From nature’s side, we are equally prey and predator. Any time we are in danger of being hurt by another we are in an prey position. And any time we are in a situation where we can hurt or – in theory – kill and eat someone else, we are in a predator position. Each one comes with certain characteristics which aids our survival.
When we are less traumatized, or sometimes if a trauma is not triggered, we have a more relaxed relationship to these two roles. We shift into either when it’s needed, and out of it when the situation changes again.
In contrast, when we are traumatized and the trauma is not cleared or released, we can get stuck in one or both roles. We can perceive and act as if we are permanently prey or predator.
Being able to go into and out of these roles fluidly is a great evolutionary gift. It’s what has allowed our species to survive, and still – even in our modern society – allows us as individuals to survive. (For instance, the prey animal in us may be triggered when we are about to get into a car accident, allowing us to act more quickly by bypassing consicous deliberation and decisions.)
The good thing is that we have ways to release trauma. One of them is even built into our bodies in the form of neurogenic tremors. (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises is a way for us to access this mechanism.)
This topic came to mind since I have been interacting with horses lately. I have been very aware of them perceiving and acting as prey animals, as they are. And although I see them as partners and equals as beings, I am in a predator position (control). Horses have only one role, but humans shift between either.
This topic has also come to mind when I see Trump. I imagine he is pretty traumatized, and he may be stuck in perceiving himself as prey (fearful) and acting as a predator (dominance, power oriented) in order to compensate for it.
The photo is of Niki after having had a roll in the snow. She is relaxed since she is not perceiving any current threats and is not actively in a prey role, although she can shift into it at any moment if the situation calls for it.