Instinct - Are We Born With a Protective Instinct?
Mama Bird Protecting Babies
Instinct – Born with Natural Instincts
The protective instinct we were all born with helps keep us safe, helps us succeed in life in various endeavors, and the instinct is very strong when it comes to protecting our children. We have seen numerous examples of heroic instinct in wars, which saved a person or sometimes a whole squad.
Parents who protect their children are exhibiting a normal protective response. On a personal level, when we are faced with danger, the flight or fight physical symptoms kick in when our life or the lives of family members are threatened. This does not mean learned behavior is not important.
One of the reasons humanity has survived for thousands of years is the flight/fight system, as it is an inbuilt alarm that triggers the brain. This is a complex hormonal system, which secretes over 30 stress hormones, for example, adrenalin, cortisol, etc. that have a quick, widespread effect on the body chemistry. It will increase your strength, alertness and the speed necessary to deal with the perceived threat.
Mother Protecting Child
The child protective instinct is readily apparent in the true story of Cindy Parolin. She was with her children when a cougar attacked.
Without hesitation, she jumped in front of her son and fought the cougar, wrestling the cougar for hours, while her son was removed from danger by his older siblings. One might ask, what causes this bravery? This woman was willing to sacrifice her life to save her son.
“Trust your instincts, and make judgements on what your heart tells you. The heart will not betray you.”
― David Gemmell, Fall of Kings
Man’s Natural Instincts
A man’s masculinity is also distinctive, and men think about situations a bit differently than women. Most men are tough-minded when taking care of their families also.
Men are typically more muscular, therefore, physically stronger. They tend to be assertive and aggressive when necessary.
Men have a strong instinct to protect their families, which is an innate core of their masculinity. Furthermore, some of these characteristics are learned as a boy, but men seem to be born with this strong protective instinct.
Are most people born with protective instincts? Are they passed down in our DNA? I think that people are probably born with this instinct, but there is no proof or research that I could find of the subject.
New Dad's Protective Instinct
People Without Empathy
There are some people who do not seem to have empathy for other human beings, and they typically fall into a category of personality disorders. Fortunately, they are just a small segment of society. A sociopath or psychopath tends to take advantage of anyone, as they are interested only in their own needs and wants.
Recognizing a Protective Instinct in Others
A strong protective instinct is fairly easy to see in other people. Take the movie “The Blind Side”. Sandra Bullock’s character recognized the protective instinct of "Big Mike." He excelled in football when he tapped into his protective instinct.
The Blind Side (2009) Trailer
The Harvard website has a morality test concerning human instinct. It takes just a few minutes to take the test and see where your beliefs lie in relation to society.
Professions Reflecting an Internal Protective Instinct
A few other examples of professions associated with the internal protective instinct are firemen, nurses, doctors or secret servicemen who are willing to lay down their life for the president.
Another example of this instinct has been seen in several animals, but particularly in dogs and cats. There are numerous stories of a dog waking the family with a house fire, and they certainly protect their owners if they are physically attacked. Cats have been known to lie next to a dying person. They somehow seem to know when their owner is dying before anyone else.
Dog and Puppies
The dictionary definition of a gut instinct is an “inborn tendency to behave in a way characteristic of a species; natural, unlearned, predictable response to stimuli,” and “a primal psychic force or drive, as fear, love, or anger; specif., in Freudian analysis, either the life instinct (Eros) or the death instinct (Thanatos)".
A gut instinct can help you make good decisions that are logical, rather than emotionally based. Some things can certainly interfere with making a good decision using gut instinct, such as alcohol, drugs, depression or other emotional problems. Knowing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, plus accepting yourself as you are, will guide you down the right path most of the time.
Views on Inborn Instinct
Do you believe we are born with the instinct to protect ourselves and our children?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.