People with Machiavellianism and psychopathic and narcissistic tendencies; tend to fall into a category called the dark triad. This personality type can be extremely dangerous, both to themselves and others, which is why it’s extremely important to look for signs that you might be a dark triad in order to protect yourself from any long-lasting issues.
As long as you are aware of this personality disorder you can make changes, and even hopefully learn how to better function alongside others in a way that isn’t destructive or manipulative. So, read to the number 1, as it is one of the biggest red flags that you might be suffering from dark triad tendencies, and it can also help you spot people in your life that could be too!
Number 10: You crave superficial relationships.
A person with an antisocial personality disorder will often keep themselves far away from any kind of intimacy. Often this person will cover for themselves by saying that they are physically intimate with a lot of people or that they just aren’t looking for something serious, but this is often just ignoring the issue.
Look into your friendships and past relationships to see if you were ever called cold or uncaring, and try to pinpoint what has gone wrong in the past. People with dark triad characteristics tend to crave control over their partner or friends rather than a connection, and for this reason, these often do not work out.
Normal people cannot usually survive in a relationship that only goes one way, and can grow bored or frustrated by a lack of growth and development despite continual effort.
Number 9: You scheme and make plans without considering the consequences.
While Machiavellianism is all about calculating your moves carefully and exploring every option before making a decision, psychopathy and narcissism are generally more about chasing a feeling or thrill rather than a victory. Because of this, people with dark triad tendencies will often make plans and carry them out without fully knowing what they have got themselves into, and it can actually create a really big mess as a result.
These plans usually affect multiple people and can make people turn on these schemers in a hurry, which can be especially awkward and difficult in a workplace environment. Because psychopathic people are huge risk-takers, and narcissists want to praise and admiration more than anything else, these plans usually involve getting themselves ahead at the expense of others and are a big reason why these types of people struggle to maintain friendships for very long.
Number 8: You are always the victim.
A dark triad personality will bristle even at the possibility that they are in the wrong, and this alone can be one of the biggest struggles in their lives. These people always want to be right, and their pride and general worldview simply can’t understand the possibility that they aren’t the best, even for a moment.
Instinctually, whether it’s the truth or not, a person with dark triad characteristics will deflect someone else, especially when they are confronted by someone. Most human beings struggle to take responsibility either because of guilt or embarrassment, but for these people, it’s more about how hard it is to admit that they can make mistakes and that they will lose face by doing so.
Number 7: A constant need for fulfillment.
If you feel like you are often being told that nothing is ever good enough for you or that you are always looking for the next big thing, you might be in a dark triad. The personality type is often described as requiring a constant need for fulfillment or validation, and it can be really exhausting on the friends or partners of these people.
People that get involved with dark triads will usually describe the experience as physically, mentally, or emotionally draining and that it felt like they never had enough time in the day.
Dark triads are risk-takers as a result of their psychopathic traits, and can usually be found doing dangerous activities like rock climbing, skydiving, or any number of things, and they also do not feel any fear. These people tend to latch onto things very easily, and because they struggle with empathy will usually try to include you in them as well.
Number 6: You care a great deal about how you are perceived.
Most human beings wear a mask when they are out and about, and this is to protect themselves from having to be vulnerable around strangers. This mask hides a deeper layer that is filled with emotions, experiences, and desires that the world doesn’t often see.
People with dark triad tendencies do not have this deeper layer and combine a lack of remorse with a deep need to be liked by people, even if it is just superficially. If you have dark triad traits you probably often find yourself worried about small things in social encounters and how the other person thinks of you.
You don’t do this because you are worried you messed up or hurt the friendship, though, but instead that your persona was seen through. Narcissists have a tendency only to be able to validate themselves through the lens of others, and as a result, will crumble if they feel they are not liked or desired, but all three of the traits share an inability to be vulnerable and a craving for power and control.
Number 5: No moral compass.
Although there may be a superficial charm to the dark triad personality group, there is a lot of darkness there too. Possibly the result of the Machiavellian section, dark triads don’t really have a moral compass and will do whatever it takes to get the upper hand in a situation.
These people will lie, cheat, seduce, and play dirty just to get what they want, and won’t hesitate to put their objective before anyone else’s feelings. Because of this, it can be hard to feel comfortable around this type of person, as their allegiance is to themselves at the end of the day and no amount of relationship-building is going to get in the way of that.
Number 4: You expect very little from others.
Not only do people suffering from dark triad characteristics tend to lack empathy, but this lack of understanding of how the average person thinks can often cloud the worldview of a dark triad, and this can present itself in a number of ways.
One of the most common things that dark triads usually have in common is a very low opinion of other people, and they will even at times look down on or feel pity for them.
Since the average person is ruled at least in some part by their emotions, the dark triad personality type will think of this as a weakness, and won’t feel comfortable taking orders or following directions from them.
These low expectations of people are not founded in reality and facts, but instead on extreme criticism so that these people can feel better about themselves, and it can be a trait that drives people away or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Number 3: You want to be the center of attention even with strangers.
People that consider themselves narcissistic are commonly drawn to the spotlight and prefer to be the center of attention at all times. Their narcissism can also make it very difficult for them to give up that spotlight, even for a moment and they will get defensive or even lash out when confronted about their constant need for validation and attention.
It is natural for all of us to want to be heard, but it’s far less common for the average person to try and show off when surrounded by strangers. Psychopathy gives these people their thrill-seeking tendencies, though, and that is also why dark triads have no fear of putting themselves out there.
Although sometimes it can be rewarding, positive reinforcement will only make these people crave more, which is why dark triads can often run into trouble trying to constantly impress strangers instead of forming real and substantial friendships.
Number 2: You expect your friends should do favors for you.
When you combine a lack of remorse with a craving for validation from others at all times, being the friend of a dark triad can truly be difficult at times. These people will expect you to always be bending over backward for them, and even the hang-outs themselves require more effort than your standard friendly get-together.
You may be the friend of a dark triad if you find yourself putting in a lot more effort than you do with your other friendships, and if at the end of it, you don’t feel like the friendship has grown or evolved at all.
You also may be expected to give the friend gifts when you hang out, and this could range from trinkets to show them that you have been thinking of them, or expensive presents to show that you are willing to sacrifice your comfort to show your friend how much they mean to you.
All of these, of course, are also signs of an unsustainable, toxic friendship, which is why dark triads generally jump from friendship to friendship to keep themselves satisfied.
Number 1: You treat people differently based on if they have something to offer you.
When it comes to analyzing dark psychology, patterns quickly begin to emerge. People with dark triad tendencies are much more calculating in any given social interaction than the typical human being, and this can be just as confusing to us as our focus on interpersonal connections is to them.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to transactions for the dark triad, though, which is why people with these traits tend to weigh people’s worth into what they can provide rather than who they are or what they believe in. This makes this potentially the most helpful thing to look out for them, either for you or for others.
Jade Wu, a doctor who is often called the savvy psychologist, warns that your relationship will never mean more than climbing the social ranks for this type of person and that you are best advised not to get emotionally invested in a dark personality for that reason.
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