Home » Blogs » Psychology of Women » I am PMSing! What P-M-S really stands for…

I am PMSing! What P-M-S really stands for…

“What? Are you having your period or something?” “She must be on the rag.” Hmmm…

A 2005 Medical News Today article detailed the results of the Men’s Attitude of PMS survey – in which one finding was that 12% of men believe PMS is not real and that “it’s all in a woman’s head.”

I don’t think so. However, there has been little research to find out what is causing women to feel this way.

For your average women who isn’t suffering from more severe symptoms, getting your period simply sucks. It is usually accompanied by the following:

1. agitation, moodiness

2. sadness and depression

3. cramping

4. chocolate cravings

5. weight gain and bloat

Yuck, this is no fun for anyone.  However, depending on the woman and her PMS experience, I like to reframe the acronym PMS to the following:

P: Permission not to

M: Mask

S: my Self

Why reframe it in this way?

You see, we women many times use denial as an important defense against uncomfortable feelings and we can be conflict-avoidant. (Not all of us, but women being angry and dealing directly with conflict is the opposite of how we are socialized). Therefore, when the hormones are raging, things that ordinarily are deeply hidden, come bubbling to the surface. On those days, I am likely to hear some important truths about what has really been going on in women’s lives. Examples:

  • “You know, it really pisses me off when my husband gets all agitated when it is my turn to be taken care of. I am sick of it!”
  • “Why do my kids treat me like crap when all I do is take care of them?”
  • “I am frustrated that my boss keeps taking all my credit. I can’t stand it anymore!”
  • “If my friend Shirley complains to me one more time about her boyfriend, I am going to lose it. Leave him already!”

To me, the raging of hormones is a gift. It allows frustration, disappointment, anxiety, anger and depression to surface: stuff that the woman has repressed throughout the month. Then, hormones push feelings to the surface until there’s no hiding anymore.

A freaking-out, hormonal, upset, PMSer might just be an unmasked Giveaway Girl who has failed to feel and deal with her emotions. Either she can’t see her violated boundaries or is unable/unwilling to do anything about it.  That angry, sad energy–and emotions have energy–must go somewhere.

If you don’t effectively express your negative energy, it will build and build … and pop goes the big red balloon. So use that energy to tell you what may need to be dealt with. Maybe it is time to set some boundaries with your boss, kids, hubby, or girlfriend. (Don’t do it now, wait until the hormones settle).

I am not talking about severe and horrible PMS symptoms like those found in Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorders. I am talking about the PMS that your average woman gets. If you are intensely depressed, bleeding severely, or you feel hormonally too extreme, it is important to talk to your doctor about alternatives.

Being in middle age, I have had several friends get the endometrial ablation surgery. I am not endorsing it at all but just putting it out there for you to research if you are truly miserable and are done having kids.

Do you disagree with this article?

I am PMSing today and I will fight you on this. Bring it on!

Take care,

I am PMSing! What P-M-S really stands for…

Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Cherilynn Veland, MSW, LCSW, is a counselor and coach based in Chicago. She has been helping individuals, couples and families for more than 20 years. She is author of Stop Giving It Away, a book about developing healthier relationships with yourself and others. The Stop Giving It Away movement aims to stop the detrimental level of self-sacrifice in which many women live and work. Winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award in the Women's Issues category - Stop Giving It Away.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
, . (2018). I am PMSing! What P-M-S really stands for…. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Jan 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.