PREVIOUS: Risk-ADDICTED (Part 1)
People are drawn to risks that promise a quick positive outcome that will be exciting, help them forget themselves & get rid of unpleasant emotions.
However, situations which reminds someone that they’ll never form close relationships, of having nothing to lose, of their mortality… increase their tendency to take extreme risks.
People who willingly participate in risky behavior are prone to injury, disease, financial loss, incarceration & fatality.
ACoAs: Risk-junkies were just as terrorized growing up as the risk-averse, but their unconscious ‘defense of choice’ is to be counter-phobic, ie. so numb to the fear they carry, that they need a high degree of stimulation (danger) just to feel alive. When ‘nothing is happening’ they feel let down – something is missing. YES – & it’s THEMSELVES! Under-riskers withdraw & hide out, while Over-riskers push themselves to the limit & beyond.
At this behavioral extreme are the ACoAs identified with an original parent who:
• drove while drunk (& with family), constantly raging / arguing in the car
• fought with everyone they could
• never took care of their health or safety
• caused serious physical damage to themselves &/or us – as a result of careless or dangerous behaviors
• stole, cheated, never kept their promises
• over-reacted to everything, never being truly calm (except when they were comatose)….
➼ AND/OR we grew up in bad neighborhoods or other difficult environments, where we became addicted to the adrenal high it caused
SEVERE: A ‘strong’ emotional deadness (being VERY shut down) is similar to what people who cut themselves experience – they want to feel something but don’t know the safe & healthy way.
We took on that reckless danger-seeking (over-risking) pattern, while underneath we’re just as scared as the avoiders. Neither group has learned to use risk in limited, “moderate’, healthy ways.
High-riskers are more likely to ‘mess things up’ by not considering the consequences of our choices. We act impulsively, often with anger, resentment, revenge, spite…. pushing away the very things we say we want
It’s courting danger for ourselves, but often to others as well. We can lose:
• friends, lovers, family, jobs
• our dreams, good opportunities, a variety of options
• our health & our very life …..
EXPs: Dating physically abusive partners // rushing across the street just as the light turns red & the traffic is moving – fast // not eating the right foods for our system // living in unsanitary conditions // not attending to a serious health problem // having unprotected sex // verbally antagonizing authority figures, volatile or crazy people // road rage // active addictions ……
These ACoAs are more afraid of being still & being quiet, of stopping long enough to hear their WIC voice of hysteria & feeling the panic, than dealing with all the outer dangers they put themselves in. Their anxiety gets poured into:
• addictions, esp. those involving high risk (sex, illegal drugs…)
• illegal careers (prostitution, drug & gun trafficking, murder…)
• compulsive activity (always having to be on the go)
• dangerous avocations (various sports….)
• cheating on a spouse, on taxes, buying something on the dark web
• dating / marrying dangerous people (addicts, felons, abusers…)
• high pressure jobs (lawyers, agents, sales people….)
• high-risk legal careers (police, military, oil rig workers, high-rise steel welders…)
These potentially dangerous activities are often described by adrenaline addicts as fun, exciting, the only way to live… Without the high, whatever the form, they might have to feel the pain of their damage, & they’ll do almost anything to avoid that.
Like any addict, if for some reason they’re forced to give up that lifestyle (like getting into Recovery!) – they can experience:
• depression, feeling suicidal, hopeless
• feeling FLAT, that life’s boring, not worth it
• being unable to motivate themselves, in general
• great difficulty creating a new way to life that is both healthy and pleasurable
Fortunately, doing ‘the work’ & sometimes the right medication will help to lift the misery. We can pursue our dreams, without drama! Progress is it’s own re-enforcer. Eventually, we will find things to do that hold our interest because we love them, & we look forward to down time & relaxation.
NEXT: Heathy Risk