We’ve all heard of grumpy old men. In fact we probably know one or two. There are also a plethora of grumpy old women, lesser but still notable grumpy young women and grumpy young men. But old men seem to have the hardest reputation for being moody and grumpy. According to Healthline, the reason for this is given as andropause, where: “Like female menopause, andropause includes physical and emotional changes that also seem dependent on changes in hormone levels.” This grumpiness is a condition known as irritable male syndrome, and it is related to aging.

Whenever a grumpy older person, male or female, enters my clinic I always cower, secretly. That’s because I know I’m in for a challenge. Hypnosis is not mind control, it is all about collaboration. But when someone is moody and grumpy, they generally don’t want to collaborate precisely because they are grumpy and moody! It’s a no win situation from where I stand. The only impetus such a client has to cooperate is due to the fact they they have paid me to help them. Even then, I have almost thrown clients out due to the rudeness that often accompanies this irritable male syndrome (ditto for women).

What is irritable man syndrome?

Irritable male syndrome is about lowered testosterone levels. As testosterone is associated with confidence amongst other things, a low confidence and a depression often characterise this condition, alongside the grumpiness. Incidentally, low serotonin results in grumpiness, and also depression. While the high testosterone found in the younger male profile, is usually correlated with low serotonin, recent studies have demonstrated that testosterone increases the number of serotonin transporters in the brain, and so powerfully contributes to a positive mood.

Feeling grumpy is essentially a sensation of frustration. Aside from the physiology, we often become frustrated when we cannot control something, and old age is full of having to endure a loss of control, especially over our own bodies. Whether it is losing our hearing, experiencing painful knees, trouble sleeping, arthritis in the hands, memory loss, you name it. The opportunity for frustration is ample. So, focusing on that frustrated feeling is where I begin.

Grumpy Richard

Richard was highly frustrated due to an inability to read easily, and to speak fluently, since his brain tumour operation. He was, and still is, a highly intelligent man with a science background, and was painfully aware of his limitations. While he had acceptance over his condition, the simple act of getting the words out and absorbing the words when reading presented him with a sharp contrast to his former capabilities. He was always comparing himself to how he used to be.

Richard also had personal relationships which caused him deep frustration, and managing these took immense patience. Patience is not something that is easy to find when a person is dealing with the minute-by-minute frustrations of communicating effectively. Despite all of the reasons that Richard had to feel frustrated, he knew that he was simply becoming grumpier as he grew older.

I understood that there was little I could do to help Richard’s condition, apart from taking the frustration out of the equation. At least then, being calm, he would have a better chance at finding the right words at the right time. Frustration and nervousness only ever confuse a situation and cause muddled thinking, as in an exam condition where the pressure blocks the flow of thought. So I focussed upon reducing Richard’s frustration and gearing his subconscious mind, through direct suggestion hypnosis, to work more efficiently with communication. We also used various NLP techniques to confuse Richard’s subconscious mind as to what this grumpy feeling really was, and to in fact mistake it for calm.

Richard’s progress

I saw Richard for three sessions. After week one where we had regressed the feeling of frustration, he reported feeling a little worse before feeling better. I have often found this with depression clients, which Richard also complained of, and which also fits that low serotonin profile. By the end of week one he was feeling lighter. By the end of week two he was far more amicable and appreciative of the techniques we undertook, which also included a self-hypnosis protocol. By the end of week three, he had told me that he had not been grumpy at all the preceding week.

I chose to focus on frustration, depression and communication with Richard, and it seems to have worked for him. It is important to note that Richard did the home techniques I asked him to do and this expedited his success. If you need assistance with mood issues, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast