Machiavellian People: When The End Justifies The Means

Machiavellian people: when the end justifies the means

Machiavellian people believe that the best way to interact with people is to flatter them and tell them what they want to hear. This type of personality demonstrates a profound emotional detachment. Combined with a cynical attitude and a good dose of charisma, these people are often masters of manipulation and fraud. In conclusion, it therefore concerns so-called risky emotional partners.

Anyone who has read  The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli will recognize these and other traits in the text. The classical philosopher, a politician of the 16th century. breathed life into them. Machiavelli himself claims that in a position of power it is permissible to neglect honesty as long as the deceit and betrayal helps you achieve your goal.

However, people don’t need to have read Machiavelli’s work to be convinced that the ends always justify the means. In fact, they don’t even need to be in politics to develop these kinds of thinking patterns.

Machiavellianism is a fairly common personality trait that is part of what is called ‘the dark triad’ in clinical psychology. This includes psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism. These three combined form a frightening and worrying kind of personality.

But it is not that you do not encounter these qualities in your daily life. Regardless of each other. Machiavellianism is also the most common of these. Read on for more details.

Machiavellian people

Machiavellian people: born or made?

Everyone has at one time or another cheated or manipulated someone to achieve a goal. Normally, however, this is a one-off incident and sometimes even stems from good intentions. It could also be part of a defense or survival tactic. An example: “I make this person think this so that he will leave me alone and realize that I am not interested in him.”

But Machiavellian people think it’s normal human behavior to use others for their own gain. They often think that people who don’t are unintelligent. Psychologists Richard Christie and Florence Geis — creators of the MACH-IV test that measures Machiavellianism — can explain this. They say that  ‘these people think that ‘a fool is born every minute and you have to take advantage of them.’

There is no shortage of people in politics who teach themselves to use cunning, calculating strategies to gain and maintain power. However, in our day-to-day lives, we don’t see many such people who see others as resources for their own use. Does that mean that Machiavellian people have a genetic trait that many other people don’t? Are Machiavellian people born this way?

Child with Lego

Experts do say that in a small number of isolated cases, there is a genetic vulnerability to psychopathy. However, Machiavellianism is for the most part the result of a poor parenting style and imitative behavior of the child.

What are the characteristics of Machiavellian people?

Who hasn’t already had to deal with a boss who always got his way? And pressured others for his own gain? You may also have seen it in romantic relationships or even in children who extort, threaten and bully their classmates.

The Machiavellian mentality leaves its mark everywhere. Therefore, it is important to be able to recognize his main characteristics of Machiavellian people:

  • They are very good at noticing other people’s weaknesses.
  • They are good planners. They devise sophisticated strategies to manipulate people. In addition, they always know how to say the right words at the right time, which allows them to quickly gain someone’s trust.
  • They are ambitious and very good at controlling their impulses. This is how they ultimately achieve the greatest profit. If the end goal is worth it, big rewards that benefit them in the long run are preferred. So they are also very patient.
  • They are charismatic and this often makes them appear charming and modest.
  • They are exactly the people you want on your team in combative work environments. Think of debating, negotiating, and so on. However, on a personal level, they rarely have long-term relationships.

How can Machiavellianism be treated?

What makes treatment difficult is that these people often do not see the problem themselves. They see themselves as well-functioning people with a great talent for achieving performance. That’s all that matters to them. They approach life from a utilitarian and materialistic angle. They generally don’t value emotions. Therefore, they are rarely aware of how their (unconscious) actions affect others.

In the rare instance that such a person sees a psychologist, this is often due to pressure from the family or from a court. The latter is the most common. We see this type of personality a lot in criminals who defraud people.

Man with mask

In general  , the most recommended strategy is that of cognitive behavioral therapy. This allows a patient, if everything goes well, to develop insight into illness. They can then identify and change their pathological ways of thinking and feelings. Finally, they can learn to develop conciliatory, respectful behavior.

But only experts with a lot of experience should treat Machiavellian people. Only they will be able to sense and dismantle the tactics of deception, suggestion and manipulation.

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