Women: Dealing with Mr. Mean

Dear ,

As we move into the heat of Summer, I'm reminded of how many people, both men and women, are affected by Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS). Here's a letter I received recently which is typical of many I get every day from around the world:

"My name is Tracy. I have been trying to get hold of your book Irritable Male Syndrome and it is totally sold out in Australia. I was lucky enough to get it on eBay from America.

"My partner and I were together for 11 years and actually had a really good relationship as well as being best friends. In March we bought a house together. He was so excited and had so many plans that he wanted to do to the garden. In April he turned 50. He became withdrawn, started drinking every night and would just sit in front of the TV.

"He would not talk to me at all. He spent a couple of weekends going out with mates, which is completely out of character for him and then he didn't come home during the week. When he did turn up after a couple of days he just exploded at me. He was like a kettle that had lost its lid and all the steam needed to escape. This was completely out of character for him.

"He told me he hated me, did not want anything to do with me and couldn't stand the sight of me. He said he was moving in with his adult son and his fiancée and never wanted to see me again. It has now been five weeks. The only contact I have had is when he told me to take the house payments out of his bank account. I have always done all his paperwork and banking. He only took his clothes, everything else is still here. He will not answer my calls or messages. My problem is that I do not have closure. It is very frustrating as a woman not to have answers. My life is in limbo. I would just like to know what he is thinking or is unable to think.

With thanks,


Much has changed since The Irritable Male Syndrome was first published in 2004. More people know about IMS and are reaching out for help. However, the world has become a more stressful place to live and more men are suffering from IMS. Economic implosion, job losses, global warming, war and the threats of more war, rising food prices, increasing levels of depression--are just a few of the changes that are causing more of us to become frightened, frustrated, irritable, and angry.

Here's another letter I recently received:

"Last month a man came home from work with my husbands face but he did not act at all like the man I married," says Marie, a 48 year-old wife and mother of three. "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 Mr. Nice to Mr. Mean. In spite of how he treats me I still love my husband and want to save our marriage. Please, can you help me?"

Have you had experiences similar to these women? If you're a man, do you recognize yourself in these letters?

Why Do Men So Often Blame Their Partners When They Are Suffering From IMS?

In the last 5 years I have worked with thousands of men and women who were dealing with IMS in their lives. One of most common questions women ask is, "Why does he blame me? I haven't done anything to him. Here's what I've learned. There are four primary causes of IMS:

1. Hormonal fluctuations
2. Changes in brain chemistry
3. Increased stress.
4. Male identity confusion.

Most men are quite unaware of these life changes. They are, for the most part, hidden from them. The men know they are in pain and it makes them angry. However, they mistakenly blame the women. She is close by. He often feels dependent on her for his emotional well-being. He needs her, but is afraid of his dependency.

One of the first things I tell the men is that "It isn't your wife that's the problem. It's your life. Stop blaming her for your pain and let's get at the real cause of your suffering." I tell the women that "It's not your fault that he's angry and upset. He's hurting and you are getting the brunt of his attack. You can help him, but you have to start by taking care of yourself."

(Maddy, Jed's assistant here) I wanted to share some things I've learned as a woman in the world to the women reading this newsletter. How do we "take care of ourselves", as Jed suggests? Here are a few of my own ideas on how to do better self-care:

Set clear boundaries and stick to them. If you aren't well versed in boundary setting, a good therapist can help you learn how. If you've never learned how to set healthy boundaries, this can be a scary thing at first. One thing I have learned on my boundary setting journey is that when I state my needs before they are critical, before I am scared or angry, it is easier to do.

Find things in your life that are about your own personal growth and bump them higher up on the priority list. Examples could be to take a class in something that you've always wanted to learn, join the gym or prioritize a fitness program in any way that works for you, or start a meditation practice.

Make sure you have a good support system in place: Friends, family, therapist, clergy are possible support team members. A key place to focus is on your own part of the relationship dance, rather than putting all your energy and brain power into trying to figure out your man's behavior.

Stop blaming yourself for another person's behavior and actions. Blame and shame are the great paralyzers. They keep us stuck and they keep us small. You are good and right and beautiful. Know that that is true, even if you have to take it on faith. Do your best to make your decisions for your life from that place.

Real Help For Those Who Are Living With Mr. Mean

In response to the thousands of e-mails I have been receiving I've decided to write a new book, tentatively titled:

Mr. Mean: How to Save Your Man and Rescue Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome.

The book will be organized around 30 of the most important questions people (particularly women) are asking about Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS) such as:

  • Why has he suddenly changed?
  • How can I get through to him when he denies there is a problem?
  • What do I do if he threatens to leave?
  • Where do I find help for him and for myself?

I'd like your input and feedback:

  • How do you like the title?
  • Do you have other ideas for a good title?
  • What are the most important questions for which you'd like answers?

Everyone who replies to me at (Please put "new book" in the subject line) will be eligible to win a free, autographed copy of the book before it is officially on the market.


©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 nine books including Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing. The 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression. and Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome. His upcoming book, Tapping Power: A Man’s Guide to Eliminating Pain, Stress, Anger, Depression and Other Ills Using the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Psychology will be available next year. 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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