NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS

CRUEL



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HELPFUL TIP:

Characters with this flaw will be extra sensitive to certain emotions, so think about how events in your story might specifically trigger these feelings to generate compelling tension and conflict. Another idea is to give a supporting character a positive attribute that is an opposite of this flaw, which will get under the skin of both characters and cause friction in their relationship.
DEFINITION:
Intentionally causing suffering by bringing about emotional or physical harm

SIMILAR FLAWS:
Heartless

POSSIBLE CAUSES:
Growing up in a survival-of-the-fittest environment where everyone was out for themselves
Altered brain chemistry
Role models who taught, by example, that cruelty was a pathway to dominance and power
Childhood neglect or abuse
Personality disorders (borderline personality disorder, sociopathy, psychopathy, etc.)
Prolonged stress
Low self-esteem that propels one to gain power by taking it from others
Racism or prejudice
Fear

ASSOCIATED BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES:
Egging others on to explore the depths of their anger or rage
Name-calling with the intent to emotionally wound
Identifying and targeting the weak and vulnerable
Taking the long view; delaying immediate gratification in favor of causing deeper pain
Experiencing an adrenaline rush when others are brought low
Playing pranks meant to embarrass or demean others
Not facing a threat head-on
Physically assaulting animals and/or people with the intent to hurt
Being fascinated with physical, mental, and emotional limitations and how to reach them
Using underhanded methods to get even with others
Intimidating and bullying others
Displaying a lack of emotion
Befriending someone just to betray them later
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ASSOCIATED THOUGHTS:
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ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS:
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POSITIVE ASPECTS:
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NEGATIVE ASPECTS:
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EXAMPLE FROM FILM:
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OVERCOMING THIS TRAIT AS A MAJOR FLAW:
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TRAITS IN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFLICT:
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