We all have an inner predator—like we have an inner child—and when we suppress or over-indulge our natural desires to hunt, feed and protect, we run into similar neuroses as we experience when we dissociate in childhood.
There is, in fact, a direct correlation to the wounded child and the absence of relationship with the inner predator: instinct injury.
We are so often socialized out of acting on our initial impressions of people: hug the uncle that makes your skin crawl, smile when you're sad, don't be angry, don't cry, etc. These can be more subtle social and somatic cues, or they can be violent suppressive tactics; either way they serve to sever the connection between our internal world—our intuition, emotions and instincts—with what we're observing and experiencing as reality. It's gaslighting and it's denaturing.
These are the very skills and assets that we need to be able to detect toxic predation. Our inner predator—like our inner child—alerts us to what is safe to explore, to taste, to play with and to eat. When that sense is disabled in us we are like a tamed pet that has been turned loose into the wild.
We quake without our cage, without someone to tell us, who to be, what to do, how to look, how to feel, what to eat. We must become feral to once again feel safe.
One of the models that is most distortive and confusing to our psyche is the victim-perpetrator-savior triangle. This construct does not occur in the wild as our primal selves have no concept (or need) of redemption. Nature provides her own consequences to disturbing the balance of life.
It's instinctive to hunt as well as to protect that's primal; it's not persecution. Persecution is a man made construct.
One of the reasons I have been speaking about the presence of predation in the healing field is not only to point out the tactics and toxicity that is present, but to wake up people's instincts and re-attune them to their primal nature—to help them retrieve their inner child and release their wild protector.
One could argue that these more predatory coaches, healers, or just people in our lives, are also being true to their nature but they're throwing the ecosystem out of balance and the types of relationships that they are capable of are parasitic, not symbiotic.
People under the thrall of the predator, (or infested with the psychospiritual parasite, Wetiko) over-indulge their urge to feed and they feast on trauma, which perpetuates the cycle of abuse and imbalance or what humans have created as the victim-perp-savior model. They draw from the life cycle without contributing.
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone the valley began thriving. The entire ecosystem went back into balance. If we apply this understanding to our own internal dynamics we see that a healthy internal predator keeps our internal landscape in balance. It helps us sniff out danger, know what is good to eat and what is poisonous. It protects us and actually helps us build healthy communities.
When the predator is suppressed we become instinct-injured, weak and ineffective. When it is allowed to gorge it becomes toxic and out of balance. Hunting for sport is almost exclusively a human construct, except cats. (They're assholes.)
Hunting for sport, or indulgences, is what leads to toxic predatory tendencies. Using tactics like leveraging trauma and weaponizing vulnerability is a purely human tactic, it's the trauma bond initiated between the instinct-injured prey and toxic predator.
That dynamic also requires the addition of the psychological adaptation to trauma—fawning—to cement the bond.
So what do we do?
We stop vilifying our primal urges. We wake our instincts. We listen to those subtle (or not so subtle) signals from our guts. We own our hunger, our desires and begin to see our neuroses as portals to sweet needs that need caring for—not exploiting.
We protect ourselves—unapologetically.