Dark Psychology refers to the science and art of mind control and manipulation. Psychology studies human behavior. Dark Psychology refers to the use of manipulation and coercion by people to achieve their goals. Dr. William Bernstein has shared a variety of videos that cover this topic.
It refers to what psychologists and criminologists consider an easy predictor of criminal behavior and problematic and broken relationships. The Dark Triad is made up of the following traits:
Dark Psychology Triad
- Narcissism– Egotism and grandiosity.
- Machiavellianism– Uses manipulation to deceive or exploit people. Has no sense of morality.
- Psychopathy– Charming and friendly, but characterized by impulsivity and selfishness.
Although manipulation is not something we want to become, it does happen quite frequently. Although we may not be under the control of someone in the Dark Triad specifically, normal people, like me, are subject to dark psychology tactics every day.
These tactics can be found in advertisements, online ads, sales techniques, and even the behavior of our managers. These tactics are most likely to be used by parents of teenagers and children. People you love and trust often use dark persuasion and covert manipulation. These are just a few of the most common tactics used by everyday people.
Love Flushing Compliments, affection, or buttering someone up in order to make a request
Lying – Exaggeration, untruths, partial truths, untrue stories
Denial of Love – Withhold affection and attention
Withdrawal Avoiding the person, or silent treatment
Choice restriction Distraction from the choice you do not want someone to make
Inverse Psychology – To tell someone one thing or do something to motivate them to do what you want.
Semantic manipulation – The manipulator may assume that words have a common definition or understanding, but later reveal to you that they have a different meaning. Words can be powerful and important.
This article does not attempt to teach you how to avoid being exploited and manipulated. I’ll be writing more about this topic in the next post. It’s more to remind us how easy it can be to use these tactics to get what you want. I challenge you to evaluate your strategies in all areas of your life, such as work, leadership, relationships with romantic partners, parenting, and friendships.
Some people using these dark tactics are aware of what they are doing and are able to manipulate you to get what they want. Others use unethical and dark tactics without realizing it. These people often learned these tactics from their parents as children. Some people learned the techniques by accident or in their teens. The manipulation technique worked because they didn’t intend to. They got what they wanted. They continue to employ tactics that get them what they want.
Sometimes, these tactics can be taught to people. Programs that teach dark and unethical persuasion and psychological tactics are often part of sales or marketing programs. These programs often use dark tactics to build a brand and sell products with the sole purpose of selling them or their company’s products. These training programs can convince people that such tactics are acceptable and beneficial to the buyer. They will live a better life if they buy the product or service.
Who uses Dark Psychology and manipulation techniques? This is a list of people who use Dark Psychology and manipulation tactics most often.
Narcissists People who are truly narcissistic have an elevated sense of self-worth. They are dependent on others to confirm their superiority. They dream of being worshipped and adored. To maintain their power, they use manipulation and dark psychology techniques.
Sociopaths People who are truly sociopaths (having a clinical diagnosis) are charming, intelligent, and impulsive. They lack the emotionality or ability to feel remorse and use dark tactics to create superficial relationships and then profit from people.
Attorneys Some lawyers are so focused on winning their case, that they resort to dark persuasion tactics in order to achieve the result they desire.
Politicians Some politicians use dark psychological techniques and dark persuasion strategies to convince people that they are right and get votes.
Salespeople – Sometimes salespeople are so focused on closing a sale, that they resort to using dark tactics to persuade people to buy their product.
Leaders, Some leaders use dark tactics in order to gain compliance, greater effort, or higher performance from subordinates.
Public Speakers Some speakers use dark tactics in order to increase the emotion of the audience, knowing that it will lead to more sales at the back.
Selfish People– Anyone who puts self first over others. They will resort to using tactics to satisfy their own needs, even if it means sacrificing the interests of others. They are open to winning-lose outcomes.
Yes, I do. I may have stepped on toes. This is also true for me as a speaker and someone who sells services. It is important that I remember that my work, writing, speaking, and selling with character require me to avoid coercive and manipulative tactics.
As a facilitator of training programs for business leaders on motivation, I am frequently asked where the line is between dark psychological tactics and ethical influence or persuasion tactics. These people are open to admitting that they use these tactics often, or that their companies require them to use them as part of their processes for retaining customers.
This is a very unfortunate situation. It will lead to short-term revenue and sales, but ultimately it will lead to distrust and poor business practices, employee loyalty, and less long-term business success.
It is important to determine your intention in order to distinguish between dark motivations and ethical persuasion techniques. It is important to ask ourselves whether the tactic we use has the intention of helping the other person. While it is fine for someone to have the intention of helping you, if you are only using it for your own benefit, it can lead to unethical and dark practices.
The goal should be to achieve mutually beneficial or win-win outcomes. You must be open with yourself about your beliefs and how you believe the other person will benefit. A salesperson might believe that everyone will benefit from his product and that the purchase will make life easier for them. This mentality could lead to salespeople using dark tactics to get people to buy their product and a “ends justify the means” mentality. This makes it easy for the salesperson to use any and all methods to make the sale.
To assess our intentions and motivation, we can ask the following questions:
- What’s my goal in this interaction? Who and how does this benefit?
- Am I happy with how I approach the interaction?
- Are you being completely open-minded and honest?
- Is there a long-term benefit to the other person from this interaction?
- What will I do to build trust with my partner?
Are you looking to achieve success in leadership, parenting, relationships, work, or other areas? Assess your motivational and persuasive strategies to find out what you are doing wrong. It is important to do it correctly in order to build credibility and influence over the long term. It is easy to make mistakes (go dark), which can lead to bad character, broken relationships, long-term failure, and poor character. People eventually see through the darkness and understand your intentions.
In the next post, I’ll be discussing some of the most common dark psychology and manipulation techniques. These will enable you to be more aware of the dangers and not fall for them. These are just a few of the techniques I’ll be reviewing.
- Love flooding
- Love Denial
- Coercive Reinforcement
- Fatigue Induction
- Subliminal Influence
- Choice Restriction
- Reverse Psychology
- Mind Games
- These are just a few of the many tactics you will want to learn
To learn more about how to analyze people with dark psychology visit the Youtube channel by Dr. William Bernstein
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