Mandy Kloppers

The Dark Triad of Personality Characteristics

Negative personality characteristics


A dangerous recipe of three personality characteristics exists. Someone possessing these three traits is dangerous as they lack empathy, use people as objects and have a determination to succeed that is devoid of morals and ethics.

These three personality characteristics are:

1.Psychopathy – anti social personality, lack of empathy, lack guilt and very impulsive

  • Psychopathy: since the term “Psychopath” is more common in everyday media and culture, however, let us make the definition clear.

    The personality traits associated with psychopathy include antisocial behavior, being manipulative, expressing volatility, lacking empathy, and being without remorse. They are emotionally cold and impulsive, prone to taking significant risks.

    2.Machiavellianism – manipulation and exploitation of others. Often seen is corporate types

  • Machiavellianism: originates from the famous Niccolo Machiavelli, a 16th-century politician and diplomat from Italy. The associated traits of Machiavellianism include manipulation, self-interest, lack of emotion, absence of morality, and deceit.

    Essentially, they are highly manipulative and are willing to ruthlessly deceive others to obtain what they desire while having a genuinely cynical view of the world.

    3.Narcissism – selfish, self absorbed and lacking in empathy

  • Narcissism: derives from the Greek mythology story of Narcissus, a hunter who fell in love and became obsessed with his reflection in a pond of water and eventually drowned.

    People with narcissism can be selfish, arrogant, lacking empathy, boastful, and sensitive to criticism and insults. You might also find them constantly feeling entitled and superior, but all of this is masking their typical sense of inadequacy.

Do Dark Triad Personality Individuals Effortlessly Conceal Their True Nature?

While many researchers consider narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy three different traits with overlapping characteristics, others believe the commonalities propose an underlying personality construct that has yet to be fully comprehended.

Another thing to consider with this being the case is how can we tell that individuals with the Dark Triad Personality actually have it. Do they easily conceal their true nature?

Many physical and behavioral cues have been proven to be associated with the Dark Triad Personality in research trials. However, when you first meet someone with this underlying personality, you will not recognize that they have the antagonistic trio of attributes.

You might actually be swooned by them. Individuals with these traits can excel at masking their true nature, especially when first meeting someone.

Honestly, it can be challenging to recognize a person with a dark triad personality because they”re charismatic and charming. Indeed, they can be the masters of flattery and can make a person feel like they”re unique and fortunate to be in the presence of a person of eloquent taste, brilliance, and compassion.

For example, narcissists can often seem charming and “likable” at first meet, but the evidence does suggest that this is due to the perception that they have raised self-esteem, which is deemed as a socially desirable trait.

But as time goes on, people with the dark triad personality cannot continue sustaining this perception other people have of them forever. Eventually, they end their relationships in a fire, where they result in exploiting the people they became close to, betraying their trust.

How To Identify An Individual With The Dark Triad Personality

Let us learn about some behaviors that can signal someone who has dark triad attributes.

Constant thirst to be fulfilled

People with the Dark Triad Personality are always trying to achieve something and fulfill themselves, regardless of the expense and harm they inflict on everyone around them.

After becoming close to someone with the Dark Triad Personality, you may feel depleted either emotionally, physically, or financially, so the chances are that you were being manipulated and used for this individual’s personal gain.

Always being the victim of relationships and life

Individuals with the damaging trio of traits are experts in the cycle of abuse and gaslighting or denying someone’s authentic experience and story and making them question their own reality.

When someone tries to confront this individual about their toxic behavior, they can quickly turn the tables and become the victim of the situation.

Unable to sustain long-term relationships

Going off of the previous point, people with the dark triad personality cannot sustain long-term friends, partners, family, or work colleagues.

If you notice from their history that they have a string of unsuccessful relationships where they say they cut themselves off from significant people in their lives, then this is something to watch out for.

 Lies and inconsistencies in stories

As stated before, people with the dark triad personality are pros at manipulating facts and history for their own benefit. But over time, they are unable to sustain their perfect image.

You will find over time, as you become closer to a person like this, the so-called “facts” and background details of their lives just don’t seem to add up.

To summarize how to spot someone with the Dark Triad Personality, it honestly can be challenging to truly realize someone has Dark Triad traits. Without a proper evaluation, you can never know for sure.

Again, someone who repeatedly lies shows a lack of empathy, or is aggressive to others to obtain their own goals may have one or more dark traits.

People with these personality traits are brilliant at moving between these three personality traits and only show the side they need to in order to further their aims. They can be heartless and are adept at dissociation whereby they act in a detached way. Acting in a detached way ensure they will have no conscience or guilt over their actions.

Sadly, many CEO’s and Directors of companies possess the dark triad of personality characteristics. Their need for power and status coupled with their lack of empathy ensure they get ahead.

Antisocial personality traits

People who possess the dark triad have often experienced a difficult and unloving childhood where these anti social traits will have been fostered. Abuse in childhood is a good predictor of many types of dysfunction in adults. If you know someone who only seems to care about what’s in it for them, offers very little in terms of emotional intelligence and empathy and can cause upset easily without it affecting them, you may know someone with the dark triad.

Relationships are all about give and take, cut your losses (especially if you are in a romantic relationship) and get out!

The Light Triad Personality is framed as the opposite of the Dark Triad Personality and is based on the belief that people are innately good and should not be treated for personal gain.


Mandy X



Photo by hang_in_there

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