Waking Up to the Trap of the “Hot Narcissist” & Other Dangerous Traits:  Unpacking the Preferences of Women for Narcissism & the Other Two “Dark Triad” Personality Traits!

THE WRONG GUY:   Okay, so we didn’t really need a research study to tell us this.   We all notice that it takes a while for the “nice guy” to win the gal’s heart in the movie, or the the story of life.   We know she often has to learn just HOW DANGEROUS dangerous is!    However, this new study on the three dangerous character traits that women find attractive, when reflected in men’s faces,  highlights how unconscious women’s movement towards the dangerous character traits in men may be.

WAKING UP OUR INSTINCTUAL “PARTNER PICKER:”   We carry these instinctual survival guides within our styles of relating, based in the body and its very ancient signaling systems, and we have to wake up spiritually and psychologically to update those survival guides to the current situations in our lives (personality development work). Some people are blessed enough to be in a healthy family system that aids that awakening, within whatever culture and era by which they are surrounded when they come into adulthood.    Others have to pursue that awakening more consciously, because the survival lessons in their family of origin were setting them up for lack or, worse, danger.    But everyone needs to notice where their instinctual attention patterns take them in life, and in dating.

Some important findings from this new study:

“Men with a dark and brooding appearance may be more attractive to some women because of the character traits they suggest, a new study finds……

Attraction to certain dark traits may also be linked to having more offspring

Psychologists showed women a selection of men’s faces which had been morphed to suggest certain key negative personality traits.

The three character traits are known to psychologists as the ‘dark triad’:

  • Psychopathy: being selfish, callous, remorseless and anti-social.
  • Machiavellianism: being manipulative, having low morals and exploiting others.
  • Narcissism: having excessive amounts of pride, vanity and a massive ego. At the same time having little empathy for others…….

Previous studies have found that out of the three Dark Triad features, narcissism was associated with physical and psychological health benefits in men as well as social success……..

These findings suggest that in today’s society women’s preference for some of the Dark Triad traits in men may be related to their reproductive success.”

PsyBlog summary of the study in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior (Marcinkowska et al., 2016).

“HOT NARCISSIST” TRAP – LESSER OF THREE EVILS:  One minimally fascinating piece of the new data captured here is that women’s unconscious survival push to bond with the narcissist seems to be winning out over that push to bond with the other two dark triad (psychopathy and Machiavellian) character traits.    In today’s society, more reproduction is happening with narcissistic men than psychopaths or heavy duty controllers.    We might even be evidence that our genetically and culturally passed-on instinctual survival systems are maturing.    After all, narcissism is a less potent mental disorder than the other two dark character trait patterns.  But, as anyone who has ever married a narcissist will tell you, it’s going to be a relational choice you will regret.  So……

UNPACKING THESE INSTINCTUAL PATTERNS:    Although the narcissist is the lesser of three evils, he is still a trap.    Using the Enneagram of Personality’s Instinctual Variants as a way to access our unconscious survival systems, we can dismantle that trap when we see it in the dating “field.”   Unpacking these instinctual patterns is, according the study quoted above, an especially important tool for women.     Here’s a quick start:


Self-preservation:   Are you focused on the “alpha” partner who can make your life physically and financially comfortable?   Could it be that you need to expand your awareness to include needs for excitement and partnership that ignites your true passions in life, and/or a partner that know how to love and bond deeply?

Sexual:  Are you carried away by the partner with whom you feel “chemistry?”   Would you benefit from expanding your awareness to include your need for some solid structure and ground to your life partner, and/or a partner who know how to connect deeply in addition to the chemistry buzz?

Social:  Are you caught up in the relational rhythms of a partner who negotiates the social world and community life with ease?     Would you benefit from expanding your awareness to include your needs for dynamism and expansion, and/or a partner who can help you build a real home?



Until next time, Builders!

Dr. Ronna

2 thoughts on ““Hot Narcissist” Trap – Waking Up to It!

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