What are four factors causing risk behaviour and situations?

  • I was likely predisposed to all types of risky behaviors, both through nature and nurture. My upbringing was far from conventional or ideal. Starting about age 3 1/2, I had total freedom and a complete lack of parental oversight. Both of my parents worked long hours, my mother was a covert narcissist, who was always more concerned with being the perfect wife to my father, (who’s family owned a fine jewelry store), making him see like a great catch.

    Since he’d bounce back and forth between his oft-estranged wife, (with whom he had a young son), and my mother, who at 16, was already interested in securing a “good future”, and she had no issues about dating other women’s husbands. They were married when she was 20, and he was 28.

    I can’t remember a single good thing from my childhood, I have only the negative memories. I think there must have been some good things, but thinking back, I can’t think of a single one.

    My back story would be as long as a novel, so I’ll just say that as an only child, I spent most of my waking hours alone, usually outdoors, doing whatever I pleased. Combined with my love of the outdoors, animals, and my great displeasure at being stuck inside, (especially when my mother was home). She‘d began working full time just before I turned 4, and she was home a lot less.

    “Babysitters or daycare”? No, those were reserved for “rich people”, in her opinion. I can’t honestly say I wanted more oversight, so it was just as well, from my young, very narrow perspective.

    She’d also joined him in his alcohol fueled lifestyle, and when his poor first wife had finally had enough of his drunken antics, and his wife finally threw him out for good, my mother “won”. I do believe she only conceived me to be on more “equal footing” with his ex wife, not from a real desire to become a mother.

    She’d actually found an “underground” ob/gyn, who, for a hefty fee, prescribed women like my mother, speed throughout both of her pregnancies, since she couldn’t fathom getting “fat”. (The SHAME)!

    He would literally put pregnant women out completely, for the entire labor and delivery, despite knowledge that the practice was far more dangerous to the infants, and had been banned, except under certain circumstances, (none of which she qualified for).

    She’d been willing to travel quite a distance to see that particular doctor. In fact, when my younger brother was born, two years later, he died at one week of age, due to his small size, and allegedly premature lungs. (That may be why I chose only all natural deliveries with my first two babies, but I needed a c-section with the third baby).

    I went to visit his gravesite, along with my older brothers, but he was buried on the other side, in a very old, dilapidated area, and it was hard to find his grave, since he had no headstone. He’d somehow been buried in another families plot, although nobody claimed to know why. I asked my mother several years ago for his info, (like his middle name), because I was going to buy him a headstone. She became irate with me, and she couldn’t even remember his middle name, so I dropped it.

    My dad had to his credit, decided to sober up when I was 5, so their drunken, rage-fueled tirades are old memories, (some of which can still make my face flush with second hand embarrassment), but they’re very far removed, and some are almost funny to me now.

    My dads once spotty employment history dictated that we move almost every year, sometimes more. I attended 7 different schools before starting JR high school. I learned how to fit in quickly, mostly due to my excelling in sports, and I was a very hearty, tough kid. Any place we’d move, there was always a pick up game of football, baseball, basketball, etc., going on in any town we landed in, and after proving my “value” to a team, I was always chosen quickly. That was my only saving grace.

    There was nothing I hated more than hearing “We’re moving in a few days again”, always delivered in a surprisingly happy, upbeat tone by my mother. I used to think that she was trying somehow to “soften the blow”, but I later realize that she secretly relished telling me that my life was about to be upheaved, and put in turmoil, yet again.

    I’d protested a lot at first, but I soon realized that my feelings about it always fell of deaf ears, and I resigned myself to yet another inevitable move. I really don’t remember ever feeling depressed or emotional about much of anything, it was just the way things were. Had I not been self-reliant, I don’t know what would have happened to me.

    My early friends were almost exclusively boys, since girls were discouraged from participating in what were considered to be “rough sports” back then, and I was good enough to quickly prove myself on the field, and be accepted into whatever game was going on. My only joy in life was pretty much sports.

    The first time I got high smoking weed, (and got drunk, another story altogether), I was almost 12. It was at lunchtime, when my friends and I decided to burn one, before going to a fast food place for lunch, where I had a total “out-of-body experience. I remember feeling like I’d been pulled out of my body, and was floating above our table, just watching and listening to my friends talk, as if I was another person, still sitting there in my seat! Instead of being frightened, I thought it was the coolest feeling ever, and I soon became a daily pot smoker, although I never had another experience like that again.

    I‘d began working at age 12, taking a bus to work every day after school, so I always had money to buy clothes, (or drugs or alcohol), and I had my first car before my 16th birthday. I had many friends who lived in the worst parts of town, so I was out partying every night, until I felt like coming home, since no one noticed my comings and goings.

    I was always a very high energy, busy kid, (helped by a mild case of ADHD), and I took risks often, in part due to not having any oversight, growing up with constantly changing places and new people. Later, we’d settled into a pretty dangerous town, with a bad element and environment, where being in the wrong place was hard to avoid.

    I’d been jumped 3 times, during the first week of junior HS, and I’d been lucky enough to have somehow soundly and very publicly, beaten the snot out of the 3 people who’d jumped me, giving me a strange notoriety, as a “tough, crazy girl”.

    At 97 lbs, 5’2”, it was pretty laughable, (even to me, at the time), but that reputation served me very well, especially when the “great” school I‘d attended closed down, and we were made to walk to another school in a very rough, delipidated older part of town, in a more integrated neighborhood, several miles away.

    My reputation had preceded me, so I had far fewer problems getting along at a school where, (to put it nicely), we weren’t at all “welcome“, and I found myself suddenly deluged with new friends, all seemingly in need of “protection“, who acted like I was “Rambo and Shaft“ combined, lol. When a few of them decided to start fights with people that they knew could beat their ass*s, I told them that if they started anything, they were completely on their own!

    I took a lot of stupid risks, and did the kind of things that only the teenage mindset of feeling “invincible”, allows dumb kids to do, yet I did know better, having lost my elder half brother in a car accident when I was 11, and he was 17. A lack of role models, no oversight, and a strong will, along a taste for drugs and alcohol, coupled with a very high pain threshold, allowed me to always push the envelope a bit too far, so I consider myself lucky to still be here now…

    I can’t even remember my last drink or drug, it’s been so many years ago now. I just got tired of that feeling, and I decided to stop one day. After becoming a married mother at age 17, I‘d had to grow up fast, but after a divorce at 27, I partied for awhile, when my kids were with their father. I was a very “hands on”, involved mother, not wanting to be anything like my own mother had been, (even before the realization that she was a deeply covert narcissist).

    I only learned of it later in my life, when she threw her old, well worn mask out the window at freeway speed, and she became an entirely different, chronically lying, cheating thief, and a horrible person, as my father was ill and dying.

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