From Jekyll to Hyde: The Story of Barry and Sharon

The book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 and has become a mainstay of stage and screen throughout the world. It seems to speak to something in the human psyche, particularly the male mind. The story is about Dr. Henry Jekyll who is pursuing his life-long quest to separate the two natures of man to get at the essence of good and evil.

Refused help by his peers and superiors, he begins experiments on himself with his formula. He meets with success, and shocking results. The evil nature of Dr. Jekyll surfaces as a separate identity: Edward Hyde. Hyde begins murdering the members of the Board of Governors who previously refused assistance to Jekyll's cause. Throughout the story Jekyll fights in vain to keep his darker half under control.

I have increasingly met with women who feel their mates have undergone some kind of transformation from loving to mean, sensitive to uncaring, involved to absent. One of these was Sharon, a 38 year-old woman who came to see me because he was at her wits end and didn’t know what to do. “I have been trying to tell my husband that he has changed into a Jekyll/Hyde personality overnight but he wouldn't believe me and blamed all his frustration on me.”

Her husband, Barry is a 42 year-old attorney who she describes as “very successful, good looking, and very physically fit.” Things seemed to be pretty good for most of their married life. “He pursued me in college and we got married after graduation. We have been married 19 years, with 18 1/2 of those being wonderful and blissful. He even said just 7 months ago, ‘You still turn me on after all these years" and "you don't need to wear makeup, you're beautiful just the way you are’. We have 2 great kids, a 15 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. He has been the IDEAL husband and father for all these years until now.”

“Most of this seemed to have started after he visited a close friend in Minnesota. Barry came back a day early "freaked out" because his friend Warren seemed so depressed. He told me Warren and Susan haven't made love in 9 months and asked me if I was still attracted to him. I told him of course I was, that he didn’t have anything to worry about.

“I thought that would settle things, but over the next few weeks things got worse. He went from being one of the most gentle and kind men I know to being aggressive and hostile. He’d alternate between yelling and screaming at me and withdrawing into silence. At first he wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. Finally we had a heated discussion that lasted well into the night and early morning. Through the hours that we talked he told me he ‘wanted his space,’ ‘I'm not sure if I want to continue to be a married family man’, ‘I can't decide if I should stay or leave’, ‘I've always been someone's son, husband, father and now I want to put myself first’”.

Sharon was in tears as she tried to sort out her confused feelings. “How can someone who has been such a dedicated husband and father make such a strong statement that he is not sure he wants to continue to be a family man? He doesn't have the other symptoms like tiredness and weight gain; but he has a hard time kissing me and being touched. When I try to kiss him he turns his head away. It’s devastating.”

Points of Understanding

  • Men experiencing IMS can change, seemingly overnight, from “peaceful” to “agitated,” from “loving to mean,” from “content” to “discontented.”
  • Although not always the case, there may be some triggering event such as a crisis with a close friend or relative.
  • Often the man describes his roles as a son, a father, a husband, a friend. He may feel trapped and believe he has lost his sense of self, his own sense of identity. “When will it be time for me?” he may want to scream.
  • In his fear and confusion he may feel he has to pull away, destroy the old in order to move on to something new.

There is another way. Men at this time of life often want to be free. We want to shed the old ways and find a new self that we can relate to as we age. We often don’t know how to bring that about without destroying what we have. However, with guidance and support we can be free and also keep the closeness we crave as well. What have you experienced? I’d like to hear from you.

©2010 Jed Diamond

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Wealth can't buy health, but health can buy wealth. - Henry David Thoreau


Jed Diamond is the internationally best-selling author of seven books including Male Menopause, now translated into 17 foreign languages and his latest book, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing. The 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression. For over 38 years he has been a leader in the field of men's health. He is a member of the International Scientific Board of the World Congress on Men’s Health and has been on the Board of Advisors of the Men’s Health Network since its founding in 1992. His work has been featured in major newspapers throughout the United States including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. He has been featured on more than 1,000 radio and T.V. programs including The View with Barbara Walters, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, CBS, NBC, and Fox News, To Tell the Truth, Extra, Leeza, Geraldo, and Joan Rivers. He also did a nationally televised special on Male Menopause for PBS. He looks forward to your feedback. E-Mail. You can visit his website at

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