The Dark Triad of Machiavellianism


It is the art of manipulation in which others are socially manipulated in a way that benefits the user, characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal style, a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on self-interest and personal gain. Machiavellianism is also a term that some social, forensic and personality psychologists use to describe a person’s tendency to be unemotional, and therefore able to detach him or herself from conventional morality and hence to deceive and manipulate others.

  • only focused on their own ambition and interests
  • prioritise money and power over relationships
  • come across as charming and confident
  • exploit and manipulate others to get ahead
  • lie and deceive when required
  • use flattery – often
  • lacking in principles and values
  • can come across as aloof or hard to really get to know
  • cynical of goodness and morality
  • capable of causing others harm to achieve their means
  • low levels of empathy
  • often avoid commitment and emotional attachments
  • can be very patient due to calculating nature
  • rarely reveal their true intentions
  • prone to casual sex encounters
  • can be good at reading social situations and others
  • lack of warmth in social interactions
  • not always aware of the consequences of their actions
  • might struggle to identify their own emotions   Source:

Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism – All three traits have been associated with a callous-manipulative interpersonal style.

Machiavellian motivation as related to cold selfishness and pure instrumentality, and those high on the trait were assumed to pursue their motives (e.g. sex, achievement, and sociality) in duplicitous ways. With each of these traits alone making someone difficult to be around, all three occurring in one person can make for someone that is quite dangerous to other people’s mental wellbeing.

They give high priority to money, power, and competition and relatively low priority to community building, self-love, and family concerns. Both empathy and emotion recognition have been shown to have negative correlations with Machiavellianism.

Machiavellian intelligence may be demonstrated by behaviours including:

  • Blaming and forgiveness;
  • Lying and truth-telling;
  • Making and breaking alliances;
  • Making and breaking promises;
  • Making and breaking rules;
  • Misleading and misdirection.                                                        I

Personality disorders are constructed through our childhoods, they are created from times where we were neglected, abandoned, rejected, ridiculed, vilified or abused. The traumatic event, decides how it will respond and cope with such an injury to their ego. The trauma is either identified or resolved, such as a child falls over and hurts their knee, they cry, their mother nurses their pain and they feel better. However, an emotional injury, such as being scolded in front of the class for saying something cheeky or defying your parent’s commands, creates an injury. This injury, if left alone, will be processed and stored, according to the age and ability of the child. Thus, a four-year-old child will feel a different response as opposed to a teenager experiencing the same incident. The trauma is recorded, as are all experiences and stored to memory.

Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism. All three traits have been associated with a callous-manipulative interpersonal style.

Due to their ability to manipulate.