The 10-year Framingham Heart Study showed that women who suppress their emotions during marital disputes were four-times as likely to die during the study as women who let it rip.
In men, keeping quiet during a fight didn’t have any measurable effect on health. But women who didn’t speak their minds in those fights were four times as likely to die during the 10-year study period as women who always told their husbands how they felt, according to the July report in Psychosomatic Medicine.
The tendency to bottle up feelings during a fight is known as self-silencing. For men, it may simply be a calculated but harmless decision to keep the peace. But when women stay quiet, it takes a surprising physical toll.
“When you’re suppressing communication and feelings during conflict with your husband, it’s doing something very negative to your physiology, and in the long term it will affect your health,” said Elaine Eaker, an epidemiologist in Gaithersburg, Md., who was the study’s lead author. “This doesn’t mean women should start throwing plates at their husbands, but there needs to be a safe environment where both spouses can equally communicate.” NY Times
Self-silencing is a major contributor to depression in married women and a symptom of relationship breakdown.