Dark psychology is the art and science of using psychology to manipulate and control others to get the desired result. While psychology in general studies human behaviors, dark psychology uses that knowledge.
Many people use dark psychology tactics without knowing it, as it makes life a little easier for the user; it makes the victim’s life more confusing. Without good self-awareness and critical thinking; it’s easier to fall victim to dark psychology tactics because they use motivation, persuasion, and emotion.
Brands, companies, and advertisers use dark psychology tactics to achieve desired goals. They are well known for using dark psychology tactics because they believe that their products will solve the problem of the consumer or make their consumer’s life better.
Narcissists, influencers, and leaders also use dark psychology tactics to get what they want. I’ll explain in detail which dark psychology tactics they use and how they use them.
Here are the 6 dark psychology tactics with examples that everyone should be aware of:
1. Reverse psychology
Reverse psychology simply means doing or telling someone a certain thing to motivate them to do the opposite. It’s one of the dark psychology tactics that always works because people don’t like being told what to do.
Reverse psychology feeds on the concept of the ego. It works perfectly on people who have a high ego. People with high ego tend to protect and follow their pride, which makes them a victim of this tactic.
Example of Reverse Psychology
If you have a high ego and someone told you to do a certain thing or said something which goes against your principles; you will do or say the opposite to maintain your ego and pride. But if the dark psychology user knows you, it’s easy to predict your word moves. If a person hates you or wishes bad for you, he/she can use reverse psychology on you in front of others to show others the desired image of you he/she wishes to show. Reverse psychology can harm a person’s life if used in a bad way.
On the other side, reverse psychology can have great outcomes. For example, you can motivate a person to do something great or positive by telling them a negative thing aimed at awakening the desire to do great things. At this moment, reverse psychology is being used. It can be seen that you want to lower the person’s self-esteem, but you want the opposite.
People who use reverse psychology and how they use it
Teachers – Telling students that they are stupid or lazy to motivate them to study and score high marks.
Attention seekers – Telling people bad words to gain people’s attention not push them away because people tend to remember bad words more.
2. Love Flooding
Love flooding refers to buttering up someone until they reach a state where they can’t deny your request. This dark psychology tactic is frequently used by many people as it’s the only way they get what they want from others. Love flooding works on people who easily fall for words.
Example of love flooding
When someone butters you up with pleasing words that fit your personality, you see him/her as a nice person who truly supports you. But they intend to make you unable to deny any request from them. If you want to deny a request they have made, you will think of yourself as a bad person.
People who use love flooding and how they use it
Friends – Your friends will compliment you and cheer you up with charming words before they request something from you.
Colleagues – Your colleagues will praise you and make you feel good so that you might get some work done for them.
Gold digger – They will butter you up before requesting money from you. In relationships, women compliment their partners so much that they start thinking they are loved. This naive thinking will make a man accept any request.
Womanizer – Men who lie and use poetry words to get more sexual partners.
3. Persuasion and Authority
Advertisers use persuasion and authority to gain trust and convince people to buy products. Most of us are convinced when persuasion and authority are used.
Example of persuasion and authority
Most advertisers use the power of irrefutable logic from authority to convince people to buy products.
For example, health products that include phrases like “Trusted by 8 out of 10 Doctors”, “Recommended by Scientists”, or “The Choice of Experts”. If you were told to choose between many products (same) from different brands, you would choose the one which has the above phrase. This is one of the powerful dark psychology tactics used by advertisers.
Big brands use persuasion through celebrity endorsements. They exploit the fact that people have irrational ideas, godly praise, and implicit trust in celebrities. They make partnerships with certain celebrities to talk about and advertise their products. Most fans are more likely to choose that product when they shop or directly buy it just because their favorite celebrity has it.
People who use persuasion and authority
Advertisers, Big brands, and Influencers.
4. Emotional manipulation
Emotional manipulation is the use of means to exploit, control, or otherwise influence others to one’s advantage. It’s among the most dangerous dark psychology tactics because it seeks power and control over a person. The emotional manipulator uses psychology and emotions.
Example of emotional manipulation
Emotional manipulators victimize themselves to make the other person feel guilty. People are more likely to punish themselves in relationships when they find out that they are guilty. Emotional manipulators prey on this and act in a certain way to remind the victim of their past mistakes or how bad they are. The victim starts acting out of sympathy. In that way, they get what they desire.
Emotional manipulators are well known for using withdrawal. The silent treatment is more often used in relationships. It’s when a person whom you expect much from starts ignoring you. The lack of presence creates an imbalance and makes the victim crave closeness.
People who use Emotional manipulation and how they use it
Narcissists – People with an inflated sense of self-worth and the desire to be praised can make you feel guilty and insecure so that you can praise them or tell them what they want to hear.
Sociopaths – People who lack emotionality but are often seen as charming use dark psychology tactics to make relationships and friendships.
Psychopaths – Those who lack the feeling of guilt and empathy, have antisocial behavior, and are narcissists. They use dark psychology to get what they want.
5. Choice restrictions
Giving limited choice options makes a person forget what he/she truly wants to choose.
Example of choice restrictions
This dark psychology tactic is used when you want to buy something.
For example, you want to buy a car and your friend gave you a choice between the colors black and white, and told you that they are the best. In this way, it looks like they gave you control over your choices, when in fact they limited your choice options. Both colors are not the best for you; they are the best for your friend, and he wants you to choose between his two favorite colors. You will end up choosing one of these colors, though your favorite color might be white.
People who use choice restrictions and how they use it
Parents – Parents are well known for making choices for their kids though it might not be their kid’s best choice. They use choice restrictions to let their kid choose what they prefer for their kid.
Attorneys – Attorneys with the intent of winning the case use both choice restrictions and emotional manipulation to get the result they want even though it’s wrong.
YouTubers – YouTubers who sell affiliate products use choice restrictions to let the viewer choose products on the scope of their choices.
Influencers – Social media influencers can change your perspective about life making you feel less about your life.
Is one of the dark psychology tactics where the abuser misleads the target creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality. Gaslighting can happen between friends and family members, but it’s often seen in manipulative relationships.
Example of gaslighting
In an abusive relationship where a person lies to make you question your judgment and sanity, and make you feel confused.
People who use gaslighting
Narcissists and Sociopaths
The primary goal of this blog post is to spread awareness because a lot of people use these dark psychology tactics unconsciously. Some have made it a habitual thing.
There are other dark psychology tactics that I didn’t list, but all of the above tactics have the potential to destroy someone’s life. It’s very important to know these tactics and detect if someone is using them to get something from you. I hope this blog post helps you become aware of these dark psychology tactics.