A dark empath understands your emotions, but doesn’t actually feel them.
This is completely different from a narcissist, who doesn’t understand emotions at all.
Both types of people know how to fake their feelings and pretend to empathize with you. Which makes both personality types incredibly dangerous!
But if you had to choose between the two, a dark empath can cause way more harm than a narcissist. Why?
Because 1) a dark empath has narcissistic tendencies, even though they aren’t narcissists. And 2) you can uncover a narcissist pretty easily when you know what behavior to look out for.
Yet a dark empath is way harder to spot! You won’t get the same gut feeling that something is off like you do with a narcissist.
Watch out for these 8 signs you might be dealing with a dark empath – the most dangerous personality type.
1) They have a cutting sense of humor
First up, a dark empath is very good at sarcasm! You probably find yourself laughing at their jokes all the time.
The only thing is, these jokes will often be at the expense of others. They might not always be directly aimed at one person or terribly cruel, but they’ll cut like a knife.
The comments they make will be quick, sharp, and very witty – and you just know they’d be considered cruel if they were said by anyone else! Or if they were said in a different kind of way…
A dark empath tends to get away with these kinds of jokes because they know how to quickly apologize and brush it off as a joke before you get too upset.
2) They charm people they first meet
A dark empath probably has a ton of friends. They’re always branded as “nice” by people they first meet or only encounter a couple of times.
You can’t really fault them either! They always seem nice enough, polite enough, and (most importantly) understanding enough.
With a narcissist, this kind of behavior is all an act – and it’s an act that quickly crumbles.
They charm you to make you like and trust them. Then, they slowly test your boundaries and manipulate you – for no reason other than it makes them feel good!
Whereas a dark empath turns on the charm for similar reasons (i.e., to win you over). But they don’t use your compassion against you unless they really need to.
They much prefer to live with the knowledge that they could pull your strings if they really needed to – and only do it when it’s necessary.
3) They constantly hurt you and apologize
They’d plead the fifth if you ever confronted them about it – but you just know they’ve hurt you accidentally on purpose!
Dark empaths are renowned for their ability to understand exactly what gets under your skin. This is likely because they’re so good at listening and genuinely understanding the emotions you’re feeling.
The problem is, they don’t really care about how you’re feeling. They care more about saying the right thing and keeping you on their side.
So if you ever do something to annoy them, they’ll intentionally do certain things to upset or embarrass you. But they’re strategic about it!
They’ll have a rhyme and reason all lined up for why they did it that makes perfect sense. Even the apology they give you afterward will be faultless.
Generally, they’ll apologize, too. Why? Because they’ve still gained from what they’ve done to you – and they feel empowered by the control they have over you. They’ll merely apologize to win you back over again.
This is different from a narcissist, who wouldn’t apologize – and if they did, it wouldn’t feel very genuine.
4) They pick and choose who gets their remorse
A dark empath will be hot and cold – but only sometimes. You’ll notice it if you spend a lot of time together – especially if your encounters aren’t only one-on-one.
With some people, they’ll be incredibly understanding. They’ll say all the right things and make out like they deeply care.
Then with someone else, they completely change their tune. They’re dismissive and even callous. They’ll say things like, “They’ve made their bed, they can lie in it” – even though they wouldn’t say this to you if you were going through it!
If you’re a true empath, you can connect with anyone, feel their emotions, and show genuine empathy for how they’re feeling – even if you don’t like them.
But when someone is a dark empath, they won’t feel this way at all. They’ll pick and choose who gets their good side and who doesn’t.
5) They keep their distance when you’re sad
A dark empath is much like an empath in that they understand your emotions.
So if you were going through a breakup, they’d understand the hurt, betrayal, and anger you’re feeling.
But they don’t genuinely experience these emotions themselves. So they’ll do their best to avoid you or keep their distance when you’re going through something like this.
This behavior will be hard to spot, since they’ll still be a little involved in your life. But something will feel a little off about it.
Their efforts to support you will be somewhat half-hearted – like a quick message or an offer to meet that’s never followed through on.
They might not bring up what you’re going through unless you do, either – since they don’t really want to talk about it. All in all, they’ll keep their distance a bit, preferring to be around you when it’s more enjoyable for them.
6) They subtly guilt trip people (or know exactly how to do it)
Guilt-tripping is when someone makes you feel bad about doing something you want to do and convinces you to do something else instead.
Like if you were going out with your friends on Saturday. Your partner doesn’t have plans on Saturday, so they guilt trip you into staying home by telling you how much it upsets them that they’ll be all alone.
Some people guilt-trip because they lack self-esteem and are totally unaware of how manipulative they’re being. But a dark empath knows exactly what they’re doing!
They’re good at it too. It’s only when you look back that you realize you’ve changed your hobbies, thoughts, opinions, and plans for them way too many times than you should have done…
7) They know how to emotionally persuade others
“Manipulate” is a word that doesn’t exactly apply to a dark empath.
Unlike a narcissist, who manipulates others to achieve what they want, a dark empath uses their false empathy to achieve what they think is best.
A dark empath could persuade anyone to do anything. Because they understand the emotions of others so deeply, they can connect with someone and make just the right suggestion (in just the right way!).
But they don’t often do it. They prefer to simply know they could do it – and they only do it if they think it’s best for you, them, or others, rather than just for themselves.
You might see them do it to some people. You might hear them confess that they’ve done it to some people. You might even get some advice from them about how to do it to someone else when you need something done – and it’ll be scarily good!
8) They can turn their emotions on and off
Say you’re a manager of someone you really like. You have to let them go, so you disconnect yourself from the person temporarily. You tell yourself they aren’t your friend to make it easier to do what needs to be done.
This is a very hard thing to do. Yet it’s something a dark empath excels at.
They can turn their emotions on and off like it’s as easy as flipping a switch! You’ll only notice this about them if you spend a lot of time together.
I had a friend like this. We were playing minigolf and she had a call to say her grandma just passed. She was sad on the phone, empathizing with her dad. When she hung up, she got back to the game and was the life and soul of the party again!
She’d act similarly all the time – like after watching a sad movie, hearing your traumatic story, or even after sharing her own dark story.
Yoyo-ing like this is the behavior of a dark empath – and while you never feel like they don’t care about you, their switch in behavior is jarring…
Dark empaths may not sound that bad, but they really are if you get on their bad side! Or if you’re on their bad side and just don’t know it yet…
When you’re constantly subjected to their mind games, it can weaken your self-esteem, knock your confidence, and make you feel anxious around them (without truly knowing why).
Anyone you know could be a dark empath, which is a scary thought.
But something worth knowing is that dark empaths are hard to come by! Recent studies think that only 19% of the population has this trait.
So watch out for these behaviors and keep your wits about you if you sense something might be up. Just don’t be too quick to label someone as a dark empath…
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