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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Every Person has Good and Bad Traits By Connie Vines #RoundRobinBlog

Topic: Every person has good and bad traits; everyone does both good and bad things. And we certainly have plenty of examples emerging from our various media. There is a precipice each character stands on–one side is too good to be true, the other side to evil to exist. What makes a character too good to believe? How evil can a main character become before they are irredeemable?

I think we all have a picture in our mind of someone who was too good to be true. The person is a little too smooth, a little too charming, a little too perfect and that little voice in your head is telling you the person isn’t for real.  In real life, you just know that your instincts are more in tune to the situation than what is being presented to you. In real life, you listen to your gut.  Now in the land of story telling, the rules are different.

When I think of main the character(s) being too good to be true, one movie comes to mind: Enchanted.

We have the heroine, Giselle, banished by an evil queen from a fairy-tale world, and her hero, Prince Edward. (You will see the character arch for both as the movie progresses.)  If you amp the: Integrity and character; confident, courageous, detail-orientated, committed and faithful, fights injustice. . .well, you get the mental picture.  Taken to the extreme, the characters are, well, too good to be true. 

I believe it would be difficult to create fictional characters that were too good to be true unless the particular trait is a deemed “fatal flaw”.  Thus creating a plot devise for pivotal points in the novel.  I would think it would be more likely that a character who makes unbelievably ‘stupid’ decisions might appear in the storyline.  (A topic best saved for a future blog.)

The second part of this month’s Round Robin Topic: When is a character too evil to exist?
Psychology Today states that there is a chemistry of morality. Rodents that genetically lack receptors for oxytocin behave like sociopaths – they do whatever they want without regard for their safety or welfare. They are loners and live in permanent survival mode. The oxytocin circuit in brain needs nurturing to develop properly. Also, the victims of abuse in the study were also I in survival mode and had impaired social behaviors.  This tells me that the line of being beyond redemption is when a person is a classic sociopath. 

I however, unless I have selected a nonfiction article or case study featuring sociopaths, I have no desire to jump into the pit of vile evil that is in that person’s mind. 

I find the “Dark Triad”. The Personality of Evil of particular interest when setting a boundary in the level of ‘evil’ in my story line. A main (though in my case, a secondary) character/villain will exhibit these traits.  First introduced by psychologists Delroy L. Paulhus and Kevin Williams, the dark triad set of overlapping personality traits, which host group of undesirable behaviors. These three personality traits are narcissism, machiavellism, and psychopathy. Some may say these traits can bring out the worst in human behavior. People who score high on dark triad personality scale can be manipulative, have a high sense of worth, superficial charm while lacking a considerable sense of empathy for others. These are the three personality traits and their respective descriptions that make up the dark triad.

Narcissism

High sense of entitlement

·         Seek status and prestige
·         An aura of cockiness
·         Can be highly self-centered
·         Engage in a lot of short-term  hook ups
·         Easily aggressive in the face of criticism
·         Loves praise

Psychopathic

·         Superficial charm
·         Have an inflated view of his/her own abilities
·         Lack of empathy for others emotions
·         High levels of deception, manipulativeness, and craftiness
·         Lack of a guilt or remorse
·         Highly impulsive
·         Generally has a bad temper

Machiavellism

·         Manipulates others to get his/her way
·         Very cunning and calculation
·         Very intelligent
·         Highly observant
·         Very aware of situations and surroundings

People who possess the dark triad personality traits are manipulative in nature and are well aware of what they can and cannot get away with, this may be because they are either highly intelligent, or they have a lot of experience in social  interactions.  Therefore, they know how and what buttons to push without bringing too much attention to themselves and their social mindfulness means they are usually well aware of how they come across to people and have a good handle on their appearance.   Because of their narcissist tendencies, it would be hard to form close relationships with them. The reason, is he/she are more concerned with maintaining and promoting an image rather than keeping a close friendship

So where does this “Dark Triad” fit in the personality of your character?  The traits can come in different forms: someone who is an emotional bully, talking down to others while seeking status and prestige. A corporate boss or an ambition corporate employee whose line of work involved using people as a vehicle to reach their aims; their general mentality is the end justifies the means regardless of who gets hurt. A person with Dark Triad personality can also be one was calculating, he/she also doesn't think about, or care about, the consequences of their actions, or who gets hurt.

We all have life experience, and probably can name people who have/had/are ‘living the life-style’ in the above paragraph.  Does this mean these people are pure evil?  If taken to the extreme, I’d say yes.

However, at some point in time, everyone under stress can fall victim to ‘regrettable personality traits’.  The key is the said person feels remorse and corrects/ apologizes.  And, at least makes an effort, to change those behaviors.

What is your personal take on the subject?

Please follow the listed Blog Hop links to see what this month’s participants have to say.
Thank you Rhobin for including me this month’s Blog Hop!

Happy Reading,

Connie






9 comments:

Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

Found your post very interesting. I don't know if you've studied psychology, but I haven't. Yet I've found information like your use to help create characters. One book covers personality profiles and the good/bad characters of each. That triad of traits that creates a villain fascinates me. Good post!

Anthology Authors said...

Interesting. I've never heard of the Dark Triad, but it does make sense. Personally, I think there is such a thing as too good, but I don't think there is such a thing as too evil when it comes to a villain. :D

Marci

darkwriter said...

Great post. I love your background info, like the rat,s and info on the Dark Triad. I hadn't heard of it either but it gives good info to base the villain on.

Fiona McGier said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Connie Vines said...

Thanks Beverly.

Connie Vines said...

Ah, Marci, I have nightmares if the villain is too evil. You are a braver that I :-)!

Connie Vines said...

Thank you, Rhobin. Psychology has always been a interest of mine. Knowing I was able provide you with a tool for character development is good to hear. I look forward to next month's topic.

Rachael Kosinski said...

Connie,

Good idea, explaining the dark triad in bullet points. I've never heard of this before, and wasn't quite sure what Machiavellian meant in terms of personality traits. Very interesting!

JudyinBoston said...

Interesting and informative. Good to know how these three personality disorders can combine to create one bad dude or, less likely, a woman. Knowing about how such bad people are formed helps the fiction writer inform her/his writing an sculpt a believable, but bad character.