Thursday, August 21, 2014

Divorced Moms column: Can a toxic marriage make you sick? The answer is YES

My latest on Divorced Moms. Did my marriage give me cancer? The answer is YES. I love writing my column. I have over 107,000 readers, hooray!

Can a Toxic Marriage Make You Sick? The Answer Is YES
by Lizzy Smith                    
August 21, 2014
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Can a toxic marriage make you sick? The answer is yes. Bad relationships can severely disrupt sleep patterns, cause unhealthier eating habits, and lower the immune system. This leaves our poor bodies unable to fight off sickness and disease. In my case, I truly believe that my terrible marriage helped me get cancer.

Prior to being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January 2012, I had an insanely busy life. I worked a demanding job, tried to keep a home together with almost no help from my husband, managed a vacation home, raised two children, cared for two large dogs, and attempted to keep my marriage together. It was an incredible amount of responsibility and I was emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted.

In January 2012 when an oncologist said those dreaded words “you have cancer” my first thought was “my husband made me sick.” His inability to help me with our home, children, dogs—nothing – pushed me over the edge. Before getting cancer, I was often sick throughout our marriage. It seemed that I either had a cold or flu or stomach flu all the time. Where was my responsibility in all of this? I failed to set boundaries, was unable to just let some of the responsibilities go, and stayed in a toxic marriage far too long. This realization left me with intense anger and guilt.

Not long ago, I read a book about cancer and the author said that in most cases, there was a traumatic emotional experience about a year prior to diagnosis. I thought back to where I had been in January 2011. My husband and I had just come back from a family cruise. On that trip, he had promised me that he was going to finally quit drinking, go to regular AA meetings, and train for a marathon. He was going to be a new man! "I love you and the kids and I am going to get well, I promise.”

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