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Surviving Domestic Abuse: The Dark Empath

Hello everyone. After another long hiatus, I'm going to continue my series on Surviving Domestic Abuse. A while back, you may have heard me talk about the Dark Triad, which consists of three especially toxic personality disorders in which the affected individual lacks real human empathy and feels no remorse for any of their actions. Some psychologists have revised this model over the years to include a fourth dark personality.

As a recap, the Dark Triad/Tetrad comprises the following personality disorders:

  1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Individuals with this type of personality typically have a overly grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement. Victims of narcissists provide it what experts call "Narcissistic Supply", and are constantly toyed with and manipulated by the narcissist to get the attention that the narcissist feels that they are entitled to. When the narcissist is denied their supply, they typically go through withdrawal, and become more hostile and mentally unstable. If you suspect you are in a relationship with such an individual, the best thing to do is not to confront the narcissist, and to slip away as quietly as possible. If you are too invested in a narcissistic relationship, such as if you have kids with the narcissist or joint marital property, consider taking advantage of the court system to significantly limit the scope and time in which a narcissist is allowed to contact you to discuss certain things. The less time you spend engaging a narcissist, even if it's not entirely unavoidable, the better it will be for your mental health. Do NOT confront the narcissist. Nothing productive can result from it. In fact, it may actually be dangerous for you to do so.

  2. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). These individuals are also known as psychopaths or sociopaths, depending on whether they had the disorder from birth/genetic factors, or if the environment that they were raised in led to the individual developing the disorder. Psychopaths are largely motivated to manipulate their victims almost strictly for utilitarian reasons, and almost everyone in their "network" serve a specific purpose to fulfill the needs or wants of the psychopath. This can be both for personal as well as professional reasons. Whereas the narcissist will typically become mentally unstable when their target denies them supply, a psychopath is able to stay calm and collected, and take countermeasures against the target that is trying to escape from their grasp. This can include psychological manipulation tactics or in severe cases, physical violence (sometimes even resulting in death) to ensure the victim or target is "silenced". Similar to a narcissist, if you suspect you are in a relationship with a psychopath, slip away as quietly and nonchalantly as possible. Do NOT confront psychopaths and/or narcissists!

  3. Machiavellianism. You can almost think of these individuals as a psychopath with a god complex (think Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, or Emperor Hirohito). They feel destined for greatness and will resort to any means necessary to accomplish their grandiose, overly ambitious goals. There's not too much more to say about these individuals, other than to ensure you stay the hell away from them at all costs. Avoid detection by these individuals if you can, by making yourself look as meek and unimpressive as possible. If you have a use to a Machiavellian, you will be used, and likely disposed of when you lose your usefulness. Stay away!  Do NOT confront psychopaths, narcissists, or Machiavellians!

  4. Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD). I included this disorder last because experts are unclear whether the Dark Polygon should be a Triad or a Tetrad. Sadists are disgustingly simple. They take pleasure from committing acts of cruelty, which are in many cases highly criminal and abusive toward their victims. Think of an inquisitor in a torture chamber. They have no real objective or motives, as long as they inflict as much suffering as possible to their victims.  Do NOT confront psychopaths, narcissists, Machiavellians, or sadists!

Why did I feel the need to recap all of these dark personalities? Because there is a monster that is even more horrifying than all of these creepy little creatures of the night. Enter the Dark Empath.

What is a Dark Empath and how does it differ from the Dark Triad/Tetrad? Imagine a monster that actually understands human emotions and empathy, and instead of using them in a compassionate way, they use it for highly manipulative, abusive purposes. Each arm of the Dark Polygon is flawed in the sense that they are almost like a homunculus - they lack a conscience. This thing on the other hand is fully aware of the harm they are causing to their victim and due to their high emotional intelligence are capable of taking it even further than the Dark Polygon ever could.

The Dark Empath is a relatively novel discovery within the field of psychology, and as such, are still largely a mystery to professionals. It is unclear whether they feel remorse or guilt for their actions, and it is even harder to diagnose a Dark Empath, because unlike the Dark Polygon, they have no obvious tells that give them away. Whenever someone suspects them of foul play, they are quickly able to dispel the victims doubts due to their masterful control of empathy and emotion. It is thought that The Dark Empath is the most dangerous and perhaps the most mysterious creature of the abyss that there is. If you are in a relationship with one of these individuals, I do not envy you, because there is a good chance that you probably don't even know it. If however, you figure it out, the strategy is the same as with the Dark Polygon. Slip away quietly and discreetly!

I am not a psychologist or even a psychiatrist for that matter, so you can take my words with a grain of salt if you like. I will say that in my opinion I am a good judge of character, and feel that I can reasonably assess the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM-V which classifies particular personality disorders. The goal here is not to diagnose your abuser, but simply to make you aware that you are in a relationship with a Dark Personality, and what to do if you're in that situation (either run away quietly or seek legal protection, if necessary). Even if you diagnose your abuser in front of them, you will never be able to convince them that they have a disorder, and if anything, you will make yourself a high-profile threat to the dark personality, giving them the motivation they need to silence or dispose of you. Knowledge is power, Just like the dark personality is lurking in the shadows, you must also act deceptively to the dark personality. Play dumb. Pretend to be blissfully ignorant, and then when the opportunity presents itself, blindside them with a hasty escape. Only once you are out of the dark personality's clutches will you be truly safe.

I'm not sure if this post is helpful at all, or whether any psychological professionals would like to weigh in on my article, and/or provide any feedback or corrections as necessary. If anyone is willing to do that, I would greatly appreciate it, and make sure to provide credit to these individuals. Thank you very much, and stay safe, everyone.

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