Dangerous People: Learn to Watch Out for the Dark Triad

Dr T J Jordan
3 min readApr 13

Some personality traits are warning signs.

Photo by Judeus Samson on Unsplash

By Dr T J Jordan

Three personality traits have come to be known as the Dark Triad. These are: narcissism, psychopathy, and machiavellianism.

We all have personality flaws and imperfections. But some people have traits that make them toxic to others — and these traits go along with the absence of empathy, compassion, and a “moral compass.”

Knowing how to recognize behaviors that make some people dangerous is important for choosing our partners wisely and for basic self protection. Here is an introduction to those three traits.

The Dark Triad

Our personality traits fall along a spectrum. We say that someone is depressed, for example, if they show significant loss of interest in life. Or we believe that someone who severely lacks empathy has an empathy deficit disorder. But we also know that any of us can be a little bit depressed and a little less empathic than others.

Remember that personality traits rarely fall into “all” or “none” categories. Even toxic traits are present in many of us to a greater or lesser degree. For example, while severe psychopathy affects about 1% of us, nearly 30% of us have some amount of psychopathic traits.

For each of the Dark Traid traits, there are some clear hallmarks. Items from the “dirty dozen” rating scale are useful here:

— Narcissism

The narcissistic person is all about “I” or “me” and rarely about “us” or “we.” This reveals an inflated sense of self importance. They tend to be self-centered, ego-invested, and arrogant. They also are hypersensitive to criticism because they struggle to maintain a fantasy world that feeds their sense of self.

Hallmarks include behaviors that align with these statements:

I want others to…

Dr T J Jordan

Passionate about sexualities, masculinities, relationships, intimacy, mental health, CPTSD , animals, growth, psychology, and exotic locations.