Heartbreak, Cardiovascular Problems, and the Type A Personality

Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

There really is a link between heartbreak, cardiovascular problems, and the Type A personality. Let me explain.

I’m sure you are familiar with the Type A personality—a volatile mixture of aggressive, impatient and hostile behavior. And you know that certain aspects of Type A behavior, especially uncontrolled anger and hostility, can be a risk factor for cardiovascular problems. But let’s delve a little deeper—what creates Type A behavior? I’m not alone in the belief that it’s lack of love and intimacy.

Research has shown that lack of love can set the stage for Type A behavior. Few people will admit that they were unloved as children. Even patients undergoing psychotherapy have considerable difficulty accepting this possibility. Generally, it is only after they have experienced the pain of their heartbreak that they are willing to recognize that one or both parents had considerable negative feelings toward them. Parental love is a human need; unfortunately, it is not always a reality in life.

Type A Kids Become Type A Adults

Early childhood experiences governed by conditional love form the basis for the Type A person, who is driven to achieve as a way to overcome low self-esteem due to early rejections. Children who shut down their hearts to avoid subsequent rejection and heartache pay the price of loneliness (as well as cardiovascular problems later in life). Loneliness results from the fear of loving, so vital connections are not made. When approval is based on performance alone, as it often is in our culture, children learn to avoid intimacy, contact, and commitment. Hoping to gain acceptance and acknowledgment first at home, then at school, and later at the workplace, children falsely assume that success will “buy” them love.

In the pursuit to gain lost parental love and overcome such profound heartbreak, children begin to sacrifice their true self for the illusion of success. Schoolwork and performance, newly substituted passions, displace lost love. If children become too involved in their image at the expense of who they really are (i.e., emphasizing who they wish to be as opposed to who they actually are), they can lose the capacity to experience the present moment. If this pattern continues into adulthood, whereby true feelings are denied, an individual becomes increasingly vulnerable to pushing and striving beyond healthy limits.

It is this denial of feeling, or repression of feeling that contributes to heart risk factors. As adults these children can develop circulatory problems, have difficulty maintaining good cholesterol levels and healthy blood pressure, and become victims of heart attack and stroke. 

Most physicians and holistic health practitioners today will concur that it is important to do what we can to raise emotionally healthy children so that they don’t suffer from cardiovascular problems later in life.

For more information on how to avoid cardiovascular problems, visit www.drsinatra.com.

DISCLAIMER: The content of DrSinatra.com is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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