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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

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.


  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!

    1. to all the guys, first big pat on the back for sticking by your women (I wish I had one of you) and the fact that you are reding and even commenting on this blog means you are interested in information. Read "Female Brain Gone Insane" by Mia Lundin it will help both of you tremendously. You don't have to take abuse, but for the love of everything that is holly do not get confrontational on PMDD days, rather go for walk, talk to a buddy, walk away for that day and if you love her don't abandon her, she truly needs your support, you cannot make this better for her,no one can, but a good support system is PRICELESS!
      Thank you

  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

  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

  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

  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!

  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

  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.

    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.

    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...

    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.

  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.

    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.

  9. Hi and thank you, i sent this link to my husband. I am part of a fb group called pmdd survivors, something i found interesting is that many women like me are getting LUPRON shots. in my experience, lupron has helped A LOT! but lupron is for endometriosis. I havent been able to find and article or research or anything showing LUPRON as a treatment for PMDD... would you mind including some "research" that you could find about this? Thank you :-)

  10. I would be happy to, Paola. I do have a file on the subject. However, you appear to be in the minority when it comes to the Lupron working for you. I am glad it does, for your sake. But overall, it does not get good marks for PMDD. I will share my findings as soon as I can, but I have about a dozen other posts I need to write first, from readers just like you, who have asked me to write about certain things.

    In the meantime, here is a link that may be of some help to you: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a685040.html Other places you can go for patient reviews of individual drugs are Treato.com or RateADrug.com. Just type lupron (or whatever drug you wish to research) in the search box. Thank you for writing to me and I very much appreciate the question!

  11. This is my marriage as well. How does a man tell a woman that she may have PMDD. It will not go well. Do I do it when things are bad, and risk an eruption? Do I do it when things are good, and destroy those good times? Do I wait until she hears about PMDD(which may be never)? Risking our marriage and happiness.


  12. I see this hasn't gotten a response yet. I just found this blog searching for something to help my husband know what to do with me. I feel better now, but I fear I'll regress and we'll struggle again as a family. I have pmdd. I say DO NOT bring it up when she is at her worst. She is completely irrational and doesn't want to answer stupid questions or talk about how she is feeling. It seems so obvious to her that you should know how she is doing. Don't bring it up on a date or otherwise special time between you two. It is better to ruin a good day or week to get her help, than to keep living like how you are and end up divorced. First, you need to get your wife medical help. When you have an opportunity to talk, not in public, ask her if she's ever had pms. She may not have realized her moods are associated with her cycle. You're either going to get a "yes, dumb#$%" answer or a "no, not really, don't think so." Depending on how that goes, tell her you've done some research, you think her moods might be associated to her cycle, or if she knows she has pms that it might be something more serious. Tell her about it. Read her the symptoms. Ask her if this is how she feels sometimes. Feel bad for her, say you're sorry she has to endure that every month. Let her know there is help available. I know it sounds insane. I know you shouldn't have to put up with it. I also know how well I'm doing now and wonder how much better last year could have been for my marriage if my husband would have reacted to me differently. If he could have said when I felt well again, "how are you doing? not well? let's get you to the doctor" instead of "you're so mean and I don’t have to put up with this" I think I would have felt better. I was already on an antidepressant. It wasn't working. What I need to feel better is a new prescription and a husband who will back off when I'm irritable and take care of the kids. When I have a bad day, I need him to think, "she's mad, hmm, let's look at the calendar, yip, she's pre-menstral, I'm going to leave her alone, not mention pms, and take care of the kids until she feels better." It might be a few hours, it might be a few days, but it won't be a few weeks like it was last year when he was mad at me for having a bad day, then I felt worse, then there was a fear he'd leave me. I get it, I wanted to leave me too, but women with pmdd, I'll speak for myself at least, need to feel wanted and loved and worth it to help. So that is my advice, stranger. Ruin a good day to get her the medical help she needs. Say, "I took next Thursday off work, would you like me to take you to the doctor?" If you have kids, arrange babysitting. It's so hard for moms to find an hour to go to the doctor, especially if she doesn't feel she's worth helping. Even if it's not pmdd she has, make sure she gets bloodwork done. They should be testing her thyroid to make sure there aren't issues there. Either way, good luck, and from the wife's perspective, thank you husbands who stick it out and deal with us. Some of these marriages seem beyond repair, but husbands can do so much to help. Think of how she is doing and what you can do to help, even if that means just leaving her alone for a bit. She’s not rejecting you. She feels like *&@#. Unless she comes to you, your touch will be repulsive. It’s not personal, it’s just how she feels. Know that she cannot help how she feels when she is pre-menstrual. For me, I feel angry, tired, sad, and irritable so I am distant to try to protect the ones I love most (from me). Perhaps your wife and the other wives mentioned don't care so much if she is mean, but I care. I bet deep down she cares too because she loved you enough to marry you and doesn’t want to be mean to you. You don't have to understand it, you won't ever. You just have to love her through it. Hopefully she's worth it to you.

    1. This is so me. I was diagnosed as having PMDD a few years ago, and it has gotten worse over the last year. Nothing hurts worse than knowing what the problem is but having no support system to help. My husband called me mean and so selfish this week. It hurt so bad I'm still crying because that is not my intention! I am in the middle of a PMDD episode, and I've tried talking to him about it and other things (calmly I might add), but he never looks up from his phone or acknowledges I've spoken most of the time. My calm soon wears out and I am physically exhausted from trying to control my emotions to the point I can't hold my head up when I sit down, I'm so tired. I hate it. I hate being me when I'm like this. I love my family so very much and I know this isn't me. I hate this me. I also have an INFJ personality which I think exacerbates my PMDD. I hate it. I don't know what to do or how to act or react or anything.

    2. Name calling never helps, nor does refusing to look up from your phone. It sends a message that you don't care enough to pay attention to the person trying to communicate with you. Let's examine who's being selfish and mean, or, at the very least, rude here. Paying attention and participating in the conversation is a simple matter of respect, which he, for some reason, is refusing to give you, his wife. My sense is he is using your PMDD as a scapegoat to avoid dealing with other issues in the marriage. Therefore, do not place the blame for his bad behavior on you, or on your PMDD. Please read my post Owning What's Yours and Discarding What's Not: http://livingonaprayerwithpmdd.blogspot.com/2015/11/pmdd-and-how-to-survive-family_22.html The bottom line is it takes two to make a relationship and two to break it. If he refuses to talk to you about your PMDD, or even give you the courtesy of his attention, there is no reason you should be taking 100% of the blame onto yourself. You are not defective in any way. You are a woman with a hormonal issue beyond your control and without his help and support in learning to manage it nothing in your situation will change. I would suggest counseling to learn how to deal with a partner who tunes you out and offers no encouragement or support.

  13. Maybe her husband is just scared out of his mind to talk to her because he thinks whatever he says will probably cause a fit of rage. I've been there.

    I've been told to move out of my house/move back in around the 20th of the past 6 months. The physical, emotional and financial abuse has been horrendous.

    I'm at my wits end, but she refuses to see a doctor and says I'm being ridiculous when I point out that the huge fights always occur around her menstruation. Even out marriage counselor has suggested that she see a physician, but I have no idea what's going through her head. She was diagnosed years ago, but quit talking her prescription.

    I don't blame this guy for shutting down. He probably has no idea what to do and doesn't want to make things worse. The mean and selfish thing is insignificant in my opinion. I'd bet my last dollar he gets called worse, but it's just the pmdd talking, so it's OK.

  14. I couldn't stand the abuse and insanity anymore and I left. I am afraid I may kill her if I stay. We have two kids and it is devastating what this is doing to our family, but I think it may be better in the end.

    When I read what you have written, it seems to me there must be a reason to stay. After 13 years there isn't anymore. Everything we may have had in the beginning, is now gone. I cannot even remember the good times anymore.

    I take my hat off to the guys who hang in there. You are better men than I am.

    This has changed me too. I have become violent and I am hyper sensitive to her insults and slights. She has tried Zoloft and is currently on a diet that she says helps, but it is too late.

    For years she denied that anything was wrong and I was always the cause for whatever she felt. When she gets into that phase, she literally goes insane.

    I am not saying this to be mean. It isn't a joke either. The emotional and physical abuse got too much for me. I started hitting back. I warned her for years that she has to stop hitting me, but when she goes into a fit of rage, she cannot think.

    In the end she was scared of me, and that made her back off. That is not a recipe for a healthy relationship though.

    Many major decisions we made, were influenced by her PMDD. That was before either of us knew that it existed. She would get an idea and no amount of reason could change her mind. I would always give in to keep the peace, because the abuse and manipulation would always get to me in the end.

    She says things are better now that I have left, but I find it hard to believe. I have left before but she begged me to come back and try again. Things went fairly well, but I think too much damage has already been done. I don't trust her anymore, and like I said, I cannot take any more of the abuse, no matter how mild she thinks it is.

    I am not writing this because I am looking for sympathy. I don't think it is fair to expect someone to take this kind of abuse though. If the roles were reversed, everyone would tell the woman to leave after the first or second episode. I was her emotional and physical punching bag for years. It is not fair to expect anyone to endure that. It is not healthy for children to grow up in such an environment either.

    You praise the men who stay, but I don't know if that is a good idea.