Alienated children Alienation Dark Triad Parental Alienation PA PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Beware of the Malevolent Dark Triad

Think of the Dark Triad of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism as the Bermuda Triangle – it’s perilous to get near it! The traits of all three often overlap and create personality profiles that are damaging and toxic, especially when it comes to intimate relationships, where we let our guard down.

One woman was the subject of identity fraud. Her bank accounts and credit cards were compromised. At the time, she was in love with her boyfriend who lived with her in her apartment. She was speaking regularly with the FBI and suffered extreme anxiety and emotional stress. The authorities were unsuccessful in finding the culprit.

Her fiancé was very supportive in doing research to try to find him. He comforted her, occasionally bought her gifts, and paid her monthly rent out of money she gave him. When eventually the landlord confronted her about months of delinquency, she realized that the criminal was in fact her own boyfriend, who had been pocketing her rent money, except to buy her gifts. Her denial made it difficult to accept the truth about his ruthless gaslighting.

Alienation Dark Triad

Common Dark Triad Traits

Recent comparative research on the Dark Triad has attempted to analyze differences among these three malevolent personalities. To varying degrees, all act aggressively out of self-interest and lack empathy and remorse. They’re skilled at manipulation and exploit and deceive others, though their motivations and tactics vary. They violate social norms and moral values and lie, deceive, cheat, steal, and bully. It’s thought that genetic factors underlie their personality to some degree.

Machiavellianism and psychopathy are more closely correlated due to their malicious behavior; whereas narcissists are defensive and more fragile. This is because their grandiosity and arrogance is a façade for deeper feelings of inadequacy. (See “Relationships with Narcissists.”) Men outnumber women, primarily when psychopathic traits were measured (i.e., not just deceit, manipulation, etc.). This difference is linked to the overt antisocial behavior associated with psychopathy, suggesting that it may be due to biological factors, such as testosterone, as well as social norms


“Dark” personality traits might be impeding pandemic efforts, but the overall picture is far more complex

Psychologists love fancy names, and the Dark Triad is no exception. The triad refers to the personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (a psychological trait centered on interpersonal manipulation and moral indifference) and it’s a fitting description. Although it’s not as simple These are indeed dark, malevolent personality traits, what normal people would tend to call “not a nice person”. People scoring high on these traits tend to be less compassionate and empathetic, and as it turns out, also tend to care less about pandemic prevention.

In one of the studies, led by Magdalena Zemojtel-Piotrowska, the authors note that Dark Triad traits are associated with less prevention and more hoarding (remember the toilet paper hoarding from a few months ago?).

The team surveyed 755 individuals in Poland during the first stages of the pandemic and lockdown. The higher people scored on Dark Triad traits, the less likely they were to support prevention measures — which was exactly what researchers suspected.

Narcissism and psychopathy linked to defiance of coronavirus prevention


The personality profile of a cyberbully: Examining the Dark Triad

Unequivocally, various forms of bullying (e.g., physical, verbal,relational, damage to property,etc.) pose a serious problem for students and society in general (Gladden, Vivolo-Kantor, Hamburger,& Lumpkin, 2014; Smith & Brain, 2000). Thankfully, bullying is becoming less accepted as a ‘‘normal part of childhood’’ and instead, is now being addressed by schools as a considerable threat(Limber & Small, 2003). Because of the harmful consequences of bullying, personality researchers frequently examine and explain the bullying problem, in part, as a manifestation of individual differences (e.g., Mynard & Joseph, 1997; Sutton & Keogh, 2000; Tani,Greenman, Schneider, & Fregoso, 2003). One form of bullying,cyber bullying, is particularly problematic because as schools, parents, and communities attempt to combat it, perpetrators find new and creative ways to victimize others through the use of evolving technologies (e.g., new cell phone apps, social networking websites, messaging programs). As Menesini and Spiel (2012)pointed out, ‘‘although some consistent findings have been reached so far, there is still a lack of knowledge about developmental processes of cyber bullying and on possible predictors and correlates,such as personality’’ (p. 164). Therefore, the current study examined cyber bullying behavior as an expression of undesirable personality traits (i.e., the Dark Triad)


Q & A – Dark Triad

What is the dark triad?

The dark triad is a group of three personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These traits are associated with a callous-manipulative interpersonal style, a cynical disregard for morality, and a focus on self-interest and personal gain.

How do people with dark triad behave?

People with dark triad traits tend to be manipulative, exploitative, and self-centered. They may be charming and charismatic in order to get what they want, but they lack empathy and are willing to use others for their own gain. They may also be callous and uncaring, and may be willing to lie and cheat to get ahead.

Examples of dark triad

1. Narcissism: Excessive self-love, vanity, and entitlement.

2. Machiavellianism: Manipulative and exploitative behavior.

3. Psychopathy: Lack of empathy, guilt, or remorse.

Adultification Antisocial Personality Disorder Borderline Personality Disorder Brainwashing - Mind Control coercive control Dark Triad Delusional Disorder DESTRUCTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER EMOTIONAL ABUSE Enabler Greed Histrionic Personality Machiavellianism Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) Oedipus Complex Pathogenic Parenting Pathological Lying PERSONALITY DISORDERS predators Projection Psychological manipulation Psychopath Psychopathic style PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS Sociopath Stockholm Syndrome Triangulation Triangulation (psychology)

Articles by Sam Vaknin

About Sam Vaknin, Author of Narcissism Book

I am not a mental health professional, though I was certified in Counseling Techniques. I work as a financial consultant to leading businesses and to governments in several countries.”

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

The Curse of Echo

Brainwashing - Mind Control Coercive Control coercive control EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Ticking Time Bombs

In 1964, well-known psychoanalyst Erich Fromm first coined the term “malignant narcissism”. He described it as a “severe mental sickness” which embodied “the quintessence of evil”. Other clinicians agreed. Psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg defined malignant narcissism as “an extreme form of antisocial personality disorder that is manifested in a person who is pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioural regulation, and with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism.”

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Object Constancy

This is where universal unconditional love comes from. For most of us, we recognize that we can still have a positive relationship with someone even if they make mistakes or occasionally hurt us – because chances are, they really didn’t mean to cause harm.

Narcissists don’t possess the capacity for object constancy. Therefore, when it comes to the broadly known ‘devalue and discard’ phases, they feel such dislike for you, they have no problem treating you with cold indifference and loathing.

The narcissist understands that you, on the other hand, have object constancy and they’re keen on exploiting this trait.

 The narcissist knows you’ll stick around through all the abuse because you’ve experienced their good side and how well they can treat you – when they believe you deserve it, of course.

But this “good side” is all a façade and part of the cycle to keep you hooked and begging for that next fix. In fact, when the narcissist is being kind, it’s an integrated part of the abuse.

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Narcissistic Parents Sabotage Their Children

  • Narcissistic parents may compulsively undercut their children, both intentionally and collaterally. 
  • Adultifying, infantilizing, and gaslighting are just a few of the common forms of sabotage narcissistic parents may engage in. 
  • Educating children about narcissism, trauma, and emotional literacy can help improve family dynamics for future generations.