copied from elusive's original post, borrowed from another forum; the best post she's ever read about predators.
Recent events have seen more women coming forward and telling their stories about one particular abusive and predatory person in the UK scene. Suffice to say these stories have not made happy reading and have really brought the issue of consent, abuse and predatory behaviour. It seems so many people have a horror story to tell about their introduction to this lifestyle. It almost seems like a sick rite of passage.That is not ok.
Moreover, although a lot of advice focuses on people new to the scene, you don't have to be brand new to fall victim to predatory people. Nor do you necessarily have to be super vulnerable or easily influenced. It can happen to even seasoned people, those with experience and those who have experienced abuse before. Why? Because pretty much without fail abusive manipulative predators are...manipulative and predatory.
So I want to talk (again!! cats bum face) about predators and offer a few words as advice to those new, or reminders to those more seasoned. It's easy for all of us to forget and not do our safety checks.
When we think of the word predator I think many of us immediately go to the idea of an animal attacking it's prey. Violent, sudden and without mercy. You might think of a lion for example, or a crocodile grabbing and taking down the other animal. I think this can often lead to the idea that predators are easy to spot, and behave in certain attacking ways.
And of course they do. But what we forget about I think sometimes is the part before. The part where the animal quietly stalks, is subtle enough to get it's prey to ignore the warning signs and not run, and takes the time to slowly get closer before striking.
People predators are not really that much different to animal ones. Very few in a BDSM sense will outright attack from the word go without some kind of build up. If they did, they would not have built up the interaction necessary to convince the prey that this behaviour is ok, needs the benefit of the doubt, or is that person's fault and responsibility.
So how do predators behave? Well this is not extensive or exhaustive and you don't need to tick everything on this list. What is important is to realise it is a pattern of behaviour.Manipulative (often with a tenuous grip on reality) -
Predatory people will often be fantasists. They will lie, tell half-truths and are experts at twisting situations to suit them. They will make up stories about their experience, power and abilities. Often grandiose and believing they are 'special' and set apart from 'normal' people in some way. If you have a problem with their behaviour they will find a way to make it your fault. They will often present as being 'perfect' for you...you will be amazed at how much you have in common. That's an act. Or they will tell you of what you want / need / should do, in a way that gives no room for your wants and needs. They will often be convinced of their way being The way, and refuse to acknowledge anything else. One of the things I remember the most clearly about the person who (mostly) sparked this round off is being told 'if I think something is right it's right'.Often (but not always) go for the new, young, vulnerable –
Some predators seem to enjoy the thrill of breaking down what they consider to be strong, independent and 'together' people. But more often than not they will go for what they consider 'easier meat'. That is people who are brand new to the lifestyle, are young or a lot younger than them, using their greater years and experience to convince them they know best, or those who are vulnerable in some way. People who have had breakups, mental health issues, financial issues, loss, grief, have suffered abuse before? All these things are like blood in the water for a predator. It tells them you will be easier to persuade and have less defences.Refuse to respect boundaries –
Will push boundaries, physical and emotional, usually early on. There is often a testing of the waters. They might declare sudden undying love and regard after 35 seconds. They might touch you in places which are not ok and watch for your reaction. They might have a sudden fit of rage or aggression (often directed elsewhere) around you and see how you respond. Do you say that is not ok, or do you attempt to support and placate them? That will tell them how you react to violence. They might try to persuade you to take part in things you wouldn't normally...tell you they want to broaden your horizons or this is how BDSM is done. They might claim they know better than you, or even they know your own mind and desires better than you do, and are trying to teach you or show you how the lifestyle works.Attempt to isolate -
They will find problems with those close to you. They will encourage you not to speak about them to anyone else. They might ask for passwords or access to email / social networking accounts. They will often tell you if you are a submissive type you are not allowed to speak to any other dominant types. I was even told to avoid certain submissives from the word go, who I later realised were those who had bad experience stories to tell. They will attempt to convince you not to listen to outside advice or seek a support structure outside the relationship.Sudden fits of aggression and rage –
If you see someone behave in an extremely aggressive way to someone else and the turn around and be nice as pie to you two minutes later? Leg it! They are often exposing you to their rage and aggression to see if you will stick around before eventually it turns on you.Refuse to take responsibility / victim blame -
They have an excuse for everything. They are extremely good at playing the victim and blaming other people for their anger, rage and nasty behaviour. Their apologies seem calculated and not from the heart. Nothing is ever their fault, you never hear them speak about what they could have done differently or how they might have contributed to a bad situation. (or if you do it was because the cat died, the leg hurt, they weren't being considered properly, hadn't eaten right...etc etc. Never 'Yea I fucked up and behaved badly, here is how I am going to address that').Lack of empathy -
They might play the concerned friend / lover / partner for a while, but you begin to notice they don't care if they hurt you during a disagreement, and speak horribly to others, putting them down, insulting them, belittling them, making fun of them, calling them names and so on. They actually seem to believe they are entitled to behave horribly to anyone who annoys them. They often seem to enjoy and get a kick out of being nasty to others, especially publicly.
This is not exhaustive, and sometimes people can display this sort of behaviour in different areas. Because we are all human and none of us are perfect. What we are looking for here is a pattern, ongoing and hitting plenty of these types of behaviour.So what can we do?
I think there are things we can do within these types of interactions to figure out what sort of person we are dealing with, and to attempt to avoid coming into contact with them in the first place.Some ideas - Ask questions / get information -
Don’t take one person's word as The Truth - A decent person will WANT you to ask questions, get references, build your contacts and find more information, especially if you are brand new to this lifestyle. In actual fact I would be wary of anyone who doesn't actively encourage those under their care to seek a wide range of support, advice and information.Put the brakes on! -
Ask yourself...am I doing this because it is BDSM, and would never do this in a 'normal' relationship? Yes we play with different ways of interacting and sexual experiences / power exchange etc. But that doesn't mean we need to throw our boundaries, morals and normal standards of behaviour and our 'radar' out of the window. If you are thinking 'this would feel wrong in a vanilla context but I guess it is ok because it is BDSM / whatever other type of alternative relationship we are talking about I suppose'..that is a big warning sign.Know your boundaries and watch for reactions when you state them -
One of the biggest ways to figure out if someone is predatory is if they respect your boundaries or not. How do they tolerate a no, or not getting their way? How do they deal with it if you don't want to do something? Do they pressure you? Ignore you? Guilt trip you? Tell you why you should not have the boundary? Or do they respect the boundary?Set up safe calls / Ensure people who care know what you are up to–
Safe calls are not failsafe. But if you are refused one, or told not to have one – BIG warning sign. Safe calls can be useful because they encourage you to talk to other people about what you are up to, hopefully people who have your best interests at heart and can ask you questions about where you are going and what you are planning to do. Whilst this is not a perfect solution, because a safe call in of itself does not guarantee safety, it does help us to focus our minds on safety and what we are up to.Keep talking –
If you are concerned, have suffered from a predatory person or are worried about anyone you know – Keep talking. This does not have to be publicly, not everyone wants to discuss these things in a public forum and that is more than ok. But find people you can confide in and speak honestly about your situation. If you find yourself believing you cannot speak about your relationship to any outside parties for fear of the repercussions, or that you have to present your relationship in a certain light that is a big warning sign.
I'll leave this here. This is by no means the first of this type of post I have written and I am sad to say I doubt it will be the last. But I think it is important to keep talking, keep sharing information (up to the point we can handle, we have to self-care as our first priority).
Please share this as widely as possible.
Author: Raine 2015/06/19
“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” - Dr. Seuss