Entries in hostility (3)


What Does It Matter? Why Depression Is So Important In Troubled Relationships 

Few people would be surprised to hear that couples in troubled relationships can also be depressed -- certainly not those of us who've been in such relationships and know how depressing they can be.

Frequently, the conflict in these relationships and distress that results can become so overwhelming that any other problems, like depression, are typically hidden from view. A couple I'm presently treating, Jim and Stacey (not they’re real names), are engrained in an attack-withdrawal routine (i.e., she criticizes him and then he avoids her and doesn't talk to her for days). This pattern is common in troubled relationships, but their hostility deftly masks, to all but the trained eye, depression’s underlying influence.

But does it really matter if one partner is depressed -- especially when couples like this are constantly at each other's throats? Yes, it does. To understand why, let's look at some research on the effects of depression on partners within troubled relationships.

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Taking Your Relationship To Work

It is often easy to see how your job influences your relationship. If you work long hours, you have less time to spend with your partner. If you have a particularly hectic or demanding workweek, your work stress can easily spill over into your relationship.1 However, chances are you pay less attention to how your relationship influences your job. If you do in fact “take your relationship to work” with you by letting your personal life influence your job, this may have important implications for your career success. It’s also possible that your relationship doesn’t directly undermine you at your job, but rather negative relationship experiences could harm you emotionally or undermine your physical health, which then compromise your job.

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In Sickness and In Health: Pick Your Battles! (w/ videos!)

So, last month my husband and I had one of those rare monster fights. The kind where I say really intelligent things like “oh ok, so I’ll just never state my opinion again!” with smoke coming out of my ears. And he was all “You’re a crazy person!” and points to the giant snarl on the side of my head as evidence. I remember I was still amped up, even after the fight was over. My stomach was all twisty, my heart was still pumping hard, and it felt like every muscle was still clenched, even though we’d made up (and I’d brushed my hair)! It turns out that these fights—even the small snarl-free ones—can take their toll on us, and how couples behave during disagreements matters, even on the cellular level.

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