Last week I was driving north on the 215 freeway and came to the merge of the 60, 215, and the 91 freeways, which of course is under construction (why are all the southern California under construction at the same time? Sorry, rabbit trail). Well of course, the freeway came to a sudden stop. Well, that is except for the car behind me who didn’t stop and ran into the back of my pick-up truck. I put my blinker on and began to merge right. He, on the other hand, drove into the carpool lane, around me, and zoomed out of sight.
This reminded me of a phone call I received earlier in the day from a client frantically complaining she was being “attacked” emotionally by her live-in boyfriend. He would say things like, “I’ll be on the road for the next 30 days. When I get back I’m making some changes.” She would ask what he meant and he would stop talking to her. His refusal to answer her questions to clarify would drive her into a rage and she would explode in anger and leave the house. All the while, her boyfriend was not affected by her outburst and went about his life undisturbed and with a smile on his face.
Another client has a similar problem with her mother who will call “to talk” and then mom begins to ask questions, “So, do you think your boyfriend is being a good spiritual leader?” When my client asks, ”Why do you ask that?” mom says, “Never mind. I can see it’s upsetting you” and changes the subject. Mom closes her eyes to how this causes anxiety in my client who feels judged and is left unable to resolve the question in her mind.
Another client has a sibling who will “group” text friendly comments to her so his friends can see how nice he’s being, but then will attack her in private texts. When she returns with defensive texts, his friends can see her “attacking” him, and he can go on appearing nice all the while feeling satisfaction at his being able to upset the other sibling.
All of these are examples of an emotional Hit and Run: where one person runs by another, pushes their buttons, and then continues to run away. There is a level of cruel, even sadistical, feeling of self-satisfaction for the one doing the hit and run. There are some people who feel so much power when they can upset another with just a few words, it can resemble a “high.” When they go for too long without that feeling of power and control, they will seek the opportunity to press a button so they can get another charge of satisfaction. People can become addicted to this power-seeking behavior and when family and friends begin to leave in order to protect themselves, the cruel one will continue to seek others whom they can attack; they prey on the weak and find pleasure in hurting others. The bible warns us against people like this:
“They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover.” Psalm 17:12
When you begin to experience this type of behavior from someone realize it up front and nip-it-in-the-bud. If they change, you’ve improved your relationship. If they don’t, recognize them for the prey seeking lion they are and avoid them at all cost. They will not change. If you find yourself in a relationship with a lion, then you need professional assistance to begin setting up boundaries to protect yourself. Sometimes, when the lion can no longer get the “fix” they need, they will go away on their own. Call Encouragers to schedule your first session today. Learn to be a lion tamer and not a lion’s dinner.