Every time I hear of a good hearted individual who has been exploited, taken advantage of, and preyed upon, I feel a burning and righteous anger. When I hear someone has been preyed upon by someone who claims to be “healing”, counseling, coaching, pastoring, teaching, mentoring, etc., there is an unquenchable raging fire, deep in my bones, that demands to be heard.
Today, someone I deeply love met a predator who attempted to set their crafty snare. And I cannot describe the horror and dismay I feel inside, hearing the game they tried to play out.
I am so thankful that my loved one is very wise and discerning, because the story could have turned out so differently.
But it got me thinking.
Once you understand the tactics of a predator, their games aren’t that hard to spot. So, let’s break it down.
How to spot a predator:
They position themselves as a “superior” - an expert, authority, or a “divine” teacher.
They are offended by their authority being questioned or challenged.
They attempt to gain conformity and lower inhibition through mind altering substances.
They attempt to make you feel “special”, “unique”, or “chosen”, in order to create a bond they will later exploit.
They position themselves as your teacher or guide, without having been asked to play that role.
They explicitly state how much they love the qualities of submission, passivity, agreeability, and “coachability”.
They explicitly state how they believe assertiveness, independence, and autonomy are NEGATIVE traits.
They pretend to respect your opinions… until they conflict with their own.
They downplay and dismiss your boundaries as “cute” and don’t take them seriously.
They ASSUME consent instead of ASKING for it.
They don’t accept NO and respond with dismissal or manipulation.
They use your trauma, beliefs, or experiences as a means of gaining your trust and alliance.
They act surprised and annoyed when you require an equal energy exchange for your time or labor.
They have made plans for the role they intend for you to play in their life and asking your opinion doesn’t seem to even cross their mind.
They attempt to impose a feeling of guilt or loss, if you choose not to conform.
Unfortunately, predators are a DIME A DOZEN. But, when you know the red flags, they have no power… well, maybe except to give you the chills. Predators wear all faces - men, women, coaches, teachers, clergy, healers, mentors, family - whether they are conscious of their behavior or not the patterns are clear. But we have the power to opt out of the game, before it even begins.
It is OUR responsibility to build our discernment. It is OUR responsibility to know how to prevent and avoid our own exploitation. When we are empowered, the game ends.
You are not easy prey, so don’t act like it.