Chances are you’ve had an encounter with an emotional predator — whether you’re aware of it or not. Most everyone is familiar with the physical abuser: typically the man who beats his wife or female partner. But emotional abuse, and psychological abuse, are also integral components of abuse and are often present with, and precursors to, intimate partner physical violence.
Often individuals who abuse others have a personality disorder that increases their chances of becoming an abuser. Many of these personality disorders have narcissism at their roots — a psychological defense mechanism in which an individual harbors grandiose fantasies about themselves and feels selfishly entitled to having all their demands met.
Narcissists require a constant stream of admiration, or “narcissistic supply,” coming their way. They achieve this through charm, emotional manipulation, and all sorts of shady, unethical, or downright illegal tactics and behaviors. When a narcissist wants something from you, or wants you to do something, he can become a devious emotional predator who takes advantage of your good will for his own ends without thinking twice.
How to identify an emotional predator
One way to protect yourself from emotional predators is to understand how they behave, and become familiar with how to detect manipulative and deceptive behavior as early on as possible. If you see any of the warning signs below in a loved one, coworker, community member, or position of leadership, then use caution in dealings with this individual. Seek external advice and assistance in threat assessment before placing further trust in this person.
- Manipulating your emotions
- Creating unnecessary chaos
- Consistent inconsistency
- One-way street
- Masters of deceptive and misleading stories
- Love to play victim and hero
- Diverting attention
- Denying plain facts
- Assert the opposite of reality
- See the world as with them or against them (splitting)
- Nurturing and maintaining enemies (paranoia)
- Moves the goalposts
- Refuses to take responsibility or admit fault
- Frequent liar
- Aggressive and easily angered