You’ve probably heard that having great relationships in your life is good for your health. Well, that’s mostly true. Unfortunately, having bad interactions around can actually damage your health and lead to serious issues in the future.
From many years of research, we actually know a great deal about the interaction between health and relationship quality. For instance, children who had bad relationships with their parents are much more likely to develop heart problems when they are older, even controlling for all the usual variables.
Let’s take a look at how bad relationships affect your health:
It Can Shorten Your Telomeres, And Your Life
Telomeres are like little protective caps on the end of DNA that stops it from fraying when it divides. Over time, these caps get shorter. When they disappear completely, the cell can no longer divide and function, so it dies.
Being in stressful relationships has been shown to adversely affect telomere length. People who are constantly frazzled by those around them are much more likely to get disease at a younger age.
It Can Lead To Lower Self-Rated Health
Prolonged periods of conflict with spouses can actually lead to lower “self-rated” health. And while this is a subjective measure, it’s also interesting. The way people think about their health can actually have an impact on their long-run outcomes.
Surveys, for instance, suggest that any kind of stress can actually lead to dysregulation of the immune system. This can then impact how people feel day-to-day, making them more prone to viruses and infections.
It Can Lead To Hypertension And Inflammation
Neglectful relationships can also lead to physical illness. Research suggests, for instance, that people who feel isolated in their homes are much more likely to develop high blood pressure and inflammation. Data strongly suggests that we’re not supposed to live by ourselves, but do much better when we are in communities, surrounded by others.
It Can Lead To Anger And Resentment
When relationship problems go unacknowledged, it can lead to mental health issues, such as anger and resentment. Research, for instance, suggests that some couples actually die younger when each party has different approaches to conflict resolution.
Conflict resolution techniques can work in some instances, but many couples wind up going to a divorce lawyer, simply because modifying relationships is so challenging.
It Can Increase Feelings Of Loneliness
When you have bad relationships in your life, particularly with your partner, it often produces feelings of loneliness and isolation. Another person might be physically close by, but they feel distant psychologically. They are failing to meet your needs.
Sometimes in bad relationships, you can feel cut off from expressing your emotions entirely. You fear the repercussions of telling the other person how you actually feel.
It Makes You Feel Stressed All The Time
Lastly, negative interactions with other people in your life can leave you feeling stressed all the time. This chronic state of tension will eventually develop into health issues that may be difficult to control.