Fulfillment at Any Age

How to remain productive and healthy into your later years

Shedding Light on Psychology’s Dark Triad

We all know people who seek to manipulate and exploit others while expecting to receive special treatment and constant admiration. People high in these "Dark Triad" traits of psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism can create havoc in our own lives. This12-item Dirty Dozen test can help you spot the Dark Triad people in your lives before you become their victims. Read More

An obvious case

Looking at the 12-item list, I am reminded why over a decade ago, when noticing Lance Armstrong's behavior, I placed no credibility in anything he said.

If anyone has displayed, maximally, all 12 of these points so obviously and publicly his whole life, it was Lance Armstrong.

And he fooled quite a lot of people.

Lesson: beware of the Lance Armstrongs of the world.

Darwinism = discrimination


People SUFFERING from the Dark Triad are more prone to discriminating against others. It is in their nature to judge others against themselves based on such things as looks, status and the lot.

And when these types of people get into positions of power, they "naturally select" others similar to themselves to work with them and move ahead. The individuals and groups that they do discriminate, manipulate, BULLY and hurt will be relegated to the bottom and lowest rung.

Darwinism = discrimination

Some people are better at

Some people are better at aggression and discrimination than others.

When you get too many narcissists running the world, what you get is corruption, injustice and wars. There is nothing "bright" about that.

You are absolutely right.

You are absolutely right. Narcissist create horrible environments in the workplace and in the home front. They divide people, pit people against each other, create tension and make everyone walk on eggshells around them. Nothing bright about that.

Just ran across the dark

Just ran across the dark triad concept. My total score was 50, subscores (M/P/N)=21/25/3. Member of Mensa, but also did 10 years in prison.

I am not surprised to see that I scored high on Machiavellianism and Psychopathy, but I don't understand why Narcissism would be connected to those two traits. It has always seemed like a weakness to me.

Yet, on the other hand, it might explain why so many of the people I met in prison were so sensitive about the slightest hint of an insult. It went way beyond trying to avoid weak in an environment where weakness could result in victimization. It continued even in a minimum security facility where the inmates were months away from release.

Remember, Knowledge is Power


Considering part of the disorder is a lack of insight and those questions would require insight (not just lying) it is not likely it would be effective with most of the Cluster B + psychopathy spectrum. saferelationshipsmagazine.com

I agree RE lack of insight in those with Cluster B disorders

I'm not a psychologist, but I've been reading a lot about the traits of those with Cluster B personality disorders because my mother was formally diagnosed with borderline pd. My mother was never able (until the final few years of her life) to gain any personal insight about her own negative behaviors and the damage she did. In mother's mind, she was the eternal victim and all her problems originated with other people. Nothing was ever her fault; she was perfect. She was the very embodiment of the "ego-syntonic" state of mind: "Why should *I* seek therapy? There's nothing wrong with me; YOU are the cause of all my problems. You are the hateful, mean, crazy one: YOU are the one who needs therapy!"

My mother would have answered the 12 self-reporting questions in such a way that she'd seem angelic; too good to be true. She was high-functioning and could appear charming and appealing, witty and completely rational in public. She only took her mask off and unleashed her pent up frustration, anger, disappointment, shame/humiliation, envy/jealousy, paranoia, and bizarre fixed delusional beliefs at home, in private, where there were no witnesses to her red-faced, spittle-flying, screaming rage-tantrums and the physical violence she directed at her small, terrified children and bewildered husband.

I think structured interviews by trained psychotherapists PLUS corroborating testimony from third party witnesses are necessary to get a truer picture, a more three-dimensional and accurate picture of a Cluster B patient, instead of self-reporting only.

Consistency wouldn't sell

I love how the dirty dozen (described as being "just that .. [quick and]dirty) is subtitled: A concise measure of the dark triad.

My love, you see, is dark. Too dark for psychology, I've always felt.

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Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her latest book is The Search for Fulfillment.


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