Menopause: When Anger Strikes

Have you experienced a rapid degradation in mood from relative stability to incredibly angry in a short time? If so, welcome to menopausal anger attacks. Just when you thought it was safe to go into the woods… perimenopause strikes.

Or perhaps you haven’t experienced a direct hit, but felt angrier than normal. Regardless of your severity, anger strikes are real and many women suffer. Let’s learn more about what prompts anger strikes and how to control them.

Anger strikes during perimenopause

Many women at this stage of life feel they need to offload their "confessions" of anger that eclipse the situation. Please, ladies. It’s part of perimenopause. You need not apologize; rather, you need to funnel your anger into positive actions for you and your family/friends. You are not your emotions. While it’s hard to control your emotions during perimenopause, trying your best is all anyone can ask. Rather, educating your family and friends about what you’re experiencing will help them understand and empathize with your emotional swings.

Do you feel helpless and out of control when the anger hits? Does this sound familiar, "I snapped, I screamed, I apologized"? You are not alone. This is the definition of irritability that accompanies perimenopause. If you wake up at 3am, soaked in sweat and vibrating with anxiety, you may experience a bout of anger. Remember what you consider "irritability" may be someone else’s "anger strike." It’s a matter of degrees and is purely subjective to your experience.

The perfect storm: what causes anger

Your hormones change wildly during menopause. Hormones control everything from your mood to how you respond to stressors and more. In fact, hormones control a lot of life as we know it. When you’re experiencing perimenopause, your hormones are going crazy. It seems apparent that your response to crazy hormones is crazy behavior, such as anger strikes. While we don’t condone anger, it’s understandable and controllable once you understand what you’re experiencing.

Hormones affect your serotonin level. Serotonin regulates your happy response. Low levels of serotonin aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather, they can help you uncover the root cause for a lot of your irritation. When you can look at a stressor and realize, "This stressor is causing anger because…," you’re ahead of the game in determining how to respond to that anger. Anger in itself isn’t bad. It’s how you express and use that anger to better your situation or that of others that makes a difference.

Discharge your guilt

Because we’re conditioned to repress our range and anger as women, we feel guilty when these emotions crop up. We grapple with ways to express our anger while maintaining our equilibrium as rational human beings.

We challenge you to consider: perhaps your anger has a seed in real reasons for that response. If so, channel that energy into a resolution. Anger is a powerful emotion. When you can control it, point it towards a solution that makes sense for all involved. Consider how you can use your perimenopausal anger to affect change in the world. It’s important to find the point where what is angering you also affects others. One resource equate it to taking a truth serum and fighting for what you see is essential. Remember the movie, Liar, Liar? Think about how you can only express the truth as you see it. How could you change the world?

Dive into self-care

It’s nice to react with tried-and-true responses to perimenopausal anger strikes based on other women’s experiences. While we want to divest ourselves of responsibility for our immense anger, we need to claim it. When you claim your anger, you have the opportunity to find remedies and responses that can help you mitigate your anger and channel it into constructive avenues for change.

You must find what helps you release your anger and pour it into a worthy cause. You can’t go all Xena Warrior Princess and expect others to embrace your response. Rather, find a way to come back to earth and find your truth in each situation. Once you define where you are and how you feel, you can more easily craft a realistic response to the rage hormone that rears its ugly head. It’s all about self-care and finding how to combat renegade emotions during perimenopause.

Suggestions for coping

If you’ve avoided meditating, now may be the time to try it. Millions of people swear by meditation to help them control portions of life. Maybe there’s something to it. It certainly can’t hurt to try.

Meditation, or spending several minutes on clearing your mind of its harmful thoughts, can help you create a sense of calm during an anger strike. If you haven’t tried it, give it 5 minutes. If it seems positive, give it 10 minutes the next time. Try to work your way up to 30 minutes to feel the calming effects of meditation.

However, you have other options if meditation isn’t your thing.

Chase creativity

Very few of us feel we’re totally creative. What we don’t realize is that creativity is a muscle that needs exercised regularly. And creativity can help you calm your perimenopausal anger and create a calming experience for yourself and those around you.

Hormones on the rampage comprise adrenaline that races through your body. You might feel anxious because of the fight-or-flight reaction to increased adrenaline. If you determine that response isn’t a result of a life or death situation, capture that energy and channel it into something beneficial. 

Are you a journaler? Capture this sensation through your writing. Are you an aspiring chef? Channel that energy into a new recipe that breaks barriers and introduces something new. Whatever your particular creative outlet, funnel your perimenopausal anger into a creative response that speaks to others.

Final thoughts

Maya Angelou had the best response to anger. She said:

"You should be angry… use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it."

May we all live with that truth.