Your defensive habits you picked up.


Editorial Team
Nov 21, 2005
United Kingdom
So I grew up in nice parts of nice enough towns (or at least they were back then). I had spent enough time running around in London, my parents had shown me how the world works, as well as London then riding skateboards everywhere, and had friends on rougher estates that meant I was far from ignorant of harsher places, people and situations. That said adopting a defensive approach to just walking around was not something I did, psychologists have pondered what happens when people have stayed in high alert states for extended periods and it is seldom good but different topic there -- for myself if I am pondering reflection I would rather it be happening in the context of a physics problem than watching a shop window/car windscreen reflection to see round a blind corner of the street I was walking down the (middle) of, and quite miss such contemplations if I am instead watching out. If you wanted a jumping off point then I highly suggest .

Then I went to Liverpool for a few years. Now many of the stories you will hear from the place are exaggerated but... let's just say I am glad I can hurt people quite badly if the need arises, don't panic easily, know escape routes from anywhere I am at and can run very fast for extended periods*.
It is the sort of place that were three of us taking shopping in you either lock the boot when doing it, or stagger it such that someone is always eyes on the car. A tiny lady once set a dog on me one Saturday afternoon in a bright and wide open park maybe 200m from a police area station and hospital.
These days I live in a very spread out village of maybe 50 people, and frequently avail myself of the many public footpaths around here. Should I meet someone on them then they are almost certain to say hello and also quite likely to strike up a conversation (especially if the dog is with me), however the years of the city thing means I always feel an intense unease in such encounters -- in other times I am not much of a conversationalist but enjoy them well enough, out walking though... This mainly as in towns and big cities if that happens then someone is either trying to mug you or sell something to you (the latter I have perfected the sidestep for -- keep something like eye contact and walk right up to them but sidestep at the last moment and they are usually so shocked you are already carrying on).

*the steady diet of fags and alcohol that the average Scouse scrote ingests from the age of 13 or so means that while they can often punch pretty hard (the near universal boxing training helping with that one) their cardio is shockingly poor, and if you can go for more than about 30 seconds you are good. Also means they favour cornering, numbers and ambush tactics.

Prior to that I did university halls because I was a moron and believed people when they said it would help things. Courtesy of that then to this day I leave my old clothes on the chair when sleeping in case of 3am fire drill (you don't want to be hanging around outside for an hour at 3am in November in just your boxers). Also keep my toothbrush in my bedroom rather than the bathroom, and will usually keep a spare toilet roll to hand. Don't think I can quite blame living out a suitcase rather than using the drawers I had for as long as I did on that as opposed to laziness but if I can then I will.

For a more silly one. Goldeneye and skateboards saw me learn to spot each and every CCTV camera around me.

More generally then once every few months I will have to go through my bag and figure out what tools I need to carry with me, and if I need all the ones I do carry. That might not rank as defensive for some but it comes from a place of "without my tools, I am useless".

Or if you prefer shorter questions. What behaviours of a more defensive nature did parents, siblings, housemates, friends, random encounters, new cities, new schools, possibly training or some kind of action somewhere... cause you to adopt, especially those you carried on after the need stopped, or maybe a hitherto unknown or otherwise dismissed threat you found yourself awakened to. What other effects has it had on things?

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