A simple test to see if someone is using dark psychology tricks on you during a date

A simple test to see if someone is using dark psychology tricks on you during a date
  • It can sometimes be hard to tell if someone is using a dark psychology trick on you.

  • Not all behaviors that look like love bombing or gaslighting necessarily are.

  • A therapist shared an easier way to spot manipulation without vigilantly looking for red flags.

Whether you've dated a narcissist before or just heard other people's horror stories, it's natural to be on the lookout for manipulation.

But figuring out whether a date uses dark psychology tricks is more nuanced than scanning their potential red flags.

"Some of these so-called dark psychology tactics are, unfortunately, things that we all might unconsciously or unintentionally do in the course of being in a relationship," Annie Wright, a relational trauma therapist in Berkeley, California, told Business Insider.

Instead of trying to suss out if your charming date is a dark empath, Wright said there is a healthier — and much simpler — way to tell if a romantic partner is shady.

Red flags might be pink

Judging someone's faults at face value might seem like a foolproof plan to avoid getting hurt, but Wright said it could close you off too much, as we all have imperfections and baggage.

"Many of us are bringing poor relational patterns, our own attachment wounds into our dating relationships," she said. For example, insecure attachment styles can lead to negative behaviors such as clinginess or commitment issues.

"We may take actions which look harmful, that have the impact of harm, but don't necessarily have the intent to harm," Wright said. While it doesn't excuse abuse, she said nuance is important to understand if a person's love bombing is actually driven by anxiety and not a need for control.

Similarly, she said what can look like gaslighting can sometimes be a genuinely different recollection of the same event or conversation. That's why it's good to take therapy speak terms with a grain of salt and look deeper into your relationship dynamic.

Watch their reaction

Instead of maintaining a "rigid high bar" of a partner never making mistakes, Wright said the healthier approach is watching how the person reacts when you bring up an issue.

If you feel like they're laying on the affection too thick and worry it's love bombing, you might say, "I've noticed that you always insist on paying for every date, and it's making me feel a bit uncomfortable."

Then, observe what they do next. "A healthy, good-enough, and relational partner will acknowledge your feelings, acknowledge the impact they had on you — even if it wasn't the intent — and hopefully be willing to adjust their behavior," Wright said.

She also noted the importance of consistency in an emotionally mature partner. "Respect for boundaries, willingness to repair after rupture, and willingness to respond relationally and considerately should be ongoing, not just a one-time adjustment," she said.

Connect with your body

Another great tell is your intuition and how your body reacts around a person. But Wright said trusting your gut isn't always so simple.

Because her clients are often the children of emotionally immature parents, they might struggle to spot manipulation because they were raised to accept unhealthy behaviors as normal. As a result, they might choose partners who are noncommittal or reactive.

Wright said there are two ways to get better at listening to your body. The first is to actively learn what a healthy relationship looks like, even if it seems contrary to what feels natural. You can do this by investing in more fulfilling friendships that make you feel safe.

The other is to engage in somatic exercises and mindfulness so that you feel more connected to your body physically.

When all else fails, our gut, our intuition, our spidey sense — whatever you want to call it — will let us know when something does not feel right," she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider