“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”Theodore Roosevelt
Empathy is a concept most of us are extremely familiar with. We all wish to be better people for our society, our community, and ultimately, our friends and family. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to empathy. There are people willing to take advantage of the concept of empathy for their own personal gain. This isn’t solely limited to psychopaths or “dark empaths” either.
Using empathy as a weapon is actually far more common than people realize because they’ve never been taught to see the signs of weaponized empathy. There are clear examples of weaponized empathy that are treated like normal parts of daily life. The purpose of this post is to highlight some of the places where weaponized empathy is most commonly used and what to look for when one wants to know when weaponized empathy is being used against them. These are the most common areas of everyday life where you might find such emotional manipulation. Let’s start with the most common place to find weaponized empathy or emotions.
Do you want to feel sexier? Are you not getting enough attention from the ladies? Do you want to fit in with your peers? Buy this product. Take this pill. Use this ten step course. You’ve heard it all before. Advertisements are everywhere and they pay good money to make sure they can sell you their product or service. There’s ultimately nothing wrong with sales, but there is a play on emotions in just about every advertisement. Just read the next aad that pops up on your social media feed very carefully. Look for the emotional arguments in their advertisement. It’s a sales tactic that is used often to manipulate you into thinking that the salesperson relates to you on a human level.
When is the last time that an advertisement just told you what the product’s function was without appeals to emotion? Imagine if a product said “This toothpaste whitens your teeth” lists facts about the product and leaves it at that. Most advertisements will either latch on to your personal insecurities or try to make you feel good about yourself. Even if it is legal, it flirts with the idea of skipping ethics and honesty on a regular basis by either affirming your beliefs or playing into what makes you feel bad about yourself. So the next time a weight loss program asks you if you’re tired of being fat or what not, just know that they are weaponizing your feelings to extract money from you.
Writing is weaponized empathy. It’s putting yourself in someone else’s head. It’s finding what’s in them that relates to you.Tom King
Politics is one of the dirtiest areas in a society because everyone involved is vying for power. Politicians are no strangers to the weaponization of empathy. I can write until I’m blue in the face about examples of weaponized empathy and still wouldn’t scratch the surface. Every issue politics touches on is a way to weaponize someone’s feelings for their advancement to power. Politicians don’t care about abortion, guns, poverty, or marriage laws. They mostly only care about what they can gain from touching base with their constituents on these issues.
That should be fairly obvious yet people still fall for the bait and switch year after year. Empty promises from both sides of the political table are just a ploy to get their guy in power. As soon as they are where they want to be, the issue is almost immediately dropped. One side will promise the sun, moon and the stars and claim the other side wants to take it away from you. The other side will then use some form of bureaucracy to make sure that it doesn’t get done. Once a bill is passed or doesn’t pass, the issue is dropped and the party you vote for blames the other party for their inability to keep their word. As previously stated, politics is a dirty game where your emotions are being played with at every level. There is one other place where weaponizing empathy is far more personal and possibly even more dangerous than in politics because it hits closer to home.
Friends, Family, and Relationships
The one place where the weaponization of empathy is most sinister is in close relations. You can see a political figure and understand that they will weaponize empathy to get what they want. The same could be said of advertising. The one circle of trust where you don’t ever want to see such manipulation take place is in close, personal relationships. The reason it’s the wrost place for such manipulation is because when empathy is weaponized by someone you grew up with or loved, you feel betrayed. It is easy to detach yourself from an advertisement or a politician. When someone you love uses emotional blackmail to secure something they want, it shows how little they actually care for you. The problem is, in most cases, you have to leave. You have to find a way to put your foot down or leave. The weaponization of empathy is one of the primary reasons women don’t leave abusive relationships and then cannot identify a man who genuinely cares for them if they do leave the abuser. People become so jaded to emotional weaponization that they grow jaded to genuine feelings of affection no matter what the source.
That will be all for today. Please feel free to discuss this and tell me what you think.