The Darkest Personality Traits: The Dark Triad

Good day to all my followers!

As promised my blog post today is on the Dark Triad and its extension the Dark Tetrad which is inclusive of the dark triad but also include Sadism as the fourth.

What is the Dark Triad?

The Dark Triad is a subject in psychology that focuses on three personality traits: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. The used of the term “dark” implies that people possessing these traits have malevolent qualities. The Dark Triad is an immoral trifecta of personality traits that result in immense personal power. It grants high social status, tight control over interpersonal social dynamics and elicits intense sexual attraction.

The Dark Triads Are:

The ‘Dark Triad’ is a group of three personality traits, each of which may be considered not only anti-social but socially dangerous, as the person affected not only ignores the feelings of others but will use and abuse people for their own ends

  • Narcissism
  • Machiavellianism
  • Psychopathy

Three characteristics of the dark triad are:

  • Narcissism – Seeks praise
  • Machiavellianism – The end justifies the means
  • Psychopathy – Seeks control

People with these three “dark” traits tend to be callous and manipulative, willing to do or say practically anything to get their way. They have an inflated view of themselves and are often shameless about self-promotion. These individuals are likely to be impulsive and may engage in dangerous behavior and in some cases commit crimes without any regard for how their actions affect others.

Psychopathy is characterized by lack of empathy and remorse and is considered to be the “darkest” of the Dark Triad,

Machiavellianism is not considered a mental health diagnosis, it’s a personality trait which describes a master manipulator and conniving individual who deceives and tricks other for their personal gain. Machiavellianism is based on the political philosophy of the 16th century writer Niccolo Machiavelli

The third piece of the triad, narcissism, is characterized by excessive self-regard and heightened arrogance.

What is the Dark Tetrad?

The Dark Triad is sometimes extended to the Dark Tetrad. The fourth factor is sadism, which is a casual everyday pleasure in causing pain and discomfort to others. Where it might be difficult to hurt other people, this may be displaced cruelty towards animals. Like other factors sadism has a strong element of control in it.

Sadism: Sadists enjoy hurting others. Named for the Marquis Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, sadism means deriving pleasure from other people’s suffering. When the manipulative egotist who lacks a conscience gets thrills from making people suffer, when that person enjoys ruining lives and hurts people just for the sheer fun of hurting them, that’s the person more people will call evil. If all four of those overlapping qualities are so deeply, persistently ingrained in the personality that the combination defines who that person is, it might be hard not to call someone with that mixture evil. When all four are present, persistent, and pervasive, their victims tend to suffer the worst.

Any questions, queries or concerns about mental illness, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Published by Amy

Psychology Graduate and Mental Health Coach, I offer support services for adults living with mental health issues. Understanding your struggles is the first step towards healing.

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