The Dark Traits: 12 Characteristics Of An Evil Person

Characteristics Of An Evil Person

While some may believe that evil people stick out like a sore thumb, there are no obvious characteristics that set sociopaths, psychopaths, and narcissists apart from good individuals. Some basic traits of malevolent people include a lack of conscience, a need for power and control, and a lack of empathy. In this article, we will delve deeper into the psychology of evil people. 

What Defines An Evil Person?

To put it simply, evil individuals remorselessly harm people in their environment by engaging in malevolent, wicked, and immoral behaviors. Evil people thrive all around us, even in places where you wouldn’t expect them. You can find them at your school, friend circle, or church.  

How Do You Identify An Evil Person?

Evil people often lack a sense of right and wrong, so they refuse to take responsibility for their wrongdoings. Instead of owning up to their mistakes, they blame others or find ways to make it seem like they didn't do anything wrong. They think admitting fault makes them look weak, so they never do it.

What Are The Characteristics Of Evil People?

1. Control Issues

Malevolent people want complete control over every part of their lives. This obsession is often attributed to positive characteristics, such as politeness and punctuality. However, if you let these people get closer, they will start taking control over your life as well. 

2. Revelling In Other People’s Misfortune

Like energy vampires, evil individuals feed on other people’s suffering and sorrow. Whether it is a conflict in their immediate environment or a large-scale disaster on the news, they seem to take delight in others’ misfortune.

3. Unnecessary Cruelty And Meanness

When their masks slip, evil people will openly express their malevolent intentions through meanness and cruelty. They can get into fights, hurt their family and friends, or even be violent towards animals.


4. Habitual Dishonesty

Let’s face it - we all lie from time to time. However, lies and deception are regular parts of an evil person’s life. They lie constantly and pathologically, sometimes without even realizing it. 

5. Lack Of Remorse

Despite all the harm they cause, an evil person is never truly sorry for how they make others feel. If you call them out on their malevolent behavior, they’ll deflect and gaslight you into believing in their distorted version of reality. 

6. Lack Of Responsibility

Evil people lack any semblance of a moral compass. They act at their own whims without ever feeling responsible for the pain they inflict upon others. They are always ready to shift the blame on others instead of apologizing for the harm they cause. 

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7. Lack Of Loyalty

If a malevolent person lends you a hand, it's because they expect you to return that favor. Otherwise, they will only be around when things are going smoothly for you. Once things get tough, they disappear.

8. Bigotry

Bigoted views like racism, sexism, and homophobia are standard tools for evil individuals to divide good people. While some bigoted people may be misled, most of them come from a place of outright hostility.

9. Manipulative Behavior

Malevolent people may show you kindness only if they have ulterior motives, such as needing money or control over your life. Remember, these people’s kindness always comes with a price tag.

Manipulative Behavior

10. Disregard Of Boundaries

Evil individuals can be highly clingy, intense, nosy, and fake in their interpersonal relationships. No matter how hard you try to keep them out of your private life, they always come back to sow chaos and disturb your peace.

11. Belittling Attitude

Since evil people usually feel superior to others, they may often find different ways to belittle and humiliate you. For instance, malevolent individuals can body shame you, ridicule your interests, mock your living space, or demean your goals, hopes, and dreams.

12. Spreading Confusion and Conflict

Evil people use confusion, conflict, and chaos to their advantage. The more confused, scared, and uncertain you are, the more control they will have over you.

evil look

What Makes A Person Do Evil?

Throughout the course of human history, the notion of evil has been an inevitable part of our collective consciousness. People have examined evil through different lenses, such as religion, morality, and ethics. To truly grasp the complexity of this concept, it is crucial to approach it with a holistic understanding that takes into account both personal attributes and external forces. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for why individuals engage in evil acts, experts recognize several factors that can contribute to such behavior. Psychological characteristics, societal influences, neurobiological factors, mechanisms of moral disengagement, cultural norms, and historical context all intertwine to shape human behavior.

Psychological Factors

Numerous psychological theories aim to shed light on the reasons behind individuals' involvement in evil actions. Among these theories, one stands out prominently - psychopathy. Psychopathy is defined by a lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse, and those who possess this trait often display manipulative and callous behavior, showing little concern for the welfare of others. Furthermore, the field of psychology has extensively studied the impact of upbringing, trauma, and environmental factors on the emergence of antisocial and harmful behaviors.

Social and Environmental Influences

Society, with its set of values and norms, provides a framework within which individuals develop their understanding of what is morally right or wrong. The social setting in which individuals are brought up plays a crucial role in their moral growth and ethical choices. The prevalent social values in one’s community, such as honesty, compassion, or individualism, shape an individual's perception of what is considered morally acceptable behavior.

Peers also have a profound impact on an individual's moral development. During adolescence, individuals often seek acceptance and validation from their peers, and this can influence their behavior and ethical choices. Peer pressure can lead individuals to engage in both positive and negative behaviors, depending on the values and norms of the peer group. For instance, if a peer group values academic success, an individual may be motivated to work hard and make ethical choices to align with those values. Conversely, if a peer group engages in risky or unethical behavior, an individual may be more likely to adopt those behaviors as well.

Furthermore, factors such as economic inequalities, discrimination, and exposure to violence can perpetuate harmful behaviors within communities. Economic inequalities can create an environment where individuals may resort to unethical means to survive or gain an advantage. Discrimination can lead to the marginalization of certain groups, which can impact their access to resources and opportunities, potentially leading to unethical behavior as a means of survival or retaliation. Exposure to violence can desensitize individuals to the suffering of others and normalize aggressive or harmful behavior.

Neurobiological Considerations

Neuroscience progress has revealed the biological foundations of human behavior, even the ones considered evil or morally wrong. Research has explored the brain's structures and functions related to aggression, impulsivity, and moral reasoning. Although these discoveries offer a valuable understanding of behavior's biological roots, they do not provide a definite explanation for why people commit evil deeds.

Researchers have identified specific brain areas, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, that play crucial roles in regulating aggressive behavior. They have discovered that abnormalities or dysfunctions in these regions can contribute to an individual's propensity for violence or aggression. Similarly, studies on impulsivity have revealed that certain brain regions, including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the striatum, are involved in decision-making processes and impulse control. Dysregulation in these areas can lead to impulsive actions, potentially resulting in morally wrong behavior.

Moral Disengagement

Psychologist Albert Bandura coined the term "moral disengagement" to describe how people can justify and rationalize harmful actions. This involves a cognitive process that helps individuals detach themselves from the moral consequences of their behavior. Moral disengagement mechanisms may involve blaming others, downplaying the impact of one's actions, or dehumanizing the victims.

For example, an evil person may shift the blame onto external factors or other individuals, thereby absolving themselves of any personal responsibility for their actions. By attributing the cause of their behavior to external circumstances, they can distance themselves from the moral implications of their actions.

Another mechanism involves downplaying the impact of one’s actions. Evil people may minimize the harm caused by their behavior, either by underestimating the consequences or by convincing themselves that the harm is insignificant compared to other factors. This cognitive distortion allows individuals to maintain a positive self-image and avoid feelings of guilt or remorse.

Finally, by perceiving others as less than fully human, evil individuals can psychologically distance themselves from the suffering they inflict. The process of dehumanization involves viewing victims as mere objects or stereotypes, thereby reducing empathy and facilitating harmful actions without experiencing moral distress.

Cultural and Historical Context

Cultural relativism plays a significant role in shaping the understanding of evil. Each society develops its own moral framework, which defines what is right and wrong, good and evil. These frameworks are deeply rooted in the cultural, religious, and philosophical traditions of a community. For example, in some cultures, practices such as polygamy or animal sacrifice may be deemed morally acceptable, while in others, they are considered immoral or evil.

Moreover, the perception of evil can also change over time. As societies evolve and progress, so do their moral standards. What was once considered evil in the past may no longer be seen as such in the present. This evolution can be attributed to various factors, including advancements in knowledge, shifts in societal values, and changes in the understanding of human rights. For instance, practices such as slavery or discrimination, which were once widely accepted, are now universally condemned as evil.

However, the malleability of the concept of evil also exposes its vulnerability to manipulation. Throughout history, we have witnessed how political ideologies, propaganda, and authoritarian governments can distort people's views and make them accept actions that would typically be seen as immoral or evil. Totalitarian regimes, for instance, have often used propaganda to justify acts of violence, oppression, and genocide, convincing their citizens that these actions are necessary for the greater good or in defense of their nation.

What Is The Psychology Of Being Evil?

Understanding the psychology of evil involves exploring the factors that lead to the emergence of evil behavior in people and the underlying reasons for it. To grasp this concept, it is crucial to examine different viewpoints and theories.

The Biological Perspective

Some scientists argue that evil behavior, such as antisocial and aggressive actions, may be influenced by genetic factors or brain abnormalities. They suggest that certain genetic variations or mutations may predispose individuals to exhibit evil tendencies. These genetic factors can affect the functioning of neurotransmitters, hormones, or other biological processes that regulate emotions, decision-making, and social behavior. Consequently, individuals with these genetic predispositions may be more prone to engaging in aggressive or antisocial acts.

Understanding the potential influence of genetic factors and brain abnormalities on evil behavior has important implications for society. It highlights the need for early identification, intervention, and support for individuals who may be at a higher risk of exhibiting harmful behaviors. By recognizing the biological underpinnings of evil behavior, scientists hope to develop targeted interventions, therapies, or preventive measures to mitigate the negative consequences associated with such actions.

The Evil Eye Theory 

The concept of the evil eye proposes that some people have a captivating quality that can harm others. According to this theory, the evil eye is believed to be a negative energy that can be transmitted from one person to another through eye contact. It is thought that when someone with an evil eye looks at another person, their gaze carries a malevolent power that can cause harm, misfortune, or even illness. This harmful energy is believed to be unintentional, as those with the evil eye may not even be aware of their power.

The Social Learning Theory 

This theory posits that individuals acquire aggressive or violent behavior through observation and imitation of others. It suggests that if an individual is exposed to a violent environment during their formative years, they are more likely to adopt and engage in similar behavior themselves. This exposure can occur within their family, where they witness domestic violence or physical abuse. It can also manifest in their interactions with peers who engage in aggressive acts or in the media they consume, which often portrays violence as a means of resolving conflicts.

The Psychodynamic Theory

This viewpoint suggests that individuals who have experienced unresolved childhood trauma or internal conflicts may be more prone to engaging in evil actions. Childhood trauma, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, can deeply scar individuals and leave lasting psychological wounds. The pain and suffering inflicted upon them can create a sense of powerlessness, worthlessness, and mistrust. As a result, they may develop a negative self-image and harbor feelings of anger, resentment, or even self-hatred. These internal conflicts can become a breeding ground for evil actions, as individuals may seek to externalize their pain and regain a sense of control over their lives.

The Cognitive Theory

According to this perspective, it is the presence of distorted thinking patterns and irrational beliefs that contribute to the manifestation of evil behavior. Distorted thinking patterns refer to cognitive biases or errors in judgment that deviate from rational and logical thinking. In addition to distorted thinking patterns, irrational beliefs play a crucial role in this theory. Irrational beliefs are characterized by unrealistic, illogical, or unfounded assumptions about oneself, others, or the world. 

The Situational Factors Theory

According to this theory, external factors like social pressure, stress, or the presence of opportunities can significantly contribute to the emergence of wicked behavior in individuals. It suggests that under certain circumstances when individuals feel threatened or trapped, they may be more inclined to engage in harmful actions.


The best way to deal with evil people is to minimize the amount of time you spend in their presence and avoid getting into futile fights with them. Rise above their cruelty, and don’t let their actions bring you down. 

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