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Dark Triad: Are You an Apostle of Shadows?

There are 3 ingredients to a toxic personality. These character traits can develop as a result of bad influences and misguided beliefs picked up along the journey of life. Let’s explore together what the Dark Triad is and how to develop opposing qualities.


We all have a certain amount of narcissism, which is not inherently bad. What becomes problematic is when this narcissism is exaggerated. Narcissism is falling in love with oneself, believing that one is the most important person on earth, and that our attention should be focused on self-contemplation.

Reasons why narcissism is harmful:

When one is narcissistic, there is a distortion of the perception of the world: everything revolves around oneself. Furthermore, this self-aggrandizement is accompanied by devaluation of others. It is not pleasant to be friends with narcissistic personalities as they inevitably end up neglecting us. The narcissist cannot love others because they only love themselves, or rather the image of themselves. In reality, the narcissist is oblivious, never truly embarking on the journey of self-discovery. They are simply delighted to admire their appearance, material success, and the image they project to others. In essence, they reside in superficiality. Narcissism inhibits personal development, which is why it is important to learn to combat it to embark on the journey of self-discovery.

How to heal narcissism?

Paradoxically, to overcome narcissism, one must embark on a journey of intimate self-knowledge, understanding one’s mind and soul. This entails truly knowing oneself, acknowledging one’s imperfections, and contemplating a more subtle beauty. It is through genuine self-awareness that narcissism is overcome, and one can begin to love others. If spiritual knowledge seems too abstract to you, let me tell you something else: it is by confronting difficulty that you will come to know yourself. By overcoming obstacles, you will have to tap into inner resources that imply a better understanding of yourself. Thus, you will be able to become more intimate with yourself once the ordeal is overcome. What you will admire will no longer be your image but what you have accomplished. This will generate genuine confidence that does not need to despise or deny others to exist.

Machiavellian Personality

A Machiavellian person is characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others for their own interests without concern for morality.

Some books advocate manipulation to achieve one’s goals, especially in the realm of seduction. This is a short-term calculation because you can always deceive someone, but in the long run, you will be exposed, and you will lose your reputation and the trust people have in you. Machiavelli was a Florentine who advised princes on how to seize or retain power. Acting in a Machiavellian manner means pursuing power regardless of moral considerations while sacrificing long-term gains.

Having a set of values

If you are Machiavellian, you do not have values per se. The end justifies the means, so you will surpass any possible limits that are normally set by an ethical code or spiritual allegiance.

Psychopathic Personality

It is characterized by impulsive pursuit of action and by its “primary” form of selfishness, lack of empathy, and remorse. Perhaps the most alarming trait of the dark triad is that the person spreads evil around them and feels no remorse. It sends chills down your spine. No matter how friendly and caring you may be, the other person can treat you like a dog without remorse. Needless to say, one should distance themselves as much as possible from this type of personality; you have everything to lose with them.

The psychopath is a zombie

The commonality between a zombie and a psychopath is that they have both lost their humanity. They move automatically, unaware of the harm they spread around them. Their insensitivity would make them strangers to the human race; they are primarily ill: “pathos” in Greek. The zombie has been contaminated, and the psychopath has a psychological illness, hence their name. Both are toxic; both are to be avoided so as not to end up like them: their ailment is contagious.

How not to develop traits of the dark triad?

First, one must be aware of the existence of the dark triad, and then one must have confidence in the idea that it only brings misfortune in the long run. For some, the dark triad might seem beneficial: increasing power and influence, seduction, and many other things. All these apparent benefits are actually short-term gains. It’s like building a colossus on feet of clay: sooner or later it will collapse.

Knowing the existence of the clear triad

Just as there is an element opposite to the dark triad, its name is the clear triad. Since nature abhors a vacuum, one cannot fail to develop the dark triad if one does not seek to develop something else, namely the clear triad.


Kantianism consists of treating people as ends and not as means, it is the opposite of Machiavellianism. If you value people to the point that what matters is the relationship you can establish with them and not the benefits you can derive from this relationship, it means that you adhere to Kant’s philosophy. To develop it, it is sufficient to develop empathy and in a way sanctify humanity. Someone who is Machiavellian uses people, alienates them, i.e. reduces them to the sole dimension of an object.

Faith in humanity

One could say that there are two opposing worlds: those who believe that humans are fundamentally bad and those who believe the opposite (and perhaps another group that thinks a mixture of both). A glass can be half empty or half full, reality doesn’t change, but our perspective changes who we are: we are either optimistic or pessimistic. The same goes for faith in humanity: if we think that humans are good, we will induce a particular behavior that will be more open and understanding. Conversely, if we think that humans are inherently bad, we will be uncompromising and vindictive.


Each individual has dignity and value as such. Humanism consists of recognizing these two things and induces a healthy and benevolent attitude towards others. Everything comes from the belief we have. If we are vigilant about the ideas we maintain, we become more respectful of ourselves and the people around us.

Using the dark triad

Knowing the dark triad helps us protect ourselves, especially by identifying negative traits in others. Knowing Machiavellian behaviors allows us to unmask people and not become Machiavellian ourselves. As mentioned above, there is nothing truly good to gain in the long term by being such a person.

A spiritual approach to developing the clear triad

Essentially, the dark or clear triad informs you about the quality of your soul. If you don’t make daily efforts to improve your soul through prayer or other spiritual habits, you will inevitably deviate from your ideal. Cultivating an ideal allows you to strive in a direction every day, which prevents us from making major mistakes in the education of our character. Continuous improvement in character is the challenge of a lifetime and, in fact, it should never cease. If you think you don’t need daily efforts, it’s because you have already in a way left the path of virtue.

The importance of the environment

In the field of personal development, it is essential to surround yourself with people who go in the same direction. If you let people get too close to you and they have opposite values or they don’t make the same efforts as you, you will feel a weight that will hinder you on your journey. It is therefore important to develop early in life an ability to read people and guess their hidden intentions, for this, often, you need field experience. In short, it is an additional reason to constantly assimilate new concepts in personal development: what we learn and master makes us both more resilient and agile.

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