S36 Bonus – The Dark Triad: Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism

Researchers in 2002 coined the phrase The Dark Triad to describe three main personality traits that share often malevolent aspects: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Those with two or three of these traits often manipulate, lie, abuse, and undermine the people around them, while often appearing charming and charismatic. Many serial killers are among those who fall into this dark triad. For authors, understanding these three traits can help you craft a villain, or in some cases, even a hero.

The three sides of this dark triad work together in strange ways. Some people will only have one or two of the traits, such as being a narcissist and a Machiavellian, but they lack the emotional explosiveness of psychopathy. Others will be a Machiavellian and a psychopath, but they won’t show signs of needing external validation often seen among narcissists.

In this episode, we break down the dark triad, looking at each aspect and how you can use each one to craft compelling characters with dark flaws.

First aired October 29, 2022.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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