These Red Flags Do Not Lead to a Carnival

Opinion | Controversial Perspective

Sheena Monster
8 min readAug 29, 2022
Source: Getty

I drove rideshare until recently, and most often I drove late at night. This means lots of drunk people, especially single females in their early twenties, but being in San Diego I got a wide array of passengers. With interest in predators, I of course kept mental note of those sliding into my backseat and I noticed something. Roughly three out of five men who got into my car [and opened their mouths, because let’s face it there is always a control group] were predators. Take a minute to re-read that if needed, because it was jarring to me when I started keeping score. This is not to say that three out of five men are rapists or murderers, but that doesn’t negate their predatory nature.

Not all predators kill, and it’s appalling that people are convinced that death by [other] is the worst thing someone could do to another person. Rape and domestic violence survivors the world over will tell you how often death would have been welcome through their recovery — for those of us fortunate enough to do so. But recovery isn’t inevitable, and expecting anyone to endure the decades of nightmares, panic attacks, residual fear of spaces that resemble that of their torment. Not everyone is grateful to have survived, but we all spend the rest of our lives trying to reclaim ourselves. “At least they didn’t kill you” — what kind of comfort is that supposed to bring to someone that can’t breathe when they smell his cologne when a car that looks like his turns the corner and drives toward us? If you’ve experienced it once, or even come close, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And it’s not only females who fall victim to the hellacious whim of men, boys and other men are also overcome by their intent.

The best defense, though, is knowledge — it’s preparation. Identifying a predator comes first.

Predators are lazy

There is one absolute truth about most, if not all, predators: they are lazy. They do not approach or target the head of a herd unless necessary; leaders [alphas] put up too much of a fight. Lions will go after the babies and the injured first, picking them off and leaving the strongest and fastest to carry on. Unless, of course, their ego is so inflated that they seek a challenge — from what I’ve read and experienced, that’s rare. They seek pleasure; challenges can be fun, but a challenge can throw off their timeline or their game plan. Their goal is to control and diminish — to conquer. The more shortcomings their target sees in themself, the easier it is for a predator to step in and mould their prey. Low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, depression, poor self-image, lack of confidence, anxiety disorders — there are many reasons those that mean to harm us look for these things. The closer to rock bottom, the easier we are to manipulate, and they count on an existing lack of self-preservation. A tendency toward self-harm or self-sabotage — in any form — is like neon signs to them.

They will separate their prey from their comforts. When girls go out in groups, this could look like that too-friendly guy that’s been hovering over the girls all night. One of them misplaced her purse and he is all too ready to “help” — ushering her off, trying to “shoot his shot” the entire time instead of legitimately assisting her to locate her missing item. If she placates the distraction, it reinforces his belief that he has a chance and therefore is entitled to her time, energy, and essence. This is always dangerous, sometimes physically — it’s those predators that will push themselves on people claiming they only want to understand, but that’s part of their façade. They don’t want to understand, they do not care.

Source: Getty


This term gets thrown around, a lot — yet it happens much more often than people seem to want to accept. The objective being to manipulate and control the actions of another, gaslighting a tool used to trigger all sorts of psychological turmoil. Most commonly, a predator will say something outlandish and immediately deny they said such a thing — turning it around on their victim, with the intent to make them second guess themselves. Ultimately, this makes their prey second guess their own experiences but is only the tip of the iceberg.

Trivializing is another telltale sign that someone is probably gaslighting you. Brushing off everything that excites their partner or belittles their emotions — responding to objections with “relax, I’m only joking” or other to really drive home that their partner is out of line for feeling slighted by their abuse. They fortify this with techniques such as denial and withholding — pretending they have no idea what their partner is talking about, or that they are confused by what their partner is explaining. This is done by playing on our insecurities and the inherent habit of second-guessing ourselves, even when we know we are correct — countering statements to divert our attention to the tiniest possibility that we are wrong. Coming back to them later won’t matter; they will not only deny the conversation took place, but they will also divert and project their bruised ego back onto their partner — by any means necessary.

Source: Getty

Your boundaries do not exist

Predators do not like boundaries. They will push and overstep as much as they possibly can, without regard for your feelings. Your feelings are only relevant in the ways they can serve the whim of the predator. While this is often sexual, it’s not always. Someone using your emotions against you will always blur the lines your draw, if there is a crack in the wall they will ooze in like Hexxus.

If your phone is locked, they will take issue — they may demand to see your phone, or immediately accuse you of betrayals. [How dare you lock them out!] If you want to go out with your friends, they expect you to be available to them at all times — any of this sounding familiar? These unhealthy expectations maintain co-dependency, ensuring that [predators] possess the control. That’s what it is by the way — it’s all about control.

Possession > Sex

Sex is not about sex for a predator — rape is not about sex for a rapist. It’s about control, it’s about possession — it’s about power. Predatory men will find a reason to touch their target within minutes of speaking to them, sometimes even before. A brush of the arm, a flip of the hair…grazing of the thigh. This signals to every other interested party in the room that this individual is spoken for — as if we are objects to possess. Some call this flirting, I call it inappropriate. Unless someone has secured explicit consent, they aren’t welcome to touch me — not a hug, not a pat on the shoulder, nothing. I do not like to shake hands, and my immediate response is to use a hand sanitzer when I do — not a germs thing, an energy thing. Not everyone’s energy is welcome by me. Do not touch me. If you don’t know me well enough to know how I like to be touched, you shouldn’t be touching me. This is never acceptable in the eyes of a predator. They automatically demean and degrade my position, as if disrespecting my autonomy and sense of self was their duty — rather, my intrinsic inability to submit offends their superiority complex.

Of course, predators target those they find sexually thrilling, but it’s not because they enjoy sex — even if they do, their conquest runs deeper. Penetrating their partner is a form of domination. It’s not because they find you sexually attractive, it’s that you inspired their primal nature. You are a conquest, not a prospective mate. Saying no is perceived as a challenge, every rescinded invitation is taken personally, and every rejection triggers their anger spectrum.

Source: Getty

Everyone they know loves them

One of the biggest red flags for me is when someone has no enemies. When they are everyone’s favourite person, I file the anomaly away in my memory bank. It doesn’t settle right with me. My immediate question for their crowd is “how do you know them?” I want to know if it’s a backyard bbq and touch football kind of association or if it’s more of a bars and clubs kind of acquaintance — how many behaviours need defending, how many actions justified?

Everyone hides certain parts of themself when they’re in social situations, that’s normal. Keeping parts of ourselves private is healthy — no one is entitled to any part of you. Predators will nurture superficial relationships with everyone around them. No one can say anything bad about them because their social pawns serve one purpose: credibility. The further you dig into the crowd of people that surrounds a predator, the more fragile the façade becomes. Much like my inability to submit, they have an innate inability to connect. They can mimic their way through in most cases though, they’ve made a game of it by adulthood.

It’s all in the pattern

There are grey areas in everything, I made reference to not exchanging one extreme for another in another post. It’s a pattern of behaviour that denotes malicious intent. Being aware and cautious is not the same as being introverted or reclusive — it’s okay to be social. For your safety, and that of others may watch out for the red flags; speak up when you see them. Take up space; square your shoulders and carry yourself with the dignity and confidence of royalty.

“Life is so much more than the shallow intentions of some id-driven ape with a white-washed education and more mouth than moxie.”

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