Dark triad personality (DTP) traits are narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These traits manifest in people as excessive self-love, a manipulative attitude, and a lack of empathy.
It's unclear how many people in the population have these traits, but various studies and estimates put the number somewhere between 1% and 10%.
DTPs are often reported to have an obsession with themselves, and they struggle to see the point in other people's feelings. Because of this, their relationships are often abusive and controlling. Romantic partners are manipulated, used, and tricked into believing they are crazy, before being abruptly devalued and discarded.
A common question that comes up is whether the offspring of a DTP would be treated any differently than the individual's romantic partners.
According to Perpetua Neo, a psychologist and therapist who specialises in DTPs, the answer is no.
"Narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths do not have a sense of empathy, they do not and will not develop a sense of empathy, so they can never really love anyone," she told Business Insider.
This doesn't change when they have children. There's no primal instinct to protect and encourage their offspring, because they are not seen as a separate entity. They are merely a tool which is at their disposal.
"DTPs tend to see children as an extension of themselves and a possession," Neo said. "So rather than saying, 'I'm going to nurture you so you can grow up to be the amazing person you're meant to be,' [they say] 'you're supposed to grow up and do this so that you're my trophy.'"
This is very different from the environment a child in a healthy family would grow up in. Instead of being nurtured and taught the ways of the world, a child of a DTP parent grows up not knowing their own sense of self.
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