Meet my friend Sally. She’s an absolutely lovely woman and I’ve known her for years. She’s the lucky kind of person who would make you green with envy.
You know what I mean. She has the partner of her dreams, a beautiful home she loves, a family who adore her, a group of close friends that mean the world to her and she even goes on the kind of escapades abroad that would leave you feeling incredibly envious.
But things are not quite as perfect as they might seem in Sally’s life.
Behind the smile lies some really intense anger issues that have been coming to a head lately and are starting to have a profound effect.
She’s been feeling so irritable she finds herself erupting over even the slightest thing, shouting at other drivers, screaming at the poor cashier in the local supermarket, making biting comment to her friends, hurling abuse at her partner.
And she’s embarrassed to admit that she even threw something across the room the other day that narrowly missed his head.
The poor man doesn’t know what to do. He’s getting increasingly scared to be anywhere near her, and he feels like she’s a ticking time bomb. Everyone around her is treading on eggshells and moving further away from her when this is the time when she needs their support the most.
And let’s get one thing clear. She knows her crazy turbulent hormones are to blame. So she’s tried doing all ‘right things’, like cleaning up her diet and prioritising sleep, and has even dabbled in green smoothies and superfood supplements
It’s fair to say she’s noticed some results. Her skin is clearer, her energy levels are up and most of the symptoms aren’t quite so bothersome anymore.
Apart from the anger.
Nothing seems to shift it. She’s edging closer to losing her incredibly patient partner and offending a whole host of her friends and neighbours but she just doesn’t know how to stop.
She’s out of control and she knows it.
Tackling your anger
As a society, we’re thankfully starting to open up and share our experiences of the menopause, but for some reason we still resist talking about the emotional side of the coin.
We conceal the anger and rage we are feeling, somehow ashamed of it, worried that we’re becoming out of control, that somehow we’re bad people, and hoping that we can just bury it and it will resolve itself somehow.
The sad truth is that this just won’t happen by itself, and all the clean eating in the world won’t dissolve your anger if you’re not tackling the problem at the root itself.
The solution comes down to you. Only you have the power to come to terms with your emotions, only you can overcome your anger.
It’s a case of having the right psychological tools at your disposal, and working through your issues with a trusted and experienced professional.
What causes menopausal anger?
If you’ve ever suffered from PMS, you’ll understand the intensity of the emotions you can experience as a result of fluctuating hormone levels.
It’s a similar story when it comes to the menopause. When you enter the menopausal years, your ovaries function less efficiently than before, leading to imbalances in many of your hormones, including oestrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and testosterone.
This affects your brain chemistry and as a result you might feel more irritable, angry, depressed and emotional than before. This helps to explain why you can feel fine one minute then ready to cry (or kill!) the next.
But it’s not only about biological health, it’s about psychological health too.
The menopause can also lead you to question your identity. It’s a time of reassessment that leads you to consider, reflect on and review almost every aspect of your life.
The way you perceive yourself begins to shift, but you’re often not quite sure exactly what this means.
Are you no longer that young, energetic and sexy person? Are you somehow less feminine than before? Will your partner see you differently? What if you haven’t completed your family yet? What will your friends think? Are you getting old?
It’s vital to work through all of these issues if you’re ever to find inner peace. This takes time and patience.
The menopause also brings to light any pre-existing emotional or psychological issues that you haven’t yet dealt with. Perhaps it’s time to admit that your relationship isn’t quite going the way you hoped, or if you feel lonely, or you hate your job.
Times of crisis like these bring out the vulnerability in all of us, the emotional scars and the barriers that prevent us living life to our full potential.
Teamed with the biological chaos, it can often be a potent recipe for disaster, and at the same time, the perfect opportunity to heal.
Letting go of the rage
The first, and most important step to take when dealing with your anger is to admit first that you are suffering from it. Otherwise, it will likely return in the future in bigger and scarier doses. Plus you really don’t want to run the risk of pushing all of your loved ones away, do you?
Then you will be able to benefit from a wide range of psychological tools to help you tackle your anger, relieve any underlying stress, boost your self esteem, lift your mood and help to clarify your thoughts.
These include things like:
- Positive visualisation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Neuro Linguistic Programming
- Deep-breathing exercises
We can all take control of the way we’re feeling, if we only give ourselves permission to be open, honest and a little vulnerable. Only then can we tackle our issues with anger and save our relationships.