Okay, we all know stress is a demon – but I saw an article in the newspaper with actual data for women.
It seems that women in “strained” marriages are more likely than other wives to have high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.
The research was done at the University of Utah – they studied more than 300 couples who had been married for more than 20 years. They answered questions about their relationship and mental state and took tests.
They found that the women in high “strife” marriages were more likely to have depression (that one I could have guessed) – but also “metabolic syndrome.”
They listed things like a thick waist, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and abnormal blood sugar that showed up in these women – but here’s the kicker: Tim Smith of the University of Utah said:
“What we found is that negative aspects of the marriage – a high level of conflict and discord – were associated with increased levels of metabolic syndrome for women and not for men.”
In other words – men are just fine with a crappy marriage.
They guessed that the increase of “metabolic syndrome” was explained by the fact that women in “strained” marriages (as they put it) reported more levels of depression – which is – a known risk factor for heart disease.
They’re presenting this study currently at a meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society – a place where they at least consider the effects of emotions and mental states on the body – but still, where your illness can be “all in your head” regardless of the actual physical symptoms.
This is something so many doctors unfortunately say about actual illnesses they just can’t diagnose or define – rather than say it might have been “caused” by your head, and therefore might be “uncaused” by your head, or “affected” by your head – they often say it’s “all in” your head and don’t even consider the possible actual physical components.
So – what does unhappiness in a relationship do to your body? A lot.
So – sometimes the pain we feel is ours, just triggered by a person who happens to be a man just doing something he normally does without meaning to trigger us.
And sometimes the pain we feel is being triggered by that person on purpose – by US.
Sometimes we CHOOSE a person on purpose – BECAUSE he triggers us, BECAUSE he makes us feel bad.
So – blaming him isn’t really going to help us deal with why we’re THERE in that situation.
That means we have to figure out why so many of us women are in relationship situations that are bad-feeling enough to make us SICK! And not just mentally upset and depressed and blue – we’re talking bodily illness sick.
There’s an old saying in the therapist community – about how we each have to choose to either be “sorry or sick.”
And that means – when you become willing to look at your OWN stuff – you unearth all kinds of things that make you feel “sorry.” You’re sorry you did that, put yourself there, stuffed that down, forgot that, didn’t honor yourself there, are doing this, saying that, are in this place…
But the only other alternative to that – to constantly being aware of who you are and where you are and how you feel every time you feel triggered (because that’s telling you where you’ve BEEN, without having to dig all that past stuff up – just feeling it NOW is enough for the lesson to work) – is to stuff it all down, limit all awareness, keep a mask plastered over your face and your feelings and your soul – and be “sick.”
We women have lovely sensibilities. We pick up things that men miss. We’re wired differently, and thank goodness for that.
So – choose “sorry” over “sick.” The “sorry” will pass, and you’ll make a clean, clear space for “happy” to enter and fill you up. And…don’t bother with beating yourself up. “Sorry” isn’t about that. “Sorry” is just taking responsibility for yourself and feeling moved by it all so you can keep moving.
The willingness to choose “sorry” will give you the ability to find your way through the maze of old habits and bright shiny objects and land at “happy.”
I’m not just talking about being in a marriage, or long term relationship – I’m talking about those 1 week and 2 month and 4 month and 6 month and 1 year relationships that are so easy to fall into when you’re not following the Rori Raye rules of Circular Dating.
I’m talking about that “stuck” feeling – where what you want and what you have and what you want to feel and what you actually feel are so different you feel pulled between sorry and sick and are afraid to choose.
So – Here’s to not ever getting trapped somewhere we don’t want to be because we’re choosing not to see What Is right in front of us, what is True for us, what might make us feel “sorry.”
I for one am EMBRACING “sorry,” so I can stare “sick” right in the face and laugh. Join me.