Anger is an emotion that is often frowned upon. It can be seen as being unapproachable, rude, unpredictable, childish and sometimes violent. Most people would steer clear of an angry person. But what if that is ok? What if you want to be temporarily unapproachable, rude, unpredictable, childish and sometimes you need to express your emotions with harmless violence? Anger is one of the stronger emotions that we can express, and we should express it. It might have been frowned upon, but professionals are now viewing it as a healthy emotion.
Everyone gets angry.
It’s a normal, regular emotion. It’s how you choose to react with the emotion that is the defining and important part.
But what if your anger is really out of the ordinary? What if you are generally a placid, happy, approachable person who is now experiencing episodes of rage? What if you are no longer in control, or no longer recognise yourself?
Unfortunately, this is quite common.
I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again; menopause is a time of change.
And it changes your emotions – just like depression, tears and anxiety can be exacerbated through perimenopause and menopause, anger can be too. There are a few different ways your sex hormones can affect your tolerance level, or fuse, but the why isn’t too important, it’s the understanding and knowledge that is important. You are not alone. This is not who you are. This too shall pass.
In the mean-time, recognising your changes and taking some swift actions to reduce, control or do damage-control can be beneficial.
Menopause induced anger can feel quite different to your typical anger or frustration. You can go from zero to one-hundred in seconds and then drop back down just as fast. Your patience may suffer and your friends and family may feel like they are stepping on egg shells when they are around you, but that doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. Recognising your approaching outburst, remembering that it may be out of proportion or unjustifiable, and removing yourself from the situation can be powerful. If you can manage to stop, think and react proportionally, you may be able to defuse any outbursts before the explosion.
Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t want you to bottle up your emotions, I want you to gain back control.
During this perimenopause/menopausal hormonal turmoil, lots of things will change – it’s the nature of menopause; change. The beauty of the human mind is that we can decide how we respond to change. We can choose to embrace it, or we can choose to fight it. Sometimes, recognising the power of choice (and the power of the mind) this is all that’s needed to get that control back.
Next time you find yourself overcome with the urge to rage try the below actions:
- Accept your anger
When you acknowledge the feeling, you are no longer controlled by the feeling. Sometimes we just need to be angry. Allowing the emotion to be voiced and felt, can be the release that lets you move on.
- Learn your triggers
There are some habits (caffeine, fasting, etc.), situations or people that may trigger your angry side. Being aware of your triggers can either prompt you to avoid that trigger, or give you time to consciously keep your cool by increasing your tolerance levels.
- Take a step back
When you are in the midst of a heated moment, practice taking a step back to consider your emotions and your situation – is your reaction justified? Is the anger (and all the energy that it requires) worthy of the situation?
- Find an outlet
Find an outlet to work through your emotions. Whether its team sport, boxing, gardening, loud music or yelling, do what works for you.
- Let it go
What is done is done, and it can’t be undone. We can’t change the past, but you can change how you feel about the past. Don’t let the guilt eat you up. Let it go. Move forward.
- Educate your loved ones
A little education or warning can go a long way. It may be best to warn your close family and friends about any unjustified or unexpected mood swings. Explaining that you may be a little more fragile or reactive can go a long way to keeping those relationships strong.
- Know when to seek help
There is always help. Speak to your GP for counselling support or contact the Australian Menopause Centre for hormonal support.
Try not to burn any bridges in your journey through perimenopause/menopause. The hormonal changes are temporary, the ‘normal you’ will return – she may be wiser, and she may be stronger, but the you, who is in regular control of her emotions, will return.