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PMS & PMDD Anger Management

PMS & PMDD Anger Management Techniques & Tips For Women

by Dr. Daniel J. Heller
Dr. Daniel J. Heller Dr. Daniel J. Heller

Dr. Heller is a family practitioner who specializes in helping patients with hormonal conditions like PMS & PMDD; diabetes and prediabetes; and other chronic diseases. He is the founder, formulator, and clinical director of PMS Comfort. [more]


You may have read about anger control and anger management techniques–but did you know that most of these were created for men? We believe it's so important to recognize that women's anger is different from men's anger , so we're presenting special anger management techniques and 8 tips especially for women, in recognition of the unique way that women feel and express anger. Not only do women have their own style of managing anger, but different women, at different ages and stages in their lives, and from widely varying backgrounds, must have anger management tools that can be adapted to their unique needs. Of course, PMS anger and PMDD anger only happen to women, and deserve special consideration of their own. Up to now, though, there is almost no research into anger management that addresses PMS anger, and the effect of hormones on feeling and expressing anger, specifically.

We've already discussed some anger management basics for women that focus on understanding anger and the difference between healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with anger. This article continues to explore the subject of women's anger, and effective ways women can deal with anger issues.

Women's Anger Is Different From Men's

Overall, men's anger tends to be more irrational, and is often associated with aggression and aggressive behavior. Women's anger is very different from this. It's not that women are always rational or are never aggressive. But women's anger has different triggers, and is usually expressed in a very different way, from men's anger.

Feelings of powerlessness are the biggest anger trigger for women. Feeling ignored, minimized, discounted, or not taken seriously gives rise to a sense of impotence and powerlessness that leads to anger. Of course, anger is a rational and normal response in such situations. In some cases, simply being denied the opportunity to express anger creates lasting effects.

Violations of basic values, including disrespectful treatment, and the feeling that you aren't honored and valued, is another common anger trigger for women. Again, anger is a rational response to these feelings.

Lack of reciprocity in intimate relationships: Women want to feel and see that the people they care for, care for them. Whether from a romantic partner, a friend, a child, or a family member, women need to know that their feelings are more or less mutual–and that this be shown in actions and behavior. If you are always the one doing the work around the house, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, making the sacrifices and compromises, showing all the affection and love–after a while, of course this will make you mad! Many women believe it is their role to do more to sustain the relationship, and after a while that leads to resentment and eventually anger.

Different Women, Different Anger

Simply making the distinction between women's anger and men's anger is not enough. Different women, of different ages, in different cultural settings, with different life focuses will have different anger challenges and anger issues.

For instance, a single working woman in her early 20s will have different concerns than a stay-at-home mom in her early 40s, and both will have very different ways of dealing with anger, and different anger triggers. An African-American or other minority woman who experiences racial discrimination has to deal with feelings of powerlessness and feeling disrespected, giving rise to feelings of anger and impotence. In some cultures, including much of mainstream America, it's considered unseemly for women to show any signs of anger at all.

To understand and manage your anger, you have to navigate the specific challenges in your life, and create methods that work for your unique situation. You could call it a "personalized anger management system."

Eight Tips for Understanding and Managing Women's Anger

  1. Understand your anger: Before you can manage anger and deal with it, it helps to understand it. And before you can understand your anger, you will probably have to take a step back and look at yourself and situations that provoke your anger–this can be a simple inventory of your actions, feelings, and motivations. Try to look at them rationally, but without being harsh or critical towards yourself or others.
  2. Examine your anger tendencies: Does anger make you lash out, or do you bottle it up inside? Most women instinctively repress their anger–though you may keep it in all month long until PMS hits, only to find it coming out in undesirable ways. If you hold your anger and emotions in, and suffer from frequent headaches, stomach aches, or irritable bowel syndrome–or even more serious health conditions–the withheld emotions and the pain may be connected. Women who aren't able to find productive ways to process and express emotions are susceptible to health problems. This is your body's way of reminding you that those emotions are there, and don't want to be ignored.
  3. Look at your anger pattern: is it limited to premenstrual anger that accompanies PMS or PMDD? Do you take your anger out on certain people, while keeping everything under wraps around others? Are there certain feelings or situations that reliably trigger the anger? When you feel angry, are you likely to cry, or be verbally abusive, or to retreat to be by yourself? For some women, outwardly angry behavior actually covers up feelings of sadness, depression, and vulnerability.
  4. Recognize your anger triggers: Anger triggers are a little different from tendencies and patterns. Your anger may be triggered when your sister or husband takes a condescending tone with you; when your kids don't keep you posted on their whereabouts; or, completely understandably, when your boss dumps a big project with a ridiculous deadline on your desk on Friday afternoon. Everyone has certain "buttons" that trigger emotional reactions. This is true even if you bottle up your anger and don't express it.
  5. What are your beliefs and behaviors? You could be actually creating anger in yourself. Do you tend to dwell on past hurts or injuries? This is sometimes referred to as "rumination." Do you have unrealistic expectations of others? For instance, if you think your romantic partner "ought to know what I want without my having to say it" or you expect special treatment from a boss or family member, your expectations may be unrealistic. When anger follows from unrealistic hopes, no amount of anger management will help–but adjusting your demands can help a lot.
  6. Consider how, and from whom, you learned to deal with anger: Our role models make a big difference. Did your father lash out in anger, intimidating you and your family? Was your mother meek and mild, never standing up for herself even when she had every reason to do so? We don't mean to be sexist: we realize the exact opposite of these stereotypical roles may be the case in many households. The point is, as children we observe and learn, and sometimes parents and adults set a poor example, especially when managing and expressing anger.
  7. Do psychoactive substances play a role in your anger? Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can lower our inhibitions or stimulate us–in both cases, creating reactions that may be out of proportion to the situation. Thus, these substances can create or worsen anger problems.
  8. Do you have a support system to help you? What's working against you? Do you have someone to talk to about situations that upset you? Is there someone who can help you develop alternative strategies, so that upsetting situations don't reinforce old patterns of lashing out in anger, or bottling up your feelings? On the other hand, is there anyone who might want to provoke your anger, or who will sabotage your efforts to find a different way to deal with intense emotions? Sometimes, our loved ones feel threatened when we try to make a healthy change.

You can find a healthy way to manage anger and deal with intense emotions. Although it may take some work and struggle, over time it will yield benefits for you and lead to healthier relationships.

Real, Natural Relief—So You Can Feel Great All Month Long

PMS and PMDD misery aren't always taken seriously enough by doctors, family, and friends. At PMS Comfort, our whole purpose is to empower and educate you about premenstrual symptoms, and to provide real, natural relief so that you can feel great all month long. Our all-natural doctor-designed programs are based on decades of experience helping thousands of women recover from what you've been going through. Our Herbal Relief formula, when combined with our diet and lifestyle guidance, addresses more than just your symptoms—it can help bring your body and mind back into balance, and help you get and stay healthy. Plus, we're here to support you, every step of the way.

To learn more about your PMS and PMDD symptoms, take the PMS Comfort quiz. Or, start feeling better today, for as little as 89 cents per day.

We want to help. Give us a call at 1-800-731-6327, drop us an e-mail, or send us your question.

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Principal Author: Daniel J. Heller, N.D.
Last Modified: April 3, 2014

PMS & PMDD Anger Management—Reference Documents and Further Reading


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