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There is a roar in the distance and it's unmistakably voracious. Now you feel trapped in a venomous relationship where there is no escape. Therein lies the striking capability of a predator and you, girl, are the victim. A predator is any organism that exists by preying upon other people through lies, deceit and manipulation. Within the context of the relationship, it could mean you're diminishing mentally, spiritually and emotionally within the union and are on a destructive path. Infidelity, verbal abuse or physical violence could be at play here as well. Your man could've smelled the "damsel in distress," which heightens his sensitivity to your weakness and it could've begun when you started dating. This is why people are so vulnerable after a breakup or when there is an emotional loss in their lives because they are more defenseless in admitting virulent people into their lives. Nonetheless, if you're reading this, you must sense there is something awry. Here are 5 ways to know if you are with a predator.

Define what love really is.

Emotions can rule your relationships and your decisions, which can cloud your judgment. When it comes to love, loving someone is not enough. "Because the relationship is toxic and your obsession is so intense, you're going to get lost in your own confusion. You're going to ride the waves of emotion and allow them to drag you into the middle of a cold, dark ocean," elitedaily.com explained. When we are in this dark place we need to recognize that love can only take a relationship so far. Why should you love someone who doesn't value you? Sometimes we need to just walk away and cut our losses. If you're married, it can become tricky, and you need to seek therapy if the relationship becomes abusive.

They divide and conquer.

If you are in a relationship where you've been cut off from friends and family--your guy is a predator. This is a trap and a ploy of people who want control over every aspect of your life. If this is happening in your marriage, trust your instincts and stand up for yourself and your marriage. Emotional predators can show up in any type of relationship, romances, friendships or in the workplace. "While it seems that they might be easier among friends, since they aren’t intimate relationships, be warned: they can wreak havoc in many areas. Being safe in friendships is an incredibly important thing," Relationship expert Theresa Byrne wrote.

They criticize you.

If they always criticize you and are never happy for your success, this is a subterfuge to annihilate your self-esteem. Once they weaken you in this area, they can master your destiny. We all make mistakes, but your partner shouldn’t be overly resolute when something goes wrong. Manipulation is at the center of this kind of relationship. This constant emotional roller coaster ride of being afraid to speak up or to stand up for yourself is diminished since they already destroyed your self-worth. This fear causes you to not want to confront them as it could set off their temper.

They threaten you.

If your man makes statements about what they would do to you or to themselves if you ever broke up with them is another predatory way of keeping you within proximity. They may make statements like: “If you gain weight I won’t love you as much” or “I will leave you if you don’t do what I say.” It’s all about putting you in your place and controlling your behavior to suit their requirements. Because of the fear that is progressing in your life because of them, you might find yourself being careful with your words because you don't want to perturb them.

You feel like you're suffocating.

Anytime you feel trapped because someone is controlling your personal items like your phone, car, bank accounts and monitoring where you are going--you need to seek help fast. It will not get better and this control can be dangerous. They are holding you hostage and will control more aspects of your life. They might tell you that you can’t make it alone and that you need them. If you feel trapped, reach out to someone for support. If you feel that you are cut off from the world—you probably are. You don’t need permission to come and go. If there is a feeling that you can't breathe, not just physically, then again, seek the support of a friend. You can call a friend from work or from another person's cell phone.

You could be a victim of a predator and didn't even know it. They instill toxic shame and manipulation that will put a stranglehold on your life. Getting out of this trap is never easy unless you reach out for help. When you don't, your heart and your soul will feel like one is hewing at your very essence.
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