You may have heard of the Dark Triad

  • psychopathy
  • narcissism, and
  • Machiavellianism.

Serial Killers are often described with these traits.

Machiavellianism is the tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. In other words getting what you want by scheming, cunning and unscrupulous means.

Psychological scientist Erin Buckels of the University of British Columbia suggests there's really a Dark Tetrad, that sadism should be included.

... sadists possess an intrinsic motivation to inflict suffering on innocent others, even at a personal cost — a motivation that is absent from the other dark personality traits.

... sadism is a distinct aspect of personality that joins with three others — psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism — to form a “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits.

Everyday Sadists Take Pleasure In Others’ Pain

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Replies to This Discussion

Sadly, "normal" very often reveals these personality characteristics. Unhealthy notions of dominionism, control, power, exploitation, manipulation, superiority, and entitlements can be unlearned and replaced by healthy ones. 

Many and perhaps most people never face emotionally difficult experiences they had as a child or an adult.  They never process the experiences so they are left with reserves of hate etc..  Those reserves leak in later life. 


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