17 signs of a dark empath (complete guide)

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An empath is someone who deeply understands the emotions and experiences of others.

Generally, they use these insights to help and guide those around them.

A dark empath, on the other hand, does the exact opposite.

Here’s how to spot a dark empath: a person who’s using their understanding of your emotions and experiences to manipulate and exploit you.

17 signs of a dark empath

1) They use what you tell them against you

Dark empaths tend to be highly intelligent, observant and exceptional communicators.

They can make you feel more understood than you ever have before in your life.

The problem is this: they really don’t care about anything you’re telling them.

For a dark empath, their ability to truly grasp the situation you are in and the struggles you’re going through is only in order to manipulate and exploit you.

Dark empaths can be found in many fields, and are especially common in professions like psychology, politics and among entitled spiritual gurus.

The dark empath hears what you’re saying and fully understands. Then he or she uses it as ammunition against you to lock you in a cycle of feeling “broken” and inadequate.

Your problems consequently get worse and your reliance on the sick individual increases.

2) They love bomb you like crazy, then stop

Dark empaths are masters at mimicking emotion.

They not only understand the emotions you’re feeling, they know how to imitate them and make you feel like you are being truly heard and helped.

Part of this is love bombing: a tactic where you are met with intense acceptance, validation and affection from an individual.

Your social media posts all have likes, you are the best person in the world, somebody finally “gets” you and truly appreciates you.

Then one day it stops.

Or it becomes contingent on you returning a favor, holding yourself back or compromising your values or goals in some way.

Dark empaths are masters at love bombing, which they use to forge an emotional bond that they can then manipulate for their own gain.

3) They strip away all your personal power

One of the worst signs of a dark empath is that they strip away all your personal power.

They take you from the highest high to the lowest low.

You finally meet someone who “gets” you, only to find out that they were gaining information on you to screw you over.

This all goes back to the root question:

What is it inside yourself that feels inadequate, “not good enough” and lacking…

And how can you overcome this insecurity that’s been nagging you?

The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.

You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs.

We stop doing what brings us true happiness and become easy prey for dark empaths and other energetic manipulators.

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.

He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.

Because true empowerment needs to come from within.

In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.

So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.

Click here to watch the free video.

4) They only have cognitive empathy

Earlier I mentioned that dark empaths have a deep understanding of emotion.

This is true, but it’s vital to keep in mind that they only understand emotion, they don’t actually feel it.

There are three main types of empathy: compassionate empathy where you understand what somebody is going through and feel for them.

Emotional empathy where you feel the emotions somebody else is going through even if you don’t fully intellectually grasp it.

And lastly, cognitive empathy where you understand everything about what somebody is going through and can gauge it, but are not actually emotionally affected at all.

Dark empaths tend to verge to the sociopathic end of the spectrum.

They empathize by fully understanding what you are going through, but they’re not actually in solidarity with you.

They’re just listening like a neutral recording device switched to on. They are very good at pretending to feel what you do by changing their facial expressions and body language, but rest assured that a real dark empath really doesn’t care.

5) They emotionally manipulate you

Dark empaths are master manipulators.

Their understanding of what you’re going through and ability to accurately catalog and grasp your emotions allows them to exploit you in numerous ways.

In the example of a dark empath psychologist, for example, the individual will intricately understand your emotional responses and crises and then use them to cast doubt in your mind and feelings about another aspect of your life.

You’re not only suffering from highly unnatural and rare (insert random mental illness), it turns out that your anger over being beaten as a child also marks you as being a narcissistic sociopath.

Or they will use your vulnerability to extract further sessions from you that they can then use to embed a belief that you are very “ill” and that all your problems come from within.

Outside life is fine, and any negative reaction you’re having to it is about you and how broken you are.

This morphine drip of gaslighting and trauma from somebody you trust, allows the dark empath to keep control over you, extracting a steady supply of financial and sometimes physical and emotional payoff from your pain.

6) They spread rumors about you to get leverage

Dark empaths have no low to which they will not stoop.

One of the additional signs of a dark empath is somebody who appears to be your friend and confidante one moment and then is gossipping behind your back the next.

Not only is it hurtful and rude, it’s can be incredibly damaging to your reputation on both a personal and professional level.

And that’s really the point.

The dark empath provides understanding and a listening ear only in order to gather intelligence and resources. He or she then uses what they have learned about you to hurt you.

They will then generally reapproach you, promising to be on your side next time and repeat the cycle.

Be warned: this is a game you cannot win. A dark empath is a person with deep issues and generally a very traumatized mind.

They can never be relied upon to keep a secret or stand by you in hard times.

7) They keep you down in order to get themselves up

Dark empaths will provide a listening ear when it suits them and be there for you for as long as you can benefit them.

But as soon as they have somebody else who can give them more benefits or they have another tactic, they will rapidly turn on you and push you down to elevate themselves.

Dark empaths thrive off those who are sensitive, insecure and trusting.

They revel in those who feel stuck and powerless in life.

This is the raw resource for exploitation.

So how can you overcome this feeling of being “stuck in a rut”?

Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.

I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.

You see, willpower only takes us so far in escaping the clutches of malicious people and overcoming our own barriers to success…

The key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.

And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.

Click here to learn more about Life Journal.

Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.

It all comes down to one thing:

Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.

Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.

So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.

Here’s the link once again.

8) They use their knowledge of you to cheat you

One of the top signs of a dark empath is that they use their knowledge of you to cheat you.

An example from the political field would be politicians and their handlers who do deep studies of demographics in order to touch on hot button issues.

They know what will get people emotional and worked up. They’ve studied polarizing topics which they can use to divide people.

They will then claim to stand strongly on one side, drawing large contingents of the population towards them who identify this or that political figure as a champion of their cause.

Another common tactic of the dark empath politician is to talk about their upbringing or formative experiences in ways which resonate with ordinary people.

This may be a fully true story, but the dark empath only tells it to convince people “I’m just like you and have your interests at heart.”

Once in office, the dark empath politician will then sell out to the highest bidder, go back on various promises and do whatever the hell he or she wishes to for an ulterior agenda or financial gain.

Are all politicians frauds? Hardly. It’s a difficult job.

But it’s also a profession which is a veritable magnet for dark empaths.

Those who deeply understand people but only want to use that knowledge to manipulate and exploit those same people.

9) They never accept when they’re wrong

Dark empaths believe they are infallible. To be fair, they do tend to have a better grasp of the world and other people around them than the average person.

The problem is that they use this skill for their own personal gain and aggrandizement.

Being mistaken or wrong is just not a word in the dark empath’s dictionary. They don’t recognize it.

If they make a mistake, they will turn that back on you, blame you or find a way to make you pay for it.

They are never the one who is in the wrong or who truly went astray. It is always somebody else who somehow is to blame. 

The dark empath is a master gaslighter. They will make you doubt what you have seen and experienced or tell you that you yourself are responsible for it.

10) They believe that they are superior to everyone

The dark empath believes he or she is superior to everyone else. On a deep level, the dark empath considers themselves justified in their manipulation and narcissism because they truly do believe they are operating at a higher level.

This combination of self-righteousness and intelligence is a very deadly combination.

The dark empath is sure he or she is right and is also highly confident that their actions and decisions are justified based on their own superiority.

They don’t have to play by the rules of mere mortals, nor do they have to feel guilt over the problems and drama of those they interact with.

They are always acting for some grander purpose which is always justified in their own mind.

11) They’re not sorry for hurting and exploiting others

Among the most crucial signs of a dark empath is that they are not sorry for hurting and exploiting others.

They believe that their actions and manipulation are always justified in one way or another.

Take the example of a sleazy spiritual guru who is exploiting clients’ trauma in order to enroll them in endless cycles of classes.

He or she will recklessly take advantage of dozens of people a day, convincing them of the need for “visualization” and “positive vibrations” while getting them to shell out huge money for seminars, courses and retreats.

There is always just one more course…

Just one more retreat…

Just one more $5,000 extra-special, exclusive master-level cleansing session.

But somehow, some way, these extra final steps never end up with any result except you feeling more lost and more dependent on this guru.

Dark empaths are masters at this kind of manipulation, and they always consider it justified.

12) They see the problems of others as weaknesses

Dark empaths are ultimately emotional predators.

They understand the problems of others, but they see them as weaknesses to be exploited, not problems to be resolved.

No matter what field or context they find their way into, dark empaths tend to operate according to a similar pattern.

It generally breaks down as:

  • Be understanding and available to listen. Demonstrating that they really do understand and pretending to care.
  • Offer gentle advice but generally focus on “being there” for others and gathering as much from them as possible.
  • Slowly but surely establish a context of power in which they are the wise and pure one and the person being listened to is weak and broken.
  • Begin to exert control and act out their manipulative behaviors while gaslighting and victimizing the victim of their behavior.

13) They make you doubt your own eyes

As I’ve said, dark empaths are masters at gaslighting.

Gaslighting is when somebody convinces you that what you are perceiving or experiencing is not what you think;

Alternately, they convince you that even though it is what you think, the situation or experience is actually your fault and was caused or worsened by you.

The classic example of gaslighting is a husband who has been caught cheating convincing his wife that she drove him to it by her neglect or nagging.

There are, however, far more subtler forms of gaslighting as well, which dark empaths are excellent at using.

Examples include:

  • Telling you that it’s your fault you were traumatized by traumatic experiences
  • Making you believe that their criticisms and manipulation of you are for your own good
  • Convincing you of specific ideologies and philosophies which re-victimize and disempower you

And so much more…

14) They find a way to blame you for all your problems

Pursuant to the last point, a dark empath always finds a way to blame you for your problems.

This is usually done in the form of gaslighting and misleading you.

It is especially common in spiritual New Age things like Law of Attraction, for example.

This is where people will be told that the world is divided into “high” and “low” vibrations, and that “low” vibrations bring negative events and people into your life.

It can reach the extent that people are being told they only got cancer due to being negative…

Or that somebody’s wife cheated on him because he was scared she would do it and “attracted” that reality…

This absurd kind of victim-blaming horseshit abounds in New Age circles and is more and more popular because it attracts people who are feeling vulnerable and craving answers.

They are then preyed on by remorseless dark empaths who make them convinced that something is deeply “wrong” with them and must be fixed by expensive sessions, courses and “overcoming” their supposedly “bad” emotions.

15) They switch into playing the victim

Dark empaths are very good at playing the victim when necessary.

They have a variety of tools in their emotional toolbox which they use with precision to manipulate those around them.

When it proves useful, they will don the garb of a victim and start lamenting their own life.

They will do this in order to pretend to care about your own struggles or in order to try to shame and guilt you into doing what they want you to.

In many cases the dark empath may also play the victim in political circumstances or corporate circles, for example, to make employees or voters think he or she is on their level and is one of them.

He or she then allows the group to channel their frustrations into them like an avatar, while in actuality remaining wholly unconcerned with the real struggles and despairs of the ordinary people.

16) They are intensely narcissistic at their core

One of the disturbing signs of a dark empath is just how narcissistic they are.

They see life as a smorgasbord that exists for their own pleasure and gain.

They often find little enjoyment in life, but continue to move people around like chess pieces to try to fill a hole inside.

The dark empath is ultimately in love with themselves but empty at the same time.

This paradox and tension keeps them an inauthentic and manipulative person who goes through life alone and misusing others.

17) Dark empaths are not generally mentally ill in any clinical sense

It’s important to remember that dark empaths are not generally clinically mentally ill.

While experts agree that they have various traits of sociopathy and psychopathy, they are often perfectly mentally healthy individuals in the clinical sense.

That is to say that their behavior doesn’t make them schizophrenic, psychotic, have a personality disorder or be likely to kill someone or something extreme.

They are simply damaged people who have taken a skill at understanding and reading others and use it for ill.

Why they have turned a normally positive ability to empathize into something to mistreat others is a deeper question that can also be addressed and has many answers.

But the bottom line is that this is, unfortunately, what dark empaths choose to do.

Guarding the gates against a dark empath

The most effective way to guard the gates against a dark empath is to tap into your personal power as I was advising before.

Many of us are much stronger than we know.

And once we access that inner strength we begin to more easily see through and reject the attempts of others to condition and manipulate us.

Dark empaths thrive on insecurity and confusion.

They run like a vampire from garlic when confronted by inner strength and somebody with a strong sense of their personal power and purpose.

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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