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~Seek first to understand, then be understood~
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I have a "friend" who shows up once a month. She turns my world upside down, over and over again.
I am a good person, caring and sweet, but when she comes to visit, I could rip off your head.
She takes no prisoners, foul words she does spout, I try to keep the words in, she lets them come out.
People don't understand me, or what this is about, to have this creature inside my head.
I despise who I am, half of the time, I feel sorry for my daughter, family and friends.
There's no way to describe it, for those who don't know, it's a living nightmare, she really needs to go.
~Neysia Manor, Rest in Peace

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Voices of PMDD, A Partner's Perspective

Do I suffer from PMDD? Well, technically no, as I’m of the wrong gender, but given one of the key parts of the definition of PMDD is that sufferers experience severe disruptions to their relationships, I suffer the effects of PMDD. One of the many nasty parts of PMDD is that the sufferer is generally unaware of the disruptions occurring around them.
Unfortunately, as a partner, I am.
So, from an outsiders perspective (well, a partner's), what does PMDD look like?
Imagine this: you are in a wonderfully loving relationship, when all of a sudden, completely out of the blue, your partner enters an unbelievable rage. You get criticized over trivial matters that have happened in the past, you are told life is much worse with you, that you are the biggest mistake ever. You attempt to present your point of view and you argue back and forth for hours. Your partner just seems to want to argue, to hurt you, to blame you for everything.  She tells you she wants to leave you. She leaves the bedroom, and potentially leaves the house and goes to sleep in her car, or in another room.
You are left dazed, confused, angry, frustrated. What just happened?
Next day: the cold shoulder. Single word responses to your questions. She wants nothing to do with you. Another set of hurtful comments coming your way that night? You approach her for intimacy, and are soundly rejected.
You make attempts to make the peace, but all fails.
The attacks are brutal—they are just words, but they seem designed to attack your greatest sensitivities, which of course she knows. Rages can last for hours—yelling, doors slamming, storming out of the house, storming back in to fight more. I’m not joking.
The worst in my household has been a 12-hour episode over night.  Scary stuff.
My partner tends to fight at night—you know, you get nice and settled in bed, then very late at night, ka-boom.
So, what have I been attacked for in the PMDD zone? Here goes:
My attitude toward my kids, my attitude toward my partner's kids, my financial habits, my relationship to my ex, my sexual interests in bed, money, my family, what my partner’s ex partner’s girlfriend thinks of me, my libido, my job, that I’m just like my partner's ex, that I’ve ruined her life, that she can’t believe she’s with me, that she only takes pills to please me...And that’s just to name a few.
My own mind becomes so bleak. I feel hated. Maybe I am that horrible a man?
Doesn’t she realize she has a man right here who loves her? The kids hear it also, but as kids can, they somehow tune it out.  My work suffers badly as well (It is incredibly hard to focus when you’ve been arguing all night.).
A week or so later, my partner’s period starts. A couple more days of extreme caution and all will be well again.
This is the world of PMDD.
So, I start to research, and thanks to a family member, start thinking about monthly cycles and an internet search leads me to PMDD. My partner fits the textbook descriptions perfectly.
One of the problems with PMDD is that few people understand it, including doctors. I’ve been to counselors whose only contribution is, “Well, she must be angry about something—anger is an emotional choice.”
Not for a PMDD sufferer it’s not.
So what have I learned?
Probably the most important thing is to put up and shut up during the PMDD zone (this is the time from ovulation (about two weeks prior to period starting) to period starting). This is also the hardest thing.
What do I mean? Well, your partner starts get angry with you, looking to start a fight, or completely ignores all your desires, needs, and feelings. The only acceptable response is to agree with her views, no matter what you are actually thinking.
One of my latest scenarios was as follows:
My partner was doing a business course, and we both stayed up until 1:00 am to get an assignment done, with me supporting her in the process.
The next night, I had a sick child, so knew I was in for a long night. Partner is distant at night, and as we go to bed, tells me I don’t appreciate her at all. I end up spending most of the night nursing my child.
Come morning, I’m now exhausted from two nights with little sleep. Response from my PMDD partner—cold shoulder. I’ve been around PMDD for a while—but even for me this was too much, so I wrote her a letter outlining my frustrations with her behavior. Bad move. I get back a letter outlining why everything in the relationship is a problem (all because of me, of course). Old issues get dredged up and flung back in my face.
So, how should this be approached? Hard as it is, just giving your partner space, and ignoring the cold shoulder. PMDD sucks. To be honest, I can understand the rationale about just letting a PMDD partner get on with the rage/anger etc, but I’ve got no idea how to emotionally ignore it. It is beyond me, and it always hurts. Every month. I’ve seen it come and go heaps of times, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
A woman in the PMDD zone is angry. Really angry. Most the time she can keep a lid on it, but she’s still angry. Ask her too many questions, or ask her to do something she doesn’t want to, and you’ll find out just how angry. She’s also likely to be depressed. Really depressed.
Trust nothing she says in the zone.
My partner has talked about killing herself, moving to the other side of world, lied to me about money, all while in the zone.
I use a Smartphone app—P Tracker, to let me know when the PMDD zone is approaching. I’m always surprised though—the actual symptoms always hit me out of the blue—they tend to be so sudden. One minute my partner is her normally loving self, the next minute she is in a rage.
And so to intimate behavior. Best to not try and initiate or expect anything during the PMDD zone as the results can be brutal. Scorn springs to mind. I’m left feeling rejected and frustrated. It is probably easiest to just expect nothing from your partner in the zone and take matters into your own hands. And guys, you know what I mean.
How do I cope? I’m really not sure I do. Tracking in P Tracker helps, as I can refer back to how bad things were, and know that they straightened out again. When you are experiencing the zone, it can help. I re-read the blog posts here, also.
Do I feel hated and rejected each month? Yes, I do. Do I wish I wasn’t? Absolutely.
Do I wish my partner didn’t suffer PMDD? Yes. But she does.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Voices of PMDD, The Other Side of PMDD

This week I'm going to redirect you to two of my favorite posts....after a while, posts get shuffled out of sight, and unless you know they exist, it's hard to find them.  But based on letters I've received and comments I've read over the past few weeks, these two are well worth posting again... 

The Other Side of PMDD


The Other Side of PMDD, Continued

Each is about what it is like to experience an episode of PMDD from inside a PMDD woman's mind.

May these posts bring you some answers and relief.  They can also be helpful for partners to read.

Be blessed,


Liana Laverentz is the award-winning author of two books on PMDD, PMDD and Relationships, and PMDD: A Handbook for Partners.  Both books are based on the most asked questions by her readers, and therefore the most popular posts on her blog, Living on a Prayer, Living with PMDD.  Both books are also an excellent resource for understanding your PMDD and starting a meaningful conversation with loved ones who want to know more about this debilitating disorder we live with daily.