a matter of time before the other person calls off the relationship and Tami is devastated. Tami is either intensely monopolizing her lover/husband or without a lover/husband and looking for one. Her sexual relationships are as intense as her friendships. When Tami is between lovers, she is desperately seeking a new one and demonstrates impulsivity in the process. She searches through the singles bars, drinking excessively, and flirting with
every available man. She demonstrates little judgment and is sexually promiscuous. In the sober state of the morning after, she realizes that it was a one-night stand and she has been abandoned again. This circumstance does not modify her approach to the problem or her behavior. Fearing the sense of loneliness, she repeats the pattern of behavior until she finds someone who stays more than just the night. If he calls the next day asking her out for dinner, Tami’s impulsivity is demonstrated in her belief that this very brief encounter is going to be long-lasting. She grabs on as if there is no tomorrow. Tami believes that her new lover is as completely committed to the relationship as she is, but he must prove it
to her. Tami demands that his total time be hers and that he will drop all other friendships, male, and particularly female. If he maintains his male friends, she is always complaining about how much time he spends with them, what were they doing, and making accusations of infidelity.

Tami’s demands on his time eventually drives him away and she is devastated. Tami’s initial response to his departure is one of intense anger characterized by screaming, swearing, and assaulting behavior. When she realizes that the anger pushed him even further away, she resorts to suicidal threats to get him to return. Tami’s sense of worth and perception of self is destroyed again. Her sense of being unworthy is reinforced by the abandonment. Tami invariably experiences a bout of depression following the loss of the relationship, however, she will not learn from previous errors. Tami goes about business as usual, desperately looking
for another close friend, lover, and husband.

Diagnostic Cateria

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense
of self.

Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic.
dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely
more than a few days).

Chronic feelings of emptiness

Dear reader, having this understanding will help in identifying persons with such traits, with the ultimate aim of helping them get help.

This piece was extracted from the works of Duane L. Dobbert

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