Dr Gabor Mate said “very nice people” tend to get sick with autoimmune diseases – where the immune system attacks the body instead of protecting it – due to “personality traits” of being selfless.
And he stated women are more likely to be affected as they repress their anger and are expected to be agreeable.
The Canadian said going along with a “socially determined role” of putting others before themselves and repressing anger leads to generating stress unconsciously and this “invites” illness.
Of the millions who suffer from autoimmune diseases – which include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease – four fifths are women.
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Dr Mate, 79, who has written on mental health issues plus the physical impact of stress and trauma, was explaining his findings on the How To Fail podcast. He said: “There are certain inescapable patterns in the people that got sick with chronic illness.
“The patterns included the repression of healthy anger. These are very nice people.
“They are always giving, always there for everybody except themselves. Certain personality traits were putting people at risk of chronic illness.
“Others were putting people’s emotional needs ahead of themselves, repressing healthy anger, had the belief they were responsible for other people’s feelings, never disappointing anybody.
“These patterns lead to illness. When you identify with your socially determined role and responsibilities rather than the needs of the self, you are creating stress for yourself.
“These patterns are not conscious, deliberate, culpable. They’re trauma responses.
“Once they are ingrained in the personality, they invite illness because of stress they generate. This explains why it is mostly women who get autoimmune disease.”
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