Monday, August 27, 2007
Self-censoring linked to higher death risk
When I was in college, I volunteered at a shelter for abused women and children. Over the years, the faces would change, but the stories were similar. A disagreement with a husband or boyfriend often ended with a smack across the face, a shove into a wall or stinging words of hate. To survive, many of these women just took it and kept their mouths shut until they figured out a way to escape. Often women would tell me they didn't feel they had a "voice" in their relationships.

I thought about those ladies while reading about a new study on marriage, communication and death. The study, which appears in the July/August edition of the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, found that women who don't express themselves during disagreements with their husbands are FOUR times more likely to die compared with women who express themselves freely. The study's author, Dr. Elaine Eaker, says the 10-year study is the first to look at the effect of marital strain in relationship to the development of heart disease and death. The study also confirmed that marriage is good for men's health, but that unmarried men were twice as likely to die as married men.

So why is it so hard for some women to speak up? "We don't really know why women self-silence," says Dr. Eaker. "It may be some type of protection mechanism." Experts say most girls are taught not deal directly with their feelings. "Girls learn more 'relational forms' of aggression," says psychologist Dana Jack. She teaches at the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University and has written extensively about self-silencing. "Girls tell other girls, 'I won't play with you if you play with her." Boys on the other hand are taught to express their anger openly.

As a result, Jack says, some women are afraid of the consequences of showing anger during quarrels with their husbands. For some women, it's because of the threat of physical violence, but for others, there is a fear that if they speak up, their husbands will leave and their financial security will go out the door with them. So anger builds up and, like stress, it can damage the heart. Jack tells the story of a woman she once counseled in group therapy. "Lisa's" husband left her for a younger woman. One day, the husband showed up and took all the family albums. The new wife wanted them. Members of the group were incredulous when Lisa said she didn't put up a fight. She never did. Lisa told the group her kids knew she was angry only if she raised an eyebrow. After "self-censoring" for so long, Lisa lost the ability to express anger. She died from heart disease.

The bottom line, says Dr. Eaker, is that "self-silencing" women need to learn how to express themselves more constructively and put themselves in an environment where they feel safe to do so.

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said "If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart."

I want to know what you think. Do you self-silence in your relationships? Has marriage helped or hurt your health?
I am the way you describe in your article. I do not want to make anyone angry so I keep my mouth shut for too long. Every one around me gets used to me being a 'good sport' but I am really, really angry on the inside. I tend to express my anger freely when driving. I think that is because, subconciously, I know I have my weapon (that would be my two ton car) with me. I feel anonymous in my little metal cage with wheels.
I am on husband number three and he almost get ditched because I just don't know how to deal with this anger that I don't feel safe expressing. I split for a few weeks but now I'm back with the poor guy promising to change.
I need to change too but I think its too late for me. Maybe younger women will learn before its too late. Maybe they will teach their daughters.
My mother never seemed to have any trouble letting whoever she wanted to know when she was angry.
(big sign here). Live goes on and I am who Iam and the way I am. Changing takes courage and motivation. I am low on both, too much STRESS!
Growing up, I had 3 brothers who pounded their anger out on each other...I had no such outlet. I was reared to be quiet & respectful--I learned to bury the anger and lost touch with it so long ago I can't even remember. Married a man who (unbeknownst to me) was hateful when drunk. I froze when he was in a rage. You missed something; it's not about economics as much as it's the actual fear of death in a girl trained to receive love only when she did the "right" things...but never actually knew what the right things were.

Good news is, I discovered my outlet with a very perceptive therapist--I love to smash things (clay pigeons are ideal). I've been practicing speaking up and found it to be an amazingly simple cure for all that helpless and unrecognized rage--needs to be practiced, but so empowering.

Thank you for your research. Women can learn to reclaim their anger and truly own it--it's not about abuse or hatred, it's simply establishing that anger is authentic and finding the right creative mode to express it, respectfully and without apology. It's tremendously rewarding!
For the first 11 years of my marriage, I felt like I had no voice unless I was agreeing with my husband. He would often get very angry when he thought I was either disagreeing with him or disrespecting him. It was often scary for me even though he was not physically abusive. My story has a happy ending, though. My faith in Jesus Christ got me through the first 11 years and brought my husband to a point of change when I finally asked him to leave. Unlike most men, my husband came back home a changed man. I would encourage you to cry out to God about your relationship. He will listen and bring you peace however things turn out.
Once again the template is........

man=bad women=good

It would be nice if someone would step back and ask the question.

"Why do women live so much longer than men?"

Possibly because men absorb much more stress being in the work force longer, under much more stress to gain the financial security that their wives fear loosing.
You missed another reason for self-silence. A women doesn't speak up because it gives the other member of the relationship another oportunity to hurt, criticize or abuse. Essentially, you have no voice and you know it - expressing yourself doesn't change anything - it just adds more abuse to an already abused mind, heart and soul.
I grew up in a home and family with little conflict.We all felt very safe and loved.
When I married, my husband started using cocaine. It was a very hard marriage as he was in drug treatment 6 times in 8 years.

I tended to express myself when he wasn't using and not express myself when I knew he was using drugs. We were divorced in 1985 and I feel the marriage was overall a bad thing for me because I was not at all prepared for someone yelling at me, especially after coming from primary family environment.
Perhaps the reason women don't express themselves is because they are married to men who don't like to communicate at all. That by discussing a problem, they are accused of "beating a dead horse", being a 'nag'and refusing to let things go. Rather than go through the futile exercise of attempting to resolve issues through communicating until resolution, and faced with constant criticism, it is easier to 'suck it up' until, as said in the article, 'they figure a way to escape.'
I DO NOT self-silence in my marriage. I have been married (only by the grace of God) for 11 years. I have always been vocal about any emotional or physical abuse in my marriage from day one. I have filed for divorce, left my husband, put him out and anything else that it took to have peace in my home. I learned this behavior from watching my mother be self-silent about my father's alcoholism and the affect it had on our family. I also was blessed enough to attend Univ of California at Berkeley were I took many women's studies, african american studies and sociology courses. Therefore, I entered my marriage knowing what I would tolerate and what I would not tolerate. Even the Bible does not give man the right to abuse women. My actions has caused my husband to change those toxic behaviors in order to keep the marriage. I am not bragging, he and I still make mistakes, but one thing is clear, in my house we serve the Lord and anything contrary to that, must Go! One thing is clear, stress from a bad marriage from a women is real and will kill you if you let it. You have to fight on this earth for a peaceful home and only with Christ can this be done. Be Blessed All!
I would like to say that it is absolutely right for ladies to be bold enough to get their rights from husbands or to speak out while having a quarrel with their husbands.many asian ladies are scared to do that which results in strokes and heart attacks.About myself I WOULD say marriage has not hurt me or my health as yet.
Women are still feeling the effects of a patriarchal society, in part because of male interpretation of sacred texts, and the male domination which lingers in the real world. Trying to change what is happening in your own home is as difficult as changing the views of the world, but it is possible.

I have been in this very situation for 14 years, and am now liberated beyond what I ever thought was my potential. I do not blame my husband, although he was the antagonist, but as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Much easier to hear than to experience. My road to liberation (and I mean that in the truest sense - even my thoughts were selective because I knew the wrath of my husband if he knew what I was thinking) has been a long one. My friends dwindled, I alienated myself from my family, and avoided any situation which proved my unhappiness to others.

I could write a book right now about what I did to repair my broken spirit, but I haven't the time or the space. Women need to know is that it is possible to liberate yourself and break free from domestic oppression, but it takes a lot of work and time. You can't just sit back and hope your habits change, you have to actively pursue a better life. Higher education has helped me, as well as countless self-help books, others' experience, poems, music, forcing myself to go out with friends, etc. Basically, immerse yourself in the real world.

I wish all women peace who take that chance and try to be as happy as you deserve.
I also believe it is not about economics. I make more than my husband and have for years yet I kept my feelings inside for years. If I agreed I would say so if I didn't I would not say anything or just agree and hope he would change his mind. This built for years until I just lost love and respect for him. He changed and now we are trying to work out our marriage. I do believe it will work but it still takes a lot for me to say I don't agree with something and stand up for myself.
I grew up with one older brother who took his anger out on me by punching me weekly or daily. When I acted back either physically or verbally I could never win. Over time I gave up and just tried to stay out of his way. I've done this in most personal relationships.
For some reason at work everyone thinks I'm mean. I just go over there heads when they won't do as I ask.
With my children I over do it and too much anger shows at times.
When my anger does come out in full force it is very bad I tend to say things without thinking and it tends to be everything you didn't want to know about yourself.
I have fibromyalgia which is chronic pain and fatique cause unknown but I believe it comes from the stress of keeping so much inside.
I think standing up for yourself and letting out your anger is a healthy thing, but when some women assert themselves in a marriage, bad things can happen. There are men out there who think nothing of using physical violence to silence their wives or girlfriends and even their children. These women have alot to fear. Not to mention verbal abuse which can be debillitating. No matter how much you want to stand up for yourself and fight back, this kind of treatment can destroy you. And for many women, leaving this man may not be an option either due to financial concerns or just plain fear of what he will do. What do these women do?
It took my 19-year-old son asking my why I always 'roll over' in altercations with his dad to realize that I was self-silencing. I had always thought that I was 'keeping the peace' in the family and had told my sons to choose their battles, and I was chosing not to fight. Somewhere along the line, I lost myself and my voice. I have always been a strong woman, I have a master's degree in nursing. Through therapy, I am finding myself again.
Anger leads to unhappiness
I leave the situation if someone is angry with me or others
I do not tolerate any actions or words in anger. I do not get angry
Everyone should control their emotions.
At 20 years into an abusive marriage, first physicaly, then verbally, once I had started "speaking up", my doctor discovered my 106 resting heartrate was due to an extremely high level of cortisol, the flight or fight product from the adrenals which react to stressers.
I was at thta point a prime canadate for cardiac arrest.
Within 2 months of leaving my marriage after another 4 years, my rsting heart rate was 68 nad my cortisol levels were near normal,altho it has been established that I had had a "silent " heart attack during the
last four years of my marriage. My divorce probably saved my life from "natural" causes, which were anything but normal.
After four years of a divorce, I am 70 years young and am leading a happy, productive positive life.
I am also that way. I kept my mouth shut because it was basically don't speak unless told to. I admit there were times I tried to stand up for myself or put my foot down. It only resulted in getting a smack or a shove. I was married for 10 years, I was scared to leave on my own. I finally left. I have been divorced for about 8 years now and with alot of work i've been better. I still find myself holding things in. I want to make everyone happy. I have stood up to my ex over the years. It took time but he now knows I have a voice. Now the relationship i'm in, well i'm falling back into shutting up. I try to express my feelings, but it never works. I think I need to go back to english class. He has a problem with almost everything I say. I am to suck it up and get over it. If it's not what he wants to hear then it's not talked about. Conversations are over when he is done. I try to tell him everyone handles things different, especially females. Maybe I do carry some of my past with me, but i'm protecting myself, everyone has their bad days. So I have insecurities with myself. It doesn't make me a bad person.
The statistics in this article don't mean anything. Four times as likely to die under what circumstance? During a disagreement with husbands/boyfriends? Via domestic violence? By the age of sixty? Everyone is 100% likely to die so just saying "four times as likely to die" without qualifications is both meaningless and false.

Likewise the statistic about unmarried men versus married men is meaningless, since one can't be 200% likely to die.
I have always been able to speak my mind and express my anger. Learning how to do it in appropiate ways has been my lesson. At 43, I feel I have a grip on it and have a inner peace with it now. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have to keep it all in all the time. My heart goes out to the women who struggle with this issue. I have taught my 15 year old daughter to not keep things in and being a teenager that doesn't seem to be a problem. Now we are learing how to express those feelings appropiately. Its very freeing to express feelings without fearing horrible consequences. Being financially self supporting is the first step in feeling that freedom. Good luck to all out there and know you deserve the best.
"The study also confirmed that marriage is good for men's health, but that unmarried men were twice as likely to die as married men."

Well, everyone is likely to die, but does that mean unmarried men die younger than married men?
yes, in our world, doesn't matter if you were born in Eastern or Western Countries, women are very often taught to self-silence, since a very early age, because them expressing openly should sound very inadequate and not very femenine!!!
My mother always put a lot of pressure on me as to force me to self-silence.
in spite of me having a rather strong nature, in relationships were feelings are involved, I always accepted, bore, and underwent lacks of respects, lies, slights and so on, because i was afraid if I reacted I'd lose the person I was so dependent on.
obviously, after allowing them to tread on me, I felt horrible, and in hindsight I regret this weakness of mine.
it's very hard to change your attitude, even when you're aware it's gonna spoil you at so many levels, because when you are taught something at a very early age, it becomes sort of authomatic. My hope and wish for the future -for my own, and women's in general- is to become so self-conscious that I spot that attitude before I play that, in order to protect myself and my rights. If somebody cares about you, they accept you in good, bad, worst moments. They simply won't fly away because you react against mistreatment!The most important person to watch on is yourself. thank you for the attention. alex
Silencing yourself in any relationship will kill you. It is very important to say what is on your mind, otherwise you build up stress and anger which is bad for your emotional & physical health. I used to silence myself in my marriage just to keep the peace but it lead me to depression and on my way to high blood pressure. After many years I just couldnt take it anymore so I decided to move on with my life. I wanted to be happy and healthy. Now I am free, relaxed and loving life. I now say what is on my mind and I feel so much better about myself. I can sleep at night in peace. Do yourself a favor ladies and learn to be happy. Life is just way too short for stress in your relationship. If you have to silence yourself in a relationship then you shouldnt be there in the first place. Move on....
I stayed in an oppressive/abusive marriage for 20 years. The reason for not expressing my anger was simple. It would only enrage an unyielding, and out of control husband making matters worse and even more volatile than they already were. I am no match for a 200 pound enraged man. Why did I stay in the marriage - co-dependence. I have two children to provide for. I have always worked full time, but my resources are limited, and I have no other support. I also assist my Mom financially and physically as she is in poor health. In summary, after two decades of awful strife and burning inside, and my kids are now older, I filed for a seperation. For the next two years, that subdued anger made me very ill physically and emotinally until I was able to release it . I did that by being assertive and expressing my feelings whenever I felt it was necessary. And I held others accountable for their own bad actions. I was only able to do this now because the threat of violence to me no longer existed. As things turned out, my husband, after years of therapy now, has stopped drinking and we are back together. He is a much better husband and father now and regrets terribly what he put us all through.
I am pretty outspoken all the time. I have realized that I do not hold anger in I express my feelings right away if something is bothering me. I confront the issue and then just put it behind me and its easier said than done, but I hope other women learn to do the same.
Wow, I had no idea it was this bad. Anytime I get into an argument with my husband I never hesitate to speak up. This is good because it lets him know that I disagree with him and that we need to further compromise. Not only that but I get to blow off some steam.
I was the typical stand and take it YEARS ago, then a woman police officer taught me to fight back. SHE said " YELL BACK LOUD!" I did and told it like it was the truth. Of course I did this when I felt safe and was out of the situation of harm and not feeling I would get a bullet between my eyes either. BUT, I finally did get to that point where I could say how I exactly felt and I was empowered again.
I am now still needing counseling in attracting the personalities of men who need to bully and control consistantly.It is not enough to TAKE A STAND as I get tired and it is still hard on the HEALTH.
This survey sounds like you to talked to me. I have always been the one to keep "everyone happy" and keep life on an even keel. Don't rock the boat. I don't really know how to have a good, healthy argument without the fear of the other person not liking me. My marriage is now in serious trouble and one of the reasons is that I just never spoke my mind - fearing he would not love me anymore or leave me and now, because I haven't, he is seriously considering leaving our 23 year marriage. I am currently in therapy and need to learn to put myself first (which is very hard - it's hard to unlearn 50 years of a bad habit) but I'm working on it.
I can really relate to Lois M's comments. I didn't realize this until reading the article & comments, but I have a similar issue. I find it hard to express even the slightest concern, so I hold things in until I explode. But when I'm driving in my car I have no problem expressing my road rage immediately & loudly.

I am 30 and currently live with my boyfriend whom I plan to one day marry. And I have been trying to figure out why I tend to get so worked up sometimes and this is exactly why. I haven't dealt with the first, second or third issue so when we get to the fourth; it could be something small, but I make a big deal out of it because it's really built on a lot of smaller things! This is a habit that I picked up as a child. My father was very strict and had a very bad temper growing up, so I was always in fear of disappointing him or being punished, and as a result I held a lot of things in & never felt comfortable expressing myself when I was upset. This changed when I turned 18. I became very rebellious, almost a complete 180 in my personality.

Thanks for this article. I now understand the importance of speaking up right away instead of holding things in.
Self-censorship, anger and disease seem to be companions according to my experience. Nice girls always have to be nice. Boys are not expected to be nice.

This carries over to business relationships and public personas as well and impacts women's careers and success. Recently CNN carried an article on anger in the workplace. While it was tolerated even expected of men, it was an anethma for women.

Women are not supposed to have opinions let alone express them. Why did it take so long for women to get the vote? Why was domestic violence so long in coming when animals had been protected for 100 years before women were?

Why did Archie Bunker tell Edith to "stifle" herself? He wasn't merely telling her to be quiet. He was telling her not to have an opinion, not to be who she was.

Why do we have men making women over in the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady stories? It is a traditional myth that women should be made over into men's concept of what they are.
My husband is a recovering alcoholic and a lawyer. I self censure quite often because he loves to argue, and I don't. Occasionally, I do respond to one of the bizarre comments he throws out there. For example, while trying to get his life back together, he didn't work for four years, and I worked multiple jobs so that I could support the whole family. Last night, he said that I love to work. Of course, this isn't true. I've only done what I've had to do. I think he only said it to get a reaction, which is what happened. Sometimes, there seems to be no point in letting out the anger. The lawyer in him means he's always right. The alcoholic in him means it's always going to be my fault.
I think self-silencing is caused by a number of factors. The fear of being alone is a big one. Especially if the abuse has not moved from mental to physical. But I think another huge factor is the way they were raised. If they grew up watching their mother take abuse and keep silent they are more likely to think that it is normal behavior. And lastly, it becomes almost like a habit. If they just keep their mouths shut, things will blow over and of course the man will always give an empty apology so the woman will keep taking it. And no matter how much you try to convince someone being abused to get away they have to want to.
In my opinion, this is not an all or nothing issue. Too much speaking your mind is not a good thing, and none at all is not good either. I have been at both ends of the spectrum, and neither have worked for me. My husband and I are both very strong-willed and opinionated. For most of our 16 years of marraige, I have spoken up when I disagreed, and he has gotten extremely angry (but not physical) and stormed away. Eventually, he just stopped coming home from work except to sleep..even on weekends. We have 2 kids, and I thought it was extremely unfair to them, and to me. I told him so. He moved out. For the six months before he moved out, I wanted to save the marraige so I tried not saying anything when we disagreed. I tried letting him do whatever he wanted and never having anything to say about it. It didn't work, and I lost a part of myself in the process..including my self confidence. Yes, I am worried about my finanacial well-being and that was part of my willingness to self censure during those six months...and still now while we are separated. But, finances are not really the motivation (I have an MBA and used to make more than he does now, and he makes a lot)..the kids are the motivation to keep my mouth shut. I want them to have a complete family, and I want to be able to be home for them. When I worked, they were very unhappy and so was I. Bottom line, I think you need to self censure to a point, but that point needs to stop short of losing your identity and self confidence. It's not good to argue constantly, and sometimes its good to hold your tongue. However, no relationship is worth keeping if you are going to lose yourself in the process.
I agree, women should not self-silence. But I don't understand the 4 times more likely to die...to die from aggression, to die sooner? I think most everyone is actually going to die at some point.
I watched my mom die on the inside when she married my step-dad. She thought that was the only way to take care of me but sacrificed herself in the process. I missed her terribly though I saw her every day. She has since healed and I am learning how to have real relationships where I do not have to shut myself off and cater to someone else's needs. It is harder than it should be because of all the early childhood programming. But thank goodness we can heal.
My personality is somewhat on the aggressive side of assertive, and I love to debate, so I think my husband might be the one who does the self-silencing in our relationship. I try to encourage him to talk to me about things because I feel that it's the only way to work out problems between us, but he claims we should choose our fights and I start too many problems that don't need to be fights. That hasn't stopped me, and according to this article, I must be damn healthy! He is occasionally verbally abusive and condescending with me, but I never hesitate to call him on it, and it seems that he just often doesn't realize what he's doing. If I remained silent and let all the anger and hurt build up inside of me, it would get to the point where I felt an irreversible hatred for him and he would never understand why. He is an intrinsically good man who doesn't deserve that, so I feel it is as much my responsibility to speak up for myself as it is his to treat me with respect.
I am in a new relationship where my significant other and I live together with our children. Under normal circumstances I am the total opposite of those mentioned in your blog; however, being in a new relationship and in a new environment with no family or friends to turn to for comfort, I tend to not say everything that is on my mind. I often give my mate bits and pieces of what I really want to say, but I rarely say everything. My reasons for doing so are because I do not want to anger him and in essence, I fear he will leave me. I feel like too much has been sacrificed for it end so soon. As a result of my partial self-silencing, six months after moving in with him I have lost almost 10 lbs without trying, my hair is falling out in record speed and I look worn down. It’s interesting what relationships can do to a person.
I was "unheard" in my 25+ year relationship. I wanted him to be happy so I gave in to what he wanted even when I knew I didn't want to. Eventually, my resentment gave way to anger and self-destructive habits. I finally had enough of being his doormat after 24 years of marriage and left him.

I feel free now even though I struggle financially - while he runs our business.

Now, I'm not self-censoring anymore. I refused to settle our divorce for the amount he was "willing to give me" and am going ahead full steam with a business audit and letting a judge make the settlement.
I'm a very outgoing person and usually try to express what I feel evrytime But once an argue comes to my marriage I've been mostly self silence because my husband just explodes its like a tornado came by and I think it is because in a way to protect my self from mistreated words which can damage your self steem in just seconds,or turning in violence which is not my case.Perhaps well educate women could be more firm in their argues. I think as women educate their selves the less silence they will be, say like having a career make life easier and not being co dependant,I've been married for 7 years and I must say I've been silence most of these years for the fear of financial support and rights which I don't know much as being a foreign spouse,I feel like I will lose everything includng my two kids,argues made my heart anxious and sharp pains when the argues keep on for days.. so please I would love to have more info about these cases and what kind of books you can recommend to start self teaching our selfs to deal with cases like husband with bad temperament. thanks
I think here we hit the key to why women live longer if they're single. For me, there has been so much self silencing in so many relationships I'd be hard pressed to single out one story. I love men, but they do seem to want to lead the way, be right, control the finances, control what happens in the bedroom, direct the conversation, and do things that just naturally hurt a lot of women, like gawking at other females, going to strip clubs and other, to me, icky behavior that I just don't want to let slide. But, when a woman calls them on it, no matter how graciously, they get defensive, argue, lash out, anything but relax and listen. This, again, has been my experience. I'm sure other's have other experiences. Personally, though I am lonely, my health is always better when I am single. It's sad.
I have been afraid to speak up when I am angry because in all likelihood, my husband will express dismay at being criticized. He turns the attention back on himself rather than to the issue at hand. I've learned to pick my battles and to practice assertiveness. But now that my husband and I have separated, I worry that I am at higher risk for serious illness. I've read that divorced women run a greater risk of cancer, for example. I wish someone could set my mind at ease.
I have been married for 30 years to a bully. You may ask why. I have stayed with this verbal and emotional abuser because of my religious beliefs. IN the meantime, I have ulcers, high blood pressure, suffer from depression and severe headaches. I had a headache specialist to tell me that I must leave this relationship, because it is literally killing me. For the 30 years, I have walked on eggshells, hoping not to breathe too loud, because he would find some kind of fault with how I breathed. I know what I should do, but I feel like I would be letting down our Lord if I left. I would also feel like a complete failure and I fear those people who advised me all those years ago not to get married, would look at me and say I told you so. I am ashamed of my marriage and too ashamed to tell anyone of this bully that I live with. It is the fear of being ridiculed by one more person, if they knew I allowed myself to live this way. I am completely emotionally beat down, and there is no one that I can ask for help. I have no friends and I spend my days in isolation. Fear and shame rule my life. I have no where to go and do not have the means to get there even if I did. With all of my health problems, I need the insurance that I currently have.
There is no reasoning with a bully. Believe me when I say, I have talked until have been blue in the face. Now, I just live each day as it comes.
Thank God, he is addicted to porn, so I don't have to put up with his unwanted touches.
After escaping from my Type Double-A personality husband, I wrote a book to discover what there was that caused the man to be so abusive in so many ways. What I discovered was that this type of man has no self-esteem, sucks energy out of everyone around him, needs to control every situation, and hates himself more than anyone else. It is a strange and terrible way to live, but what goes around generally comes around. He is now my "dead-ex".
What I discovered about myself was that I was dying - slowly, carefully, and with determination - for it was the only way out that was left open to me.
I beg of you women who are in such marriages to get to the Abuse Refuge for women in your area and let them educate you about this type of man. Then let them help you get out with the most carefully applied system of education, police, and judges. It can be done and you will be so much happier for it. And you will be alive!
That is very true. Women are raised to be polite and not upset anybody. I was raised in a third world country where women have little if no voice at all and I have seen in so many times. I still can't express anger and disappointment freely because of fear that someone may find me rude, so whenever I am angry, I cry or eat myself to "happiness". I wish I have more guts to come out and actually say what bothers me.
I have found that my health has indeed suffered from being a "stuffer", i.e., keeping my feelings to myself. I could write a book, and it is a constant struggle. There are many of us whose husbands are not abusive, but don't know how to deal with any opposition to their wishes or decisions. Perhaps it was the way they were raised too. The man is supposed to be the "head" of the house. Real communication doesn't happen, and "stuffers" suffer such inner pain.
The most miserable times in my life have always been connected to when I was in a relationship with a man. Always expected to be the one who "compromises," I finally decided some years back that I would not submit anymore. Since then, my health has improved, I spend more time doing what I find enjoyable and fulfilling, have more friends than I can see regularly, and can still call a male over if I feel like having him around. I can pass for someone fifteen years younger than my chronological age, and have more energy, enthusiasm and life to offer for myself and others.
Easy way to get this: Ladies, don't waste your time and effort on those men who are abusive, verbally, physically, or spiritually. I've found it to be amazingly effective to inform them of how I feel when they try to subdue me, and what the consequences will be if they insist on continuing this behavior (remember-this is effective with dogs and children: works the same with men). Insist on being treated the way you treat others, and follow through. If you don't like how you are treated, Leave! (this means taking financial responsibility for yourself, regardless of how hard it might be. Ask for help, when needed-you'd be so surprised at how much is really out there to help). I get so frustrated when I hear of women who do the most fantastically stupid things to try to "fix" or "keep him in love with me." The obvious culprits: don't sign contracts with him if you don't think you could go it alone. Don't use the excuse that you are in love, because that will always change over time. And, for pity's sake, do not have children to try to "make the relationship stronger." Every person on this planet deserves to be respected, cared for, and treated fairly. Make sure you know what is right for you, and be honest and up front about it. This includes marriage, family, relationships or business ventures. Know what you need and stand up for it.
And if you really want company all the time, get a dog. Their much easier to housetrain.
I think this article is wonderful. My mother taught me to be considerate, respectful and a lady. I also learned from my mother that when a relationship begins to sour to find my way to the door. The in between is me expressing myself either through calm articulation or near the end, in a frustrated raised voice. But either way I have to make myself comfortable in my surroundings and 'venting' is part of that equation.
I've had other women tell me that I think too much of myself or I'm too demanding of my mate, peers @ work, etc. - I dont ask for anything I'm not already giving. I've even learned to creatively express my displeasure at work. As a result my tone of voice is now the culprit (not that what I'm saying is invalid or the words I choose inappropriate). I really don't care anymore - I open my mouth when I know that I am right, outside of that I keep it closed. So I demand that I be heard and my feelings/opinion respected. Nothing has ever been given to me only taken - and unfortunately if I want something then I have to take it, asking nicely gets me nowhere when other selfish people are involved. So if the world wants a smile with the stabbing truth of my reality, enjoy!!!!
I don't advocate being angry, but I do advocate standing up for yourself and not compromising beyond what is afforded oneself.
I truly hope that more women learn to empower themselves and not to be afraid - fear is a control mechanism - and every person should have control over themselves.
without a doubt did I and do suffer from depression because of the above self-silence behaviour...and yes I have done this through out my life...I had a very strong and independent mother there were 6 of us children...my mother was a single mother for most of my childhood..speaking back at her regardless of issue was just simpky not acceptable..her word was the final word...the only word, after her divorce she was forced due to financial issues to send us to different orphanages for a year...I was 10 years old...there was no self expression at the orphanage either..I married at 17 years of age and became a mother myself at 18 years of age for the first time...it was then decided that we would immigrate to canada at age 19 where for the longest time I had no interaction other then my family...my husband although not a violent man in a physical sense uses emotional withdrawl including the silent treatment for years whenever I would try and " make waves" as he used to put it ..I divorced him after several bouts of depression and hospitalizations..then I was diagnosed with bi polar..( although I doubt this diagnoses)..I do have to admit that I show some of the signs of this illness from time to time..my three children blamed me for the marriage break up since they had no idea that there was even anything wrong...I no longer allow myself to be medicated and have returned to my husband for financial security..( I have worked in the field of social services for 15 years throughout our marriage, yet I feel unemployable due to my bouts of depression..I can not see any other way but to keep doing what I am doing ..I figured a long time ago that my heart was broken.
I totally understand about cellphones but who is doing the study about WiFi? This technology is in every hospital and could interfere with th operation of the equipment.
I have had to live, for the past 7 plus years, in what amounts to a homeless shelter for women. I am struck by the notion of "self-censoring". But which comes first? Are women self-censoring because of the abuse, or are women who self-censor more likely to end up victimizd? I support the latter theory. Which doesn't mean too much, I suppose; because of where I live, pretty much everything I say is discounted. But then again, that's the story of my life.
I was married to preacher for 10 years and then married the single dad with 4 kids, hes a drunk that wont deal with issues, turned his hate on me, i have become severly depressed and cant forget all the mean hateful things he has done and said to me. i have become a recluse with in my ownself with nothing but doom and gloom thoughts. nothing i say or do is right, i have no friends, when we go in front of his friends he gets drunk and mean to me which causes me lots of humilition, he is the one who looks like an idiot it doesnt help the hurt feelings . i feel this terrible dread and dont care anymore. i started helping a 94 year old lady and he is constantly fighting about that so i must quit that to, it puts a couple of dollars in my pocket and it bothers him even though he brings home 1200 a week and i dont spend a cent on myself unless its a soda or something and that is questioned at times. my life was good i should have just seeked counseling instead of searching for a fairy tale to be happy.
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