Rural Roots August 17, 2003
An unusual book, Wild Predators? Not In My Backyard! arrived for me in care of Rural Roots, likely because I had previously reviewed other books from the book's publisher. The author thought the book might interest me. If I raised poultry, sheep or goats, I'd be interested. It contains creative ideas on how to control losses to wild predators, such as skunks, foxes, dogs and wolves, raccoon and weasels, including using guard llamas and guard donkeys.
Raising small livestock is not my interest, yet, the title reminded me that sharply that the most dangerous predators, at least emotionally, for us two-legged animals, are "other people".
Human predators live by exploiting and preying on others. When we are exploited emotional or socially, we often don't realize what is happening, because the exploiters seem so nice and caring. These people are our neighbours, friends, or even family. Yet, the closer you are to someone, the easier it is for them to manipulate and exploit you.
I get numerous predators attacks every day on my computer, commonly known as "spam". I am regularly invited to invest money in the most interesting places, or get all kinds of creative aids for my sexual life. ! I don't want these spam e-mails, but people keep bugging me with them. Sort of the same way a predator keeps at you, despite the fact you don't want their attention.
We also run into predators at work, or within our families or extended families. The put-down, the joke with a sting, or their manipulating you to get you to what they want,, are all predatory actions of one person against another. The practical joker at work who likes to embarrass other people, the person who keeps borrowing money just before payday, but never pays it back are all predators that too many of us have met too often. The person who passes on stories in small towns, without checking out the fact, but because it is exciting is also a predator on your reputation.
The worst predators can be within the family, and tend to use phrases like "If you loved me," "But I'm your mother" or "I'm your brother," to pressure you to do or provide things you may not want to or be able to afford to do.
Extended families can be very controlling. I recently talked with a young woman in Ontario who has a boyfriend in Eastern Europe who she loves deeply. In her case, her predator is her mother, who wants to cling onto her daughter, and has been very judgmental about this boyfriend. When I told her that her family life seemed to portray the movie "My Fat Greek Wedding", she totally agreed.
This young woman is in Eastern Europe visiting her boyfriend. The couple have a lot of hurts to resolve which developed over the challenge of maintaining a relationship separated by thousands pf miles, only being in contact by e-mails, phone calls, and if they are lucky one or two trips to see each other each year.
Her boyfriend recently began seeing someone else "as a friend," who may have take a fancy to him. She e-mailed me as she didn't know what to do and was scheduled to fly over for a visit in a couple of weeks. In e-mailing and talking to her on the phone, I advised her not to think the worst and not to come out on the attack towards her boyfriend. They have gone together for five years, were making permanent plans, but got frustrated over the long bureaucratic process that is involved in trying to have him emigrate to Canada.
I focused on ways she could re-build any trust they had lost in each other, and develop ways to control interference in their relationship from others, whether it was her parents here in Canada or someone over there who might like to replace her as his girlfriend.
This young woman did the best think she could when she realized she was up against predators. She reached out to someone. I had done a book review for an on-line bookstore. She found it, and e-mailed me, quite apologetically, not wanting to force her problem upon me.
Whenever anyone e-mails me about information of mine that is posted on the internet, I follow up and dialogue with them on a voluntary basis.. It took her two weeks to get the courage to phone and talk to me in person. This only happened on the morning she was flying to Europe, but she did. She also had to manipulate the time to have hone privacy in her family home.
I haven't heard recently how things are going. But I hope she will find ways to not let other people, like her family, control her life as much as they have done in the past. She deserves a life of her own, and I hopes she reaches out for it. I am also personally rooting for her long distance relationship with her boyfriend whom I have got to know through dialoguing with her.
Reaching out for help, and taking protective action is the best way to deal with any predators, whether in the animal world or the human world.