Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Dirty Truth About Plastic

Whoa. This is waaay disturbing - particularly since in Shanghai, The Boy and I are 100% reliant on drinking water delivered by way of large plastic bottles (no way to know how safe they are).

Hmmm... so when is Kamen's miracle water distiller available for purchase?

Extracts from the article at Discover:

"The most pressing question about plas­tic, though, may be whether daily exposure alters the health and fertility of our children and perhaps even our children’s children. It turns out that the hormonelike chemicals in plastic may remodel our cells and tissue during key stages of development, both in the womb and in early childhood. When pregnant mice are exposed to chemicals in plastic, the mammary and prostate tissue of their developing embryos proliferates abnormally, and sensitivity to hormones is forever turned up. Perhaps most disturbing is the significant increase in chromosomal abnormalities in the eggs forming in those embryos. Those are the eggs that will make the next generation. Thus, if the worst-case scenario proves true, early exposure to plastic can reshape not just our children but their children, too.

...Two in particular stand out: bisphenol A (or BPA, used in polycarbonates and resins) and phthalates (used to make plastic soft and pliable). Both upset the way certain hormones function in the body, earning them the designation endocrine disrupters. They are both now the subject of fierce scientific and public scrutiny.

... If there is one point on which many scientists agree, it is the risk to the developing fetus and the young child. “At least a dozen studies have shown the effects of phthalates on human reproduction,” says University of Rochester epidemiologist and biostatistician Shanna Swan, the lead author of a much-cited study that showed higher exposure to some phthalates in mothers correlates with reduced “anogenital distance” in newborn boys. Biologists recognize a reduction in the length between the anus and the sex organ as an external marker of feminization, easily measured because it is typically twice as long in males as in females.

... Last November a panel sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that there was at least “some concern” about BPA’s effect on the fetal and infant brain. Around the same time, the Centers for Disease Control reported that researchers there had found BPA—the United States produces 6 billion pounds of it yearly—in 93 percent of urine samples from 2,500 Americans aged 6 to 85. Children under age 12 had the highest concentrations.

... In other research, by reproductive biologist Patricia Hunt of Washington State University, female mice exposed to low amounts of BPA in the womb—amounts deemed “environmentally relevant”—had high levels of genetic errors in the eggs they produced. Worse still, the genetic errors in those eggs led to chromosome abnormalities in 40 percent of the next generation’s eggs. That is 20 times the incidence of such abnormalities in unexposed mice. How might this relate to human risk? According to commentators reviewing Hunt’s work in PLoS Genetics, the answers will be hard to tease out: Nearly one in five human pregnancies ends in miscarriage, half of which are due to chromosomal abnormalities. Abnormalities in a woman’s eggs increase as she ages, and more women are having children at a later age. “A proper study of this problem,” they wrote, “would require assessing the woman’s level of chemical exposure now and maintaining those data for two to three decades,” tracking the abnormalities in her children and grandchildren.

... Phthalate studies show similarly dramatic effects. When pregnant rats are exposed to high doses of phthalates, their male offspring are born with deformed genitalia. In 2005 Shanna Swan published the first study that looked for evidence of an obvious effect among boys. In 134 boys aged 2 months to 30 months, she found that sons whose mothers had higher levels of certain phthalates in their urine had a shorter distance between the anus and the penis. These boys were also likelier to have smaller penises and incompletely descended testicles. About one-quarter of American women have the higher phthalate levels she found in her study. This was particularly evident among women working in poorly ventilated nail salons, where one especially harmful phthalate, DBP, is released.

... Phthalate exposure does not come just from moms. A new study gives evidence that infants and toddlers exposed to lotions, shampoos, and powders with phthalates may have up to four times as much of it in their urine as those whose parents do not use the products. The study, just published in Pediatrics by Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington, looked at 163 children between the ages of 2 months and 28 months between the years 2000 and 2005. The results were alarming, not least because manufacturers are not required to list phthalates as ingredients on labels.

... regulation of synthetic estrogens as a class seems far off. BPA alone is “worth at least a million dollars every hour,” Welshons says. “And that figure is conservative. I’m surprised the chemical industry hasn’t tried to blow up our labs.”

In 1989 little was known about synthetic chemicals in everyday plastics and how they mimicked estrogens. Ana Soto, professor of cellular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine, and her colleagues were studying the effects of estrogen on a breast cancer cell line. “Suddenly all the cancer cells were proliferating maximally, whether they were being grown in a medium with estrogen or not,” Soto recalls. “We thought that somebody must have opened a bottle of the female hormone estradiol in the wrong place. We scrubbed the whole room, we bought new batches of everything, and the cells kept proliferating. So we began one by one to replace and substitute our equipment, and we finally found the contamination in tubes storing a component of the medium. The tube manufacturer had changed its formula, with the best intention of rendering the tubes more impact resistant. They said the new chemical was a trade secret. So we analyzed it ourselves, and it turned out to be nonylphenol. We injected the chemical into rats and demonstrated that it makes the epithelial lining of the uterus proliferate—a sign of its being an estrogen.” Nonylphenol is also a component in some detergents and other products, and its presence in British streams has been linked to the feminization of fish.

In 1998 another synthetic estrogen leached from animal cages and bottles in a different lab—this was the now-infamous BPA. Patricia Hunt (then working at Case Western Reserve University) was studying the endocrine environment of the aging ovary in mice. Suddenly, as in Soto’s lab, “our control data went nuts,” Hunt says. “We saw chromosomal abnormalities that would lead to pregnancy loss and birth defects. It turned out that all of our cages and water bottles were contaminated by the BPA in the polycarbonate plastic, which was being sterilized at high temperatures. We set about proving this contamination was coming from the water bottles and cages.” They published that work in 2003. In 2007 Hunt and her colleagues published a paper in PLoS Genetics demonstrating that BPA exposure in utero disrupts the earliest stages of egg development. The fetuses of pregnant mice exposed to low doses of BPA, Hunt says, had “gross aberrations. We were stunned to see the effects of this estrogenic substance.”

... “We have no choice,” Soto says. “If reproduction is being affected, the survival of the species is compromised. Sooner or later we have to regulate it. And what constitutes proof? In the 1950s a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 22; today it’s 1 in 7. A threefold increase cannot be genetic, it is most likely environmental, and many of us believe it is due to endocrine disrupters. To know whether fetal exposure to BPA is producing breast cancer in humans, you have to collect blood from the mother and the newborn, bank it, and follow that cohort for many, many decades. One generation of researchers can’t do it. This is painful, and the public should know about it.”

Full article here.

Chuckler: Graphic graphic

The new logo for the UK Office of Government Commerce. Tilt your head to the left and look at it again. From The Register:

Well, we contacted the OGC for comment, and a spokesman gamely explained: "The OGC is currently overhauling the design of its corporate materials following a new strategy and forward direction. As part of this, the OGC has been developing a new visual identity, one aspect of which is a new logo.

"The proposed version, which you have sent over, has been shared with staff, and is now going through final technical stages. It is true that it caused a few titters among some staff when viewed on its side, but on consideration we concluded that the effect was generic to the particular combination of the letters 'OGC' - and is not inappropriate to an organisation that's looking to have a firm grip on government spend!"

Courtesy of BoingBoing

An oldie but a goodie

Just read an introduction written by Arthur C. Clarke to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and thought I would share this nifty tidbit.

"So in writing our story line, at the early dawn of the space age, Stanley [Kubrik] and I had a credibility problem; we wanted to create something realistic and plausible that would not be made obsolete by the events of the next few years. And although our original working title was 'How the Solar System Was Won', Stanley was aiming at something more than a straightforward tale of exploration. As he was fond of telling me, "What I want is a theme of mythic grandeur."

Well, as the real year 2001 approaches, the movie has become part of popular culture: I doubt if even in his wildest dreams Stanley imagined that one day a hundred million Americans would know exactly who (what?) was speaking when a Super Bowl commercial announced in a silken yet sinister voice "It was a bug, Dave."

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Moleskin Love

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Little thoughtful creatures sit,
On the grassy coasts of it.

By Kim Coles


Chuckler: YoungMe / NowMe

A chuckleworthy collection of 'then' and 'now' shots.

Check them out here. Courtesy of BoingBoing

Hundred-million year old feather

"Seven dino-era feathers found perfectly preserved in amber in western France highlight a crucial stage in feather evolution, scientists report."

"The hundred-million-year-old plumage has features of both feather-like fibers found with some two-legged dinosaurs known as theropods and of modern bird feathers, the researchers said.

This means the fossils could fill a key gap in the puzzle of how dinosaurs gave rise to birds,.."

Article at National Geographic.

Oldest living tree found in Sweden: 9550 years

"The trunk of the above tree is less than 600 years old—but its roots date back to 9,550 years ago, making it the world's oldest known living tree, scientists say."

The study team also identified other ancient spruces in Sweden that were between 5,000 and 6,000 years old."

Article at National Geographic.

Monday, 21 April 2008

More Moleskin love

by Taylor-White

courtesy of Skineart.

Ning's Infinite Ambition

Interesting article. Thanks PL!

"Here's something you probably don't know about the Internet: Simply by designing your product the right way, you can build a billion-dollar business from scratch. No advertising or marketing budget, no need for a sales force, and venture capitalists will kill for the chance to throw money at you.

The secret is what's called a "viral expansion loop," a concept little known outside of Silicon Valley (go ahead, Google it -- you won't find much). It's a type of engineering alchemy that, done right, almost guarantees a self-replicating, borglike growth: One user becomes two, then four, eight, to a million and beyond. It's not unlike taking a penny and doubling it daily for 30 days. By the end of a week, you'd have 64 cents; within two weeks, $81.92; by day 30, about $5.4 million.

Viral loops have emerged as perhaps the most significant business accelerant to hit Silicon Valley since the search engine. They power many of the icons of Web 2.0, including Google, PayPal, YouTube, eBay, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Flickr..."

Full article at Fast Company.

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand

How sad that this is no surprise. As disappointing as the findings of this report are, it is still heartening to see that at least in the U.S., unlike other countries that spring to mind, corruption still has the chance of being revealed/discussed.

"Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks."

Full NYT article here.

Courtesy of niubi on Twitter.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Moleskin art

A wonderful, eclectic collection of gems from various artists' Moleskin notebooks at skineart

Courtesy of BoingBoing

New Portishead album available for streaming next week!

The legends are back!!

The album 'Third', will be available for streaming from April 21 from

More info here.

Portishead official site here.

Chuckler blog post:


2007-10-02 17:14:00

hello we have mixed all the tracks and the whole album is shit, so were going to start all over again. ok only kidding...sorry ! its sound pretty good but we have to go back to a few things in the next few weeks though. it sound pretty different from what we have done before i dont think the fondue society will be happy oh well , like the bee joke ends....... fuk em bye geoff"

Thursday, 10 April 2008

BRB - Feeds for now

It is day 4 since we discovered we have a stalker on our hands. Yes, I am angry about it at the moment. But, I will be over it in a few days. So, instead of inflicting angry posts on my readers (however few or many that may be), I'm going to hold off until the fumes abate (unless I come across something really cool in the news that just has to be shared).

Meanwhile, my feeds (located in the right column) will continue to be updated. Even the Skank does not get in the way of my news junkie habits 8)

Ditty for CC the Skank

"Buongiorno! I'm hot and single and feeling terribly glam,
all my guy buddies want to nail me,
I think people love me
coz I'm so spunky and sexy,
But I have no idea
that people just think
I'm a lonely old desperate skank." (Skank, FYI, 'desperate' was the word most consistently used by various parties to describe you).

Inspired by the Skank's own words (extracted from screenshots - I couldn't make up this drivel if I tried):

Favourite Movies:
(Top of the List) When Harry Met Sally
Skank's comment: I am still not cynical enough to think I have real guy friends who are my buddies w/o agenda.

Tequila Sunrise
Comment: restaurant/ bar/ beach/ 2boys4eachGal.. my favourite things in the world

Favourite quote: "girls like me don't stay in the open market for very long"

Skank's thread
in the pathetically sad lonely loser support group - My Friends Are Getting Married. I'm Just Getting Drunk: "Let's face it, all my married friends are secretly envious"

"Seriously! Getting married? been there, done it! had a fab party! no regrets! Now that the marriage thing is out of the way [divorced, and thereafter dumped], there's no more pressure!

Meanwhile I'm having a fab time as serial monogamist [neglected to mention 'and shameless family-wrecker-want-to-be', and see also above 'dumped'] - thankful that I can get intoxicated on a whim!

don't get me wrong, I applaud all my friends who make that brave decision [it's not a 'brave decision' for everyone darl. Some couples actually love each other] In fact, I will not rule out doing it again myself [whoa nelly... good luck with that] - but while I'm hot & single, I'm feeling terribly glam!

oh yeah... what am I doing back here? my best friends are having a baby.. inevitably they'll be engrossed with the new baby for a few years before they find me facinating [sic] again.. so I figured it's time to find replacement-friends! [good luck with that one too]

My favourite sms from the Skank to The Boy (Skank was spending Christmas alone in a foreign land, and knew The Boy was home with his wife for Christmas)
"Are you missing me? Just getting drunk for the season and wish you were around."

Quintessential Predatory Shanghai Skank
Amongst plenty of other antics (including harassing me), and shortly before the abovementioned "I miss you. You miss me?" sms, whining and crying at an uninterested married/unavailable man about how he won't spend time with her anymore after his wife gets back into town.

Skank, you're all class. Some kinder sorts seem to initially feel sorry for you and your pathetic machinations, before quickly concluding that you are just delusional navel lint (which, I was quick to point out, is an insult to navel lint, since navel lint do not reach out from its pathetic existence to annoy anyone within striking distance who is willing to pay it attention).

Skank, seek help. Probably should start with Alcoholics Anonymous, then Narcissists Not-So-Anonymous (this is pretty evident every time you open your trap).

(NOTE: HPD individuals are prone to alcoholism and drug addiction and are quite adept at denying the related behaviors. They seek easy escape from pain, deny negative consequences, and fail to observe or accept responsibility for the impact of their behavior on others...

... individuals with HPD may become involved in drug or alcohol abuse because the substances can free them to act out in ways that are congenial to their inclination to be stimulus-seeking. Through drugs and alcohol, these individuals are able to transform themselves; they gain feelings of well-being, bolster a flagging sense of self-worth, and perhaps even come to feel omnipotent. Drugs and alcohol can disinhibit controlled HPD impulses so that there need be no assumption of personal responsibility or guilt for behavior.")

It continues to astound me that someone like Randy Pausch is dying, and the Skank continues to suck up Earth's resources. Skank, watch this and sit down (without a bottle) to re-think your life.

Also, those images of little girls that you chose as your Facebook profile photo were remarkably paedophilic. I especially liked the pouting toddler girl with the cigarette in her mouth. Nice one. Note: The Lolita act does not work when one is 38 years old.


It is also not a good idea to repeatedly shout at a person when meeting them for the first time. If you recall, "YOOOUUUUUU!!!!!!! YOU'RE THE REASON HE'S LEEEAAAAVVVVIIIIINNNGGG!!!!" intermittently shouted at me the entire evening when I met you: the accompanying finger point/wag was an especially endearing touch. You seem rather fond of this gesture: you did it again when you shrieked at the boy, "CHAT CHAT CHAT!!!! MUST MUST MUST!!!" that more recent day when you failed to notice we were both trying to ignore you. I resisted embarrassing you in front of your friend ("Hi G!"), but of course, as witnessed by many on numerous occasions and explained to me, and as clearly evident in your online rants (some of which are excerpted above), you never need any help with embarrassing yourself.

Skank, you sure make a piss poor first impression. Seems first impressions really are rarely wrong. I immediately had you pegged as an overcompensating loser - as the boy explained to you, I said I'd leave his friendship with you up to his judgment. Pity he gave you the benefit of doubt far too many times, and took a touch longer to come to his senses. Yes, he was an inordinately large horse's arse for not seeing through you but it is forgiven since, as pointed out to me, part of his naivety stemmed from
what I love about him: "his loyalty, his belief in people... the way he treats women with such respect." He now has a keener sense of what kind of person is deserving of his time and respect.

The other part of his naivety stems from growing up in the lucky country, and his good fortune of having an abundance of great people of integrity and honour around him. Game-playing mind-fucking losers were the stuff of bad tv-dramas, not something he encountered on a regular basis. His guard was down (ill-advised for a life in Asia, and arguably, especially Shanghai), and he was far too trusting of you.

Having spent some time in Asia during my childhood years, and growing up in the lucky country with Asian extended family/acquiantances, my radar for game-playing mind-fuckers is far better tuned and I could smell you coming from a mile when you escalated your antics last year. Pity circumstances were such that I did not have the opportunity to confirm my suspicions about who you really were before that happened. From all the way in Melbourne, 8025 kilometers away, I chose to trust his judgment of you since, in the 11 years of our relationship, I had always liked and respected his close female friends (one of whom you became in 2007). We were both mistaken but
we are both chalking this up to the vicissitudes of life. The positive in all this is that I am grateful the boy's eyes have now been opened even wider to the reality of life in Shanghai, where wolves skulk in sheep's clothing at every turn.
cheryl chong shanghai china chong poh kin

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Shanghai-ed by CC the Singaporean Stalking Skank

Was just about to get back into the swing of blogging but lo and behold, The Boy and I now have to deal with a stalking Skank. Yes, the same Skank as previously mentioned. We have just learned that it recently moved into our building.

The Boy ain't never livin this one down! At least I'll get plenty of mileage out of this debacle.

Boy: I want to watch X movie.
Me: I want to watch Y movie.
Boy: But X movie is better and I don't want to watch Y movie.
Me: Skank.
Boy: Shhhrmrmrmrmrmrmr

Me: Turn right up ahead.
Boy: No, it's a left.
Me: Skank.
Boy: Shhhmmrmrmrmrmrmrrr

Me: Let's go have hot-pot.
Boy: Blurgh! I hate hot-pot.
Me: Skank.
Boy: Shhhhmmrmrmrmrmrmrrrrr

Boy: Let's send our kids to Kendo class.
Me: But Aikido is better for them.
Boy: But Kendo rocks.
Me: But they'll be able to take down skanks with their bare hands.
Boy: true.

China is so adept at producing its legions of skanks (female and male), it really did not need to import one from Singapore. One just has to laugh...

Ahhhh... gotta love living in Asia. So many skanks, so little honour.
cheryl chong shanghai china chong poh kin

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Note to Skank:

Individuals with Histrionic Personality Disorder exhibit excessive emotionalism--a tendency to regard things in an emotional manner--and are attention seekers. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention.

Behaviors may include constant seeking of approval or attention, self-dramatization, theatricality, and striking self-centeredness or sexual seductiveness in inappropriate situations, including social, occupational and professional relationships beyond what is appropriate for the social context.

They may be lively and dramatic and initially charm new acquaintances by their enthusiasm, apparent openness, or flirtatiousness. They commandeer the role of "the life of the party". Personal interests and conversation will be self-focused. They use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves. Their style of speech is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.

They may do well with jobs that value and require imagination and creativity but will probably have difficulty with tasks that demand logical or analytical thinking.

Histrionic personality disorder does not usually affect the person's ability to function adequately in a superficial work or social environment. However, problems often arise in more intimate relationships, where deeper involvements are required.


* Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion

* Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention

* Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are

* Constantly seeking reassurance or approval

* Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expressions of emotions

* Overly concerned with physical appearance / Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self

* Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior

* Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval

* Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail

* Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details

* Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification

* Have difficulty maintaining relationships, often seeming fake or shallow in their dealings with others

People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can be successful socially and at work. They may seek treatment for depression when romantic relationships end. They often fail to see their own situation realistically, instead tending to overdramatize and exaggerate. Responsibility for failure or disappointment is usually blamed on others.


Frances, (1995, p. 373) describes individuals with HPD as manipulative, vain, and demanding.

Akhtar (1992, p. 259) notes that the current description of HPD corresponds to the previous idea of an infantile personality. These individuals had few sexual inhibitions, were impulsive, experienced identity diffusion and emotional lability, and demonstrated what the author referred to as moral defects. Yet, as described in the DSM-IV, individuals with HPD demonstrate what our society tends to foster and admire -- to be well liked, successful, popular, extroverted, attractive, and sociable (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 366). In fact, Widiger, (Costa & Widiger, eds., 1994, p. 47) describe HPD as an extreme variant of extroversion. Extroversion involves the tendency to be outgoing, talkative, convivial, warm and affectionate, energetic, and vigorous. In a non-pathological form, extroversion is being high-spirited, buoyant, and optimistic. These factors coalesce into a personality disorder only when the needs behind the behavior are pathologically inflexible, repetitious, and persistent (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 366). It is then that the corruptibility, manipulativeness, and disinhibited exploitation of others become factors and the personality disordered version of extroversion becomes apparent.

Women with HPD are described as self-centered, self-indulgent, and intensely dependent on others. They are emotionally labile and cling to others in the context of immature relationships. Females with HPD over identify with others; they project their own unrealistic, fantasied intentions onto people with whom they are involved. They are emotionally shallow and have difficulty understanding others or themselves in any depth.

Individuals with HPD may decompensate in later adult years due to the cumulative effects of:
1) the incapacity to pursue personal, professional, cultural, and social values;
2) the frequent disruption of and failure in intimate relationships; and
3) identity diffusion.
These factors interfere with ordinary social learning and consequences grow more severe with age. The usual course of untreated HPD is precarious as life opportunities are missed or destroyed


Individuals with HPD view themselves as gregarious, sociable, friendly, and agreeable. They consider themselves to be charming, stimulating, and well-liked. They value the capacity to attract people via their physical appearance and by appearing to be interesting and active people. For individuals with HPD, indications of internal distress, weakness, depression, or hostility are denied or suppressed and are not included in their sense of themselves (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 369).

For individuals with HPD, vanity and seductiveness function to bolster and maintain self-esteem; they often become overinvested in how they look and dread aging (McWilliams, 1994, pp. 312). Growing old violates the view of themselves as glamorous and attractive people who are admired by others.

Individuals with HPD are consumed with attention to superficialities and spend little time or attention on their internal life. Because they know themselves so little, they often have no sense of who they are apart from their identification with others. They are able to change their attitudes and values depending upon the views of significant others in their lives. These individuals also fail to attend the details and specifics of their experiences. They have, accordingly, memories that are diffuse and general with a tremendous lack of detail (Will, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 99).

View of Others

Individuals with HPD focus on others to the point that they obtain their own identity from those to whom they are attached. Yet the attention they focus on others does not allow them to gain understanding of others or to become effectively empathic. Their intense observation skills are dedicated to determining what behaviors, attitudes, or feelings are most likely to result in winning the admiration and approval of others. Essentially, these individuals watch other people watch them. Their actual focus is on how they are doing and how they are being received by others. As a result, they are not particularly effective in understanding how others are feeling.

Individuals with HPD are inclined to define relationships with or connections to others as closer or more significant than they really are. They do not see when they are being humored or placated by people who may have lost patience with their relentless need for attention and the failure to relate in a genuine way. Others may eventually withhold their own efforts to relate to individuals with HPD once they become aware that there is no real attempt to connect -- rather there is a continuing demand to be attended to and admired.


The HPD failure to view others realistically is reflected by their difficulties in developing and sustaining satisfactory relationships. Individuals with HPD tend to have stormy relationships that start out as ideal and end up as disasters (Beck, 1990, p. 214). These individuals are unable to tolerate isolation; when alone, they feel desperate and are unable to wait for new relationships to develop gradually (Horowitz, Horowitz, ed., 1991, p. 4). They will idealize the significant other early in the relationship and often see the connection as more intimate than it really is. If the significant others begin to distance themselves from the incessant demands, individuals with HPD will use dramatics and demonstrativeness to bind these people to the relationship. They will resort to crying, coercion, temper tantrums, assaultive behavior and suicidal gestures to avoid rejection (Beck, 1990, p. 51).

Even though individuals with HPD will attempt to bind others to them, they are often dissatisfied with single attachments. They tend to be lacking in fidelity and loyalty; they are seductive, dramatic, and capricious in personal relationships (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 357). Their interpersonal dependency is not expressed through faithfulness and commitment. They start relationships well but falter when depth and durability are needed. There is a paradox in HPD relationships of coercive dependency and infidelity.

Individuals with HPD have a strong fear of being ignored; they long to be loved and taken care of by someone who is both powerful and able to be controlled through the use of charm and seductiveness. They become helpless and childlike when faced with potential rejection (McWilliams, 1992, p. 307).

HPD Behaviour

Individuals with HPD are overreactive, volatile, provocative, and engaging in their behavior. They are intolerant of inactivity, impulsive, emotional, and responsive. They have a penchant for momentary excitements, fleeting adventures, and ill advised hedonism (Donat, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 47). The HPD behavioral style is charming, dramatic, expressive, demanding, self-indulgent, and inconsiderate (Sperry, 1995, p. 97). They tend to be capricious, easily excited, and intolerant of frustration, delay, and disappointment. The words and feelings they express appear shallow and simulated rather than real or deep (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 366-367).

These individuals can be quite effective in situations where a first impression is important and vague expression of ideas is preferred over precision. They are less effective where performance is measured by objective measures of competence, diligence, thoroughness, and depth. Acting, marketing, politics, and the arts are fields where individuals with HPD will do well and manage competition effectively (Richards, 1993, p. 246).

The body, erotically or via illness, is often used by individuals with HPD to attract the attention of others (Horowitz, Horowitz, ed., 1991, p. 5). They will engage in inappropriately exaggerated smiles and continuous elaborate hand gestures. Movement and expressions are designed to have a pleasing effect (Turkat, 1990, pp. 72-73).

Individuals with HPD are fraudulent insofar as their inner emptiness is in contradiction to the impressions they seek to convey to others. They hide their true cognitive sterility and emotional poverty (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 370). HPD cognition is global, diffuse, and impressionistic; these individuals appear incapable of sustained intellectual concentration; they are distractable and suggestible (Beck, 1990, p. 215). They avoid introspective thought. They are attentive to fleeting and superficial events but integrate their experience poorly with a cursory cognitive style. They lack genuine curiosity and have habits of superficiality and dilettantism. They avoid potentially disruptive ideas and urges by dissociating from thoughts, people, and activities that threaten their view of themselves or the world (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 369).

Individuals with dependent personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder share important traits: they both turn to others for protection and the rewards of life; they are socially affable and share an intense need for attention and affection. Individuals with HPD have a more vigorous and manipulative style; these people will take the initiative in assuring that attention is forthcoming. They will actively solicit the interest of others through a series of seductive behaviors (Millon & Davis, 1996, p. 357).

Affective Issues

Individuals with HPD express their emotions intensely yet remain unconvincing. They appear warm, charming, and seductive, yet their feelings appear to lack depth and genuineness (Beck, 1990, p. 213). They have an infantile quality in their emotional expression. They experience exaggerated feelings that change frequently. They become so involved in their emotional dramas that they are unaware of or are uninformed about the world they live in. They cannot stand frustration, disappointment, or delayed gratification (Oldham, 1990, pp. 143-144).

Individuals with HPD are subject to distortion in their emotional reasoning. They accept their emotions as evidence of truth rather than just a statement about their current emotional state (Will, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 99).

People with HPD experience recurrent flooding of affect. Somatic preoccupations and sudden enraged, despairing, or fearful states may occur. Patience is rare and these individuals may use alcohol or other drugs to quickly alter states of negative feeling (Horowitz, Horowitz, ed., 1991, p. 4).

Defensive Structure

HPD defenses include dissociative mechanisms. Individuals with HPD regularly alter and recompose themselves to create a socially attractive but changing facade. They engage in self-distracting activities to avoid reflecting on and integrating unpleasant thoughts and feelings (Kubacki & Smith, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 168). Repression is also a HPD defense; frequent splitting off from conscious awareness of self results in an intrapsychic impoverishment; psychological growth is precluded. These individuals remain immature and childlike in their behavior. Through repression, individuals with HPD remain unaware that their thoughts and feelings are attached to their behavior. Accordingly, they claim innocence when their conduct results in interpersonal conflict (Kubacki & Smith, Retzlaff, ed., 1995, p. 171).

Millon (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 369-370) also noted the HPD defense mechanisms of dissociation and repression. Individuals with HPD are attuned to external rather than internal events. They dissociate entire segments of memory and feelings that prompt discomfort. They, in particular, must keep away from awareness the triviality of their entire being, its pervasive emptiness and paucity of substance (Millon & Davis, 1996, pp. 369-370).

Alcohol & Drug Addiction

These individuals are prone to alcoholism and drug addiction and are quite adept at denying the related behaviors. They seek easy escape from pain, deny negative consequences, and fail to observe or accept responsibility for the impact of their behavior on others.

Richards (1993, pp. 227-239) believes that individuals with personality disorders have an increased inclination to use drugs and alcohol as alternative solutions to life problems. Faulty adaptation to normal stressors and frequent failures in self-regulation can be attributed to deficiencies or disturbances in the personality. This accounts for continued addiction even in the face of catastrophic negative consequences.

For individuals with HPD, the shallowness and absence of internal integration are mirrored in a superficial involvement in the details of life; they have little ability to understand and integrate emotional experiences across situations. Alcohol and drugs serve as an alternative to personality integration and increased maturity. This is particularly effective for individuals with HPD because drug use facilitates dissociative behavior. Not only will they use drugs and alcohol for self-regulation and as a self-soothing alternative to facing life problems, they will view themselves as victims to their addiction. They often cycle rapidly between the role of enraptured drug user and the victimized person suffering from the illness of addiction (Richards, 1993, pp. 240-247).

Millon & Davis (1996, p. 378) state that individuals with HPD may become involved in drug or alcohol abuse because the substances can free them to act out in ways that are congenial to their inclination to be stimulus-seeking. Through drugs and alcohol, these individuals are able to transform themselves; they gain feelings of well-being, bolster a flagging sense of self-worth, and perhaps even come to feel omnipotent. Drugs and alcohol can disinhibit controlled HPD impulses so that there need be no assumption of personal responsibility or guilt for behavior.

Individuals with HPD are vulnerable to addiction via their immaturity, inclination to avoid unpleasantness, and stimulus-seeking behavior. They define themselves as victims to their addiction and describe themselves as powerless, not over addiction, but in relation to recovery. These individuals usually have little experience in recognizing and tolerating the painful in life. They do not define reality as a positive force; they are much more inclined to prefer the fantasies they have about both themselves and others.

Richards (1993, p. 278) notes that individuals with HPD will demand to be special in treatment. They are inclined to become the star patient in a treatment group or the problem child due to relapse. They may also, consciously or not, view service providers (or their group) and their drug(s) of choice as jealous lovers fighting over them and for their allegiance. This is a situation these individuals tend to relate to with relish (Richards, 1993, pp. 247-248).

Dual Diagnosis and the Histrionic Personality Disorder