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Menopause Rage - do you Explode or Implode?

Live online Menopause Yoga Class to Soothe & Calm your Hot Emotions - May 17th

This month I have been teaching and talking about the menopause rage - that surge of anger that transforms from a small irritation to an outburst of rage and anger, often in a way that feels as if you are righting an outrageous injustice. Do you know the feeling?

The term menopause rage, or menorage, is relatively new and some people feel it gives this emotion a negative label that may make us feel ashamed or belittled. Some people like the term because it captures this very specific feeling that expresses our unfiltered emotions.

After teaching Menopause Yoga since 2013, I have observed that some people EXPLODE with Menorage and others IMPLODE because they do not feel safe or able to express this emotion.

Both outcomes have consequences...

Women are finally finding their voice and speaking out against the social TABOO that has led us to fear our menopause as a sign that we are no longer sexual, or of value- in fact we become invisible and unheard.

Some view 'Menorage' as a SYMPTOM of the menopause caused by a decline in oestrogen and progesterone (more on this below) hormones, and others view it as an empowering EXPRESSION of outrage at the gender injustices in our societies.

I've written several Blogposts about this because it is such a HUGE and divisive topic that it warrants further discussion. I hope this stimulates discussion and that you'll share your thoughts with me.

In my opinion, both 'sides' are right.

Let's look at what is Anger?

Anger and irritability are human emotions, designed for a purpose. We shout when we are in pain to release tension and alert us to stop the activity that is causing us pain! But Anger can also be unexpressed pain. And pain comes in many forms: physical pain, shame, hurt feelings of rejection or feeling unloved or under valued, a broken heart. Some of us express p[ain in tears, some shout, some say nothing....but that pain has to go somewhere. If it can't find a safe outlet, pain can become internalised and manifest as illness (colds and coughs, loss of voice, headaches, digestive issues etc), or manifest as physical pain (muscle and joint pain, stomach ache or constipation), chronic fatigue.

How is menopause anger or rage different?

Menopause is a Biological, Psychological, Sociological and (potentially) Spiritual transformation. The rage we feel can be similar to the irritability we feel in our monthly menstrual cycle as our hormones oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate - except it is now on steroids. The blast of this irritability can be amplified, for some of us.

But this emotion is also affected by the society in which we live, whether our culture:

1. recognises that anger is a healthy expression of an emotion;

2. acknowledges that anger is not exclusive to men - just as love and kindness are not exclusive with cis women.

Some women in my classes describe feeling irritable and angry about their partner snoring and keeping them awake at night, or frustrated that nobody else in their family seemed to empty the dishwasher or do housework, others had left their jobs ,or lost their jobs, as a result of shouting at a work colleague. Some lashed out after feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks on a To Do list, others felt burnt our and exhausted. And some felt irritable at people talking loudly in restaurants, or even yoga teachers not arriving on time to teach a class.

When or where is it ok to express anger?

I teach people all over the world and I can tell you with 100% certainty that in some countries, expressing your anger or irritability is positively embraced - as long as you quickly kiss or hug and clear the air soon afterwards. "Better out than in," as my friend Fern would say.

However, even in countries like Italy, Spain, and Argentina where self expression is almost a cultural badge of honour, women can still feel guilty or shame if they shout at their children or loved ones. Divorce is highest in the UK among women in their mid 40's-50's. And in the UK it is definitely not acceptable to shout at colleagues in the workplace.

· One in 10 women leaving their jobs during their menopause. These reasons are complex and often it can be a positive decision to leave you job. But it can leave you, and your family, financial vulnerable. And if you have been sacked, it can take time to heal from the aftermath.

· The people we live with often receive the brunt of this emotion and many women tell me they feared their mother’s outbursts when they were children.

· I have shouted or been irritable with restaurant waiters and waitresses – and that’s not ok. I did not feel good about myself. Being irritable with staff who are paid a pittance to serve me a meal is not fair. I may feel calmer for releasing this emotion but I have just forced my emotion onto another person who was not prepared for it, they didn’t give consent and may not have a protective shield to stop the full force from affecting them. Nobody should have to receive unwarranted anger, and earning £10 an hour is definitely not enough compensation.

Affect of menorage on you pesonally:

Some people feel guilty and ashamed after shouting at others. Have you noticed that after an angry outburst, you may feel calmer more relaxed? But you may also feel burnt out, depleted. This surge in hot energy can be self destructive - you are burnt out by the emotional heat.

On the other hand, if you don’t express this energy, it can also IMPLODE onto you. This can manifest as depression, loss of confidence, social withdrawal, or even illness. This loss of confidence can boil over into imposing illness sigh as a cold or flu bug.

Can Anger be a positive expression?

Often we are angry or irritable because someone has done something that justifies our emotion. So, yes, anger is a healthy human emotion.

Home: Why should your family expect you to do all of the domestic duties? Expressing this anger or irritability could help your family realise that you've reached breaking point, you need rest or time for yourself, so they need to share the workload.

Work: Are the expectations of your productivity unachievable, especially if you are not sleeping well, or have brain fog or hit flushes that affect your energy or mental focus? Your line manager needs to offload some of your tasks to a colleague while you rest or just take time out.

Social injustice: Why should we put up with abuse, sexism, racism, discrimination, or cultural restrictions on our liberty? Maybe we are angry at social injustice, or destruction of our environment, warmongering or political corruption etc., If we dont speak out, nothing will ever change.

Channel Rage into Outrage

This is where we can channel our menopause rage into Outrage directed to make change that could improve all of our lives. In fact, leading campaigns for social change or taking up positions or leadership and influence should be a role for women in their post menopause. Why should the most influential voices be middle-aged men - what about women?

But we may need to step back from the heat of our emotions, pause and reflect on how best to communicate our feelings to achieve the best outcome. I will write more about this in a separate blogpost.

If you'd like to learn more, join me for my weekly Live Online Menopause Yoga Classes, on Wednesday at 11am on May 17th and 24th.

Kindness and Compassion - and self acceptance always.

Love Love Love

Petra xxx

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