How to spot a predator in everyday situations
Let’s cut to the chase and start with this important list:
- A predator uses intimidation to make you feel unsafe
- A predator attempts to isolate you from your friends and family
- A predator uses emotional blackmail or manipulation to get what they want from you
- A predator makes you feel like you can't live without them
- A predator is overly jealous or possessive
- A predator tries to control how you dress, who you hang out with, what you do and who you talk to
- A predator uses deception to exploit any situation
- A predator is initially friendly and charming so that your guard is down
- A predator entices you with gifts, smiles, and affection which serves to confuse you
- Anyone can be a predator and not always easy to spot
Next we will break down each behavior a little more.
A predator uses intimidation to make you feel unsafe
This strategy is very effective. Abusers or predators may posture over you, make loud noises, drive fast, threaten to run over you or may throw things close to your head or body. These are not accidental events. He wants you to be jumpy, unsure of yourself, and to keep you in your place. This tactic is a frequent element in domestic violence situations and is used to keep survivors close to home. Stalking, chasing, staring, gaslighting, and threats are emphasized and lead to survivors to not only feeling unsafe, but also to feeling unstable.
A predator attempts to isolate you from your friends and family
It is easier to brainwash and exploit survivors if access to friends and family is cut off. At first, it may feel like a compliment that your partner always wants you by their side, that they need you more than anyone else in the world. They may convince you they can’t bear to be without you and if you really love him, you only need to be with him. He may hide your phone, your keys and even your car. He may take your purse with your identification. When things get rocky, he may threaten to lock you out or cut off access to money or worse yet, your children. Abuse is easier to continue without the watchful eyes of family and friends.
A predator uses emotional blackmail or manipulation to get what they want from you
Emotional blackmail is a form of manipulation or coercion that tricks the victim into doing something they don't want to do. It is a form of psychological abuse. Often times, the abuser threatens to tell one of your secrets or spread rumors if you don’t do exactly what they tell you to do which is often a sexual act. Emotional blackmail is a common tactic used in domestic violence, but it can also be used in other relationships and situations.
A predator makes you feel like you can't live without them
It is common for the abuser to claim that you are too ugly, too stupid, too fat, too unworthy of getting anyone else to love you, be with you or marry you. They tell you that you should feel lucky and grateful that they are with you even though you don’t deserve them. Predators want their victims to believe they need to be needy and dependent on them. This can be for money, love, or protection from the scary world outside.
A predator is overly jealous or possessive
Initially, this can look like gentlemanly behavior. He walks you to the bathroom door at the club and waits outside. You have no idea it is to control who you talk to. His eyes follow you everywhere you go in public. He can’t tolerate another man or woman looking at you, talking to you, or touching you. If he perceives someone is flirting with you, he will pull you away and scream at you for doing something to provoke the flirting. What initially looks like loving care quickly turns into intolerable and oppressive jealousy.
A predator tries to control how you dress, who you hang out with, what you do and who you talk to
When he has you try on multiple outfits before you go out, this is a sure sign. He will critique length of skirt, how much skin is showing, colors, tightness, cleavage shown and will take extra time to study how your backside looks. He is not your tailor or your physical trainer. If you feel objectified by your partner, than chances are he will also want to control who you spend time with and who you talk to. He will likely want to know who is on the phone and will monitor your text messages. Soon, he will want to control everything about your life.
A predator uses deception to exploit any situation
It is abusive when a partner tries to get you to believe false information about yourself or the people you care about. He may convince you that you are a bad wife and mother. He exploits your vulnerabilities for his own personal gain. Deception is considered to be a form of cruelty or trickery. This type of trickery is now a common practice in cyber attacks. Don’t fool yourself into believing you can’t be deceived. We all can be.
A predator is initially friendly and charming so that your guard is down
It is not uncommon that the friendliest face, twinkling eyes, and comforting hugs could be characteristic of a perpetrator. He could smell and look good. He may be suave and sharply dressed. He initially makes you feel good about yourself and may even sweep you off your feet. Danger Danger Danger may be screaming at your core.
A predator entices you with gifts, smiles, and affection which serves to confuse you
This strategy doesn’t just work with children and teens. It can work on any of us. We all want to be spoiled at some level. We want to feel special. The abuser recognizes and targets those of us who may not have fet loved, worthy or special. This is his moment to catch us into his snare. Gourmet chocolates, flowers, jewelry, lots of hugs and passionate kisses. Gifts, affection, and attention alone don’t mean you are with a predator but if the other behaviors on the list are also happening… please beware.
Anyone can be a predator and not always easy to spot
This list of behaviors is not all inclusive. One behavior alone may not define one as a predator. Predators can be both male and female. If you are a trauma survivor, you could be considered an easy victim to a predator by no fault of your own. They know you struggle with worthiness, with wanting desperately to be loved and protected, and just simply wanting to belong. Predators use these vulnerabilities to target potential victims.
If you are experiencing any of these behaviors by your partner. Please get help. Freedom is possible, but not until you commit to leaving for good. Take that scary step to a more peaceful life. Reach out to a domestic violence hotline, a shelter, or a friend you trust to safely remove you from danger. Trust your gut/intention and start to create a life that you truly deserve that is free from abuse, intimidation, deception, and manipulation. Recovery is possible and true healing can happen once you are removed after the person messing around with your head.
Don’t let that person be you. There is hope.
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