Hey, Psych2Goers! We’ve talked about dark empaths before and how we can identify one. To refresh our memories, a dark empath is someone who understands the thoughts and feelings of others (an empath) and uses it to get what they want from others. This can be through manipulating, deception, or even humiliation (Bubandt & Willersley, 2015). Think the classic high school bully who knows you’ve been saving up for that expensive shirt just to buy and wear it first. Cool, we all know what a dark empath is! So, what happens when one dark empath connects with someone just like them? In short, chaos ensues. Let’s take a look at what happens when a dark empath meets another dark empath.
Side note: Due to the lack of information out there, this article is based on related mental conditions, personal opinion, speculation, and theory. This article is also not a substitute for professional medical/mental heath treatment nor is it meant to diagnose anyone.
It feels like a never-ending game of 20 Questions.
Like we said earlier, dark empaths use what they know about you to get what they want out of the relationship or friendship. What’s the first step? Gathering intel, of course! And how do we do that? The same way you get to know a new friend or a first date. You ask questions about their likes/dislikes, hobbies, etc. A dark empath gives “…a surgical almost razor-precision focus on another person to understand what would make them tick..”. (Natftulin, 2022). They gather all of that intel and file it away for a rainy day (when it can benefit them).
When you have two empaths, it’s likely they’ll continually ask questions of each other but be very safeguarded by what information they “reveal” about themselves. They don’t want to make themselves vulnerable, but they do want the upper hand. It’ll be a battle of inquiries, a Q & A (Hold the A).
They begin playing the “Tit for Tat” game.
When one dark empath is involved, they need to be the center of attention in a lot of different ways. They need to point out anything that you do wrong, can’t be left out, and need to bring people down to their level if they’re not the center of attention. Let’s say you go to a friend’s birthday party and start feeling some type of way about it not being about you. If you’re a dark empath, you might start telling an embarrassing story about the birthday person.
Now, let’s say both you AND the birthday person are dark empaths. You told an embarrassing story, so they may say that everyone but you is allowed to have a piece of cake. From there, it escalates until someone gives up (which can take a while). The party isn’t about the dark empath (which they perceive as your “first move”), so they feel the need to retaliate to ensure they’re on top. Unfortunately, it’s a lot worse than a large narcissistic personality. It’s the self-importance mixed with the the understanding that their actions will make you upset and the lack of regard for your feelings.
Bring on the Pity Party!
One characteristic of a dark empath is being overly critical of themselves. This can be part of the manipulation tactic, or it could be part of their idea that they are perfect and should be an example to others. Either way, this person is constantly putting themself down out loud. Sometimes it may even be in hopes that you’ll feel bad and say nice things to “cheer them up.” Double bubble, add a second dark empath, and now we have the Pity Olympics! A common way a dark empath can try to manipulate other is “one-upping”.
One-upping is when someone has to beat or up whatever you said by one notch to seem cooler, more favorable, likable, etc. For example, your friend calls you and says they’re getting a raise at work! You know they’re thrilled, because they recently asked to borrow money. Instead of congratulating the friend, a dark empath might say “Oh, they told me I was getting mine a week ago. Guess you were last to get yours.” This person made themselves seem more important because they got the raise first. Again, this sounds like narcissism, but let’s take another look.
When you asked the dark empath to borrow money, you revealed a huge insecurity to them! That’s like showing them your hand in poker. You let them know you’re sad, angry, maybe even embarrassed or ashamed. Now, they can use that knowledge, plus knowing you got your raise last to use you more.
Things may not end on a positive note.
We’ve been talking about a lot of negativity. When it comes to dark empaths, there isn’t a lot of positivity unless its them talking about themselves or getting what they want, so it’s understandable that things in this interaction (or friendship) may not turn out in a positive way. When you now have two dark empaths, you’re doubling all of these toxic behaviors – causing others to feel stupid, get angry, or feel small. Keep in mind, a dark empath is part narcissist. What happens when a narcissist gets bushed to the proverbial back burner? They will make themselves known. How? That will depend on the person and the situation, but I can guarantee that it won’t be healthy or positive with all the toxic action that has already happened. Again, the distinction is that the narcissist does this to be number one and doesn’t think of anyone else. The dark empath wants to be number one, but they calculate how they’re able to step on others. And to boot, they don’t care.
You see? I wasn’t kidding when I said “chaos ensues” earlier! Dark empaths are definitely rare, but putting two in the same room can definitely spice up the chili pot, if ya catch my drift! Did anything shock you? Have you witnessed this happen irl? Let us know in the comments below! As always, keep an eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content!
Have a wonderful day!
Want to see what happens when a narcissist meets a dark empath? Check it out here!
The references used in and to compose this article are listed below.
Brenner, G. H. (2020, August 1). Introducing the dark empath. Psychology Today. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/experimentations/202008/introducing-the-dark-empath-0
Bubandt, N., & Willerslev, R. (2015). The dark side of empathy: Mimesis, deception, and the magic of alterity. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 57(1), 5–34. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0010417514000589
Garis, M. G. (2022, February 22). The dark empath personality merges empathy with dark triad traits-and that spells trouble. Well+Good. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.wellandgood.com/dark-empath/
Naftulin, J. (2022, March 26). A dark empath can use your feelings to manipulate you, according to experts. here are 4 signs you may be dealing with one. Insider. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.insider.com/dark-empath-traits-manipulation-pointed-jokes-charm-2022-3
Neo, P. (2021, June 25). Dark empaths: The personality type that uses empathy as a weapon. mindbodygreen. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-are-dark-empaths/