The Dark Triad – Negative Personalities

People with insensitive, selfish, and malicious tendencies in their relationships with others were called “the dark triad” by Delroy L. Paulhus and Kevin M. Williams, psychologists at the University of British Columbia, because they are the most negative aspects of human relationships.
The dark triad - negative personalities

People without the ability to connect with others or with the ability to consciously interrupt their emotions fall under what we call the “dark triad”. This set of personality traits constitutes narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

In extreme cases, people who have traits from the dark triad become criminals or get lost in mental illness. But there are also people among us who may not have been diagnosed but who still have these traits.

People with these features and behaviors are said to have dark personalities. Why? Because of their insensitive, selfish and malicious tendencies in their relationships with others. Delroy L. Paulhus and Kevin M. Williams, psychologists at the University of British Columbia, called these traits “the dark triad” because they are the most negative aspects of human relationships. Let’s take a look at what they are.

The dark triad is manipulative like a puppet master in the brain


“I can do what I want” or “Other people exist to love me” are examples of narcissistic thoughts. They are selfish people with an egocentric sense of right and wrong as well as an unrealistically positive self-image that stands in contrast to how those around them perceive them.

Narcissists are “snake tamers”. In the beginning, people love them ; they seem comfortable and attractive. But as time goes on, they can become very dangerous. People around them may be unable to see what their true intentions are: to gain admiration and power.

Routines tend to bore them, so they seek challenges. Therefore, most narcissists are managers or work in occupations that involve a high level of stress. According to psychoanalyst Michael Maccoby, narcissism is an increasingly common disorder in the upper echelons of business. It is directly related to competition, pay and glamor.

The negative aspect of narcissism

One of their strengths is their special ability to persuade others. They use it to surround themselves with a large number of followers. They easily convince others to do what they want them to do.

In short, they get what they want. Additionally, since they have no empathy, it is not difficult for them. They are not at all picky about the means and strategies they may use to achieve their goals.

Narcissistic people have no interest or concern for others, even if they make it look that way. They do not know about remorse and are unaffected by the needs and feelings of the people around them.

But their self-esteem is their vulnerable point. Narcissists often have very low self-esteem and are often somewhat vulnerable and insecure. This is why they increase in surrounding themselves with people they consider to be subordinate so that they can dominate and feel strong.

Man looks intensely at his mirror image


For ” Machiavellians “, the goal sanctifies the means, regardless of the consequences. They are usually very calculating and cold people and have no real emotional connections with others.

Although they tend to have traits in common with narcissists, such as selfishness and the use of others, there is something that sets them apart: They see themselves and their relationships  realistically .

Machiavellians are not trying to impress anyone. Instead, they show themselves as they are and prefer to see things clearly because they can better manipulate others that way. In fact, they focus on the emotions of the people they want to manipulate to achieve what they want. If they anticipate your emotions, they will be able to choose the right strategy to manipulate you.

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, people with Machiavellian functions have less empathy. Their coldness seems to stem from an inability to process their own feelings and the feelings of others.

In fact, emotions make them so anxious that when they feel anxiety, they usually do not know how to distinguish it from sadness or fatigue. But they tend to be very good at understanding what others are thinking. But as Goleman says, even though their head knows what to do, their heart still has no idea.

A man's face lights up half in the dark


Psychopaths regard others as objects that they can use and throw away at will. But unlike the other dark triad personalities , they almost never experience anxiety. It’s like they have no idea what it’s like to be scared.

Without fear, they can be calm even in emotionally intense, dangerous and frightening situations. They do not care about the consequences of their actions. They are the most likely of the three to end up in jail.

Psychopaths have neuronal circuits desensitized to the edge of the emotional spectrum associated with disorder. Therefore, their cruelty seems insensitive because they are unable to detect it. There is no remorse or shame for them either.

But psychopaths can easily get under the skin of others and press their buttons if it will give them what they want. They are good convincers. But even though they score high in social cognition, they only understand relationships and the behavior of others from a logical or intellectual perspective.

Woman standing alone in field watching sunset

How to avoid the dark triad

If the dark triad is present in your relationship, abuse and psychological violence are likely to occur. These people are toxic and use force and manipulation to trap their victims. The key to not falling into their nets is healthy emotional independence. Learn to set clear boundaries in your relationships and do not let anyone exceed them. Protecting oneself must come first.

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