Patience is one vital trait lacking in psychopaths, narcissists and people with ‘dark personalities’, new research finds.
Without patience, people with dark personalities find it hard to obtain satisfaction from their work and love lives.
Impatience means they move from one partner to another and do not commit fully to their work.
Without committing to work and other people, it is very difficult to find meaning in life.
Patience helps people get through difficult situations without being aggressive — something that dark personality types cannot often manage.
Psychopaths, in particular, are highly impulsive, often acting without thinking or controlling themselves.
The study’s authors explain:
“Psychopathy features impulsivity, antisocial behaviors, and lack of empathy; those who score high on psychopathy scales are prone to seeking thrills.”
Similarly, narcissists find criticism very difficult to deal with — they hold grudges and will lash out.
The study’s authors explain:
“Narcissism refers to a feeling of grandiose self-worth such
that those who score high on narcissism often appear dominant and egotistical.
Narcissists commonly experience feelings of superiority over others and can be quite aggressive when they sense that their self-esteem is under threat.”
The conclusions come from 434 people working for a Chinese company.
All were surveyed about their patience, how much meaning they experienced in life and any dark personality traits.
People with any of the so-called ‘dark triad’ of personality traits of psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism had low levels of patience and experienced reduced meaning in life.
The authors write that there are three critical ways to find meaning in life:
“…the first is “creating a work or doing a deed”, which is supported by the finding that meaning is positively related with work engagement; the second is love, which is supported by the finding that meaning in life has a significant positive correlation with nourishing relationships; and the last is enduring unavoidable suffering…”
The Chinese study discussed the importance of patience within Buddhism.
Buddhism defines patience as involving three elements:
“The first is the patience to endure suffering, willingly, namely to accept both mental and physical suffering with gratitude.[…]
The second is the patience to not retaliate against harm, namely to withstand harm caused by others, and respond with forgiveness and loving-kindness rather than anger or hatred.[…]
Third, the patience to thoroughly scrutinize phenomena, namely to bear with uncertainty and insecurity, and to see things as they truly are…”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life (Wang et al., 2018).