Waves of irritability and anger used to come out of nowhere.


I was in the beginning phases of perimenopause and these mood fluctuations were an unwelcome surprise, I’d had some experience of them as a teen but I had no idea irritation, anger and even rage are common symptoms of perimenopause.


We go into why this happens in perimenopause and midlife, how to tackle these surprising fluctuations in mood, and when it’s time to seek professional help.


While anger is frequently regarded as negative, especially for women, I discuss how to harness the transformative nature of anger as an agent of change, promoting self-awareness and self-acceptance, and why it’s so important at this time of life.


By unmasking anger as a signal of boundary violations, and a force for personal evolution, it supports women to express emotions transparently and directly.


“If we know we’re in perimenopause and this is happening, and we know that this is a common symptom of perimenopause, then how we respond to that, how we react to that, and what we do to support ourselves when this is showing up, it’s going to be very different.”


Midlife can be a massive opportunity for growth and evolution and when you know how to work with anger to create change you create an empowered second stage of life.


Tune in to this empowering conversation and don’t miss out on the wisdom and support you deserve!


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Join the waitlist for The Midlife Upgrade Course:


Please note: Nothing within this podcast constitutes medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider.

Full Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Meegan Care: Kia ora my friend, how are you? This week we’re talking about anger, irritability and rage in menopause and perimenopause. Now if you don’t experience anger or rage in perimenopause, fantastic. And I’m going to encourage you to listen to the episode anyway, because we’re also going to dive into Re contextualizing anger as an agent for change, which goes very much against how we’ve been conditioned as women growing up.

Alright, so, this came out of a conversation with a wonderful woman who was experiencing anger and rage in perimenopause. And it really got me to thinking about my own experience of irritability, anger and even rage in perimenopause. And it was one of the first signs when I look back that I was in perimenopause as well as my changing menstrual cycles.

But I had no idea at the time that it was linked with perimenopause and that it is a very very common symptom of perimenopause and so I looked up the stats for irritability, anger, even rage, in perimenopause. And of course, because it’s such a fluid and different experience for every single person on the planet, the stats also varied widely.

So, one report I looked at suggested 70 percent of women had irritability, anger or rage. Another one I looked at suggested 40 percent of women experienced those feelings and those sudden shifts in mood. And so, let’s say anywhere between 40 and 70 percent for the purposes of our conversation of women experience mood changes that may well include irritability, anger and rage in perimenopause.

 So first if you know you’re in perimenopause and then The anger shows up, and it can often come very quickly. You know, you can go from zero to a hundred in zero seconds. It can give you quite a shock or a surprise that it’s showing up, and I remember that for myself as well.

If we know we’re in perimenopause and this is happening and we know that this is a common symptom of perimenopause, then how we respond to that, how we react to that and what we do to support ourselves when this is showing up is going to be very different. To imagine that you’re at the start perhaps of your perimenopausal journey, maybe you haven’t named it as that yet, you don’t actually know that you’re in perimenopause, but what you’re noticing is some significant mood shifts.

Well, how you perceive that is going to be different to if you know that you’re in perimenopause and this is coming up. And I think this is really, really important because we’ve had so much conditioning when we’re female, anger as being very negative. So, If you think back to being a child and you may have had siblings that were male, how their anger was perceived or reflected back to them is very often different to how a girl’s and even woman’s anger is reflected back to her or received from parental figures, from teachers, from the wider family.

And so I think that we very often learned as young girls and women to, first of all, suppress anger. That anger wasn’t good, nor was it appropriate. It meant that you weren’t a nice person, and growing up female in our culture anyway, being nice was a quality that was very valued. So here we hit perimenopause, and a lot of what was probably valued was Of being nice, good, caretaking, not flying into anger, or strong emotion of any sort, being compliant.

What we experience in perimenopause can be entirely the opposite. And so it’s really understandable as to why this period of life can be very destabilizing for us as women. Stay with me here. So I want to, I want to talk about the spectrum of, you know, from irritability through to anger through to rage in perimenopause.

But then I also want to talk about the context of anger and when it’s not about really big life altering rage that is showing up quickly in your life, you know, if that was happening, you would be seeing your health professional, right? Whether that’s a therapist or a your health practitioner. But I want to look at the powerful transformative nature of anger when it’s not doing harm to others as an agent for change within ourselves.

And this is very much overlooked and it is something that we can harness and make use of in perimenopause. So let’s take a look first of all around What women actually experience, so you have an understanding of the, the landscape that we’re talking about. So women report experiencing angry outbursts or uncontrollable rage, being irritable, snappy, or tense, quick to anger, feeling annoyed by everything, I can relate, and mood swings.

And so many studies have shown that Estrogen, because it’s lowering and it’s wobbling through its lowering phase in perimenopause, affects our brain. It affects our mood, it affects the stability of serotonin in our brain. And so our mood is directly affected. So if you’re having a big dip in estrogen or a sudden decline in estrogen, it is common that irritability and anger will show up.

So it’s a very normal experience to have.

And this is why HRT can be helpful for mood. in perimenopause and menopause.

And so HRT has been shown to act on some of the areas of the brain that are responsible for controlling our mood, as well as reducing our risk for mood disorders.

So I think it’s important to unlink anger, rage with shame. Anger is a feeling and a wave of energy. I remember in perimenopause when it was showing up for me, it showed up in my body, but also in my brain, this intense tension and this sort of wanting to, you know, explode out. And if you are experiencing Rage, what you would name as rage, then I think it is important for you to talk to your doctor, talk to a health professional that understands perimenopause.

Because there is a lot that can be done to support you through this transition and to even out those symptoms. hills and valleys of mood that can happen quite severely in perimenopause.

And there’s plenty of lifestyle changes

that are offered to help with irritability and anger. And they include exercise, so exercise that might get your heart rate up a little bit for a period of time, including walking, or if you’re a runner, doing that hydrating yourself well, all the usual suspects, sleep was on the list, which kind of made me laugh because obviously we know in perimenopause, sleep can be one of the first things that gets disrupted as well.

But I think definitely having, focusing on working on our sleep and getting that to a better place is very helpful for mood changes, for irritability, for anger. Our diet, so I imagine that having regular meals and not having fluctuations of blood sugar, you know, eating well regularly would be really helpful.

There was a suggestion that mindfulness and meditation can be helpful, and I agree. It is very helpful. Not so helpful when you’re in the middle of the anger that you’re feeling.

I mean, if you’re inclined to go and practice mindfulness when you’re feeling really angry, that can be good. But I actually like to use it as a sort of a medicine that you practice every day. So you would meditate for say 10 minutes. You can get a guided practice from my website or you can find them on Spotify or YouTube and just do a 10 minute meditation every day, guided meditation, that can be calming and settling and bring on that parasympathetic response which is really helpful.

And then the other suggestion, lifestyle connection, was connecting with your friends. And I would go a little further and actually talking to your friends about what the truth, the truth of what is going on for you. Because I think you’d be surprised of, you’d be surprised at how many other women experience similar mood changes to you.

And. We know now that our brain, when we’re going through perimenopause, our brain is also going through a change. And it is going through an upgrade. So there’s a really positive change happening there. And while we go through this perimenopausal fluctuation, we will likely have more mood swings, irritability, anger, and for some of us, rage.

I think that perimenopause for us in our society is particularly challenged because we haven’t been raised to tolerate the unknown, we haven’t been raised to tolerate change and transition of not knowing and We certainly haven’t been raised to go with the internal changes that are happening. We’re really much more conditioned to look outward into our world and to You know, get feedback from the external world around us.

We’re not really taught to notice our feelings, to notice that changing tide of our emotions. And it’s not until something stops us in our tracks and very much forces us to look internally that we start to learn about our internal emotional tides and changes. For me, I was forced to do that when I was really sick and in my 20s and I’ve seen a similar pattern arise in my 40s when I was in perimenopause and menopause where there was this internal change happening and I didn’t really want it, I didn’t ask for it, but here it comes, right?

The same for all of us in perimenopause. And we’re required to pay more attention to what’s going on within us. And normally what we do, because of how we’ve been conditioned, is we try and stuff it aside, we try and ignore it, we pick up on those other things that help to distract from what’s going on inside of us, and they might be drinking, shopping, other behaviors, scrolling, that distract us from our own internal experience.

And a little bit of distraction is okay, but not at the expense of understanding this changing landscape that’s going on inside of you. So we’ve been very much conditioned that anger is Not okay for girls and even for women. But anger is such a force for change and in that way can be a force for good.

Obviously, we’re not causing harm to other people with our anger. But you know, have you ever known that time in your life where you just got so depressed? pissed off about what was going on that you were like, damn it, I’m just going to change this. And that anger was enough to get you moving and to give you that volition to create change in your life.

Have you ever had a moment like that or a period of your life like that? I think when anger shows perimenopause, if we start to look at it now from that bird’s eye view, It is a powerful catalyst for change and if we can utilize that anger and even channel it to creating change, first of all, in terms of how we treat ourselves, how we show up in our life, what our life looks like, but also, you know, what does life mean to you?

What is that piece of life that you’re going to get angry about, that you’re going to get really passionate about wanting to change and This is possible for all of us, even if you’re not sure of what it is. But where are you going to channel your anger? And how are you going to use it for the greater good?

I think is an important question that we can ask ourselves.

Because outside of the hormonal shifts that might give rise to anger, Angus shows us when our boundaries have been crossed, and our boundaries have been broken. And previously and prior to perimenopause, when your estrogen was really high, and you had all the caring, loving, nurturing hormones going on.

You could be softer and gentler with the boundary violations. But now they start to happen in your everyday life, and you feel this immediate big rise of energy that is a no, that is a really clear no. And so this can be a really important time to reconfigure boundaries with loved ones and relationships and with yourself.

Because Quite frankly bullshit that we’ve put up with for all of our lives when perimenopause comes knocking on the door She’s saying no more No more of the stuff, no more of being a doormat, no more of being a people pleaser, and anger is one of those flags and signals that shows us that that boundary has been crossed.

So I am all for using anger in a positive, life affirming, transparent way that is not causing harm to other people, but is about being righteous and clear. and direct with our words and our boundaries and our relationships. This is the gift of anger in perimenopause, because when we start to rewire and change how we communicate, you’re then starting to form those connections in your brain, and They then get laid down as actually being a part of your personality, and I don’t know about you, but I think it’s, you know, when we’re in our 40s, we’re in our 50s, it is now time to be that woman that you want to be.

Clear and direct, who knows her own boundaries. That is not a people pleaser, and is not a doormat, and anger can help us to do that in a really vital way.

And so my last tips on if anger, irritation or even rage is arising for you, is it perimenopause or women, if you’re feeling out of control with it, if you’re feeling like it’s difficult to control your actions or even your words, then it is important to talk to a health professional about it. Because there may be some biochemical support that is going to be helpful for you.

And if you are a natural woman and you want to go down the complementary health path, then you know, your naturopath, your acupuncturist, your craniosacral therapist, your counseling therapist, your hypnotherapist can be really helpful in creating space between what we’re feeling. And what we’re saying and acting out in the world so that we can slow things down and we can choose more directly about what we’re going to do.

We go from reacting to responding. And not so easy when you’ve got the mood fluctuations of perimenopause. But it is a skill that we can learn and then actually apply to the rest of our life. So that’s a really helpful piece. And I think also to recontextualize anger as being a helpful ally in this change process that you’re in.

Because I think it really Empowered life is a life where we believe that we’re always evolving and growing and that there is not a fixed destination that I’m going to arrive at and then from there point on become just that person, that stagnant person stuck in time. I will keep growing throughout this life.

And like I said, anger is a really powerful ally for us in that because it shows us where things aren’t working, where boundaries are being crossed, where you may be being trampled over. And you might just need a little bit of support from a helping professional to help you.

decode the messages that anger is bringing forward so that it can really become your ally for change in your life. All right, my friend, I really hope that that was helpful for you. I, as you can hear, I do think that anger, When used as an agent of change that is not creating harm for other people can be a healthy response and a healthy emotion. Like anything with our emotions, there is a spectrum of intensity and when it gets past a certain level of intensity, then it is time to use it. Get some help on board and to talk to someone close to you or a health professional.

But just notice for yourself, where is anger showing up in your life? And is it consistent? And is it a pattern? Because it might be showing you where there is some people pleasing, some boundary crossing, some dissatisfaction with the status quo, a call for change. All right, let me know what you think. I would love to hear about your relationship with anger.

Has anger, irritation, or even rage been something that you’ve had to deal with in perimenopause? Let me know your experience, and if so, you, you are definitely not alone, and I hope that this has been really helpful for you. So great to talk to you this week, we’ll speak again real soon.