According to a recent study in Personality and Individual Differences, those with Dark Triad personality traits were more likely to seek manipulation rather than kindness and compassion when breaking up.
The Dark Triad is a category of three antagonistic personality traits that have been identified in previous investigations. These traits include a lack of sympathy, weakness of emotions, and exploitation. However, little research has been done on how those who are high in the Dark Triad cope with interactions after they die.
Research has shown that the Dark Triad traits are linked to the breakdown of romantic relationships, indicating that people who have high levels of Dark Triad traits are less likely to end their close relationships and may be more open to ending their close relationships.
Gayle Brewer and colleagues researched the Dark Triad and the breakdown of relationships in their latest research, which argues that relationship separation is a common and distressing event in life. These findings may impact individuals and mental health professionals, who may need to consider the Dark Triad characteristics when assisting individuals who are going through relationship separation.
The relationship between Dark Triad personality traits and the strategies of ending romantic relationships and friendships was investigated in two studies. Study 1 required participants to complete a questionnaire about Dark Triad traits and a break-up strategy. Study 2 required participants to complete a questionnaire about friendship breakups rather than romantic breakups.
Machiavellianism and psychopathy were associated with a greater desire for escalation/manipulation/close communication when ending a romantic relationship in the first study, while Machiavellianism was not a significant predictor of friendship dissolution.
In terms of cost-escalation/manipulation, people with the Dark Triad attributes are more likely to engage in manipulative methods when ending romantic relationships than follow sympathetic or kind words. Despite the similarities, differences between Machiavellianism and psychopathy were found, highlighting the importance of examining the distinct effects of each trait.
Experiment 2 did not observe the ability of the Dark Triad attributes to decide whether or not to break up. This may indicate that these characteristics have a stronger connection to romantic relationships than other kinds of social connections, such as separation.
The research team acknowledged that the study had some shortcomings. For example, the reason for a relationship to be broken was not addressed. Future research might explore the connection between the Dark Triad characteristics and the actions related to ending relationships that are not investigated.
Despite these limitations, this research reveals a connection between the Dark Triad's features and the breakdown of close personal relationships, which might be helpful in recognizing and dealing with relationship difficulties.
Gayle Brewer, Madison Parkinson, Alice Pickles, Joshua Anson, and Georgia Mulinder wrote the paper.