The Dark Triad

Another post, another job.

Anyway, during my time off I was afforded time to delve deeper into the psychology of so-called mental disorders and ended up happening upon the Dark Triad. It isn’t anything new, necessarily, but it is somewhat new to me. I remember coming across it a few times in my previous research but never really looked into it.

Ever since my psychological evaluation, I have been fascinated with the field of psychology, especially with regard to Cluster B Personality disorders as defined by the DSM. The more I read on Narcissism and Psychopathy, the more I began to believe that these two conditions were not completely distinct, but instead overlapped, having more in common than not.

I recently happened upon some studies from 2013 onward showing that the brains of Psychopaths and Narcissists are not as dissimilar as was previously thought. While I was aware of the “deficiencies” in psychopathic brains, thanks to the work of James Fallon, Hare, et al, I was ignorant of the similar findings from fMRIs of those diagnosed with NPD.

Psychopath Brains

Narcissist Brains

These fMRI scans empirically demonstrate that, among other things, the areas of the brain concerned with emotional affect and empathy in Psychopaths and Narcissists are functionally deficienct.

This lead me to believe that, while the DSM clustered ASPD (at its base, Psychopathy) and NPD together, they are even more closely related and intertwined than initially believed. What’s more is that this proves that nature plays a larger part than nurture. Nature (genetics) provides the canvas, paint, and brush, Nurture (environment) guides the hand. I realize this this analogy isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for the scope of this poorly written post.

Anyway, it seems that the only real difference between Narcissists and Psychopaths is that Narcissists require Narcissistic Supply to keep their mask from slipping whereas Psychopaths do not.

The Dark Triad research meticulously conducted by Peter Jonason and Gregory Webster confirmed my own conclusions on this. Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism form a trifecta of “dark” personality traits that manifest themselves on a spectrum based on the individual’ gemetic predisposition and environmental stimuli. Some “Dark Triad” individuals may demonstrate more Narcissism, some more Machiavellianism, and others more Psychopathic traits. Either way, these three conditions are not clear cut, but in Dark Triad individuals, all three of these traits exist in some measure or another.

To find out more about Dark Triad research, you can Google the term, but I also highly recommend checking out a blog entitled Illimitable Men.

One of his more enlightening articles on DT is located here:

Understanding The Dark Triad – The Second Overview


I keep a personal journal of sorts in which I write down certain traits, behaviors, thoughts, and characteristics that I have noticed about myself. After comparing the journal with the traits associated with Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy, I feel comfortable classifying myself as a Dark Triad individual.

I say this for many reasons. Among them are that my initial psychological evaluation concluded that I exhibited both Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder traits. There was, of course, nothing about Machiavellianism as this is not a recognized disorder by the DSM or any other publication that I know of. I see Machiavellianism as somewhat of a manifestation of Narcissism and Psychopathy as a way of either obtaining Narcissistic Supply or fulfilling the thrill seeking needs of disinhibited behavior respectively. It doesn’t yet seem to me to be as distinguishable as a disorder as NPD and Psychopathy are, although the latter have extreme overlap themselves.

I am also self-aware and, to boot, quite proud of my so-called disorder. I see it as a unique evolutionary advantage that I wield over the rest of humanity. I find myself wallowing in the praise and adulation that I get from others, however, I don’t absolutely need it in order to be happy. I can, and often do (though not enough), get along just fine by myself. I have my own personally devised ways of getting satisfaction if I need a little pick-me-up. While I can be happy alone, I can just as easily fit into nearly any crowd I find myself in. I can talk and cajole my way into any group by simply listening, observing, and then switching to the appropriate mask to become “one of them”. Soon after being accepted, I will capture the attention of the group amd move the conversation or activity in the direction I want it to go. It doesn’t work flawlessly every time, but I’m experienced enough now to where I can adapt to resistance to my will and devise new plans on the fly. It’s a talent that I have always had, but until recently had not really become completely aware of.

Anyway, I’m typing this out on my phone and my thumbs are going numb. I’m getting a bit bored, as well, so I will end this here. Check out the links and do some research for yourself.

Until next time…

The Dark Triad

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