May 3, 2007

Swallowing Frogs and Illness

This is a snippet from a JSTOR Abstract that fascinated me. All too often I find I "swallow" fear and anger to fit in to a job, a family, a life that is ultimately not my friend. And then I ignore how I feel and continue on with my day. Well, when I saw this paragraph, I knew other women did the same thing. And oddly enough, they have a wonderfully graphic way of describing the process.

"Northeast Brazilian women use the term "swallowing frogs" to describe the act of suppressing anger, hatred, or irritation and of putting up with unfair treatment silently. Most are all too familiar with both these situations, and their anguish finds its expression in folk ailments that embody distress such as evil-eye sickness (mal olhado), "nerves" (nervos), shock sickness (susto), open chest (peito aberto) and blood-boiling bruises. These interrelated syndromes reflect the difficulties of suppressing unsanctioned emotions and of convincing oneself to feel what is socially expected while maintaining proper emotional demeanor. The syndromes are related to a folk theory of strong negative emotions (anger, envy, anxiety, fear) causing both social and physical harm."

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