We all know by now that the passive aggressive impact can damage everything it touches: the passive aggressive man himself, his partner and family, and their relationship. It is psychological warfare conducted both on himself and everyone around him, an incomplete coping mechanism that tries to make up for the life lessons never learned.
However, what if it wasn't just the heart of your relationship that was damaged by your passive aggression? Passive aggressive husbands, listen up: your behavior might just be putting your own life at risk.
According to a new article published on Medical News Today by Catharine Paddock, PhD, men who resort to passive aggression because of a feeling of superiority, self-importance or an unwillingness to see the other person's point of view (narcissism) may actually suffer physically for it, putting themselves at risk for heart problems.
In a study published in PLoS ONE, many men with these personality traits (exploitativeness, entitlement, arrogance) have higher than average levels of cortisol in their systems - which puts them at a higher risk for heart problems. According to Sara Konrath, quoted in the article, these men "may be paying a high price in terms of their physical health, in addition to the psychological cost to their relationships." What is interesting about this new study is that men with these personality traits have high levels of cortisol even when they are not under stress.
Cortisol is the hormone that is released when your body goes into "fight or flight" mode. As a passive aggressive man, you may have high levels of cortisol/a "fight or flight" hormone in your system - does that sound about right? In your daily life, is your brain telling you "I can't deal with this, let's run"? Perhaps it's saying "How dare my wife say that, I'm going to get her back"? When you feel threatened, it's definitely telling you those things, isn't it?
Why does your body release cortisol, even when you're not in a stressful situation? One of the study's authors, also quoted in the article, stated that this was perhaps due to the fact that "[e]ven though narcissists have grandiose self-perceptions, they also have fragile views of themselves, and often resort to defensive strategies like aggression when their sense of superiority is threatened."
This creates, in a sense, a feeling that the body is constantly under stress - it doesn't matter if it is real or imagined, because the consequences are the same on the body. They lead to higher blood pressure and greater heart problems - we all know this!
Read the entire article at Medical News Today