Leopards don't change their spots - and they bite!!!

I suspect most people have heard the expression. "Leopards don't change their spots".

I had, but made the mistake of giving one leopard who had appeared to turn into a pussy cat the benefit of the doubt - after all it's only an expression isn't it.....But it is one expression that I will not be questionning again with one particular leopard!

For those of you who have been following my blog you will be aware that my father has been a pretty vicious cat in the past, snarly and frankly, at times, dangerous to be around.  After Mum's passing, he tempered and I started to let my guard down.  

Slowly over the last 8 months, I have taken brick by brick down off of that wall that I had built to protect myself.  And the wall got down quite low and I was starting to feel some empathy and pity for this sad, lonely old man that the former leopard had become.  

It reminded me of a story that I was told by a game keeper in South Africa.  He was talking about a specific lioness in his care. In his story he told of how he was concerned for her as she had not moved for a couple of days.  Going into the enclosure he slowly, very slowly approached her.  He got close but then she snarled - her warning that he was close enough.  He backed away, heeding the warning.  He later said, "l love her, but she would kill me."

I am not sure if I got such a warning from Dad before the attack.  But attack he did and with my defenses down, he didn't kill me but I was badly hurt! 

I am not sharing this to get some pity.  In fact, I feel embarrassed that I find myself in this situation.  

I am sharing this because life is full of challenges.  This one stopped me in my tracks for a while but I choose to learn from everything that happens and that is what I want to share - just incase you can gain something from it too!

Back to my South African and his lionness - he looked for evidence that he was safe.  The evidence he found was in that snarl - and he then took appropriate action.  Now that I look back, I am not sure there was a warning snarl for me - he went from a weeping kitten to attacking leopard in a hearbeat however there is a history.  For as long as I can remember, when you do not allow Dad to have his own way, he turns on you.  He wanted me to do something I could not do and so he turned on me.  The evidence he would do it was in the hundreds of times he had done it before - I chose to ignore that leopards don't change their spots and by doing that, I made myself vulnerable.

And in that there are two things to learn!

1. I made MYSELF vulnerable.  His behaviour is not excusable but the evidence was there it would happen and I CHOSE to ignore it.  I will not be making that mistake again!   By taking responsibility for what I did, I take back control and am less vulnerable.

2. It is not about what happens to you, it is about how you deal with it.  So since then, I have made it a priority to heal - not just licking my wounds but actively investing in me - not selfish as some may see it, but knowing that my kids, my husband, my clients will all benefit when I am fully recovered.  And this is something I talk A LOT to clients about - it is OK to be 'selfish' because when you are the best you can be, everyone else gets the best of you too.  This is not the 'walking over others to get what you want' kind of selfish.  It is literally just about doing what you need - being kind to your SELF.  I am very much walking that path to recovery now with no sense of guilt at all!

As I write this I have just had my first conversation with Dad since 'the attack'.  He is back in kitten mode, but I can see the dormant leopard there!

So my message to you is whatever you are facing that is causing you distress, what evidence can you find that supports your feelings?  What warnings may you not be heeding?  Or is the kitten really just a kitten and you are safe? 

So much of what we create is our own perception - the reality we give it.  Looking for the FACTS can shine a whole different light on things and support a very different reality!

Please share with me your thoughts after reading this.  Do you look for facts?  How often to you not heed the warnings?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments box below

Published by Caroline Cavanagh Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of Anxiety Alchemy. on |


RE: Leopards don't change their spots - and they bite!!!

A very interesting article Caroline one of which I can relate to, except mine is with my mum. Since losing my dad last year mum has relied on me too much. If Derek and I don't take her out with us at the weekend she can get really funny and quite offish. She has quite a spiteful tongue and has a way of making me feel guilty for not seeing or taking her out. If I go away for the weekend or a holiday she says well you didn't ask me. But why should I, if it was left to her Derek and I wouldn't get any time together, which I feel is very important. She also waits until I'm on my own to be spiteful as she knows Derek, Kirsty or Mark would stick up for me. I have a sister in Basingstoke and a few months ago she must have told my sister that I never see mum, as I got a text from my sister that wasn't very nice. I see mum once maybe twice in the week and every weekend we have taken her out somewhere with us. If we have a weekend at home I always ask mum over so she's not at home on her own. I know I need to stand up to her more but I know I'll get a nasty response and possibly the tears will start and then it's me that feels terrible and guilty. I was so close to my dad, and mum resented me for it. I accept that my sister can do no wrong in mums eyes and mum will stick up for her, she always has done I've accepted that over the years. I know my sister has always been her favourite and her boys. But my sister doesn't have a clue. my sister and I aren't talking at the mo and that's down to mum as she's done a lot of stiring. I know this because Kirsty sees a lot of my Nephew Jack and he told Kirsty what mum had said to her. I think mum holds a lot of jealousy inside her to.
Commented by: Tracey McBurney on Thursday 1st November 2018 10:52:29 AM

Comments form
Blog Comments