Do you know anyone who is always trying to be the center of attention?
This is a person with an excessive interest in being the main focus of a group of people.
She is the kind of girl who actually feels uncomfortable if she is not the center of attention in a group of people. While often lively, interesting and sometimes dramatic, she has difficulty when people aren’t focused on her.
She will become demanding or pouting if she cannot be the center of attention. She will use controlling and manipulative behavior to get more attention.
In psychology, this person is identified as someone with histrionic personality disorder.
People like this are usually perceived as being shallow and may even engage in sexually seductive or provocative behavior to draw attention to themselves.
These are people who consistently use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves. They typically try to stand out or be in the center of group pictures. They tend to become resentful of people whom they perceive to get more attention. They will lie about others and point out the failures of others to make themselves look better. They will even betray people to advance or protect themselves.
They tend to act out a role (“victim” or “princess”) in their relationships to others. They will often seek to control others through emotional manipulation or seductiveness. They don’t resent it when their opinions or ideas are not accepted. They often want to appear to know as much or more than others about subjects discussed.
Individuals with this disorder often have impaired relationships with friends. They may also alienate friends with demands for constant attention. They often become depressed and upset when they are not the center of attention.
A word to parents:
The homes of these individuals often nurtured them toward self-absorded behavior. When parents fail to discipline self-centered and demanding behavior and allow a child to manipulate and control them, they set their child up for a narrative that will destroy future relationships.
It’s painful to watch parents who seem almost enamored with their child’s self-absorbed behavior and who allow themselves to be controlled by a demanding kid who is old enough to know better. These parents also tend to live in a bit of denial about the true actions and character of their children. But when truth does not guide us, we set up ourselves and others for ruin.
Although it’s natural for children to enjoy attention and even common for very outgoing children to be wrongly judged as attention seekers, the kind of issue I am addressing here is deeper. This kind of a person is not just fun loving, he or she has a mean streak toward those perceived as competition and will sabotage others to gain center stage in a way that makes them look good.
Parents must remember that they are first to be parents of their children. Don’t act like your child’s fan when they behave in self-seeking, disrespectful or demanding ways. Give them a life gift by decisively correcting this behavior and by pointing them to the example and teaching of Jesus (Matthew 18:1-4; John 13).
Don’t set your child up for life that contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them” (II Corinthians 5:15).
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:3-5).