Beware the Passive Aggressive Predators



“As hard as it is to fathom or accept, there are some among us seriously lacking in the qualities that make us the most human, especially empathy and conscience. And as a result of the aforementioned and a variety of other reasons, these individuals also tend to prey upon others without compunction or remorse…..They are the predators among us, and the only known intra-species predators at that.” (Dr. George Simon)

We human beings do eat our own and shoot our wounded, both literally and figuratively. Dr. Simon may have over-looked a few other examples throughout the rest of the animal kingdom, but we humans certainly engage in intra-species predation far more frequently than any other animal.

“Man’s inhumanity to man” is commonplace and we are capable of unspeakable acts of viscious cruelty.

My focus today though is not on the human predators who inflict physical harm. What I have in mind are the people who are, in some ways, more savage, are far more stealthy, and often operate with impunity.

While there are any number of varieties and sorts who inflict deep and sometimes mortal psychological and emotional wounds on other human beings, a predator with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder (who was very instrumental in my my upbringing) opened a gaping, savage wound of shame deep within my psyche and then proceeded to reopen it again and again, leaving it festering and oozing with infectious pus.

A wise mentor of mine calls childhood our “boot camp that prepared us for life,” as we “later react to the live fire of life in the way we were trained.” The shame with which my Passive Aggressive Predator afflicted me (and nurtured until it choked out nearly every ounce of self-worth and joy that threatened its monopoly on my psyche and soul) left me so ill-equipped to navigate the world that it nearly killed me.

Bedeviled by my Bipolar Disorder and toxic shame (a person’s indoctrinated belief that they are the equivalent of fecal matter), I spent years acting in self-destructive ways that were even shocking to some of my therapists. Not only was I suicidal on a couple of occasions, I lived my life for quite some time as if I didn’t care if I lived or died.

While I made my self-destructive choices as an adult and have taken full responsibility for my actions and for my self-inflicted trials and tribulations, my human predator set things in motion.

Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder manifests in very cruel ways. My tormentor was definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothing. To those looking in on our family from the outside, they were the “perfect parent who had raised the “perfectly behaved child.” There was even some self-congratulatory nonsense about writing a book on parenting.

Just within months of the talk of “the book,” this Valedictorian, Eagle Scout, and all around “perfect son” was literally running himself to death and severely restricting his food. Down to 119 pounds (from 160) with 3% body fat, I was getting my first taste of the obsessive compulsive component of Bipolar Disorder and was attempting to stay “perfect” by exercising and getting thinner. Meanwhile, I was falling apart inside. The first of many “adventures” abusing myself.

The wolf in sheep’s clothing who attacked my psyche rapaciously and relentlessly for 18 years did so by employing a number of “coping skills” that in reality serve as their defensive weapons to keep other adults “at bay.” But when aimed at vulnerable children who are dependent upon them, these weapons can eviscerate a soul.

The cruelty of a Passive Aggressive Predator manifests in a number of ways:

Withholding love and nurturing

Lack of remorse

Inability to self-reflect

Demanding perfection

Never admitting fault or taking responsibility

Judging others and acting self-righteously

A constant undercurrent of hostility

Resistance to requests or demands

Applying severe punishments for minor transgressions

A cynical attitude

Vehement and frequent verbal shaming

The silent treatment

Punishing a person by severing a relationship indefinitely

Covert manipulation with money and power

Feigning moral superiority

Feigning martyrdom

Issuing insults disguised as compliments

Holding grudges

Many of these behaviors and modes of being are a bit subtle and covert, but take my word for it -they are powerful enough to wound a child so severely that deep scars haunt them long into their adult years.

Yes, there are inter-species predators amongst us. But not all of them come charging at your jugular with fangs bared. Some move slowly and methodically, wielding weapons that will inflict unseen, yet painful and debilitating wounds.

So, beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Beware the Passive Aggressive Predators.

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