Dark Triad

Dark Triad

As I’m sure almost all of us who frequent this corner of the internet are aware, the term “Dark Triad” refers to the three personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, which are considered to be “dark” for the generally emotionally destructive tendencies they engender in those who possess them. I won’t go into the details of each one here, since I assume they’re well known.

As I’m also sure anyone who has done even perfunctory amounts of reading of the manosphere is aware, these personality traits are inherently attractive to a lot of women. Is this because women like self-obsessed, manipulative unfeeling assholes? Not directly. Rather it is what people possessing these traits are subcommunicating about themselves that trip off the evolutionary attraction switches.

Self-obsessed? Then you care more about yourself than any woman, and will always try to get your own way. Women subconsciously reason that only a man of options could get away with behaving like this. High value communicated. Manipulative? You have no qualms in using devious or underhand tactics to control situations and people to your own ends. The likelihood of coercing women into liking is therefore you massively increased. Borderline psychopathic? The very definition of emotionally unreactive. Women see this, and come to the subconscious conclusion that you must be a man of many options with extremely high social value in order to care so little. High value communicated. Once high value has been established in this manner, the fear of losing you fires up the hamster of dread  in the back of her mind, and she’s yours.

Heartiste in particular has long been a proponent of dark triad personality traits, triumphantly posting the latest scientific literature confirming their attractiveness to women.

The allure is strong. Behave like an entitled jerk, and still get women? “Great!” you think, “I will start acting like a self-obsessed, manipulative asshole immediately.” Not so fast, I caution, for a few reasons.

First, people with these personality traits have developed them from early childhood. They are part of who they are at a fundamental level. You cannot simply decide you want to “adopt” a certain personality trait one day as a grown adult, and expect it to work. You will come off as socially incongruent, and most likely end up repulsing any except the most socially unintelligent women. Never forget, those people who are socially adept – either men who are “naturals” or those that have mastered their own minds through self-improvement, or a large number of women who are evolutionarily programmed to be inherently more socially aware than men – can see straight through your fakery in the blink of an eye. You may be talking the talk, and even adopting one or two of the more obvious body language cues; but the other 10,000 physical micro-cues your facial expression, tonality, eye contact and posture are giving away completely betray you.

Additionally, trying to act in a manner that is out of accord with who you are at a base level for prolonged periods of time will cause mental dissonance and anguish. The only way to truly change core elements of your personality is through a prolonged period of organic growth, reinforced with a firm set of supporting habitual behaviours that you adopt over time.

Secondly, those people possessing some large measure of dark triad personality traits are generally not very happy people. The very essence of psychopathy means you cannot feel love. To be truly narcissistic means to never really know mental peace. To darkly manipulate others means repeatedly putting stains upon your soul. Which brings me on to my third point.

I want to be able to look myself in the eye in the mirror and not be ashamed of any part of my behaviour. I want to know that I always tried my utmost to act in a respectable, honourable fashion. To my mind, this is a central tenet of being a man. This I could not do if I knew that I deliberately and maliciously inflicted emotional anguish upon a woman just to hold her in my thrall. These are the actions of a low value individual.

What then if there was a way to achieve your goal of being highly attractive to women, without having to resort to these tactics? Fortunately there is. Remember that women are not directly attracted to dark triad personality traits, but rather to the illusion of high value that they convey (and indeed, is it usually nothing more than an illusion).

Being focused on your overarching life goal above all else, whilst working tirelessly to raise and maintain your value through dedication to optimising your physique, aesthetic, mind, social skills and wealth, should be tenets central to any self-respecting man’s life. They are also qualities which by definition mean that no one woman ever becomes the sole focus of your life. Indeed, women in general begin to take a back seat when you fully begin to experience the joys of genuine self-improvement, and the corresponding leaps in confidence that come with it. Women are naturally drawn and attracted to you, simply because at a very base level, you do not need them.

In this manner, through the adoption of this life philosophy, you may be viewed as extremely attractive towards the opposite sex, whilst at the same time being fully assured that you are acting in a decent, principled and honourable manner. You also get the added bonus of massively improving the quality of your life, brimming with self-confidence in the knowledge you earned the level you are at through hard work, and able to savour the peace of mind that comes with it.

There are those of course who simply do not want to put the time and effort into trying to improve themselves. They just want the quick fix, the magic bullet. There is a word for this type of person – the “majority”. These are the people who will simply try to adopt forced personality traits which are not their own in order to pursue their shallow aims, merely increasing their own level of unhappiness in the process, whilst earning the contempt of those high value individuals around them who can see straight through their petty games.

I invite you to make your own choice as to which route you would rather take.

As a related aside, I recently came across a short online questionnaire that evaluates for dark triad personality traits. At the end of the survey, each one of the three traits is given a score out of a maximum of 4, whilst you are also shown a figure indicating the percentile of other responders that you scored higher than. I’d advise to ignore this percentile score, since many people answer these surveys dishonestly, and just look at the figure out of 4 instead.

Find it here.

For reference, my own scores were as follows:
– Narcissism: 3.3
– Psychopathy: 2.8
– Machiavellianism: 2.6

One thing of note about the trait of narcissism – someone of extremely high self-esteem, who has made numerous, demonstrable notable achievements in their life, will usually get a high score in the narcissism category. Perhaps it is the characteristics of a narcissistic personality which compel individuals to push themselves to the greatest levels of achievement for their own personal glory.

Post your scores up in the comment section for interest, or just keep them to yourself if you prefer.


20 thoughts on “Dark Triad

  1. Why everybody who writes about the dark triad only talk about the “dark” side? Yes, psychopaths have all of these traits, but what often is lacking in the discussion is that psychopatsh also use very well the “light” side.

    When people talk about “manipulation” they talk about the results but miss the process. When you have to “manipulate” someone you need to do a lot of “light” work (being “nice” and enter in the mind of the “victim” if you wanna call it like that). And you can even manipulate him/her and thus getting the results without compromising your honor, or without he/she acknowledges your inner intent.

    I like your discussion about delivering high value. A question: what work did you do in order to be sure about your conclusions? I mean, you took the high delivering value concept as a result, a deduction, then you take the common knowledge about the dark triad and you make a implication about those propositions.

    When you write “act like a jerk, but not so fast” you then explain the reasons.
    What you say is the truth, a person cannot decide to acquire “dark triad” traits.
    A comment about this sentence: “First, people with these personality traits have developed them from early childhood. ”

    In the literature it is still debated. The common argument Nature vs. Nurture. Some agree that psychopaths are those who are born like that, meaning that their brain is inherently different from the brain of other people. The amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in particular. Whereas sociopaths are developed like that from childhood.
    Just to tell you that there exists some people that are born like that, thus your argument on the inherently difficulty to become a dark triad person is indeed very valid. But never mind, this is still debated between academic people. If you want to make a difference just know that psychopaths are the real dangerous people, sociopaths don’t count for nothing.

    You write “Secondly, those people possessing some large measure of dark triad personality traits and generally not very happy people.” OK, English is not my first language, it is probably a great mistake by my side, but is this sentence grammatically correct? But that’s not the point. The point is: how can you know that they are generally not very happy people? What are the motives for that sentence? If a person doesn’t state the motives behind a proposition that proposition is just an opinion; and opinions don’t count for an argument.

    You also write that the very essence of psychopathy is the inability to feel love. Well, it is not that easy to define “love” or to define “very essence”, but we can agree on that, ok.
    Next you write that to be truly narcissistic means to never really know mental peace.
    Questions: what is the difference between a truly narcissistic and a narcissistic? When you say that someone is “truly” narcissistic? How do you define “mental peace”? Why to be truly narcissistic means to never really know mental peace?
    I’m sorry to make these silly questions, but I’m interested in your argument and I want to know more.

    I would not agree on this sentence: “To darkly manipulate others means repeatedly putting stains upon your soul. ” When you efficiently manipulate others it means that you can be whatever color you’d like to be, or better saying, you’d need to be (“need” as a function of your objectives). We can add that another critic characteristics of the psychopath is that he can adapt to any kind of situation.
    It might be strange to say, but you can see some similarity between the previous sentence and the notorious Bruce Lee’s quote “Be water.” You could dig deep and you’ll see that the 48th law says the exact same thing. Coincidence, my friend? Who knows.

    Then you continue saying that you want to look in the mirror and not be ashamed and things like that. Then this sentence: “TO MY MIND, this is a central tenet of being a man.” Emphasis by capitalization added by me.
    Then: “This I could not do if I knew that I deliberately and maliciously inflicted emotional anguish upon a woman just to hold her in my thrall. These are the actions of a low value individual.”
    In the last sentence you write “These are the actions of a low value individual”, and some sentence before your write “to my mind”. Another fact: that last sentence is lacking motives. Conclusion: that last sentence is clearly an OPINION of yours.

    Then you say that there is a method to have the results a psychopath has without being a psychopath. And you write this sentence: “Remember that women are not directly attracted to dark triad personality traits, but rather to the illusion of high value that they convey (and indeed, is it usually nothing more than an illusion).”
    Again, how can you say that a woman is not directly attracted to dark personality traits, but rather to the illusion of high value they convey? I’m sorry, but this seems to be again an opinion of yours.

    Then you conclude giving your solution, taking about the “majority” and a common and rather non scientific test.

    So, now, I am going to state some opinions of mine if you don’t mind.
    What I think is the following.

    You talk about dark triad, you state your opinion about why women like so much the dark triad personality.
    Then you say that these people are developed like that from their childhood. You continue saying that it is almost impossible to acquire dark triad personality traits.
    What I think is that you (or perhaps you assume that many people (thus I am not talking about you directly)) want to acquire these traits. But since it is impossible (for I would add that you cannot modify your actual brain structure, it would be like a dwarf wanted to become a 7 feet man. Can he? Of course he can’t, so he starts to make arguments about how being tall is not that awesome thing. You can remember the fable. What did the fox say when she can’t reach the grapes?) to acquire these traits, you start to talk about honorable things, acting respectable, to not be ashamed looking in the mirror, and other stuff like that. My opinion is that you are acting like the fox. You can never (and you know it) reach the grapes so you start to make arguments about how your condition is ok, and how these dark people are “generally not happy”. I am saying again that what I’m writing is an opinion. And I would like to add that I don’t want to convince anybody that what I’m saying is true. I am just stating what I think and I am completely aware that it can be all wrong.

    Coming back to the initial discussion. I was saying how many people who talk about dark triad traits only talk about the “dark” side. In my experience the “light” side is as much important as the dark one.
    The power comes from the fact that you show the light side almost 99% of the time (the percentage is completely make up, I cannot know the exact amount, sorry), but that 1% you show the danger, you show just a little dark to make the person think. In the seduction occasions you may want to make a “strange” comment, or want to give a particular stare, or whatever it might be.
    You might have read Machiavelli, thus you know that it is better to be feared than to be loved. When you show most of the time your niceness, and then when it is needed you show your dangerousness, that conveys that you are ready to fight when it is needed but you never initiate a fight. When you show that you have the POTENTIAL to fight but you don’t fight that means you have power and others will watch at you with a little sense of fear and will admire you (you remember how the martial arts say that you should never start a fight but only respond to one). In the seduction case you also convey to the girl that you are a man of power and that you will not stood at the will of the world but the world will stood to your will. You also convey the common sense of protection girls like.
    I made a comment the other day about the relationship between a girl and a dark triad person http://freedomandfulfilment.com/igtfy-look/#comment-1488039957 and the particular stare the guy who wrote the article was talking about.

    Sorry again to having said some not nice things. I liked your article and I just wanted to add some thoughts. Hope you’ll understand.

    • Wow, big comment.

      Yes of course most of this stuff is my opinion, arrived at through deductive reasoning combined with inference, my own experience of life and people, and articles I have read. I’m not attempting to present it as scientific fact, nor do I feel the need to extensively justify myself. If I had to write a paragraph justifying every single sentence in a post, it would become extremely long winded and boring in a short space of time. You can assess the veracity (or lack thereof) of my position based on your own logical judgment. And it’s just a blog post – it’s not a paper submitted for peer review to an academic journal!

      If you wish to know more about my thoughts on high value, I’d suggest you read back through my blog.

      I contend that those with dark triad personality traits tend not to be happy from deductive reasoning based on my own knowledge of how to acquire mental peace acquired through my own experience and extensive reading. Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or excessive egoism. If you base your happiness on externalities, they are by definition out of your own control, and you will not be consistently happy and stable for long periods of time. Psychopaths do not possess empathy and are antisocial, a basic prerequisite for human happiness.

      “Truly” narcissistic is those who actual have a deep-seated psychological issue, not those swathes of idiotic youngsters who use the term who are merely shallow and self-obsessed.

      In terms of manipulation as related to instilling feelings of dread in women to make them attracted to you, I refer to it as “dark” because you are deliberately and with premeditation causing emotional distress to another to benefit yourself. “Be water” sounds to me like just being able to flexible and adapt to the situation as required, not to have dubious moral values.

      The grammatical error was a typo, I’ve fixed it now.

      If you understand much about evolutionary psychology, and applied a simple bit of common sense, you would not dispute the claim that women are not attracted directly to what are clearly regarded as unsavoury personality traits. Look into the deeper reason behind why women might be attracted to men like this. Perception of value is everything in attraction.

      You sound to me a little bit like you’ve fallen for the “glamour” of the “dark triad” case. It shouldn’t be something that is desirable, simply for the effects that it produces. The ends do not justify the means as it were. If you read back through my blog, you’ll find numerous arguments related to this one regarding “game”, and how I don’t agree with the mindset of faking personality traits, and would always instead propose embarking upon a course of action which will naturally develop those traits you wish to acquire, in an authentic manner.

      For the record, I am actually highly narcissistic as defined by the standard tests, so it’s not striving for something that I do not have. If you can go about achieving your life goals, and cause distress to as few people as possible along the way, then that should be reason in itself to pursue that course.

      Regarding the “not nice” – it’s all good, we’re all grown men here! We should be engage in a bit of spirited debate with one another without getting all butthurt. That’s a woman’s job 😉

      • Great comment. You sound stable like a rock and gentle like a leave.

        Yeah, you’re right, if you would have write a reason for every sentence you’ll have to start a new blog for every post.

        I definitely want to read your other writings on high value. With this post and your comment you gave me a new perspective on the high value concept. I have a plan on how to use your concept to tune my game for the better. Thank you for that.

        One little problem: your blog doesn’t have a good system archive. I had to load endlessy load the main page and read the titles in order to find what I was looking for. But I don’t have much time in this moment. Perhaps a category and tag archive would be great to let people easily find your posts. Adding that in this way you can make em stay more time on your blog. Even though you don’t monetize, you still use your time to write the posts and you make the posts public, so I infer that you want people to read what you write, and you also mentioned twice in your comment how I should read your previous post. But, digressing.

        OK, so you made clear that you think, and thus it is an opinion of yours, that those with dark triad personality traits tend to be not happy. and that “psychopaths do not possess empathy and are antisocial, a basic prerequisite for human happiness.”
        But what if you can decide you own definition of happiness? For instance, I defined hapiness (for my person only, I mean I don’t go around telling people to do like me) as the achievement of my ultimate purposes. And those ultimate purposes are again decided by myself for my person. In this way I am detached from any physical or mental corporal needs. It means that my happiness do not depend upon corporal pleasures like eating good, or having sex, or having a dopamine shot from playing a mobile game, or a delight sensation deriving from a relationship fulfilment. People go around searching for emotions or living the dream or stuff like that becasue they are slave of their senses, they have to satisfy them.

        You have decided your own term when you talk about “being able to look yourself in the mirror” or that you want “leave a girl better than you found her, or at least nor worse” as you write in the “Do No Harm” post. It’s only you the one who give a definition for yourself of “better” and “worse”, and if you didn’t think about it consciously you took the definition from your environment.

        You write:
        “In terms of manipulation as related to instilling feelings of dread in women to make them attracted to you, I refer to it as “dark” because you are deliberately and with premeditation causing emotional distress to another to benefit yourself.”
        But what if you do get want you want from a girl by “manipulate” her but without making appear that you have manipulated her and without causing emotional distress. I don’t know if I can make myself clear. I mean, you have two or more levels of “deception” (“deception” used in a netrual and not negative way). If you have two levels it means you create a deception on your deception; if you have three levels then you’ll create a deception on your deception on your deception, and so on. Talking about the two levels example, making a deception on you deception you make her believe like you didn’t do any deception. This case is mentally equivalent to your way of doing things, i.e. “being able to look in the mirror” as you say. Mentally equivalent because only you know about the levels, but from everybody else you acted like nothing happened, no “emotional distress to another to benefit yourself”. I know, this kind of thinking is not easy to explain, and I don’t pretend to be a good explainer and don’t pretend to be understood.

        To point where we diverge is when you say
        “You sound to me a little bit like you’ve fallen for the “glamour” of the “dark triad” case. It shouldn’t be something that is desirable, simply for the effects that it produces. The ends do not justify the means as it were.”

        1. I can assure (but will not prove) you I did not have fallen in the glamour.
        2. You assume that acting like a person who has dark triad personality traits produces undesiderable effects. But, I was trying to explain you that this “undesiderable effects” are produced when the person uses only ONE level of deception. If the person uses two or more levels these effects are not produced.
        3. The ends DO justify the means (in my world).
        But again, I agree with you on the one level of deception because it produces “undesiderable effects”. If a mean for a person is also to not produce these effects then the person can use more levels.

        I think I will stop here, for having read your writings I sense you don’t want to see my score of your linked test. I did planty of them and I have read much about the topic, I know where myself stands.

        I thank you for the discussion because I learned from it, especially on the new applicabilities of the high value concepts you gave me. Hope you feel I gave you some thoughts for you in exchange.

      • Yes you’re probably right pal, I could do with tidying the blog up a bit. Truth be told it’s fallen by the wayside in recent times, I was writing much more often when I was proceeding along my own journey of self-improvement. Now that I largely feel inwardly peaceful, the compulsion to write has significantly diminished.

        You are of course entitled to form your own definition of happiness. Personally, I am referring to that feeling of joy inside you, where you find yourself spontaneously smiling or breaking into song for no particular reason, exchanging playful banter with strangers for the sheer joy of it. It’s the feeling that comes as a result of the process of trying to achieve my goals. You mention “detached from any physical or mental corporal needs” – I’d just offer caution on thinking like this. We’re human beings, not robots. Like it or not, we do actually have basic physical and mental needs, such as intimacy and companionship. To try and deny these is to deny your own nature, and invite a dissatisfying and somewhat bleak existence. I’d recommend the writings of Xsplat on this (http://xsplat.wordpress.com/), he’s something of a meditative guru.

        In terms of your point on manipulation, the word itself has inherent negative connotations, hence my assumption. I suppose one could “harmlessly” manipulate people so you get your own way with no emotional harm to them, but you’d still know yourself that you acted ingenuously. I personally prefer to lead an honest, authentic existence, where I act in accordance with my base desires and don’t attempt to conceal them. This enables me to approach life with a clear mind and sense of purpose. I value my peace of mind, and don’t like to have my head cluttered with rumination.

        I’d recommend Steve Jabba (http://www.authenticpua.com/about/) as the single best source on “authentic” methods of picking up girls. I met up with him a little over a year ago, and along with studying CBT and giving up alcohol, I underwent a transformational process in a short pace of time.

  2. I think “dark triad” is simply not what we should look at. Applied charisma and dark triad are two different things with some overlap. .To be content, in my experience, I need a) social connection with girls, friends, family b) to work hard on my mission c) high quality free time geared towards self improvement and experiences – read, travel, gym, style etc.
    Generally, Krauser nailed it with naming the components of learned SMV: Vibe (being the warm end of the pool), Presence (grooming, body language, physique, style, facial expression), Intrique (life of experience and magnitude – read, travel, love, fight) and Mastery.(being master of your own world).

  3. Pingback: My Dark Triad Score | Spherical Male

  4. “Given that by definition that’s got to be the most extreme outlier, I don’t believe I have.” [Referring because it souds like 4 is the maximun height for the branch commment.]

    Would you believe a person that says to you that he got that score? Will you demand proofs of his claim (but then the problem would be what kind of proofs he can give you), or rather just ignore it or something else?

    • It seems unlikely that someone honestly answered the questions and came out with that score (although technically possible) – more that someone deliberately tried to answer the questions in such a manner as to produce the result.

      As to proof – I don’t care enough to want to see it!

  5. I actually took the same test this time last year and noted down my results. I took it again today and it was interesting to see a comparison:

    September 2013:
    Narcissism: 3.5 / 94%
    Machiavellianism: 2.7 / 63%
    Psychopathy: 3 / 79%

    September 2014:
    Narcissism: 3.2 / 74%
    Machiavellianism: 3.8 / 95%
    Psychopathy: 2.3 / 30%

    I was surprised to see that a decrease in psychopathy of just 0.7 brings me down around 50 percentile points, implying the respondents of this test fit a very narrow range of responses.

    In 2013 I had just ‘discovered’ the manosphere and the Red Pill was starting to take hold. I think the higher scores for Narcissism and Psychopathy back then were surely influenced by it. At the time, I didn’t know how best to apply these value-demonstrating traits and was stumbling through.

    Now, a year later, I have a much better concept of how to demonstrate them that is definitely becoming internalised, which I think explains the lower N/P scores. The increase in Machiavellianism is interesting and, thinking about it now, I can see the shift having happened.

  6. Hey man glad to see you are still blogging, I dont anymore, anyway can you TRULY make money doing trading? I have lots of time and brains, but little cash, like 2k max, can a small time guy really compare against huge corporations and computer algorithms? Esp. when the whole thing is likely rigged (and has been shown to be rigged in past)

    • Yes it’s rigged, yes the financial institutions run the show, yes there are lots of algorithms – but yes, you can still make cash. Lots of cash. It’s not easy though, by any stretch. 95% end up losing their money. If you want to study, you’re going to need to realise it’s going to be a commitment that will take you at best a year, on average more like 4 or 5 years to master. But at the end of it, you have a “job” where you only need to work 10 minutes a day, you can add 10s of % to your capital every single day, and you can work from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

      I’ll hopefully be getting round to doing some posts on the new Villains site on how to get into Forex trading soon, with some more details.

      In the meantime if you’re interested and have a basic understanding of charts already, read up on Supply & Demand, Sam Seiden. Forget all of the technical indicators people use (RSI, MACD etc), they’re useless.

  7. Good to see you blogging again YSW.

    I was wondering whether you are still on TRT and would consider replying here on your experiences now you have been on it a while?

    I am thinking about starting it and would appreciate any advice you have in addition to having read your earlier posts on the subject.

    • Hey pal. Yes I’m still on it, I had intended to write a comprehensive post on the subject some time ago, but never got round to it. Let me see if I can get it finished off today…

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