Carrying the heavy weight of a negative relationship can have detrimental effects on your health in more ways than one.
‘For better or for worse’, you enter a relationship believing that when you fall in love, you stick through the good times and the bad. But just how much can the ‘bad’ affect you? You least expect a relationship to turn for the worse. And when you carry the heavy weight of a bad relationship, it can have some of the most detrimental effects on your health in more ways than one.
When you’re stuck in a negative relationship, your stress levels increase and this can affect your risk of high blood pressure, as found in a study published in academic.oup.com. The study found that it’s not just your own experiences that affect your stress, but also the experience you have with your spouse. Lead author of the study Kira S. Birditt said, "An individual's physiology is closely linked with not only his or her own experiences but the experiences and perceptions of their spouses. We were particularly fascinated that husbands were more sensitive to wives' stress than the reverse especially given all of the work indicating that wives are more affected by the marital tie. We speculate that this finding may result from husbands greater reliance on wives for support which may not be provided when wives are more stressed," according to sciencedaily.com.
The effects of being in a physically or verbally abusive relationship can be worse. Dr. T. Jared Bunch, MD wrote in an article about how researchers found that extreme sources of stress like a toxic relationship can cause severe effects on the health of your heart. It was pointed out that women had a 12 percent higher chance of having coronary heart disease when they experience life events that have high levels of stress. It was also reported that women experienced a 14 percent higher risk of stroke when they experienced similar life events that are highly stressful.
Relationships are meant to make you feel safe and secure. But being trapped in a negative relationship can threaten the way you feel about yourself. Sometimes relationships can be so toxic that you don’t feel any sense of safety or that you’re getting nothing in return for all that you give to the relationship. The conflict and anxiety can have a severe impact on your mental health.
When you are the target of constant criticism and abuse, it can push you to feel extremely frustrated and give rise to the feeling of ‘I’m not good enough'. As Allan Schwartz, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker explained in an article, a negative relationship of this sort can push you into depression. Other hazardous effects that it can have are diabetes, obesity, extreme anxiety, heart conditions, and high blood pressure.
Apart from these effects, experiencing high conflict or hostility in marriages can also make your body heal wounds slowly, found a study in National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). It was also reported by nbcnews.com that feeling depressed in ‘strained marriages’ caused a huge spike in women with regards to hypertension, waistline obesity, high blood sugar and low levels of HDL (or good cholesterol).
When you’re constantly feeling stressed out in a relationship, what you feel in your mind starts reflecting on your body. It pushes your body to always be in ‘fight or flight’ mode. Over time, this results in your immune system to grow weak and might increase inflammation in your body. The fight of flight mode can also prevent the adequate flow of blood to your digestive system, making you experience a number of digestive issues. You are more prone to injuries because your muscles become tense and constricted when you’re anxious, and you might even experience chronic pain. High levels of stress can also trigger headaches, according to keckmedicine.org.
Putting yourself through emotional abuse for too long starts wearing you down, where you no longer have the energy to do everyday things. “A person would begin to feel more on edge, find it more difficult to sleep, find themselves thinking more negatively about themselves, feel increasingly hopeless and incompetent in what they’re doing, and then there comes a day when they just can’t face going to work, or getting out of bed, perhaps. Breakdown occurs if [distress] is not dealt with—it builds up and it’s part of a process,” said Dr. Philip Timms according to bridgestorecovery.com.
There’s nothing that can justify emotional abuse or toxicity in a relationship. Don’t stop yourself from getting help, especially when you have been feeling like something’s been wrong for a very long time. The sooner you save yourself from the stress of a negative relationship, the sooner you will have peace of mind, better mental health, and a healthier body.Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.