The 16 Dangerous Qualities Of “Dark Empaths”

The 16 Dangerous Qualities Of “Dark Empaths”

We’ve all heard the phrase “empathy is a gift.”

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However, even gifts can be misused, and in some cases, this can be true of empathy as well. There’s a term for those who possess high levels of empathy but also exhibit darker personality traits: “dark empaths.” This combination can make them particularly manipulative and dangerous. Let’s take a closer look at the qualities that can make these people such a risk.

1. They manipulate with ease.

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Dark empaths can quickly identify others’ vulnerabilities and use that knowledge to their advantage. This emotional intelligence, combined with their natural charm, makes them incredibly adept at manipulation. They can easily gain people’s trust, only to exploit it for personal gain.

2. They crave attention and validation.

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Despite their ability to understand others’ feelings, dark empaths often lack a solid sense of self-worth. They seek constant attention and validation to fill the void within. This need can lead them to use manipulative tactics to control others and maintain a sense of importance in their lives.

3. They hold grudges and seek revenge.

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If you cross a dark empath, be prepared for a long and bitter grudge. These people have a hard time letting go of perceived slights, and their vengeful nature can lead them to act out in harmful ways. This could range from spreading rumors to sabotaging your efforts in subtle ways.

4. They lack genuine remorse.

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While dark empaths can understand and even feel others’ pain, they often lack genuine remorse for their actions. This lack of guilt can make them more likely to engage in harmful behaviors without considering the consequences for themselves or others.

5. They use charm and charisma as a weapon.

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Dark empaths can be incredibly charming and charismatic, using their social skills to draw people in and gain their trust. However, this charm often masks a darker agenda. They can use their likability to manipulate, control, and exploit those around them.

6. They create drama and conflict.

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Drama seems to follow dark empaths wherever they go. They thrive on chaos and conflict, often instigating drama to feel a sense of power and control. This behavior can be emotionally draining for those around them and can lead to toxic relationships.

7. They’re masters of gaslighting.

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Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that makes someone question their sanity and perception of reality. Dark empaths are particularly skilled at this tactic, using their understanding of others’ emotions to twist the narrative and make their victims doubt themselves.

8. They use guilt and shame as tools of control.

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Dark empaths know how to push buttons and exploit vulnerabilities. They can make you feel guilty or ashamed for your actions, even when you haven’t done anything wrong. This tactic is used to control and manipulate, Psych Central notes, keeping you under their influence.

9. They’re experts at playing the victim.

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When confronted about their harmful behavior, dark empaths often twist the narrative to make themselves appear as the victim. They may exaggerate their own suffering or blame others for their actions, making it difficult to hold them accountable. This tactic can also garner sympathy from others, allowing them to continue their manipulative behavior.

10. They isolate their victims.

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Dark empaths thrive on control, and isolating their victims is a key part of their strategy. They may try to create distance between you and your loved ones, making you more dependent on them for emotional support and validation. This isolation can make it harder for you to see their true nature and make it more difficult to escape their influence.

11. They project their own insecurities onto others.

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Insecure at their core, dark empaths often project their own flaws and insecurities onto others. They may accuse you of being selfish, manipulative, or insensitive, even if these accusations are baseless. This projection is a defense mechanism that allows them to deflect attention from their own shortcomings.

12. They sabotage relationships and friendships.

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Jealousy and envy can drive dark empaths to sabotage your relationships with others. They may spread rumors, create conflict, or manipulate situations to make you appear undesirable or difficult. This behavior isolates you further and strengthens their control over you.

13. They thrive on chaos and emotional turmoil.

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Dark empaths are drawn to drama and emotional turmoil, often fueling it themselves. They may create conflict, spread gossip, or manipulate situations to keep things interesting. This chaos allows them to maintain a sense of control and power over others.

14. They have a distorted sense of entitlement.

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Dark empaths believe they are deserving of special treatment and attention, often at the expense of others. They may feel entitled to your time, energy, and resources, without considering your needs or feelings. This sense of entitlement can lead them to exploit and manipulate those around them.

15. They lack empathy for those they deem unworthy.

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While dark empaths can understand and manipulate emotions, their empathy is often selective. They may reserve their compassion for those they see as valuable or useful, while disregarding the feelings of others they deem unworthy. This lack of genuine empathy can lead to callous and cruel behavior.

16. They’re difficult to spot and even harder to escape.

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Dark empaths are masters of disguise, hiding their true nature behind a façade of charm and empathy. This makes them difficult to identify and even harder to escape. Their manipulative tactics can leave you feeling confused, guilty, and doubting your own sanity. It’s important to trust your instincts and seek help if you suspect you’re dealing with a dark empath.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.