How to Recognize a “dark Empath”

You may have heard people refer to themselves as ” empaths ” to show that they are sensitive, intuitive people who are deeply aware of the emotions and energies of those around them. These self-proclaimed highly sensitive souls are emotional sponges that instantly sense people’s moods, making them natural helpers and healers. But this excess of empathy is not always used for good. Recently, a new term has appeared in the world of pop psychology: “dark empath”.

A dark empath personality is someone who can deeply understand the mental state of another, but also possesses one or more of the antisocial personality traits that make up the ” dark triad “: Machiavellianism , psychopathy, and narcissism . Someone who evokes sympathy and understanding from you and then plots to serve their own ends to your detriment.

What is a dark empath?

While true empaths experience affective empathy, dark empaths experience cognitive empathy — they can keenly perceive and understand someone’s point of view, according to researchers from the University of Nottingham Trent , who surveyed participants using the Big Five personality trait model . not actually feeling other people’s emotions like normal people. empath would.

Clinical psychologist and writer Dr. Ramani Durvasula told Well + Good , “The dark empath can actually be more dangerous than the colder and more unfeeling type of the dark triad, because the so-called dark empath can draw you closer—and do more harm than the result.” The dark empath, she continued, seeks to “understand what makes (the other person) tick to almost mine data” to their advantage. (She also noted that she is not a fan of the “dark empath” label, as genuine empathy “must have inner emotional and prosocial element” of this term.)

Although it is not a diagnosable condition in the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) , there is a lot to unpack here. So how do you know if you’ve fallen for a dark empath’s seductive tentacles? Here’s what to look for.

They are sociable and pleasant on the surface.

Dark empaths are far from being tardigrades. Studies have shown that they are more extroverted and pleasant than the typical narcissist. (They were also more neurotic.) They can be charismatic with great social skills. And dark empaths don’t just mope about being dark and lonely. According to the journal Personality and Individual Differences , “in terms of well-being, dark empaths performed better than dark triads on many dimensions, including anxiety, social enjoyment, and close relationships.”

Evil sense of humor (with some guilt)

Watch what they joke about and what they laugh at. Research has shown that dark empaths have a higher degree of ” wicked humor and guilt “. Although we were unable to find a definition of “malicious humor” used in the study, we can only assume that it is mean and causes laughter at someone else’s expense. And “guilt inducing” can only mean one thing: the super-fun act of making people feel bad so they do what you want them to do. The peak of emotional manipulation.

They are narcissistic and antagonistic

According to the study, while dark empaths are not completely narcissistic , they do possess narcissistic traits such as conceit, grandiosity, arrogance, manipulation, and need for admiration. (College first guy, is that you?) Dark empaths may not scream in your face—they are less aggressive than their non-empathic counterparts in the dark triad, but still harbor some antagonism.

Maybe you have met someone similar to you in your life? If yes, then you now have a new name to call them.


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