3 Ways to Know You've Been Attacked by a Wolf

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"Recognizing a Wolf" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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"3 Ways to Know You’ve Been Attacked by a Wolf"

1. You feel picked on. Wolves send a flock into a panic so they can separate the most vulnerable. Many of us submitted ourselves to the power of a leader because we’ve been taught this is the right thing to do. If you’re being told to submit it’s so that they can overpower you, period! We may be intoxicated by power and surrender our wills and yield to their suggestions because we’ve adopted our assigned role as needy followers. In other words, their victims. Once we’ve given them permission to dominate our lives we become their easy prey. And it always comes as a surprise when you realize this relationship isn’t going to end well. Saying “I refuse to be vulnerable to people I don’t trust” is a healthy step towards guarding ourselves against being taken advantage of.

2. You are consumed by their power. Once we are isolated and in an even more vulnerable position, the toxic leader moves in for the kill. Some of us are so used to submission that we don’t even recognize we are being overwhelmed by their desires and demands. We fulfill their need for sucking people into their orbit and completely overpowering us. We lose ourselves as they assume total mastery over every detail of our lives. They devour everything good about us. But by working on our own self-confidence and independence we can prevent being overpowered by destructive leadership.

3. You feel worse than before. Unfortunately, within such intense communities, we lose touch with our self-awareness. We no longer recognize when we are in pain. We lose touch with who we truly are. We feel terrible and we’re not sure why. We’ve done everything we’ve been told and yet we feel dead inside. Some of us can’t even definitively say, “I’ve been hurt!”, because it’s been rebranded as discipline. By some sick logic, being food for the leader is beneficial for us. However, to simply recognize, “I’ve been hurt!”, and saying, “I don’t want this”, can move us to safety.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Trust your gut! Trust your instincts. If you suspect you are being set up for consumption in an unhealthy relationship, run! Don’t walk. Run! Get yourself to safety. Now!