What is Dark Psychology?
Psychology is more than often linked to positive behavior and understanding, but that’s just one side of the story; dark psychology is another. Those who master psychology and its hacks can easily manipulate and influence others. Others fall easily into the trap because of their nativity. Many times, unknowingly, because manipulation is often dipped in sugar grain. And sometimes, knowingly, as trauma bonds seem so irresistible and beautiful. But remember, that’s just an illusion.
By the way, dark psychology is the art of creating beautiful illusions in another person’s mind. Even you, yes you! can do this with proper knowledge and practice.
This blog will take a dig into the world of dark psychology. What is it? Where did it come from?
Who are the people practicing it, and how will you know you are under the influence of dark psychology? Most importantly, how to break the bonds? So join me on this roller coaster ride!
Dark psychology has been part of human nature since the start of the universe. When Cain murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy and envy. Similarly, the history of ancient times suggests that in those times, people were using various tactics and superstitions to control the beliefs and feelings of others. For example, a very well-known superstition in Asian culture is if a black cat crosses your way, then you should be ready for a bad day. This superstition would induce a sense of hopelessness and anger in the person. So, my friend, dark psychology is integrated into our daily lives.
The topic gained attention as a branch of psychology in the 20th century when countries were in cold wars, and intelligence agencies were fighting more battles without weapons only by using tactics and manipulation.
It became a prominent topic as the popularity of social media increased. Digitalization gave people the independence to connect with whomever they want and do whatever they want. Stats of Cybercrimes, the dark web, pornography, and much more showed the world how dark humans are and how desperately we need dark psychology to tackle the crisis.
What is the Dark Triad?
The dark triad is a pyramid of humans’ three most negative traits. We all carry some part of it, but your darkness is measured by how high you score on these traits. These traits are Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. I will discuss them one by one.
Narcissism: Excessively self-centered people are called narcissists; the condition is called narcissism. Please note that there is a very thin line between self-confidence and self-centeredness. Self-confidence tells you to be the best version of yourself and be satisfied with who you are. On the other hand, self-centeredness means you are already the best, and people should obey and appreciate you.
When self-centeredness crosses a certain threshold, it turns to narcissism, where the person will use any tactic or manipulation to gain control over the other individual or situation. It may include but is not limited to gas lightning (Making a person doubt the reality or victim blaming is also a kind of gas lightning), silent treatments, and violence.
Narcissists lack empathy and are highly arrogant individuals—another narcissistic trait is that they need a constant supply of admiration and appreciation. Psychologically, we call it narcissist supply. These are just a few markers. Confirmation can only come from clinical diagnosis, and many available therapies can help narcissists lead a close-to-normal life.
Machiavellianism: Machiavellianism refers to the strategic use of manipulation for personal gains. For example, a politician launches a dirty campaign against his opponent just before the elections to win the game. Or your friend who calls you when they run out of money or want to get an assignment done.
Machiavellianism knows no morals, and people scoring high on this trait go down any street to push others down and hold themselves up. Their manipulation techniques often include but are not limited to cunningness, diplomacy, gaslighting, lying, flattery, etc.
Their relationships are severely affected, and they cannot build healthy and enduring relationships. Machiavellianism can be masked to some extent with therapies, strict self-discipline, and self-analysis.
Psychopathy: I can warrant you must have seen at least one movie or read at least one novel about psychopathy. If I concisely say it is the“lack of all human traits, including social interactions, emotions, inability to manage oneself. Psychopaths are brutal, cold, and adventurous. You can recognize them from a distance. A coldness in their stare and voice tone makes them stand out from the crowd. Do you remember the Jeffrey Dahmer story?
Psychopaths are often serial killers, murderers, sadists, and masochists. One percent of the total world population qualifies as clinical psychopaths, but that does not mean they are rare. Psychopathy is standard in every walk of life. Some exhibit active, while others indicate passive psychopathy. Psychopathy cannot be corrected, but it masks itself and is often exhibited in its worst forms whenever the psychopaths get a chance.
How do I Know I’m a Dark Person?
Psychologist Dr. Peter Jonason 2010 introduced a 12-question test to measure dark triad personalities. The higher you score, the darker you are. Here are the questions:
- I tend to manipulate others to get my way.
- I’ve cheated or lied to get what I wanted.
- I’ve used flattery to get what I wanted.
- I tend to use others to my advantage.
- I often lack remorse.
- I’m not particularly concerned with morality or the morality of my actions.
- I have a tendency to be callous or insensitive.
- I’m a bit cynical.
- I have a strong desire for others to admire me.
- I like it when people pay attention to me.
- I am a person who seeks prestige or status.
- I have a tendency to expect special treatment from others.
How Do You Spot a Dark Person?
There are various techniques to identify a dark person. Most authentic is the use of self-assessments and clinical tests. But what if you suspect a dark person in your life? Here is the list:
- Love bombing at the initial stages of the relationship.
- They are too controlling or demanding or both
- They show hot and cold behavior patterns toward you
- They are never wrong.
- Somedays, you feel numb and question your own existence after enjoying a cup of coffee with them.
- They want you to admire them even when they haven’t achieved anything significant.
- They give you silent treatment until you apologize or do what they want.
- They go out of control in anger.
- They will often break traffic rules.
- They try to invade your privacy.
- They treat you as an object.
- Only contact you when they need a favor from you.
- They cannot forgive easily. And when they do, they never forget.
- Your relationship is more about punishments and rewards.
- Transparency and open communication just don’t exist.
- You feel a lack of energy around them.
- They don’t appreciate it when you spend time by yourself or with your friends and family.
How to Outstand a Dark Individual?
Dealing with a dark triad individual can be tricky because by the time you realize that trauma bonds are already established, and psychologically speaking; they are most challenging to break because, unwantedly, you slide back into the cycle again. The more frequent the relapse, the stronger the bond gets. But still, it is never too late to break the cycle because no one deserves emotional and psychological harm. Here are the steps you should immediately take:
- Explain to a friend or a family member about the situation.
- Try to stay away from them as much as possible.
- Don’t respond to their calls and messages right away.
- Never leave your logical ground, no matter what they say. NEVER!
- Never believe their apologies or excuses. It’s a trap!
- Be hot and cold to them
- Never express yourself in front of them
- Never tell them your weakness.
- Never encounter them directly.
- Never ask them to justify their contradicting statements. You are educating them to be smart.
- Seek professional help if needed.
Dark psychology is a versatile yet complex and evolving field. Humans are complicated, and sometimes, it is challenging to understand their behavior and thought processes. But if you pay enough attention to repeating patterns, you can always decode what is underneath. Interestingly, dark triad individuals have some universal behavior patterns, some of which I mentioned in the blog above. If you can identify them and hold your grounds and emotional states firmly, they are the most straightforward individuals to deal with, believe me.
F and Q s:
What does dark psychology mean?
Dark psychology is the art of controlling minds and manipulating emotions for personal gains.
Is a dark personality attractive?
Yes, according to various studies, dark personalities are rated more attractive in surveys and experiments than other types of personalities. Surprisingly, this is one of the most desirable characteristics.
Who has a dark personality?
Any outlying scores on the dark triads are considered dark personalities, including narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.