We tend to think that skills are always positive. Therefore, the more skills we develop the better. We also make the mistake of believing that a highly skilled person is better than a less skilled person . Therefore, we prefer to have the most capable people by our side, both at work and in everyday life. But skills are not inherently positive, it depends on how we use them.

The dark side of emotional intelligence

The emotional intelligence is essential because it can help narcissists so they can achieve their goals.

Emotional intelligence, a concept created in 1990 by Salovey and Mayer and popularized by Daniel Goleman, has been touted as a key skill for success. Everyone wants to develop their emotional skills and wants to have people with a high level of emotional intelligence on their team.

This is not surprising, since a large body of studies shows that people with higher emotional intelligence tend to have fewer health problems, a brilliant career, are more efficient and satisfied in their personal lives, and have fewer interpersonal problems.

However, this construct, which implies the ability to perceive and understand your emotions, handle them appropriately and express them assertively, is not a panacea. There are other studies that have received less media attention, in which researchers focused on analyzing how people use these skills , they concluded that emotional intelligence has a “dark side.”

The negative impact of emotional intelligence

In fact, recently a group of Austrian psychologists examined 594 people and found a correlation between emotional intelligence and narcissism , indicating that this ability is often used to ” seduce and conquer ” the other, to satisfy their own interests at the expense of the needs of others.

But this is not the only study that has found this correlation. Research conducted at the University of Michigan with 184 people found that narcissistic traits are deeply related to the ability to recognize emotions , a key factor in manipulating others .

In fact, the ability to grasp and understand the emotions of others often builds empathy, but it can also turn into manipulative behavior, like what narcissists are practicing.

As if that wasn’t enough, another study conducted at the University of Toronto found that people with high emotional intelligence are more likely to embarrass the other in public, often just to gain recognition. Interestingly, this study also found that these people are more likely to recognize negative emotions rather than positive ones.

This indicates that they have developed a special ability to detect emotional states where we are most vulnerable, to exploit them in their favor and manipulate us. For example, it was found that these people can easily identify when we have doubts, interpreting facial expressions that denote uncertainty and lack of confidence. Obviously, when we doubt that we are more vulnerable to the opinions and pressures of others, it is easier for manipulators to achieve their goal.

Of course, this does not mean that all people with high emotional intelligence are narcissistic and manipulative , but it is important to note that the ability, in itself, is not negative or positive, it depends on how we use it.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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