And What You May Be Ignoring
Last week, I described why people get sick in unhappy relationships. Today, I want to delve deeper into why women, in particular, are much more prone to developing autoimmune conditions, brain diseases, and mental illnesses than men.
Alarmingly, women comprise of 80% of all people with autoimmune issues, two-thirds of Alzheimer’s diagnoses, most multiple sclerosis cases, and are diagnosed twice as often than men with depression and anxiety.
It’s baffling that this is happening when modern society has more advanced medical treatment than ever before. But somehow, women are still getting sicker and not many people understand why.
But here’s what research shows us…
Simply, females have been socially programmed from a young age to please and appease, in order to be socially accepted. So, they do whatever it takes to belong and be liked, which often includes going against what intuitively feels good or right to them.
In romantic relationships, especially those from more traditional and patriarchal cultures, women are expected to sacrifice for the family, submit to their husbands, and follow their “leadership”, no matter how it’s carried out.
There’s a term in psychology called, “internalized oppression”. This is when someone has been oppressed for so long (some, all their lives) that they don’t even know they’re being oppressed (it’s like a goldfish in water that has no idea what water is).
This normalized oppression becomes assimilated and incorporated into daily living, so much so that they don’t realize they are working against their own best interest and have no awareness that they can resist against the oppression.
Alongside this, women are stretched in their multiple roles as provider, parent, partner, caregiver (to friend, family, and children), and caretaker (to elderly parents).
Most women that I’ve worked with over the past 25 years, lament of feeling alone, unseen, uncared for, unheard, and utterly exhausted. But they keep going…often against what their body is telling them.
So, how do you think this impacts the mind and body over time? It will say NO! But the no will come in the form of physical and psychological breakdown, i.e., autoimmune diseases, brain diseases, and mental illnesses.
In most cultures, women who seek help are labelled, “patients” whose “problems” are treated with medication and therapy. Yet, no one ever questions or challenges the toxic environment they are living in or the mental and the physical overload they experience daily.
This is often why women keep getting sicker, even with medical advancement.
So, what can we do about this?
I challenge you to consciously consider if you are either the one contributing to the unhealthy environment or the recipient of it, or both.
If you are the one contributing to it, consider what you are doing. Know that your mindset and behaviour need to change. The more you expect the female to carry the physical and mental load, the more she will be overloaded…until her body and mind crumbles.
If you are a family member, initiate taking on more of the daily chores and responsibilities, and more importantly, the mental load of organizing, scheduling, and executing these tasks.
If you are the one being oppressed or feeling overloaded, empower yourself to listen to your body. It is telling you the truth, even if you don’t “feel” it declining.
Learn to set healthy boundaries, speak up, slow down, consider yourself when you consider everyone else, understand what healthy versus unhealthy relationships look and feel like, and seek help if you feel stuck.
Remember, you only have this one precious life. Take good care of it…for the sake of your family and friends, but most of all, for the sake of your mental and physical wellbeing.