After writing, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression, I received hundreds of letters from women and men concerned about the impact that irritability and anger were having in their lives. Many of which are about either being or married to a depressed husband. This one is typical of the many I received:
“Last month a man came home from work with my husband’s face but he did not act at all like the man I married. I’ve known this man for 30 years, married 22 of them and have never met this guy before. Angry, nasty, and cruel are just a few words to describe him. He used to be the most upbeat, happy person I knew. Now he’s gone from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. In spite of how he treats me I still love my husband and want to save our marriage. Please, can you help me?”
We all get irritable and angry at times, but Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS) has deeper roots. In the book I describe a number of key symptoms of IMS, including hypersensitivity.
The women who live with these men say things like the following:
- I feel like I have to walk on eggshells when I’m around him.
- I never know when I’m going to say something that will set him off.
- He’s like a time bomb ready to explode but I never know when.
- Nothing I do pleases him.
The men don’t often recognize their own hypersensitivity. Rather, their perception is that they are fine but everyone else is going out of their way to irritate them. The guys say things like:
- Quit bothering me.
- Leave me alone.
- No, nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.
- Or they don’t say anything. They increasingly withdraw into a numbing silence.
Does this sound familiar? If you think someone you love may be suffering from IMS, take this simple quiz to find out.
Think back over the last month. How often have you (or your man) appeared :
Rarely (1) Sometimes (2) Often (3)
- Stressed out
Please add the numbers and compute your score which can range from 10 to 30.
10-15. This guy is on a pretty even keel.
16-22. He can be a bear to live with at times.
23-30. You’ve got a man who suffers from Irritable Male Syndrome which could lead to depression or aggression if not treated.
What has been your experience with IMS? What have you done that has helped? What questions do you have that we can explore together?
Please share your comments and questions below.
Together we heal.