All of us have experienced people that seem to lack any sense of empathy and morals. We often have negative experiences associated with them, since we often get hurt in the process. Well there is a clear way to describe how those individuals function.
Furthermore, we can also explore how best to deal with them, and ensure that we are safe when around them. There are many personality traits that center around malevolance, manipulation and deceit. They are all part of the “Dark Triad”.
Machiavellianism is one such personality trait.
Machiavellianism is a personality trait that is a part of the Dark Triad, alongside narcissism and psychopathy. It is characterized by manipulability, cunningness, and sheer determination to use other people for ones own benefit.
Individuals who are machiavellianistic tend to be liars, decievers and manipulators. Not only that, machiavellianists can be highly abusive people as well. So caution is advised if engaging with these individuals on a personal level, as they will not hesitate to sacrifice your well being for their own personal gain!
They often lack a sense of empathy and morals. Machiavellianism is a personality trait that is often associated with malevolance.
How To Spot A Machiavellian
A machiavellian thrives in a competitive environment. Since power, money and control are at the center of a machiavellians world, competing is a neccessity for them. Of course there are a lot of competitive people out there in the world, and not all of them are machiavellianistic. If you find yourself in a competitive environment, you should look at the other people who have thrown others under the bus for their own gain, or who accepts the help of others without returning the favour.
These are common signs of a lakc of morals and empathy, in which the person will use others for their own perosnal gain. A classic sign you are dealing with a machiavellian!
Machiavellians do not show many emotions. As I mentioned before, they lack morals and empathy. They simply do not see and recognize how their behaviour affects others. They are so focused on their own self interest, that they simply lose sight of the consequences of their actions.
Machiavellians, unlike narcissists, do not have to be the center of attention, yet display an exaggerated self-interest. This is one of the key differences between a narcissist and a machiavellian! The two are often times confused. Machiavellians can be a lot harder to detect! If you have ever thought of someone as a narcissist, but they didnt want to be the center of attention, then you likely will have been dealing with a machiavellian!
Machiavellian are world class manipulators! They will lie, cheat and manipulate their way to their goals without any afterthought of the damage they do to people. Often times they will appear as a charming person at first. But as time passes, you notice that they are more focused on themselves than on anyone else in their social circle. If you see someone that is extremely goal drive and has 0 empathy for the people around them, then you might be looking at a machiavellian!
How To Deal With A Machiavellian
The first piece of advise I can give is to simply avoid them and not letting them enter your life. As you probably know at this point in the article, they are not going to be bringing any benefits with them for you. They will purely be using you for their own personal gain.
It won’t be obvious at first, but watch out for those red flags!
Of course life is unfair, and you might be stuck with a machiavellian as a colleague or boss. Here it is hard to avoid them, as you might be forced to work alongside them. In this case, there are several ways that you can protect yourself from them.
You have to focus on your self first of all! The machiavellian will focus on just themselves. Just like them you must focus on yourself. Just make sure you do not harm anyone else in the process. Do not prioritize the machiavellians needs infront of your own. They will never reciprocate this kind of behaviour, so you are btter of not wasting your time and energy here.
Make sure you set boundaries and that they know it! You are deserving of a certain level of respect, and others should adhere to that. Do not let yourseefl get pushed around. A machiavellian will consistently test you for a weakness, so make sure you stand firmly in your own shoes. If you feel like you need a confidence boost, then make sure you check out these quick ways to gain confidence in yourself!
Do not try and outwit a machiavellian! They have a natural talent to manipulate, as well as an enitre lifetime worth of experience. You likely won’t be successful, and will only end up hurting yourself in the process. It is better that you spend your time and energy for some kind of self care. Do not play their game!
How To Cope With Machiavellianism
As we have previously discussed, machiavellianism is a personality trait. Hence to deal with machiavellianism, we have to focus on the behaviours that manifest themselves as a result of this character trait. In fact, we have to learn to unlearn some of these behaviours.
While it takes a lot of time and effort to unleearn behaviours that are ingrained in our personality, it is not entirely impossible. If you are dedicated to improve yourself as a person, then it is quite feasible to unlearn certain toxic behaviours.
Naturally you will first need to have an understanding of the kinds of behaviours you wish to unlearn. You must know when they come into play, how and why you portray them, and the effect it causes on you and your immediate surroundings.
As you have figured those out, then you can start working on a plan to combat these behaviours, and either replace them with more positive conduct, or eliminate them from every existing ever again.
The following methods I will describe will give you the tools you need to achieve both of the aformentioned parts. I will summarize the most important points here, but if you wish to learn more about the art of unlearning, then make sure you check out my dedicated article on that topic here.
Let’s get into some methods you will need to unlearn your machiavellianistic tendencies!
1. Ask Your Friends & Family
We are often blind to our own shortcomings, whether that is because we are truly blind to them or because we chose to ignore them. However, we are aware of most, if not all of the shortcomings of our closest friends and family members. This logic also works in the reverse direction.
While your friends and family might not realize all of their faults, they certainly will have a pretty good idea of yours. Therefore it is an excellent idea to ask them if you have any doubts about your behaviour, particularly if you have machiavellianistic tendencies!
Not only will they be able to tell you exactly what behaviours you possess that aren’t positive, they will most likely also give you good advice on potential solutions to fixing your manners. If anything, they will offer you some kind of perspective on the way you behave and carry yourself. There is always something to be learned from a seeing a new perspective, and you should embrace that!
I understand that as a machiavellianist, it might be difficult to have a close social circle consisting of many people, as your behaviours actively lead to destroyed relationships with others. Despite this, try asking the people you believe know the most about you.
2. Mindfulness Practice
If you are a frequent reader here at the Simply-Lifestyle blog, then you will know that I talk a lot about using mindfulness. It is such a powerful tool that can benefit us in many areas of life, especially in our struggle to unlearn machiavellianistic behaviours! I will explain it once again in detail here.
Mindfulness teaches us to understand not only how to live in the moment, but also how we can influence the present. Mindfulneess practice has seen a major rise in popularity for just this reason. So much so that it has even gained prominence in the medical world, finding its place in clinical therapies all around the world.
I have been a big advocate in using mindfulness to unlearn toxic and unwanted behaviours, and I will explain exactly how to practice mindfulness and cater it to those specific needs.
The most straightforward to practice mindfulness is to meditate. It is often the case that people mistake what meditation actually is. Well, here is the simplest explanation I can possible give.
Mindfulness meditation is all about paying attention to things in our immediate surroundings. You can feel the sensation on your skin, the rise and fall of your stomach as you breath, or the noises in your environment. Find a comfortable sitting or laying position and just focus on one of the above tasks.
All you have to do is spend 15 minutes doing nothing but that! It really is that easy!
So how is this helping us live in the present, let alone help us to unlearn behaviours?
Well as you focus on your breath for example, after a short while your brain will lose that focus and start daydreaming. When you realize that you have lost focus on the present, you have to bring your mind out of that daydream and resume paying attention to the present.
This strengthens our ability to come back to reality. It allows us to manage our emotions more efficiently, and it helps us to simply observe the present. This helps us understand how our actions affect our surroundings. This in turn can give us great insight into our machiavellianistic tendencies!