Most of us are aware how toxic and dangerous narcissists and psychopaths can be. But there is a new contender in the tournament of toxic personalities – The Dark Empath. And people with this personality trait just might be the most dangerous of them all.
What is a dark empath?
Dark empathy is a personality trait that is made up of the maladaptive ‘Dark Triad’ personality traits and high degrees of empathy. A dark empath personality typically possesses malevolent character traits, along with strong levels of cognitive empathy, which they use to manipulate, exploit and abuse others.
The dark triad personality
According to psychologists, the dark triad involves personality traits like narcissism, Machiavellianism & psychopathy. It is referred to as “dark” due to their socially aversive traits. The Dark Triad is associated with qualities like –
- Charisma and charm
- Exploitative and manipulative
- Seeking constant affection and validation,
- Emotional frigidity
- Sexual promiscuity
- Lack of empathy
- Lack of remorse
- Immoral strategic thinking
Related reading: What is the Dark Triad?
Are you a dark empath?
According to a 2020 study by Nadja Heym, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, and colleagues, a dark empath exhibits the dark triad qualities, like being aggressive and manipulative, but are able to have empathy for others. Although they are less aggressive than people with dark triad traits, they have a strong “antagonistic core” and are highly extroverted.
Their ability to be highly social and capacity for empathy is exactly what makes them the most dangerous people on the planet, as they can easily understand what others are going through and can exploit others for their own gain. This ability to be empathic is what makes a dark empath unique and different from narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths.
How to spot a dark empath: Signs of a dark empath
“Though the aggression reported by the dark empaths was not as high as the traditional dark triad group, the danger of this personality profile is that their empathy, and likely resulting social skills, make their darkness harder to spot,” state the researchers.
However, there are certain subtle signs that can help you identify a dark empath in your life. Take a look at some of these signs of a dark empath below –
1. They exploit others
A dark empath is just an intelligent narcissist with empathy, intuition and sensitivity. So, they have the innate skill of making others work for them. They know how to walk the walk and talk the talk to keep you in control in any situation and use you for their own gains. They are experts at reading others and understanding their needs and at using that information to get what they want by manipulating people.
They are motivated to empathize with others due to their urge to control them. Understanding your triggers make them feel more powerful in the relationship. What’s worse is that they don’t even regret exploiting and hurting others. They will never feel sorry for their manipulative behaviors and actions as they always find some justifications inside their mind.
Related reading: 15 Reasons Why Narcissists Use Mind Games To Exploit You
2. They are highly sensitive
Although they can be malicious, a dark empath can have and exhibit heightened sensitivity. This is one of the most common dark empath signs. Due to their highly sensitive nature, they can easily understand your thoughts and emotions, even if they are unable to feel them. They also possess high levels of emotional intelligence, similar to empaths, but they use it very differently – for their own personal gains.
Dark empaths are more prone to utilize their Dark Triad traits to exploit and manipulate people, even when they can feel and experience emotions of others. Their ability to understand others’ emotions makes the game of manipulation easier for them.