Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

Repress Yourself!?

NYT Magazine does a big story on how quiet stoicism may be the healthiest way to process trauma:

The researchers defined repressors as those who exhibited low anxiety and high defensiveness as measured on the self-reported scales.

...studied heart-attack victims in an effort to determine whether those who repressed the event fared better in the long run. They found that the undefensively anxious -- in other words, those patients who had a lift-the-lid approach to their experience, thinking about it, worrying about it, processing it -- had a far poorer outcome than their stiff-lipped counterparts. Specifically, of the stiff-lipped stylers, only 7 percent developed post-traumatic stress disorder seven months after the infarction, compared with 19 percent of the voluble ones.

''The problem with the trauma industry is this: People who successfully repress do not turn up sitting across from a shrink, so we know very little about these folks, but they probably have a lot to teach us. For all we know, the repressors are actually the normal ones who effectively cope with the many tragedies life presents. Why are we not more fascinated with these displays of resilience and grace? Why are we only fascinated with frailty? The trauma industry knows they can make money off of frailty; there are all these psychologists out there turning six figures with their pablum and hubris.''
(stolen from neurogirl)

And, the Globe adds some good plain English perspective:
Of course, this research has limitations. For instance, it's possible that repression works for those people for whom it is the coping mechanism of choice -- but wouldn't necessarily work for others. Even this, however, suggests that ''repressors'' should be left alone, not badgered into being more expressive or made to feel inadequate. But there are also some studies indicating that when trauma survivors are randomly assigned either to talk or not to talk about their experience, the ones who don't talk about it tend to do better.
(credit goes to Duff Wire)

But, it may well be that none of the repression thing should apply to vibrant romantic love: Faustian magical dance!
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