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The search box stopped working, so I got rid of it. If you're looking for information on a particular topic, just go to the labels listed in the sidebar and click on any one word. You will then pull up all posts that include information on that subject.
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March 31, 2014 .. There is a lot of confusing, outdated, and just plain wrong information out there about PMDD, especially since it was included in the DSM-V. I've spent the past few months sorting through every link I could find on PMDD and have uncovered several true gems of information. I've placed links to this information all the way down the right side of this page. I update these links regularly, and I choose them based on the questions I hear asked the most on the Facebook groups.
So if you want to save yourself a lot of time, frustration, and dead ends, just click on these links for the most reliable info on PMDD I've found to date.
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Yes, the Prostaglandins post is really long. But worth it!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Top 20 Tips for Men Dealing With PMDD

Unfortunately, my research has uncovered a complete lack of serious information for men on the subject of PMDD, so here it is, short and sweet, a list of the top 20 things you can do for your partner with PMDD.

1. Believe her. When she tells you what she’s experiencing, believe her. Even if it doesn't make sense. Because PMDD doesn't make sense. The symptoms are as unique and individual as the woman having them.

2. Do not tease her. Do not make fun of her, as this is a serious and often debilitating condition.

3. Chart her symptoms daily, either together or on your own. If she refuses to admit there's a problem, then do it on your own so that you can be prepared for when the storm hits.

4. Consult your chart when considering social events, activities, or vacations and such.
Surprises and big decisions come under this heading, too.

5. Learn as much information as you can about PMDD from reliable resources.
If they have a product to sell you, any type of product, proceed with caution.

6. Understand that if it is not treated, her PMDD will only get worse. It could end up as major depressive disorder.

7. Help her to find a doctor who will listen to her and help her.
This may take a few tries.

8. Don’t let her negative thoughts and feelings get the better of her—or you. If she shares them with you, gently remind her it’s the PMDD talking, not her, and postpone any major discussions/decision making for a few days.

9. Be supportive and encouraging as she tries different things to feel better. Make a note of what works and what doesn’t. Share this with her doctor.

10. Help her to get enough rest. Sleep is when our bodies re-regulate themselves. If we don’t have enough (sleep) time to do the work needed, we start the day at a disadvantage.

11. Join her for moderate exercise. Exercise is always more fun with a friend.

12. Encourage her to eat healthy. (Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sugar substitutes, anything made with high fructose corn syrup, and white rice and flour, for starters.)

13. Buy her some high quality dark chocolate. Keep it on hand for the dark days.

14. Do what you can to keep stressful situations to a minimum. PMDD feeds on stress.

15. Do not accept any behavior that is abusive. Ever.

16. Do not return such behavior if it happens. Calmly walk away and resume your conversation when she is more in control of herself.

17. Remember that she literally is not herself during an episode of PMDD. Try not to hold the things she says and does against her. It’s not personal, and it’s not about you.

18. Be as comforting as she will allow you to. If she won’t let you near her, let her know you will be nearby if she needs you.

19. Don’t expect her to be full of sunshine and laughter when she’s not having a PMDD episode. A healthy, balanced, and emotionally well-rounded woman feels every emotion--not just the good ones.

20. Last, but not least: Do not blame every time she becomes irritated, annoyed, angry, afraid, or upset on her PMDD. Nothing is more irritating than having a genuine concern or grievance, and being told, “It’s your PMDD again, isn’t it?”

Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. Take the time to check her chart to see if she’s supposed to be having an episode, and then carefully sort through (usually by talking it out) and separate what is her PMDD and what is a genuine fear or concern on her part. Encourage her to feel and express the full range of emotions, just like people without PMDD do.

More than anything, a PMDD woman just wants to feel normal. These 20 tips will go a long way toward helping your partner do just that.

12 comments:

  1. Great article :)

    I have not seen a single post about helping the man whith a partner who has PMDD. Thank you so much for the great post!

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  2. Great help... I needed this so bad because as a man I never understood this because I don't have it but reading this may have just saved my relationship...Thanks

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  3. Thank you for this information. I am in a new relationship, with a beautiful women. I never heard of PMDD, and experienced it for the first time, and thought I did something to cause it! She explained it to me, but I still didn't understand the seriousness! Now that I have read up on it, I have a better understanding, and have a plan on making my relationship work with this beautiful last! Thanks

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  4. Thank you so much for this. My wife has alot of sypmtoms of PMDD and went to the Dr's today who put her on the pill not the result we were expecting. She is also seeing a berevement councillor re the loss of her father 5 years ago. After reading this section at least I now have some ideas on how to support her.She has left home 3 weeks ago to be on her own in a cold caravan as needs her own space but I do see her on a regular basis to talk. Now to help in the future struggle for her ahead. Thanks this will help

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  5. Thank you so much for this. I was diagnosed today, and will share this with my husband once I start to receive medication. It is so nice to have a starting point-for BOTH of us!

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  6. This is just a horrible thing to have. No women should ever have this. But they do. And I got involved with a relationship and she sadly has it. I don't want to give up on her. These are great tips. Thank you

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  7. Husband of pmdd wife. In number 8 you suggest letting her know her negative thoughts are "her pmdd talking", then in number 20 you don't want us to remind her of her pmdd. Just because she's not making sense doesn't mean I'm allowed to not make sense. Number 13 suggests give her treats. Like a dog. That's what she will say.
    My wife is the most stubborn person I know. When times are good it's tenacity. When pmdd takes two weeks out of every month of our lives, it's stubborn. She refuses to accept pmdd is the problem. She saw a NP and got on Zoloft, but won't take it regularly. We went to a marriage counselor and he told her the behavior she was exibiting was why our marriage was falling apart and suggested creative alternatives to said behavior. She discounts him and says he's just a bad psychiatrist and that he took my side since he said very little for me to improve upon.
    Laina, you put some great tips in here and I am in the first phases of enacting the tips I think will help. Some, however, will do little more than fuel her rage. While she is currently in her cycle and we are on the verge of divorce I don't want to throw away the past 7 years. That being said, I don't know how much longer I can allow our son to see the effect her behavior has on the family. I was raised by a physically abusive step father. This abuse comes rushing back every time she rages. Then she blames me for EVERYTHING. You suggest to get away from her but be nearby. If I'm nearby she follows me and forces herself in my path, room, etc, forcing the fight on me, then tells me I abandoned her when I finally (at 3am, sometimes) leave the house after hours of fighting. I keep reading your blog and tips hoping something will help save this marriage, but it would seem the PTSD I have developed as a result of her monthly rage keeps me in a depressed mood most of the time. So if you've been saving a doosy of a tip, or have advice on how to get her to admit and work to improve this problem, my whole family would greatly appreciate it.

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    1. Hello and thank you for writing! Let's see...number 8 is don't let HER negative thoughts and feelings (the ones that run rampant inside her head during an episode)get the better of either of you.
      and number 20 asks you not to discount or dismiss as "just her PMDD talking" any GENUINE grievances she might have. These are usually voiced when she is not (according to the chart) having an episode. Not the same thing (or contradicting advice) at all :). And dark chocolate is more than a treat. Women who suffer from PMDD crave chocolate. Pure, dark chocolate (not mass market milk chocolate) is rich in magnesium and eicosanoids, which our bodies need. But if she's not a chocolate eater, that won't work. If she is, you don't offer or feed them to her...you just keep them in the refrigerator and she can help herself as needed. It really does help. #15 Says do not accept any behavior that is abusive. Ever. Your wife is being abusive. You have to let her know in a firm, but loving way, that abuse in your relationship is not acceptable. (Meaning don't fight abuse with more abuse. For instance, I would refuse to engage at all if someone was being abusive.) People will only treat you as badly as you let them. Unfortunately, the problems in your marriage run deeper than her PMDD and are therefore beyond the scope of my ability to help. Even if this were not true, however, you can't fix something YOU didn't break. Meaning if she is not on board with you and willing to work on her PMDD, there is nothing you can do to help her other than manage her external environment and that option goes only so far, as you already know. True healing has to come from within. Apparently she has not hit bottom yet, which every one of us does before we start looking for answers. Everyone's tolerance for (emotional) pain is different. Only when the pain of living with PMDD becomes (for HER) worse than the benefits she is deriving from it (odd choice of words, I know, but think about it...what does she gain from not addressing her PMDD? There must be something...dig deeper.) will she seek help.
      You can only be responsible for yourself and your own actions. As long as you know you are doing everything you can to make the relationship work, that is all you can do. But accepting abuse is not the path to a successful relationship. It only leaves you right where you are. You need to take care of yourself. Perhaps when you do that, and draw (and firmly maintain) your boundaries as to what kind of behavior you will and will not accept from her, she will consider working on herself. To discuss this further, please contact me off line at info (at) livingwithpmdd (dot) com. If I don't hear from you, I thank you very much for commenting, and I wish you and your family all the best as you attempt to navigate the storm that is PMDD.

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    2. The post above describes my relationship with my wife today, and I feel like my life is out of control!! This is both a second marriage for the both of us, and it is only recently that she has actually been diagnosed with PMDD. However, based on what she has told me she has been dealing with the symptoms since her teens. The symptoms have picked up in the last year or so, and are ruining what I once considered a great marriage. There are kids on both sides involved in the situation, and it is starting to cause harm to all around during her episodes. She is an incredible woman, and I love her more than I ever could imagine loving someone. However, I only see the woman I love 7-10 days a month, after that, she becomes a very difficult person to live with and is causing me to feel depressed over the situation. We both have read your advice, and discussed how we can better deal with things, but nothing seems to work. I am wrong about EVERYTHING, nothing is her FAULT, and like above, when we tried marriage counseling she decided to quit because the counselor was finding all the issues resolved around her behaviors, not mine. She is on Zoloft, but in my opinion that has only made things worse for us. I do not feel like I can talk to her about the situation anymore, she discounts what I say and continues to tell me my behaviors are to blame. While I agree that my behaviors at times are not the best for the situation, how do you have rational conversations with someone who is simply not rational at times? You noted above you cannot fix what you did break, and why I realize that is true, and my wife truly wants to fix the situation, NOTHING seems to work. Every month it is something new that sets the situation off, and we spend the remaining weeks essentially apart in our marriage. I refuse to continue to have the senseless arguments with her that we have had in the past during her episodes; it just seems to cause additional harm. The greatest irony of the situation is that once things are over for the month, I have for a brief period the woman and the marriage we both want. I have read your advice, and nothing seems to work consistently, like above, if you have any additional advice that would help I would greatly appreciate it...

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    3. Hello, Anonymous,

      I am so sorry I was unable to reply to you last year when you wrote this. Two days earlier I discovered I had aneurysms on both sides of my brain, so my focus was not on the blog. I hope you have found something that works for you by now, or resolved your situation in a manner that leaves you both at peace. In closing, over the years, I found nothing that worked consistently, either, until I really started looking at my diet and nutrition. That is my main method of treatment today....to watch what I eat and manage my environment. If I am having an episode, I withdraw or stay home. But because of my primarily whole foods diet and the nutritional supplements I take, my episodes are very manageable.

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  8. How do you protect your kids from these negative thoughts/feelings? I will not be called a lazy piece of shit in front of my children just because of PMDD and I'm supposed to be the better person and just calmly help my wife when quite frankly, she needs a time out. I'm sure many divorces were caused by this type of negativity getting the best of the relationship.

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    1. Hello, Anonymous,

      This is a wonderful question. Thank you for asking it. I would not allow my spouse, or anyone, to call me that in front of my children. That is abuse, and I have never on this blog said abuse is acceptable. If your partner is being abusive and refuses to seek treatment for her PMDD, then more often than not, more is going on in her life than just the PMDD, which is more than enough to deal with, but quite often is accompanied by several other issues, be they physical, mental, or emotional. At any rate, abuse is never acceptable, and especially not so in front of children. They don't understand what they are seeing, and in time they may well come to repeat the behavior of their role models. Thus the PMDD can perpetuate a toxic family situation for generations to come. It's not just today you need to worry about. It's your childrens' future, and quite possibly the future of their children, as well.

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