Midlife Crisis: Support for Left Behind Spouses

Midlife Crisis => Resources => Topic started by: Rollercoasterider on April 15, 2010, 08:10:58 PM

Title: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on April 15, 2010, 08:10:58 PM
Many of you come here and start a thread and somewhere on your post comment that you either don't know where your MLCer is in the stages, or that maybe he or she is in Depression or Withdrawal. So before you look through the resources and try to place your MLCer somewhere within the stages...
If your Bomb Drop was less than a year ago, your MLCer is in Replay.
If your Bomb Drop was within the last 18 months, your MLCer is in Replay.
If your Bomb Drop was within the last 24 months there is still a good chance that your MLCer is in Replay.

None of those statements hold true for all circumstances, but they do for most. Bomb Drop is either the start of Replay or comes soon after the start of Replay.

And regarding Withdrawal...
That is in many ways the most confusing to understand as a stage--I personally don't recognize it as something separate from Conway's (and thus HeartsBlessing) Stage 4: Depression or what I call Liminality. MLCers Escape and Avoid during Replay and many of you are interpreting this as Withdrawal. That is why it is poorly named--they withdraw throughout the crisis--just like Depression permeates the crisis.
Liminal Depression is the place where their avoidance attempts fail and the mask they have been wearing finally crumbles. But then what? They cannot return to the world without some sort of identification, that mask was who they knew as the person in the mirror. The other work of Liminality is to select which crumbled pieces to keep and use to rebuild the Self. Then they are reborn and they may seem to withdraw again or to continue withdrawing because they are uncertain of this new Self. It is built, but will it work? Will they like this person? They may eventually test this new Self in the world and this testing may or may not include new Replayish antics—afterall, it is testing. The MLCer may continue to return to Liminality to edit the new Self and then again test a newly born persona. This may happen many times or it may not.

But in most MLC situations it takes a few years before they enter Liminality for the first time. Go ahead and learn about the stages, but the only stage that most Newbies need to understand with a present focus is Replay.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on May 04, 2010, 07:35:44 AM
Midlife Crisis, Stress and Depression
http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/tt/t-articl/midlife.htm (http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/tt/t-articl/midlife.htm)

Female Infidelity and Pre-MLC
Scroll to post #128
http://www.infidelity.com/forum/index.php?s=d973e35000aa9c56a8145de12d0b86a4&showtopic=481&st=120&p=10252&#entry10252 (http://www.infidelity.com/forum/index.php?s=d973e35000aa9c56a8145de12d0b86a4&showtopic=481&st=120&p=10252&#entry10252)

Crisis Or Just Stress? Cornell Researcher Finds The Midlife Crisis Is Less Common Than Many Believe
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March01/midlife.crises.ssl.html (http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March01/midlife.crises.ssl.html)

The Disquiet in Men
http://www.thedisquiet.com/ (http://www.thedisquiet.com/)

A Journey to the Wilderness of the Soul
Chapter 14 - Part 2: Humility: Stilling the Warrior
http://mensightmagazine.com/columns/manhood/chapter14.2.htm (http://mensightmagazine.com/columns/manhood/chapter14.2.htm)

Depression in Men
Real men don't need help, right? Think again.
http://www.mcmanweb.com/male_depression.html (http://www.mcmanweb.com/male_depression.html)

Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on May 04, 2010, 07:39:25 AM
Mark Smith: Family Tree Counseling
Divorce Destroyer

Divorce—A Mistake in Thinking

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on May 17, 2010, 07:15:38 PM
The Stages of Midlife Crisis


In his book Men in Midlife Crisis, Jim Conway applies Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief with adjustments to Midlife Crisis.

Stages of Grief: Kübler-Ross1
Stages of MLC: Conway2

According to Conway, Midlife Crisis ranges on average from 2-7 years. The crisis often begins slowly, beneath detection from outside sources. Anger follows in the failure of Denial. This then leads to the Avoidance that is Replay, ensuring the transition becomes a crisis. Denial attempts to maintain; midlife avoidance pursues lost youth via regression, falsely creating greater distance to death.

The application of stages is useful, but also has the negative effect of false security in the idea that they create a predictable map. Each person’s journey will have similarities as well as great variation. The early stages are most similar, with greater divergence deeper in the Midlife Tunnel. Archetypal themes are the predominate forces driving the crisis in the beginning; but as each person progresses, his personal lost fragments surface, yielding divergent pathways.

There is also a danger in viewing the stages as ordered steps in the process. Literal terms for the stages, such as those used by Conway, can be confusing when describing emotions and conditions which are not isolated to the stages they reference. Midlife Crisis is about Denial and Depression; both of these permeate all stages. Overt and Covert Depression are an overarching theme of the journey. Neither of these is isolated to certain stages. The same is true of Anger, which is often an outward expression of Depression. And as for Acceptance, acceptance of what? Some think that their MLCer is in Acceptance because she seems to accept that the marriage is over—often at the beginning of the crisis. An MLCer may seem to have accepted that the marriage is over and everything is your fault. But is that the stage called Acceptance? Just like there are many things to deny, be angry at or depressed about, there are many things to accept and the stage or phase called Acceptance refers to a specific set of things and type of acceptance.

Replay is Conway’s only metaphorical term, so named because at this point the midlifer seeks to return to his lost youth, reliving such experiences “One More Time.” This fantasy phase invades all areas of life. For some it is re-experiencing previously fulfilled dreams to prove youthful vigor and capabilities, for those whose dreams were unfulfilled, the youthful regression may be even more severe. It is a different type of Denial—rather an escape in which there is an admission of midlife and aging, yielding an attempt to flee the inevitable through youthful regression. Many midlifers in Conway’s Replay stage spew venomous anger and hatred at their spouses. This anger differs from Conway’s label of Anger which refers to general anger with God and life; the victim’s why me? cry at the unfairness of life.

In his book In Midlife A Jungian Perspective, Murray Stein identifies three stages of a Midlife Transition.3

Since a Midlife Crisis is a Midlife Transition of catastrophic levels, the transition stages must be a part of the Crisis stages. I will use the stages outlined below. These are not a Map, but rather a loose structure for the process of growth. The phases cycle and recycle throughout the Midlife Journey. For this reason the main phases may be viewed as a loose order, but the subphases are synergistic characteristics rather than ordered steps.

Pre-Midlife: Accommodation

Separation may begin with Rejection & Refusal, but these do not end to allow for Resentment which in turn does not end to allow for Replay. Replay is the result of the integration of Rejection & Refusal and Resentment. Replay is Covert Depression—a denial of depression—which leads to anger as rage or stoicism with outbursts of rage. It is a snowball effect, with each characteristic adding to the others to create Separation. I call the Depression stage both Liminality and Liminal Depression because it makes it something less dangerous or frightening—rather than something wrong as is commonly considered; instead it is a time for self contemplation where a person retreats inward.

A midlife transition is the bridge between Accommodation, the life before midlife, and Individuation, the life path following midlife. It is liminal; the MLC phase of Liminality is a midlife transition. Separation is a mini phase of preparation for Liminality and its MLC characteristics may not be present; Rebirth and Reintegration are the acceptance and experience of the anxiety that comes from leaping without turning backwards into avoidance again. They are mini phases of preparation for reentrance into the world and Individuation. In MLC denial of the transition leads to a prolonged Separation phase which may be longer than Liminality. Growth and development—progress—is a function of Liminality.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on May 17, 2010, 07:18:43 PM

Separation refers to the splitting of the Persona or Identity from the Ego. For the Midlifer in Crisis, this stage is extended and may be the longest of the three. The superficial fears of aging—growing children, dying parents, futility of life, send the MLCer into Rejection & Refusal manifested as futile attempts to stave off the natural process of aging: increased exercise, weight loss, new hobbies or activities, concern over thinning hair. The motivation is not a desire for a healthier lifestyle to benefit the Golden Years, but rather fear of death and dying. The person in crisis is trying to prevent the inevitable.

Youth is painfully visible on the distant horizon—almost within grasp. The Midlifer applies glue to the Persona-mask, prolonging its bond to the Ego. But the cracking of the mask continues, giving way to Resentment.

Rejection & Refusal
To deny is to refuse or ignore a consciously intolerable reality. There are various types of denial; the two most relevant to MLC are listed below.

Simple Denial: This is the characteristic I refer to as Rejection & Refusal. It is Rejection & Refusal of an unpleasant fact or feeling and a preparation for later stages of Midlife Crisis leading toward Reintegration and an acceptance of one's Self. Denial is often a subconscious act wherein the person does not acknowledge his fears and issues. Rejection & Refusal is a conscious form of denial requiring thought; it is an action taken to avoid something and thus initially there is at least a superficial recognition of what is being avoided; the person must acknowledge what it is he is rejecting and refusing to face. This conscious action cycles with unconscious denial.

Denial of Responsibility: Transference of attention away from oneself, this type of denial is comprised of several methods.

Following a significant life-changing vent, a person may be flooded with emotions and fears. Shadow fragments may surface regardless of whether the event is considered positive or negative. A person may feel overwhelmed. Though Rejection & Refusal is often a necessary and normal defense mechanism that enables a person to deal with problems in smaller, more manageable increments, it includes the risk of becoming caught in a cycle that progresses toward the more harmful forms of denial. It seems that it is the simple form of denial—Rejection & Refusal—to which Jim Conway was referring when he labeled his first stage of Midlife Crisis as Denial. The more harmful types of denial are components of Replay behaviour.

Rejection & Refusal eventually fail to stop and reverse aging or whatever it is the person fears and is thus avoiding. Upon recognition of this failure, the person adds Resentment to the building crisis. Resentment is the form of anger that originates from a feeling of inferiority and low worth; anger at God is resentment and is consequent of feeling powerless. He is angry at God and angry with life and as he ferments in the emotion of anger. Since MLCers often doubt their faith, they deny their anger is toward God and project it toward his environment and others—the spouse in particular.

Failure of Rejection & Refusal leads to Resentment. If Rejection & Refusal had successfully convinced a person that his issues no longer exist—such as a belief in the reversal of aging—there would be nothing to feel Resentment towards. But the depths of MLCer fears are for stark realities that are unstoppable: the march of time and surfacing of the Shadow.

Resentment is the Why me? cry of the victim. He is upset at the unfairness of life as younger and more vigorous men can do more and have the vast potential of their lives ahead, whereas the MLCer feels his greatest years are behind him. His body is breaking down, his children are becoming more independent and his wife has separate interests. He wants to be the Knight in Shining Armour, but such youthful hero days are no more. What he will learn through his midlife journey is that Kings are leaders; the knights work for them. But this is not a lesson that can be learned through mere intellectual understanding; life is to be experienced.

The Shadow is starting to surface and the MLCer is afraid—many Shadow fragments are characteristics that are seemingly opposite to the personality of the individual. Each MLCer is a unique individual and what is opposite for one is not for another. A normally quiet and subdued man may suddenly show emotion outwardly, whereas a man whose emotions were normally public may become more quiet and introspective. These opposite behaviours do not mean one is in a crisis and the other is not, all behaviours are relative to the individual. Often the opposing forces are fighting each other internally causing confusion and fueling Resentment as the person attempts to continue to repress his Shadow. But the Shadow is persistent and refuses further repression. The MLCer fears he is losing control and possibly for his sanity. This yields the urge to escape and abandon which brings on Replay behaviour.

Life’s Bachelor Party

Traditionally the night or a few nights before his wedding, a man has a Bachelor Party which often involves naked women and copious amounts of alcohol. Much or all of this is done with the knowledge of his wife-to-be. This is his final night of irresponsible youth before settling into maturity.

At midlife a man looks back at his waning youth and decides to hold on a little longer. He sees what appears to lie ahead in his future and determines the past, which is about fun, has greater appeal. In the years since his wedding, he has come to associate marriage with maturity and responsibility. Since leaving his one-night Bachelor Party he has had a taste of that future he sees ahead and it’s more of the same—Aging and Responsibility. “What about me?” he says. “When do I get to have fun again?” He fears that if he waits until retirement age for fun, he will be too old. He wants his fun now. His body is dragging him into old age and he needs another final fling.

But like the man who is about to be married, the MLCer who does not talk divorce or permanent separation is perhaps aware that eventually he will have to continue on the journey piloted by his body. So when he steps back to that life, he wants the original cast in place.

But addiction to the Bachelor Party is an unforeseen consequence. The naked women don’t leave at the end of the night, and the alcohol keeps flowing. Hooked on the fun, the last fling becomes a perpetual party that eventually spirals downward. As the vortex sucks him into its whirlpool, the MLCer thinks he’s having fun. He doesn’t want this life to end. He has buried the happy memories from his former life and he wants them to stay that way. He may begin talking divorce. He’s addicted to the fragile illusion of youth, and refuses to let it go.

Covert Depression
Replay is Covert Depression in which Midlifers attempt to avoid the physical and emotional pain of Overt Depression which forces them to face their Shadow and integrate their buried fragments. It is not a subconscious denial; the behaviour is a direct reaction to something acknowledged. It is rather an avoidance which may facilitate additional subconscious denial as Replay behaviour produces emotional highs which the MLCer interprets as success in his attempt to reverse aging or avoid other issues. Replay behaviour needs the other characteristics—Rejection & Refusal and Resentment—for functioning; they are the fuel of Replay.

Men often handle depression in the opposite way that is expected—by acting out rather than turning inward; they seek to blame. The alienator, alcohol, drugs, youthful running etc. are forms of avoidance. Like an addict, he needs the Replay fix to keep him from the Liminality where Overt Depression sets in.

Replay brings in the fog. This fog is an MLC requirement, and like Liminality, it serves a purpose. He must go through this; it is unavoidable. But a person in his right mind would not behave as he is and thus the fog serves the purpose of burying his guilt until another time when he can handle it. But he is not insane and is thus accountable for his actions. He is confused; sometimes he will be aware of this and others not, but the existence of a reason for bad behaviour does not make it excusable.

Replay behaviour is an angry avoidance manifested as an attempt to prove sustaining youth. It is a backlash, an I’ll show you reaction to God and anyone who stands in his way. He is still resentful, and continues to reject and refuse. It is with the addition of Replay that MLC becomes recognizable. Bomb Drop usually occurs with Replay and the affair begins. In the absence of Replay, Midlifers in Rejection & Refusal may effectively hide their fears from everyone, including themselves. Behaviours may be changing, but in the beginning the changes may be dismissed amidst preoccupations with everyday life or as moodiness, stress or irritability—particularly if the MLC catalyst was a significant life changing event. Cracks in the persona began to form prior to Replay which expands the cracks eventually causing the façade to crumble and a previously stable man seems crazy. The way is open and the Temptress beckons with promises of sex yielding true love and the Devil comes out to dance.

Bargaining is a 3-page chapter in Elisabeth Kübler Ross’s book On Death and Dying1; as an emotional stage in dying it is an attempt to bargain with God for more time. A realization and fear of death is an issue in MLC, but unlike those who are dying, this is usually an emotional fear that is not in process; the MLCer has time to dwell on the idea of death and dying, whereas the person who is dying is having a direct experience—a realization of the fear—with less time for dwelling. Often the MLCer is experiencing doubt in a God who is now failing him, thus bargaining would be futile. Instead the MLCer tries to postpone the inevitable without God’s help or blessing—sometimes as a rebellion directed against God.

Bargaining is also short-lived for a terminally ill person as death looms close and their condition continues to deteriorate. But Replay for the MLCer creates an emotional high and feels successful. A crash follows, but not for months or years and those who crash sooner use Replay as a drug to create and maintain their high.

The dying person hopes to buy more time, possibly with promises to accept the inevitable (death) after a specific event or accomplishment; ex. the birth of an expected grandchild. Bargaining sets a self-imposed deadline, whereas the MLCer refuses to bargain and instead attempts to cheat time through evasive tactics. The dying person attempts to postpone; the deadline for the MLCer is never.

But it in truth, the MLCer is running away from his Self—the Shadow Self revealed beneath the crumbling façade. He fears the Shadow; he wants to escape it and is yet simultaneously intrigued. What would happen if I…

Like a teenager, he wants to test and push the boundaries. The Midlifer is faced with his own mortality and fears the loss of his vitality; risky behaviour in which a person tempts death or security can facilitate a feeling of aliveness. Blame and projection toward the spouse is natural as the spouse tries to stop the Replay behaviour.

A regressive youthful lifestyle of physical activity and socialization attracts woman who are younger or themselves seeking a regressive lifestyle (alienators) and may yield temporary gains in physical fitness. But the repercussions of adulterous and regressive behaviour—the effects on spouses, children, coworkers, friends etc.—will yield greater dissatisfaction, unhappiness and depression. The typical reaction to these consequences is to avoid more, sinking deeper into the fantasy life which will only continue to yield the unpleasant consequences. These in tandem with the opposing regression behaviour create a repetitive pattern of cycling behaviour common to MLC.

Replay will continue until he not only realizes that it is not making him happy, but also that it is making him feel even more lost—that his life is becoming worse. Like an object requiring external force to alter its course of motion, the unpleasant patterns in his life will continue until challenged either externally or internally. When each quick fix he tries fails and he runs out of quick fixes, he can go into Liminality. But even then he may jump or climb out of the pit to attempt additional quick fixes. He needs to run until he's too tired to keep running and too battered to pick himself up when he falls.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on May 17, 2010, 07:19:33 PM



Liminality is Overt Depression, a time of facing the Shadows repressed during childhood. These may be beautiful traits stamped down by criticism or unacceptance. Or they may be those fears and angers. There is gold within the Shadows, embrace the gold and release what is not gold. But he must face all of it.

The Shadows strip the Ego away. It is a drowning under water and a fiery incineration. The great fear is for nothingness—complete annihilation, or that only those Shadows locked so tightly will be left—those things that were meant to remain hidden.

Indigo is the colour associated with the Third Eye. It is the Psychic Center and represents Inner Knowing, Inner Vision. It is a different way of seeing. It is the door to Madness—a door which is best left open. To fear it is to risk falling in without a guide or preparation.

Transition is Liminal
Depress: (Verb) To press or slow down, to decrease the activity of something.

A doctor uses a tongue depressor to press down the tongue; alcohol is a depressant, slowing down the central nervous system. Liminal Depression is an act of Depressing and to depress is to be in Deep Rest or Hibernation. Perhaps it can be better understood in the context of a transition that is not a crisis. Though Liminality may be frightening even when a transition is not a crisis, its depression is not the prison of hopeless despair that is Clinical Depression. It is a reflection and the person not in crisis, the person who though tentative and possibly frightened but who is not avoiding, sees their reflection wavering as water ripples around them and pauses for consideration. Though Liminality may be a time of unknowing, it is also a process of discovering and can be peacefully exciting. It is what people seek at the top of Everest, in nature hikes, runner's highs, temples and monasteries. It is the peak experience brought down to physicality.

Liminality is also risky. It is that time when you must ask your Self whether to continue a path of safety which no longer contains your life force or to give it all up, sacrifice or risk your job, the respect of your peers, your family…and leap. What must a person give up to climb Everest? Will the gains be worth the losses? Yes, joy is a choice, but that does not mean there are no regrets. Leaping is an act of courage.

Midlife crisis is a loss or absence of courage. That is not to say that a person in a midlife crisis has not been courageous in other aspects of life; soldiers are no less prone to midlife crisis than civilians. But it is an absence of courage in facing one's Self, in accepting feelings and emotions or integrating the past replete with either toxic or healthy shame and guilt. MLCers try to avoid the gift, the blessing offered in the journey.

Liminality is that space between, between time and between physicality; existence may not seem real or solid. Liminal experience may be through the standard five senses, but the other senses, those that we deny and do not understood are often enhanced. It is a different plane of awareness and experience.

Reality Bites…hard
Liminal Depression is a consequence of Replay behaviour. Replay spending results in bills and losses of things that are no longer affordable—not merely Replay luxuries such as the sports car, but also the loss of former possessions and savings (house, car, pension etc.). Financial losses can be significant, but more devastating is the loss of Self and potential, the loss of marriage, health, self-worth due to losses and guilt, and the loss of escape as Replay no longer produces a high. Everything leading up to Liminal Depression was preparation; the real work begins here.

Liminality is the means to reintegrating the Shadow fragments. Liminal Depression serves a purpose. There are times when we need to go down within ourselves for self-contemplation and growth. This may be a time of withdrawal into quiet solitude, but for not all people withdraw and there are those who will continue to manifest their depression through escalating anger; as the depression worsens, his behaviour may become more erratic and volatile.

Society views this depression as negative. This is not the disease of Clinical Depression; rather it is a dis-ease manifested as grief; the MLCer falls to rock bottom, the home of the Shadow. This is the place he has been avoiding through out this crisis and thus there is a likelihood that he will hang on the chasm’s ledge and try not to fall. The depression gets deeper with the Liminality phase when the old Self dies to create a new Self—Ego-Death. The MLCer has no Self; he is suspended in nothingness. It is no wonder they cycle by running back to Replay behaviour. The start and end of stages are transitional places where the MLCer exhibits characteristics familiar to both stages. The cycling gradually diminishes at a rate that is dependent upon the degree of wounding buried in his Shadow. Those with greater wounding have more to avoid.

Once a person is in Liminal Depression and has fallen to Rock Bottom his returns to Replay behaviour are without his metaphorical skin; he is like a molting crab and highly vulnerable; Liminal Depression is a more comfortable place in this condition. Liminality is the wine dark sea of Chaos, 40 days in the desert, time in the Wasteland. The Depression you will notice during this phase is more intense than any previous depression within the crisis.

Some MLCers have more awareness of their confusion than others. This recognition can create a petrification of fear like a deer in the headlights, in Replay the MLCer may recognize the vehicle, but in Liminal Depression, without Self-identity, he doesn’t know what he is running from. This is the scariest phase for many MLCers. Liminality forces him to face his shadow and he may have realized the devastation he has caused around him and fear there is no return. He may have no desire to return, but even so, the option to return was a security. This lack of Self-identity with the addition of a recognition of the devastation he has caused is understandably the time of the greatest hopelessness and despair.

When is Liminality?
What is a good indication that they are in or are approaching Liminality?
I don't know. There are many, but sometimes it means something else.
As Liminal Depression approaches, an MLCer may exhibit more anger and lash out more as he tries harder and harder to avoid being depressed.
Some, instead, may exhibit signs of more classic-overt depression.

General Indicators of Depression

Many of these are common to MLC in general—changes in interests, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, inability to concentrate, substance abuse, sleep changes, anger… This is because Replay is Covert Depression and Liminality is Overt Depression. So look for what changes. Many believe that the break up of the adulterous relationship brings on Liminality, this notion is false. I am not saying that it will not bring on Liminality, but many MLC adulterous relationships continue through depression; though the dynamics of the relationship will change.

MLCers find new friends and new activities. Sometimes these become permanent and beneficial life changes, but many of these changes are temporary and will not survive Replay. Is your MLCer still involved with the same new friends or in his Replay activities, or has he lost interest?

An MLCer may display some of these symptoms to his abandoned spouse and others to the alienator. He may try to hide the fact that he is depressed from his spouse because she may feel that since things are not going well in his new relationship, he will come home soon. Instead, he will show his anger and irritability to her. He may feel the challenge of trying to keep up energetically with an alienator and friends who are much younger and as he tries harder and yet fails to meet his own standards his shame and feelings of worthlessness may surface.

It is important to understand that what you see may not be what others are seeing. You are seeing the act he wants you to see and others are seeing a different act. Few if any are seeing him Be.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Rollercoasterider on May 17, 2010, 07:21:02 PM
Rebirth & Integration

In the previous post I said that Liminality is risky because it is about sacrificing the safe and secure path as well as the respect of others. But Liminality is not the action; it is the process of consideration that leads to the decision to leap.

Depression Or Anxiety?
It is not an either or but one following the other. According to James Hollis, depression is the pressing in of the soul's purpose and a stagnation and defeat of life, whereas anxiety is a path of potential growth.1 But in saying this he does not mean to say that depression is bad or negative and that a person should avoided or suppress it. It is true that depression which a person refuses to release will lead to stagnation, but depression embraced—liminality that sits within the quiet cacophony of solitude and fears can be a guide through.

Anxiety is the next place on the journey; it is that point where you choose to leave the Liminal abyss and begin to climb; it is the new path, new outlook, new goals--a direction away from Accommodation toward the path of your bliss. Anxiety stands before the exit from the dark night of the soul because it brings guilt when it breaks the hope and expectations of others by removing the burden they have piled upon one's back.

Depression that is not Liminal is stagnant; Liminality is an embrace of stillness and anxiety is about action. But anxiety that is a product and result of valid progress must come from within and is brought on by forward motion—the anxiety is not the initial force acting on an object—the MLCer. f=ma, Force equals mass times acceleration. The mass that inhibited movement was the fear and stubbornness of the MLCer, the mass that works with acceleration is about the can be potentiality. Acceleration is the rate of increasing velocity; it is about motion and is the place of anxiety in the formula. The decision to change—to leap—brings anxiety; the decision to regress and avoid brings Covert Depression (Replay), the decision to stop and avoid brings Overt Depression, and the decision to stop without avoiding brings Liminality.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 18, 2010, 11:48:16 PM
Dear Friends,

What is to follow is the original posting of the Six Stages of a Midlife Crisis that I wrote when my husband was going through his MLC. It was also based upon what I'd observed within other people's situations at that time.
I wrote this set of stages back in 2002.

They were only meant to be a guideline, not an absolute way the MLC'er navigates through the tunnel.  In my mind back at that time, I felt it helped to know how to recognize where the MLC'er was, based on the descriptions.  I fleshed out what I'd seen, and what others had seen, and it helped me to bring these together.

Each stage can be navigated by itself, consecutively and several stages CAN run together, depending upon the person going through.
One other thing to remember; they can also be run OUT OF ORDER, in a number of combinations with the exception of Acceptance.
Depression is always present throughout the crisis even though there is a STAGE of nothing BUT Depression.
Replay is the LONGEST stage, and therefore the MIDDLE of the crisis, it is usually when the Midlifer drops the bomb on the unsuspecting Left Behind Spouse.

Back in 2002, there was not much at all known about MLC, and most of the time we were on our own, learning from trial and error....it's not much different now, but there are MORE resources in this day and time than there were when my husband was going through the tunnel.

The times that accompany these stages are APPROXIMATED time...I should, actually leave the times off, as I KNOW from personal experience, they are in NO WAY accurate.  Each person and each crisis is different...my own transition lasted 6 years, and as of this year, I've been out nearly two.

This was the ORIGINAL disclaimer I wrote, you can see even back then, I KNEW no one crisis was the same, they were ALL different:
"Hi Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have delivered on my promise, having written out the descriptions of all six stages of a Mid Life Crisis.

You should be able to see your Mid Life spouse in these descriptions if you will look back hard enough, and hopefully there is enough description to allow you to look forward somewhat.

I write these for the "understanding" parts of this, and it is TOTALLY from the Mid Lifer's point of view, it does NOT include "lessons" or anything else.

The lessons you are to learn are contained on my "Sermon Thread"

Also, I cannot pinpoint exact times, the times I post are for approximation, only, everything hinges on the MLC'er and the willingness to face his/her issues, ok?"

Each stage will be on a different, consecutive post.  RCS has said she will put it up at the top as a "sticky", so I will lock this topic when through, if  I can.

The "Sermons" thread I speak of will contain the lessons each person is to learn out of this crisis, and interestingly enough, it is the SAME for the MLC'er. :)

Have a great day! :)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 18, 2010, 11:51:09 PM
1st Stage of a Mid Life Crisis


The word Denial should speak for itself, as the person in this stage denies their feelings pretty strongly. In a Mid Life Crisis, however there are several things that are denied; one is the fact he/she is getting older, and their bodies either don't work as well as they used to or don't look as good as it used to, and they feel "used up", but are even trying to fight that feeling. They don't want to face the fact they are "wearing out" and they can't do the things they used to do anymore. They had always, up to this point, felt they were still in their prime or youthful, and was ignoring the aging that was sneaking upon them.

When it finally hits home, they panic and some consider using plastic surgery to enhance the illusion-or going on a buying spree for new clothes that don't exactly fit someone their age-and usually end up spending a great deal of money on other things. All in a effort to "buy-off" the aging process-it only leads to the next stage-Anger.

They look at their children, and in their mind's eye, they are STILL small, never mind they are now teen-agers that are on the verge of growing into adulthood, and so therefore they attempt to treat the young man or young woman as they did when they were three or four years old--only the teen is probably about 13-18, and starts to rebel against being treated like a small child, which increases the confusion of the Mid Lifer-they go on to try and make up for lost time, only to find rejection at the hands of their teen-agers, and though they are hurt, they react in the only way they know how-Anger

Then there's the spouse of the Mid Lifer-he/she doesn't look the same as she did-as the Mid Lifer ages, so does the spouse, and we cannot help what heredity does to our looks; but their spouses are also a REFLECTION of them, how they have treated them, what they have given or with-held, and they begin to deny what they are seeing, thinking if they had it to go all over again they might have married someone else and been happier than they are now-never mind it's not true- and that leads to the next stage--Anger

This stage is mostly quiet storming inside their heads, no one knows what they are thinking, only that they have become withdrawn somewhat because of their minds being so active, and they are not talking, so no one has any clue what's happening until the Anger stage begins. If asked, they will tell you they are fine, and if you listen closely, their answers are a little short-tempered; because they just want to be left alone to think it all out.

It could be as short as a month or as long as six months to play out this stage.

I have not included being unhappy within their jobs in the stage of Denial, because I don't think dissatisfaction with the job begins until the Anger stage-To be totally honest, I didn't see my husband's dissatisfaction really come to the surface until the tail-end of Replay, although it showed while he was IN Replay-in small spurts 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 18, 2010, 11:54:12 PM
 2nd Stage of a Mid Life Crisis


While the Mid Lifer is in the stage of Denial, it is actually preparing him/her for this next stage, it seems be a "set up" or the seeds of Anger are actually planted by being in that first stage.
Regardless, the anger begins to set in, reality hits somewhat and the Mid Lifer begins to be really angry at the "lot" he/she has been cast in this life. And they have a tendency to forget that others have the same problems-they begin to be selfish, lashing out at others, not caring how much they hurt the people that are closest to them, even lashing out at their bosses, not caring if they are fired or not-it does NOT matter to them, and they really don't even know WHY they are angry. The irritability alone wears on them and they react with MORE anger-not really understanding it, but just going on with it, thinking they are saying what they really feel for the first time in their lives; walking all over anyone who stands in their way.

They begin to think "run-away" thoughts, angry at their perception that they are "stuck" in the same dead-end job, year after year, after year; angry their children have grown up without them, angry their spouses aren't what they think they ought to be, angry that life has dealt them such a cruel blow, angry because they feel "stuck" and "trapped" in the life THEY chose in their youth. Angry because it dawns on them, that they ARE growing older, and there's no stopping the aging process.

They begin to think if they could just CHANGE their life, they would be happy, but even the thought of change, makes them angrier. They look for outside sources to blame for this unhappiness they feel inside, and guess who gets the "brunt" of that anger-their husband/wife-the one who has seen them through many things during the marriage.

Their anger takes the form of small criticisms to begin with and gradually gets bigger and bigger, and the fights escalate into possibly throwing things against the walls, making impossible demands-their spouse begins to walk on "eggshells"--the withdrawal gets worse, they can barely speak to one another without a fight breaking out from the "sane" spouse saying or doing the wrong thing.
It begins to feed their justification and reasoning, and most will find a "friend" and develop that friendship, never dreaming it will escalate into something out of control-the Replay affair. Others will begin to take drugs, drink, continue with their quest for youth, and search of self....etc.

So the next stage-Replay and the Anger Stage OVERLAPS, just as Denial and Anger did-each one has the seeds of the next and the one before.

And all of the angry outbursts gradually sets things up for the next stage---Replay

The anger stage can last from 3 to 9 months. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 18, 2010, 11:56:36 PM
3rd Stage of a Mid Life Crisis


Now, Replay can take many forms, from Affairs, to a search for youth, catching up on "lost" time-although you can never "catch up" what you have lost in that time-but they don't know that.

They are still searching for outside sources to blame for their misery, and Replay is a perfect time for a totally stable man to go crazy and start an affair-although the SEEDS for this affair were probably planted while in the Anger stage. They will still try to reconnect with children, or if they were close to their children, distance from them-it is also during this time they become the total "opposite" of what they were, before they entered the tunnel, back in Denial. They undergo a gradual change in the first two stages, going from what they were to the direct opposite during this time. They will do things their husbands/wives never thought they would do.

Besides the affair, they will feel "entitled" to what they take, regardless of who they hurt, or how much of a financial bind they put their families in. Their reasoning becomes "Well, I have taken care of people my whole life, now it's time for ME to have fun."

The emotions, during this time, are in play, in a way they never have been, and they don't understand what's going on, and so they panic and "run"; but the running they do will rock the very foundation of a marriage.

They may drink, take drugs, curse God for what He "has done" to them-have multiple affairs, failing to see what they are doing that's so wrong-still with the attitude of it being "my" time now.

The "bomb" can and will be dropped during this time, shocking the sane spouse who probably has NO idea that anything was wrong, and the problems begin to escalate, as "crying and begging" ensues, and the Mid Lifer turns away, secure in his "reasoning" for his behavior and /or the affair/drinking/drugs/money spent.

Their behavior can disrupt the most settled of families, most especially the affair-the Mid Lifer's reasoning is that he/she thinks they have "missed out" when really, they haven't, and the OW/OM, they can/will get involved with will NOT be what they wanted all along, but they won't see that until they experience an "awakening" that gives them a direction, and starts them along the path to facing their issues; opening the door for the stage of Depression.

As long as the Mid Lifer continues "replay" behaviors they are nowhere near to being ready to start their way out of the tunnel; the "awakening" they have IF they come to it, is a "turning point" to beginning their journey out of the tunnel.

When the "awakening" occurs, they begin to suffer the next stage-Depression, and it is a low point of the Mid Lifer's journey.

The Replay stage is the LONGEST of the stages, and can last up to two years or even longer, depending upon the "replay" behaviors used during this time. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 18, 2010, 11:58:56 PM
4th Stage of a Mid Life Crisis


Now, we have traveled through the first three stages, and during those stages, the issues that are inside the Mid Lifer have STILL not been looked at.

This is the stage where the Mid Lifer is faced with the issues he/she are beginning to face, and quite frankly, they feel like failures.

Nothing has helped the first three stages-everything they have tried has NOT turned to gold, on the contrary everything has turned to stone, for lack of a better word to describe their running-and now comes the time to begin to face their damage, and this is done inside-because that is what Depression is-anger turned inward.

Their hormones are out of whack, due to physical changes, and that makes them feel worse. Their self-esteem is shot all to pieces, and they feel like failures. They wonder if they will ever be worth anything to anyone. Some are in so much pain, they commit suicide, some get smart and get anti-depressants to help them begin to clear their thinking processes, some suffer in silence, thinking nobody understands them or will understand what they are going through-and so it goes on.

They will be on the verge of tears, most of the time, pacing the floor, losing sleep, afraid of the dark-or maybe what's in it; unable to escape negative thoughts, cutting themselves down in word and action. Extreme guilt may compound this stage, and there is so much pressure, they become forgetful, irritable, want to be left alone, somewhat argumentative, sometimes unresponsive-want to take long drives, sit looking out the window-their silences are long and painful, as they don't want to talk about it preferring instead to think and brood.

You must understand they will come through this or they won't-no one can "make" them come out until they are ready-pestering them only makes them draw inside further, and they need the space to work within themselves, trying to understand some of what has happened; the parts they can face, anyway, besides resolving issues that are inside them, from childhood and/or otherwise. Understand, also, this journey must continue to made alone, no one can "fix" it or "do it for them."

Pieces of the next stage are contained within, and Withdrawal begins to come to the fore as each individual issue is faced-it is a gradual slide from Depression to Withdrawal or both stages can occur together.

The Depression stage can last from around two and a half months to possibly six months, depending upon the severity of the depression they are suffering.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 19, 2010, 12:00:56 AM
5th Stage of a Mid Life Crisis


Now, the Mid Lifer has been beginning to face his/her issues while in Depression, and what they've seen has NOT been pretty. They've done so MUCH damage, and don't really know how to "fix" it, and that has made them even MORE depressed.

So, for a time, they conclude that life is not worth much, and so they "drop out" of life or WITHDRAW, hence the stage of Withdrawal.

It is also during this time, they will navigate obstacles and question themselves, somewhat, working their way toward what is called the "final fears" Not much is known about what the final fears contain-I think it is beginning to accept the death of everything they have ever known, including the death of their "old" lives; AND beginning to accept their own mortality without being afraid of it-Depression sets them up for this journey across an open field toward an archway to face these fears. During this time, they will NOT communicate with ANYONE, not even their spouse, as they are drawn so far within, no one can reach them. They MUST be allowed to continue, with NO interruptions, just like before-they will NOT come out until they are READY to come out.

Just like in Depression, they want to left alone, still processing their issues and the damage they have done to their spouse and their lives, and they make several decisions during this time concerning their lives, job, and marriage. But those WON'T be known UNTIL they break Withdrawal and talk to their spouse the first time

They are still secretive, somewhat asserting their privacy, much like a teen-ager, but during this time, they must be gently but firmly led along, and only when the time is right-a wrong word at the wrong time will cause them to "stick" within the tunnel.

You will see some Depression and Anger within them, they are mostly angry at themselves, but will take it out on you, and there are times you will have to be quiet and just leave them alone; letting them work things out, and they usually will, as the answers, such as they are STILL come from within them, not outside sources.

As they begin to come forward, they will begin the journey out of the tunnel-entering the first stage of Acceptance.

Withdrawal can last from three months to one year.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 19, 2010, 12:03:52 AM
 6th Stage of a Mid Life Crisis


The Mid Lifer has navigated through five stages of his/her Mid Life crisis by now, and begins into the final stage--Acceptance.

Now, Acceptance is entered in "Stages" Three, to be exact.

Stage ONE involves the disintegration of his/her personality, the "veil" is lifted showing the Mid Lifer EVERYTHING, no holds barred, and he/she realizes for the first time just how much damage has been done to their marriage, lives and spouse. The spouse will be surprised to see "children" surface, as well as "flashes" of the "old" personality, "new" personality, good AND bad personalities. I have described it as similar to schizophrenia, Three faces of Eve, etc.

But, I promise they are NOT crazy, this is what is MEANT to happen, for the Mid Life Crisis extracts a CHANGE, and the disintegration is a part of it, as they are FORCED to look at every facet of their personalities and make some permanent changes. The key to helping them through is to ACCEPT what you see as it comes forth, and don't ridicule or shame them-you will see little kids picking their nose for example--I saw this happen. They will apologize for everything under the sun, and try really hard to make up for the damage; for a little while.

Now during stage TWO of Acceptance, will come the temptations to want to go back to what they came out of. The silence of the spouse is most important during this time-all you can do is be understanding and patient with them as this MUST happen and they MUST come through alone.
They will SEEM to be going backward, but aren't, this is necessary for them to move forward.
It is during this time they will "revisit" ALL stages of the Mid Life Crisis except Denial and shuts the "doors" to each stage PERMANENTLY one by one, never to return.
If they give in to temptation OR get spooked by their final fears, they WILL run BACK into the tunnel a little ways. But they can only run back as far as the doors have NOT been closed permanently; most of the time they just run back as far as WITHDRAWAL, but will continue the process to come out once they feel "safe" to continue. So, they must be allowed to come through WITHOUT interruption, no matter what happens.

Stage THREE involves the "archway" I spoke of in the Stage of Withdrawal-all this time the Mid Lifer has been coming across this open field toward this Archway, where his "final fears" are located and he finally begins to face these fears in full-he may come out of the tunnel and face them BEFORE he/she shuts the door to Depression/Withdrawal or afterwards. But he/she will have to face them, nevertheless, before he exits to begin his/her complete healing process.

It takes awhile for the Mid Lifer to get settled down, even after he/she comes out of stage three of the Acceptance stage-they will experience a final "rebelling" before they settle down for good.

It is much like a teen-ager who has passed into manhood/womanhood-there are still final changes that must be made, especially for the one who has done so much damage during the crisis itself.

But if he/she can settle everything within themselves, their lives should be marked with a sense of peace, instead of the anguish they have known for as long as they were within the crisis. And they will have learned many things concerning life, and will be changed permanently as they will NEVER be the same, ever again.

Not certain on how long it takes to complete, I just know it takes awhile to get things settled once again-possibly 6-9 months or so, and I'm just guessing. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on May 19, 2010, 12:38:39 AM
May 19, 2010

My comments on the "Settling Down Process"

One added thing, and this is from experience only:

Once the MLC'er goes into the settling down process, which does come after the stage of Acceptance; the changes finish themselves in a permanent fashion within, one change at a time; but these are good changes.

The crisis itself, literally "burns" something out of them, FORCING them to change within.

If they have allowed this time to work on them, and they learn the lessons of life; they will be better equipped for the latter half of their lives, (as the crisis generally comes during the "middle" of their lives, hence, "MIDLIFE".)
They may also "purge" this process, and the emotional throwing up, so to speak will result in blurred and dim memories given time and healing.

The length of time they spend in this 'setting down process', of course, WILL vary for each person, in that time, a "forgetting" happens..as they heal from the damage, becoming whole once again, they WILL forget what they went through, and that is a NORMAL process to go through.

It does NOT mean they didn't learn anything from the crisis itself, or the mistakes they made, it simply means with time and healing, they WILL forget this time in their lives.

They may NOT ever speak of ALL they experienced within, so if the LBS wants to know anything, the settling down process is the FINAL chance to ask what they want to ask...after this is finished out completely, you can ask, but will get a blank stare of "What are you talking about?" from the MLC'er...the forgetting will be complete.

What I ALSO found, though, was that my husband DID go through MANY changes, making him a MUCH better person than he'd been before the crisis began.  There were many abusive things he used to do and say that he does NOT do or say now.
What I'm saying is this: once through, the MLC spouse is NEVER the same person you knew, they WILL be different, but you must accept the WHOLE person, some things will remain the same, but many things WILL change...I saw this go for the better; didn't see anything bad, only good changes.

Sadly, IF they get stuck within the tunnel, they may NEVER come out, stuck in one of the stages, most of the time it is REPLAY they get stuck in a perpetual search for lost youth, etc.

On the other hand;
IF they experience heavy trauma while trying to get through OR even come out with an "emotional block" of some kind, they WILL come on out BUT...they will experience recurring cycles of crisis, and the process is attempted again, only in a different fashion...there will be components missing from the first crisis, because those issues have already been faced/decided within them.
What they end up cycling in, are issues that they "skipped" or "missed" while within the tunnel the first time.

What usually results in this is a person going through a different kind of tunnel/crisis trying to catch up on what has NOT been faced/settled.
This is a confusing time, if this happens as the stages cannot be looked at to see where they are, you will NOT know for sure...so MANY things will be MISSING, and it will make you think you've missed something yourself, when you haven't.

It has been said that if a person's processing is interrupted, it can result in them not finishing; while that is possibly true, I cannot say that for certain, as I had watched my husband exit the tunnel, go into Acceptance, begin the "settling down" process, and a year and half later, I observed a "going back" personality changes going backward, and much later, I discovered that a child of his issues had been missed, causing a different kind of crisis, different type of tunnel.
This time, many components of the BIG ONE, were missing...only a child was evident, and I was put into a position of authority that I didn't want to be in, but SOMEBODY had to take responsibility..... :)

Things were much different in this instance, I only illustrate this as another possiblity of what COULD happen.  It did NOT happen to me, personally, as far as I know, I came on through, though it took me LONGER than it had my husband in his MLC.

It is my hope that all this will help others in their quest to survive their spouses' MLC.  I never did everything right in his MLC, but I loved my husband and wanted our marriage to continue.

In time, I accepted, forgave and healed from all the damage that was done, changed for a lifetime.

Each person can gain the SAME kind of strength I gained coming through this, always remember to let go, let God do His work, read, research, and above all, understand that things are not always as they seem, especially during your spouse's MLC.

God bless you all.

Much love,
HB :)

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on September 24, 2010, 09:48:29 AM
Clinical experience with a group of successful men suggests that one source of a mid-life crisis can be neglectful parenting during childhood. When resilient children grow up, they retain a deficit in the self. At mid-life, the use of work as a defense against emotional needs tends to break down, and the problems of childhood can re-emerge.
Is a mid-life crisis one of the consequences for the resilient child of a difficult childhood? Since Anthony (1974, 1987) described and coined the term "die invulnerable child," clinicians have been intrigued by the observation that some children who come from families with a mentally ill parent seem to be immune from the disorganizing effects of such an experience on their development. They do not develop symptoms themselves and they seem to be unimpaired in their capacity to concentrate and perform at school, as well as in their social skills. This is in marked contrast to the usual pattern found by researchers, in which children of schizophrenic and depressed mothers were found to have difficulty in focusing thenattention (Cohler et al., 1977) had conduct disorders (Rutter & Quintan, 1984), or accident-proneness (Weissman, 1979).
Werner & Smith (1982) concluded that although negative constitutional and environmental factors play an important role in the development of children, the availability in the family of other caring adults is important for later development. There seem to be some fortunate children who can weather a chaotic and depriving family atmosphere without becoming symptomatic, owing to a combination of positive constitutional factors and the capacity to make use of other attachment figures in the environment (Kauffman et al.,1979; Rutter, 1983; Cohler, 1987).
The long-term outcome for resilient children may also vary with gender. Men are particularly likely to make a major emotional investment in competence and success. The work world offers them an environment with reliable rewards which can be used to compensate for interpersonal deprivation. However, as pointed out by Pollack (1990), longitudinal research on adult development shows that adaptation to family life is best predicted by a healthy balance between autonomous functioning and affiliative relatedness. It therefore seems likely that the use of competence and autonomous functioning as compensation for deficits in affiliation could be unstable in the long run. Such issues frequently become apparent at mid-life.
We have encountered a number of male patients in our clinical experience who seem to have weathered their childhoods and young adulthoods well, despite a difficult family background, but who developed what is commonly called a "midlife crisis." They presented at mid-life with profound dissatisfaction in their marriages, reduced interest and energy in their work, and a general mood of anhedonia. Nothing seemed to give them pleasure, their sex lives were disturbed and, in some cases, there was an increase in alcohol consumption. Since these patients bore so much resemblance to the invulnerable children described by Anthony in their description of their childhoods, we were intrigued by the fact that they seemed to "come undone" in mid-life.
We believe that the delayed consequences of an early pathological environment for resilient children have not been adequately taken into account by clinicians. This is especially so in families with a preoccupied or depressed rather than a borderline or psychotic primary caretaker (usually the mother), because that pathology is more masked. Such parenting is not as obviously disorganizing, depressing, or fraught with anxiety as is the latter. Nevertheless, the consequences may be just as severe, if not more damaging. In fact, empirical evidence from an important longitudinal study of children at risk (Sameroff & Seifer, 1990) shows that maternal depression carries a much higher risk for pathology in children than does maternal psychosis.
One possible explanation is that the other parent, extended family members, or neighbors may come to the children's rescue more readily when they see more blatant pathology. However, the preoccupied parent does not look pathological: everything appears normal, except that she is psychologically absent and has, thus, "abandoned" the children. For the children, it is also easier to recognize (and perhaps escape from) "crazy" or violent behavior as being frightening: it is much more difficult to pinpoint the psychologically absent, but physically present, parent as being disturbing. The child of the preoccupied mother is much more likely to hover around the parent, to feel guilty at wanting to be taken care of, and to suffer in silence. Others are not as aware of the deficits in parenting the children are experiencing; hence they are less likely to try to be helpful. The paradigm of the successful man who finds achievement empty at mid-life is well-known to the public (Levinson, 1973), and to psychotherapists in particular (Jacques, 1965). The thesis of this article is that some of the roots of the mid-life crisis can lie in a childhood deprived of essential nutrients for healthy development. Clinical material will be presented to support the hypothesis that achievement can be used by men as a defense against feelings of deprivation, and that such defenses are likely to break down in the face of aging. Aspects of Kohut's self-psychology will be used to illustrate the defects in the self with which these men were struggling. The phenomenology of the mid-life crisis can be seen not just as a search for lost youth, but also as a desperate cry of an abandoned child.
The clinical data come from the practice of the senior author (SB), and consist of a cohort of 10 middle-aged men who presented for psychotherapy. All of these men were highly successful in life, and all of them presented with major difficulties in intimate relationships. Seven of the ten, in fact, presented initially for couple or family therapy, and three were already separated or divorced at the time of presentation. There was little overt family disruption: one patient had a parent who died before age 16, and only one was not actually reared by his parents.
Review of the childhood histories of these men suggested that all ten had experienced significant emotional neglect in their families. Only 3 reported parental alcoholism, and 4 reported that one of their parents suffered from a chronic physical illness. Five reported parental psychiatric illness, primarily depression; however, there may also have been untreated or sub-clinical depression in many of these parents. Nine out of ten described experiences of parentification, i.e., having to assume major caretaking responsibility toward either siblings or the parents themselves. Of the seven married men, only one separated during the course of therapy, and at the time of writing, nine out often were living in a permanent relationship with a woman, attesting to their desire for an intimate relationship. None of these men felt it was preferable to live alone. They had not given up on their wish for closeness. This is a group of successful men who only sought help for psychological difficulties at midlife. Up to then they had adequately compensated for their deprivation by activity and by work. They were hard-working, ambitious men, and their intimate relationships tended to be limited to their immediate families. Although they were by no means socially isolated, their friendships were activity-related, and even in their families they were somewhat emotionally isolated from their wives and children. At mid-life they had begun to lose the taste for the race for success, or, having won it, they felt that it was no longer enough. The defense of activity had stopped working, and they longed for the unconditional love they had never experienced.
Kohut's self-psychology (1970, 1977) provides a theoretical framework which is helpful in understanding the quality of these needs. It would appear that during the process of development, these men had not adequately experienced the idealizing, mirroring, and merging with a stable parent-figure, so necessary to ensure the development of a secure sense of self. Self-depletion is a concept of Kohut's describing one of the deficits of the self. It is an apt description of the self defect in these men. "Self-depletion reflects insufficiency of the self-object's response to the need for affirmation, merger and idealization leading to that guiltless depression resulting from lowered self-esteem" (Morrison, 1984). Kohut (1977) stated that guiltless despair results from the self s failure to realize its ambitions and ideals. Our point of view differs from Kohut's in this regard. We believe, rather, that this despair comes from a failure in their closest interpersonal relationships, i.e., with their spouses and children. This article focuses on the spousal relationship only.
During their marriages, these men developed the equivalent of a self-object transference with their wives, in which they re-experienced earlier, unsatisfied developmental needs such as the need for mirroring, merging, and holding (tension regulating). All marriages have aspects of these need requirements within the couple, but where the self is defective, these needs are greater and there is a greater hunger to have them met. These men used work to cover up this primary defect in the self. They attempted to realize their ambitions and compensate for the defect in this way. The spouses were not up to the almost impossible task of empathic attunement required by these men, to provide the reparative experience they needed. In the earlier years of their marriage and careers, these men were able to gain much narcissistic gratification from their work. They often found idealizable father figures there, who helped them integrate positive self-representations. These two factors helped them be less demanding of their wives. However, as the men grew older and became more successful themselves, they either lost, or turned away from their idealizable father figures. At that point they began consistently to experience their disappointment in their spouses in the same way that a patient might experience a profound disappointment in his therapist after an unempathic response during a self—object transference. Repeated experiences of disappointment, leading to either hostility or withdrawal, caused the cohesion of the marriage to deteriorate as the man's sense of inner cohesion began to break down. The spouse could not serve as the source of narcissistic supplies nor as buffer for the man's feeling of emptiness. In these marriages, the man's needs were often covert, and not directly communicated to the spouse, who might only experience a bewildering withdrawal. Disengagement in response to empathic failure is again a familiar phenomenon in the psychotherapeutic situation, but is not readily manageable in a marriage.
Because these men had such a poorly integrated sense of self, masked though it was, marital therapy could not be effective even though it did focus on the self-object transference between the couple. These men needed an exclusive relationship with the therapist to permit the development of a self-object transference in the context of a professional relationship. There it could be contained, examined, and handled therapeutically, a situation not possible in a cohabiting daily relationship. These cases were treated, therefore, in a psychoanalytically oriented, individual psychotherapy, although some started off in couple or family therapy. Although the spouses had a role to play in the quality of the marital relationship, we shall focus on the deficits in the self of the men rather than on the interpersonal relationship within the marriage.
It would be interesting to speculate on why these men were able to maintain an "invulnerable" posture for so long. They may have had talents which were unusual on which they learned to capitalize. They all seemed to have an unusual level of energy, a factor which may have given them an advantage, since those who are constitutionally active are more likely to have worldly success. In fact, since the histories we have described are not widely variant from what is seen in more disabled patients attending psychiatric clinics, our cohort must have either had some inborn advantage, benefited from a greater security of attachment to their primary objects, or have found compensatory attachments outside their nuclear families.
It appears that the interactional effect of their high level of energy, good health and intelligence put these children in the position of fulfilling many family tasks for the parents. In addition, they were able to attain high achievement at school, which did provide some narcissistic gratification to the parents. By performing these family tasks and achieving at school, these children received some mirroring from either one or both parents: thus they learned that the performance of tasks could be a powerful external supplier of self-esteem. The objective became a substitute for the object. When these children reached adulthood and married, all the denied longing for mirroring and soothing nurturance emerged. Inevitably, they were disappointed, but their success at work masked their disappointments and they were usually able to maintain equilibrium in their family lives by remaining relatively distant and preoccupied with work.

In middle age a change seems to occur in that the awareness of life as being finite emerges (Jacques, 1965). It is sometimes triggered by the changes one feels in one's body, an illness, the death of a parent, sibling, or friend, and sometimes by the psychological or physical separation of one's children (Braverman, 1981). The aforementioned changes test one's capacity to accept what one is and what one has.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: trusting on September 24, 2010, 10:15:47 AM
Very interesting, Mermaid!  My H comes from a family where his mom has been depressed for years and years and his dad had his own issues as well.  I have been trying to figure out what has caused his MLC as he seemed to have a happy enough childhood and nothing too major seemed to have happened to shake him up.  I do know that when he was in high school his mom was having some major health issues which were effecting his dad quite a bit and I think causing him (FIL) to withdraw.  They were both also extremely busy with work and I do believe he was on his own quite a bit.  I can hardly probe now, but my guess is he did feel emotionally abandoned and neglected and did not get the validation he needed in his teen years.  I am sure there is more in there as well and I can think of some things that happened that he told me about that obviously wounded him deeply. I am of course just guessing based on what I know of my  H and his family and of course I have no professional training. :)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: JustFine&Dandy on September 24, 2010, 12:08:01 PM
Mermaid - This backs up my theory with H.  H's mother died unexpectedly when he was only 17.  He was the baby of the family, and other family members told me that she catered to his every need.  His dad was a drinker, and I believe he withdrew more after H's mother died. H went through a turbulent period of drugs, alcohol, and depression during this time.

From his early 20's, H seemed like he had his life together.  Yes, he still partied some, but he kept things under control and held down a job. 

I think his unresolved issue has been emotional love and support that he missed from his mother.  He has always been a bit needy and needs reassurance and love from others. 

He really snapped this summer when he lost his job (I found out today that his last day of work was also the anniversary of his mother's death).  Interestingly, the OW is a girl he dated in high school during the same time period of his mother's death!  It's really like he is trying to go back and resolve what he wasn't able to before.

What makes things worse is that I believe OW has a codependent nature.  I know that she was in a long-term relationship with a drug addict.  H has admitted to me that he "needs" OW and he only feels happy when he's with her.  I think she enjoys him needing her...

The human mind is so interesting.  Thanks for sharing the article.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on September 24, 2010, 01:30:08 PM
My H's father walked out when he was 2. His mother had a series of co-dependent male partners during his life. She even left him at the age of 16 to move in with her boyfriend. She paid the rent on the home he lived, but she moved away. If that doesn't do something to one's view of self-worth, I don't know what wouldn't.

He spent his entire life being an overachiever. Managed a restaurant before he even graduated high school. Scholarly grades in his bachelor's program....honors in his MBA program, earned his PhD and had a college professor position while still in his 20's. He has lead several national organizations, writes textbooks, and has hundreds of awards in competitive sports. Enough is never enough....

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Butterfly on September 24, 2010, 01:34:24 PM
This article is really interesting. My husband's parents were both alcoholics. His father openly had affairs, taking the OW out in the family car while h's mother at home with kids. His father was verbally and physically abusive to his mother. His mother turned to alcohol to dull the pain.
My h and an older sister were the only kids left at home during the worst part of all this . They frequently took on role of "adult", even being designated driver at 13.
One evening, parents called for them to come and get them as they were too drunk. They had to drive into the country, in the dark, to find them.

When my h was 17, his mother shot his father in self defense with my h's gun. In h's bedroom.

H had to testify to the abuse he had witnessed in the trial. He dropped out of school and joined the Navy. Due to health issue, he was honorably discharged.
He returned and worked his way up the ladder and really did well for himself.

In may 2004, his mother died and he became severely depressed. He left one weekend and refused to answer the phone. Only gone a couple days, then came back. Expressed desire to leave but never did.

In June 2009, he wrote on fb page how he felt regrets that he didn't have same experiences his classmates did. Missed his prom, didn't go to college. No dating in high school because of family issues. Etc.

So I guess it is no coincidence that his replay is now with OW from that class. Was on high school reunion committee. Posted a pic with OW at high school reunion that could have been a prom pic. Has since removed it last week. Not sure why. And has rekindled friendships with lots of classmates.

This makes it easier to stand when you think of what they've lived thru to get to this mess.
I want the best for him regardless. He knows that.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Patience on September 24, 2010, 02:26:57 PM
Interesting bit of reading Mermaid.  Thanks for sharing.  I still don't know everything that went on in H's childhood, but I know enough to know that he is a resilient child.  One simply has to look at the messed up lives of his siblings to understand that.  It doesn't help that he really didn't have any other adults around to step in as he was growing up.  I don't know where it was, but I recently came across an article about the resilient child.  The minute I read it, I was stunned.  It described H so well.  The irony of it all is that one of the things I was always most proud of him about was his resiliency.  That he was successful despite a messed up childhood. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Trustandlove on September 24, 2010, 03:00:43 PM
This is a very interesting article, and makes a lot of sense.

When I first read it I thought - - well, this doesn't describe my H at all.  It really must go to show that there are different types of mlc-ers, and different reasons for the crisis to start. 

He grew up in a stable family, if they had a fault it was not discussing things.  I suppose he had to be "resilient" in that he knew he would have to provide for himself, as his family wasn't in a position to support him financially through university and beyond, but he didn't have to parent his parents or sister.  He was the younger one, his mother's favourite. 

But digging deeper, there are things that resonate -- particularly this bit:  It would be interesting to speculate on why these men were able to maintain an "invulnerable" posture for so long. They may have had talents which were unusual on which they learned to capitalize. They all seemed to have an unusual level of energy, a factor which may have given them an advantage, since those who are constitutionally active are more likely to have worldly success. In fact, since the histories we have described are not widely variant from what is seen in more disabled patients attending psychiatric clinics, our cohort must have either had some inborn advantage, benefited from a greater security of attachment to their primary objects, or have found compensatory attachments outside their nuclear families.

H does (or certainly did) have a huge amount of energy, and what could be considered an unusual talent, on which he has capitalised.  And somewhere along the line he didn't grow up, so he must never have resolved the attachment to mother or father thing.   His father dying was the first "Pop" of the popcorn....

H always said that he felt completely loved growing up, although the family wasn't at all well off -- as a matter of fact I know things were very hard for them -- he remembers nightly prayers including "for daddy not to lose his job".   I do know that he really fears being in material dire straights himself, and always wanted to make a lot of money for that reason.  He said outright that he really didn't want to be poor when he was old. 

It's all in there somewhere, not so clear in my H's case as perhaps in others, as he definitely didn't have to be a parent to his parents; it's only now that he has to face his mother no longer being herself. 

What I do know about H is that he fears getting old, and that he fears rejection.  But have no idea if any of these theories would apply. 

But if anything, it's me who was the 'resilient child' -- I was the one who had to assume a parental role too early, was a high achiever academically, had the alcoholic father, and so on and so on and so on. 

so could the idea of not wanting to be poor make him the "resilient child"?  His parents always told him that he was naturally lucky; a fortune teller had apparently also told him that he would always be "OK" in that regard.   

Does he think it's all luck, and not his hard work?  Possible....

But that's getting off the subject. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Buggy31 on September 25, 2010, 06:26:42 AM
This really resonated with me
I've learned from reading Real's book that abuse can be passive and active.....I believe my H suffered both....each one is damaging...in fact passive is a bit more disturbing because you can''t pinpoint it...no visible scars.....
My H mother is a severly depressed woman .....who wears a mask...in fact the whole family exists in a state of denial of mental health issues....I believe my H was her emotional H because his father was a coach and while never left them persay abandoned them passively.....this is a HUGE issue for my H...and one I'm not sure he'll ever recognize because of the guilt involved with facing it...

Anyway after reading this article a lot of things make sense to me and confirm things that I feel I have been shown about him.  Especially the workaholism and achievment....these things worked for my H for awhile and when they stopped working there was a sense of panic......

Thanks for posting M .  I learned a lot.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on September 30, 2010, 11:39:22 AM
It's interesting that so many people can see their H in this.

It doesn't apply to everyone, of course. There are many reasons for MLC and many types of trauma that the MLCer could have failed to deal with when they are growing up.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 05, 2011, 07:36:28 AM

just read finally ...... and my H has  a selfish M who he told me when expecting our 2nd child when I asked had he told  his parents -- not yet I'm sure they will say they are pleased but my M wont be too interested as she never wanted me and having me ruined her career, He and his D (died in 1994)  never got on just polite to each other and when he died his M came to stay over the Xmas (he died in the Sept before Xmas 1994) - on Christmas eve she came down the stairs (been with us 1 day - H had gone 4 hours travel to collect her) with bags packed and said to me I want to go home now and My H was to drive her as she needed towrite thank you letters to the people who had sent her flowers and sympathy cards approx - 20 people. I said write them here its Xmas eve and I brought your address book with us ? She said she wanted to use her personal stationery well I had brought that too and then she said she needed her special pen - well she got me here - forgot that one! Anyway i pointed out if H took her he would not be home for Xmas morning and Guess what she said, he said he would stay with me till I felt stronger ............ and I need him you don't for one year.
I pointed out the children needed him and she could wait till after Xmas and he could spend the time then taking her home and staying with her - we had agreed this remember and we had given her her own bedroom, bathroom and sitting room so she had privacy etc
I then went and spoke to H he agreed with me but now when I reflect back he wanted me to speak to his M but as i I was busy he had too and she was NOT happy then guess what on boxing day (after not joining in with Xmas day) the bags at the back door etc started again  - I gave in and we had a House full BUT H said No this time he'd take her tomorrow. He did and two days later rand to say he couldn't take it anymore and would I come with childrend and rescue him and I said No he needed to help her through this or come home as the children unfortunately had plans .. he was home by 10pm and he said his M was fine??

I rang her every week she always said the same I'm fine is H there when I said No I was ringing to see if I could do anything for her or just to chat she said I'm fine can you get H to call when hes home.
She never came to our home again. I had to force H to call her regularly as I felt sorry for her and so if I have guilt its not letting him decide how best to deal with her but I didn't know better...............
She has never called me once over his leaving
i went to visit and she said in the middle of her usual I'm fine talk I think H is having a mlc? you will just have to wait it out???????????????????

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 05, 2011, 07:50:04 AM
It sounds like your H has major R probs with his mum. This will be significant in his sense of self and R in the role he expected to play in the M. It doesn't make much difference to what we do, but I think it helps to realise what the roots of their MLC are.

I think the significant thing of the article is that these men have managed to compensate for so long by performing, and then wake up to find something missing. They have to find this out for themselves, but as RCR says, it's important to be a soft place to land.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 05, 2011, 12:26:18 PM

see that as the way he will get through this but I thik beside the sof place to land they need to really make amends to us or I know that in the long term I wont be able to love him as I should if he cant show me he is sorry .. he has started to do this in tiny actions but still very important to me ..
I too need a soft place to land!!

A friend sent me this .....

An identity crisis is a time in life when an individual begins to seriously quest for answers about the nature of their being and the search for an identity. 20th century developmental psychologist Erik Erikson developed this term, which is used frequently. He used it mostly to apply to the period of transition in the teenage years when kids begin to define what they will do as adults, and what their values are. Now thought it has been  agreed in physiology that an ‘identity crisis’  is most likely to occur at any time of life, especially in periods of great transition between the ages of 40-55 (averaged out)  Or 65+(Retirement sets the one off).

An identity crisis is a time of intensive analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself.  Think identity in "a subjective sense as well as an observable quality of personal sameness and continuity, paired with some belief in the sameness and continuity of some shared world image.
In Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development;
One of the main elements of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity. (Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction.) According to Erikson, our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experience and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others. In addition to ego identity, Erikson also believed that a sense of competence also motivates behaviours and actions. Each stage in Erikson’s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which he sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality, and if the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy. Which can be buried until later in life -

In each stage, Erikson believed people experience a conflict (a turning point during which the individual's struggles to attain some psychological quality. Sometimes referred to as a psychosocial crisis, this can be a time of both vulnerability and strength, as the individual works toward success or failure. ). In Erikson’s view, these conflicts are cantered on either developing a psychological quality or failing to develop that quality. During these times, the potential for personal growth is high, but so is the potential for failure.
Psychosocial Stage 1 - Trust vs. Mistrust
•   Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child’s caregivers.
•   If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. ailure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.
Psychosocial Stage 2 - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
•   The second stage - is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control. Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt.
 The emergence of an identity crisis is when people struggle between feelings of identity versus role confusion -  the balance between identity and confusion lies in making a commitment to an identity.
Identity Statuses
•   Identity achievement occurs when an individual has gone through an exploration of different identities and made a commitment to one.
•   Moratorium is the status of a person who is actively involved in exploring different identities, but has not made a commitment.
•   Foreclosure status is when a person has made a commitment without attempting identity exploration.
•   Identity diffusion occurs when there is neither an identity crisis nor commitment.
Researchers have found that those who have made a strong commitment to an identity tend to be happier and healthier than those who have not. Those with a status of identity diffusion tend to feel out of place in the world and don't pursue a sense of identity. And in mid life the crisis can then come to the forefront and mix the person up.
In today's rapidly changing world, identity crises are more common today than in Erikson's day. Exploring different aspects of yourself in the different areas of life, including your role at work, within the family, and in romantic relationships, can help strengthen your personal identity.

B xx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 05, 2011, 12:52:19 PM
Thanks for posting Erikson's stage theory. I've also found it interesting, as is the Jungian stage theory, and helps us to conceptualise what is going on with them. It makes it less personal, as it's not about us, but them. Many psychologists see development as continuous rather than by rigid stages, although earlier development impacts on later development. This means that our MLCers are not so much rediscovering their inner child, but finding that some of the narratives that they used to explain their life don't work any more.

But in the end, we still have to work out what we want, and what attitude to take.

Bewildered, I understand your hurt, your H has put your through a lot, and I understand that you don't just want him to move back home as if nothing has happened. I think we sometimes need to say this. Some people (notably men) are amazingly autistic-like when it comes to understanding other people's feelings. Many women (not all) and some men are adept at people-reading, and assume that their needs are also obvious. But their partner may just not get it.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 05, 2011, 01:00:00 PM
Male/ female brains:

Baron-Cohen's theory is that the female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy, and that the male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems. He calls it the empathising-systemising (E-S) theory.

Empathising is the drive to identify another person's emotions and thoughts, and to respond to these with an appropriate emotion. The empathiser intuitively figures out how people are feeling, and how to treat people with care and sensitivity.

Systemising is the drive to analyse and explore a system, to extract underlying rules that govern the behaviour of a system; and the drive to construct systems.

Here's another nugget:


Women have another heady advantage—faster blood flow to the brain, which offsets the cognitive effects of aging. Men lose more brain tissue with age, especially in the left frontal cortex, the part of the brain that thinks about consequences and provides self-control. You can see the tissue loss by age 45, and that may explainwhy midlife crisis is harder on men. Men have the same impulses but they lose the ability to consider long-term consequences.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 05, 2011, 02:08:18 PM
thanks but the links didn't work can you send to my personal email as sound interesting !!

the more i read the more it is upsetting for them as i really don't think they even know why they feel this way .. but when they do they need recognise they hurt they have caused as mentioned before as what i have read says that the saying of sorry etc is the final part of their learning?

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 05, 2011, 02:27:19 PM
 They need to see us as separate from them, to appreciate that we hurt too, to show consideration for us, in order to get over the egocentricity of their ML madness.

But sometimes we need to tell them what we expect of them. We need to say what we feel, assertively, but when the time is right. I have the feeling that you may get this chance with your H (based on what you've told me), but my crystal ball is a bit dusty...

Have you tried copy-pasting the links? The second link doesn't seem to work, but if you google "new sex score card" it comes up. The first link works, but I first got it by googling "Baron Cohen male female brains" (I've read some of his work). If it doesn't come up, I'll mail you the links.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 05, 2011, 03:33:44 PM
will try tomorrow off to sleep now ,,,,,,,,,,, time not right with H still NC with me bar one text now he's away for 3 weeks with work and holiday running a marathon
told D y'day he was at the airport she said where are you going and he said I gave you my itinerary so you would know .. he didn't ?? so crazy hey?
anyway peace for 3 weeks and we are now 12 hours apart in a time zone as well as in real life !!
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: StandandDeliver on February 07, 2011, 01:06:25 AM

You make an interesting point, but I guess the answer may have something to do with the fact that nurture plays a role (and no matter how hard even the best parents try, they do not treat each child in a family exactly the same), but NATURE must also come into play. Personality type must affect these things. For instance, I have cousins whose parents went through a divorce when they were teenagers. One cousin seemed to cope at the time while the other spent much of the time yelling and screaming at the parents and generally showing them exactly how p***ed, angry and confused the divorce made her feel. The cousin who reacted BIG time at the time has been a much more functional adult, whereas the one that "just accepted" everything (conflict avoidant?) has had a much harder time adjusting to adult life and continues to search for herself. So the same environment can produce very different reactions in different people.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 07, 2011, 01:48:10 AM
Nurture and nature are equally important. There are no genetic factors that can be studied independently of the environment, (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12339798 ).

Yes, personality types make a difference. My H was highly sensitive, introverted and an excellent student. It made sense that he would pour his energy into doing what worked (academic success). His extrovert sister, just 11 months younger, presumably generated more social support for herself when she needed it.

But gender  and position in the family are also important. The eldest child is typically a high achiever, and also has the greatest sense of responsibility. Moreover, the age that a child experiences a traumatic event will influence the perception and impact of it. Boys may have a different relationship to their mother than girls, are expected to behave differently, and their brains may be hard-wired to behave differently.

Then again, every child in a family will have a different experience. My H was sent to a military boarding school at the age of 9 while his younger sisters went to live in Africa with their parents and cousins.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Glimmer on February 07, 2011, 02:58:45 AM

My H is 1 of 4 children.  They never had a close relationship with their father. He was very opinionated and would lay down the law. They were all frightened of him when they were younger, even though he has now mellowed with age. He would shut them out of the kitchen while he ate his meals, and they weren't allowed to talk to him unless he said so. I am sure that he would hit them if they did anything wrong. I can remember H telling me how he would tremble with fear waiting for him to come home from work because he had broken something playing football.  I think H always felt on the outside and has said that he never really knew how to talk to his father, this is still the case today.

Hs 2 sisters and 1 brother have both developed personalities like their dad. They are very strong and vocal, and as they have grown older have stood up to their dad more.  H is the only sibling with his mum's personality.  Very sensitive (pre MLC)and always the peace maker, non confrontational. Even now he finds it difficult to open up to his parents and tell them anything.  I think this is why he left home at 16 to get away from his father who was a bit of a bully.  His two sisters both left home before the age of 20 leaving just his youngest brother, the baby of the family at home until he married at aged 26.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 07, 2011, 06:27:06 AM
Is your H also a high achiever, Glimmer?
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: BonBon on February 07, 2011, 07:30:34 AM
This is very interesting indeed.

My H was adopted as an infant, just a month or two old.  Never seemed to have any problem being adopted.  Loving adoptive parents though stern in some ways and not demonstrative.  That said, they are solid, giving, good parents.  He is the oldest.  They then adopted another child, a girl.  After that, they conceived a child who was very ill and died at age 5.  My H was around 10 at the time and once cried to me that his parents lost their only child...which I of course explained was untrue...they had him and his sister.

At age 30, his biological mother contacted him and with his parents blessing, he agreed to meet her.  She said she was 16 when she had him and did not want to give him up but was forced to.  He met his half brothers and realized he was so much better off having been adopted by his parents.  I never thought he had any issues about this until I confided in my MIL about his MLC and she mentioned that he always said "my mother didn't want me".....so yeah, there was an issue for a long time and I just never knew it.

I think my H felt grateful to his parents as if they did him a favor.  I wonder if any of this has bearings on him MLC.  He is constantly saying "I'm better than everyone" while he winds up in tears...translation:  severe inferiority....it's so sad.

In some ways he is a high acheiver and not in others.  He didn't put effort into school but started his own company at age 20.  Moved from the East to Hawaii by acquiring a rent free apartment in exchange for landasaping at 23...brave move.  Started another company while married to me which alas has not worked out and I think one of the catlysts for this crisis. 

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Glimmer on February 07, 2011, 01:25:06 PM

My H is a high achiever.  He has always been ambitious, very competitive and very determined in all aspects of his life.

For the six years before he moved out he held down 2 full time jobs and studied part time for a university degree in social studies with politics gaining a 1st class honours in May 2009. He always set himself very high standards and never wavered from the goals he set himself.  Sometimes there were just not enough hours in a day for him and he never seemed to be able to relax.

Since MLC he has focused his energy on sport. He has taken to long distance running and is training for another marathon, and pushes himself to the point of exhaustion and does not like to be beaten at anything, and is ruthless even if it is swing ball or games on the Wii with his daughters.

He always seems he has to prove a point and hates to show weakness. He is more conscious of how toned his body looks now than he ever was.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 07, 2011, 02:09:50 PM
So do you recognise your H in the article, Bonnie and Glimmer?

The problems arise from a defective sense of self that they think they will find in the marriage, that is through "mirroring, merging, and holding" which is to do with how the partner reinforces the self image of the other through sensitive attunement and affection. But as the article points out, this is an almost impossible task.

Therapy is difficult because the men don't trust any therapist enough. The article finished with an outline of some treatment difficulties:
The problem in the therapy of these men is the creation of a therapeutic alliance. Where there has been some semblance of attachment figures, the person is able to engage in a therapeutic relationship, however erratic. There are often interruptions and the therapist should expect several flights from therapy before a therapeutic alliance is formed. Flexibility is important in these cases. However, where there have been virtually no attachment figures, therapy is not possible because the person cannot trust the therapist enough to engage with him/her. In those cases, the acting out, addiction, or somatization may increase and can end tragically. These men do not tolerate too much regression or loss of control in a therapy. Therefore, psychoanalysis is not the treatment of choice for them. They require more containing and mirroring than what psychoanalysis offers, hence psychotherapy is more appropriate.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: UNHAPPYPUP on February 07, 2011, 03:57:55 PM
Hi Mermaid:

Great post!  I read that same article a while back while web researching and it fit my H to a tee.

He is the youngest of four and was a very high achiever - lettered in a few sports, Valedictorian, nice guy... but no matter what he did or how he well he "performed" he couldn't -and still can't- bridge the gap of his parents' emotional distance, which then became physical distance, which still remains today.

I think that has a lot to do with my H's struggles.  It is quite sad actually.  He knows it, too.

I read something else the other day which I thought was pretty interesting.

His gravitational pull toward solitude is almost his learned default comfort zone.  IMHO I think humans are designed to seek out the comfort of others, but being that he was alone a lot, and even emotionally alone when within his own family, it is difficult for him to reach out and form a true strong attachment.  Being alone is his environmentally learned default.  It is what he is reverting to in his time of stress. He has achieved his own business, a beautiful home and family, and still he isn't happy and he can't figure out why...hence his journey continues.

I also read that when some people are younger, people similar in profile to who we are describing (high achievers but with childhood/adolescence somehow interupted) they have a constant self-talk that tells them they are special. It is a good thing that they think they are special when they are young - it is  employed as a defense mechanism, and a safety that keeps them up and going and striving no matter what their circumstances.

In adulthood it is the same isolating confidence that they sometimes regress to, but it comes out inappropriately.  That is why they become oh so difficult to live with at times - braggers...spenders...larger than life personalities...callous, selfish...even the low energy MLCers in their own regard. Perhaps that is one reason their responses seem so foreign to us.

Food for thought.

Thank you for sharing.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Glimmer on February 08, 2011, 01:20:09 AM

Shortly after H moved out in November 2009 he told me that he had seen a counsellor at one of the colleges he visits through work.  He said it made him uncomfortable because he hated the thought of someone invading his private hidden feelings and thoughts from way back and he said it was wrong as he didn't want to discuss his marriage with anyone. Why attend then?

He visited this person twice and he did volunteer some information to me.  He was told that he had had 'an unnaturally strong/close relationship with his mother'!!! It never appeared that way to me. This counsellor also told him that he needed to make his mind up who we wanted and to act like a man and let me go if he didn't want to be with me. Also that his OW was NOT who he wanted to be with even though  he couldn't see that (and still can't I may add).  He told me that eventually 'she had given up on him' because she didn't understand him, and couldn't work him out. (I wonder why???)

Needless to say he never went back to see her again.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 11, 2011, 08:31:36 AM
He told me that eventually 'she had given up on him' because she didn't understand him, and couldn't work him out. (I wonder why???)

Do you mean the counsellor?
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Glimmer on February 11, 2011, 01:02:11 PM
Sorry Mermaid

Yes, the counsellor gave up on him because she couldn't understand him.  I don't think anyone does to be honest.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 11, 2011, 01:51:07 PM
Not even you, and certainly not himself.

These crises cannot be dealt with by a regular counsellor trying to get the MLCer to decide... they feel something is wrong, and try to do things to feel better, but they can't. It's not a cognitive process.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: trusting on February 12, 2011, 07:15:39 AM
Just catching up on this thread.  My H fits this to a T!  Overachiever, all that.   I have gone back over what I know about his childhood and the way he was raised to try to figure out what could have triggered his MLC.  The best I can figure (because his childhood was good for the most part) is emotionally (and then physically) distant parents.  They have been like that as long as I have known them. 

H's brother didn't wait until midlife to have a crisis.  He has been emotionally immature his entire adult life, not able to keep a job or a marriage together.  Funny, my H can see the emotional immaturity in his brother (commented on it very recently) but CANNOT see it in himself.  Guess that is typical MLC.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 12, 2011, 12:27:34 PM
Another article about the causes, effects and solutions for midlife. This article focussed on anhedonia and alexithymia.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: xyzcf on February 12, 2011, 01:27:56 PM
Well, this summed up my Beloved to a T. I'd love to send it to him or his boss but know that wouldn't do a speck of good. Wished it had been more positive re: outcome. Thanks for sharing.

What really bothers me is why work had to take over and be more important than love, family, living..that's all he is interested in and certainly has left behind any of the things that he used to enjoy.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on February 13, 2011, 03:07:42 AM
Work is more important because they know how to succeed professionally or academically, but don't know how to manage intimate relationships, part of themselves has not been developed.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: forthetrees on February 13, 2011, 04:49:20 AM
Thank you SO much for that link. It described my H very well- not expressing emotions, but rather having bodily symptoms. For those not inclined to read the whole article, the end describes ways out of the numb pit that they are in:

change careers, return to a former hobby, start a new hobby, do volunteer work, work with younger people, form new friendships with different types of people, have an affair or get divorced.

So, forming a friendship with a younger affair down type of person and working on your lying skills might just fill the bill- SARCASM.

The scary part of the article was that if these folks don´t address the numbness in constructive ways, it affects their longevity.

We can only hope that our spouses choose a constructive way our of the morass.

Cyber hug,
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on February 16, 2011, 07:07:05 AM
Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear.
by Laura Munson


Midlife as a Rite of Passage
Thoughts by Bill Roberts about his book
Crossing the Soul's River: A Rite of Passage for Men

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: OldPilot on February 16, 2011, 07:39:32 AM
Helping Partners in Change

This article is written and dedicated to help those working with others in change and crisis.

Firstly, it must be stressed that if you have a partner experiencing a mid life crisis, then be aware there isn't a single simple answer to make it all resolve quickly. This is a process that requires: patience, acceptance and time to accomplish.

Secondly, the more you restrain the process, bound it by expectations and limitations, the less likely it will turn out to become a positive experience - they need space and lots of time

Understanding Crisis as Change

Your partner is changing. Don't take this change personally. We all change, over time everyone needs to be able to shift with life. What makes this process difficult for partners is that mid life crisis will often force you to deal with change outside your own natural timing of change.

The process of joint change is far more complicated. Since in crisis, all checks and balances are tested in a relationship. Every aspect of the relationship: workloads, expectations, family support structures and other aspects will teeter about and shift.

So a basic part of the issue is: in reflection of your partner changing, it will force some change in you. The questions can quickly shift to become: Are you ready to change? How much are you willing to change to balance out the situation? In changing to help you partner, are you actually hurting yourself? Just because your partner is transforming doesn't mean you have to change. Yet, chances are no matter how you handle this situation; you also will discover yourself in a new light.

This is a very delicate dance!

An Insight:

Don't take your partner's change personally

Because the process forces you to change also, as partners we often take mid life crisis personally. This means often times we impose our own judgment, fears and desires upon our partner. In doing this you can actually accelerate the process, often to accelerate your partner away from you. After all, in trying to define their change in your own terms you can easily force them further away from their own change.

You can work on your own change within this process, but be sensitive to how you impose / share your own fears and judgments upon your partner. They are in a delicate state of mind. It takes very little effort to step on a mine in a minefield, likewise, it doesn't take too much effort to step on deeper issues within your partners hidden internal spirit, issues that are coming to the surface now that the midlife crisis is stirring up the spirit.

This process takes patience, awareness and kindness/sometimes tough love ? You need to not let them lie or put your emotional wellbeing at risk

What is Crisis?

If you partner is truly in the middle of Mid Life Crisis, then it has the potential to become a time when you are literally living in a falling house of cards.

Think about an earthquake for a second, when the earth changes and rocks. You don't stand in the middle of the house in an earthquake, hoping the house will protect you. You run for the door to either stand outside of the house or in a doorway to protect yourself from falling debris. After the earthquake is over you can go back in and fix the house.

A person experiencing mid life crisis is literally having an earthquake of the soul. Little stable ground exists inside them to act as support at such a time of inner shift.

Some counseling tips to help you start.

   1. Help shift the crisis into transformation. Crisis is about breaking, the more you reinforce crisis, the more likely your relationship will break from the crisis. Instead approach this as a process of transformation. Transformation isn't about breaking, it's about change. If you help your partner transform, it helps smooth out the breaking aspects of change and you will have a higher likely hood of being able to repair any relationship problems as a result. Help by leaving them alone - no threats but no disrespect either.

   2. Don't hold on too tightly to your partner. The harder you hold on to them the more likely their change will break you in reflection, or cause inner turmoil for yourself to be set off. Also the harder you hold to them, the more you reinforce the crisis and inner earthquake aspects of the process. Hold on just enough as required to keeping yourself and other family members together. Hold on enough to help balance your partner as required, but not too much to take the brunt of their lashing out.

 3. Since a partner is in part a reflection of ourselves, you will have to find peace in shifting also. Otherwise you will internalize the stress and take on the pain of mid life crisis yourself. It will be equally important for you to be extra proactive in your own health practices, and look towards movement practices such as yoga or Gong to help reestablish your own equilibrium.

Who is your partner now?

All preconceived expectations quickly disappear in this state, and a person can shift moods, emotional state, and personality very quickly and unexpectedly at this time.

The person you thought you knew, is not who they are now.

In effect you are with a younger person rediscovering and reestablishing themselves.

This means not to only treat them like the person you knew, but to also begin a new relationship with the person now growing up in your life.

In effect you are having three relationships at once! One with the person you knew, one with a person experiencing crisis and one with the new personality growing out from the crisis! This is why marriages often fail in Mid Life Crisis.

Most marriages are based upon expectations and memories of the past. Mid Life Crisis re-shifts and changes all the rules, as the person is in transition. Their desires and definitions are shifting as they change in the crisis! As a result marriages can and do break. The simplest way to help to prevent this is not to base your marriage on expectation or the past. Be forward thinking and make new rules for your marriage and help discover a new partnership in exchange.

For many people this can be the chance to revitalize their partnership / marriage!

But by definition to revitalize, it will mean to drop old expectations, truly shift and jump in to something new!

Also be very aware, you may not like the new person evolving from the crisis. While we can help mold a person slightly at this time, the more you do so, the more you actually can hurt yourself and them in the long term. Trying to mold a person at this stage just introduces new problems to be dealt with later in life.

The stories of mid life crisis, are often that the person will leave the marriage or relationship. Yet it should be noted, it's as equally valid that at times the partner not in crisis might leave due to the situation evolving into something that doesn't fit your life.

Jumping in to save your partner No Take care of yourself!

Don't jump in to save your partner until you are truly ready to understand and accept your own problems.

It's like when a plane is crashing and the oxygen masks fall down. You don't place the mask on the other person first, instead, first take care of your mask which then lets you take care of others This is a similar situation.

One common pattern is after helping a person change, is to take on too much pain. To take too many emotional bruises during the act of crisis can be very terrible. Don't take on pain to a point it becomes destructive to yourself. That is why distance can help either physical or emotional if they are at home but the two acting together are the best solution - it gives the MLC er time to work it out on his/her own!!

Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself in this process of crisis, because if you can't take care of yourself, how can you expect to help heal another person?

How can people help others in crisis unless they are ready to handle the crisis themselves, the crisis can literally derail the savior's life by the force of revelatory repercussions that will also come with the process.

Understanding Karma

In working with crisis at times the process is made more complicated, since, the issues being worked upon can go deep and be a result of multi-generational problems.

At times, it's hard for anyone acting as a healer not to use their own perspective to overlay upon another person. When we see a person going down a path that will hurt more, we want to help. Empathy is part of being a healer or being with someone you love. Ironically, the emotional pain can actually form the baseline for the healing they need.

It's important not to push your partner too hard and cause them more hurt which they wouldn't be able to recover from!

The bigger issue is that at times pain runs deeper than you might realise. This is when Karma is part of the issue. Karma not in terms of your actions, but rather Karmic results coming from choices made from people in your family tree, this is organisational Karma. When Generational Karma is involved then it's never a simply straightforward business to heal. Often times we have multi generational issues happening within a Mid Life Crisis. Mid Life Crisis can be a time when a person will begin to shed off family issues and problems from previous generations. Once you get into this territory, the healing process is more twisted and often passes its way through generations to resolve.

This means when Karma or Generational Karma is involved people hurt themselves more for larger reasons that go beyond just them. Healing in these cases can span the spirits of several generations This means focusing help or healing upon the one person won't directly work since it's missing the larger picture of balance. This is something modern healing practices often miss in their healing methods.

So be aware of Karma and multi-generational issues when helping your partner.

This also means to be careful on the timing of when you heal a person. If you heal a person before they are ready, they will often re-injure themselves or lash out at the person healing them. This is done subconsciously but on purpose to re-instate the pain driving the mid-life crisis process.
When the pain is from generations, the wounds are deep. Just making things better at the surface can cause larger issues to surface which are more difficult to resolve if approached in the wrong manner.

The Stages of Midlife Transformation

The process Midlife transformation actually occurs in stages. A person typically makes the mistake to think a completion of a stage, to be the final point to their MLC er's process of midlife transformation. So after passing through a stage, after a few months , a person may feel like they are back to the beginning of their crisis, with seemingly no resolution! This can be extremely frustrating to the point of giving upon the whole effort of transformation. So much better if they go away and heal themselves - give them the time to get well  them (away - means space)

To simplify understanding midlife crisis think about what we are as a person. Taoism teaches we are the combination of Mind / Body / Soul / Spirit.
A midlife transformation touches all four of these aspects in life. As a result a person will work thru each as a separate set of steps.

A person might begin working on their physical shape first, cycling, running the most common or their peace of mind thru meditation, yoga. Yet the actual process is a back and forth experience. So a person will get in better shape but then their mind is in a different place so then they need time to re-adjust their mental concepts. Or a person might take time to relax their mind, only to discover it's time to get in better physical shape (mediation can be hard on the body and requires a person to be in a good physical shape also) . This creates a process of going back and forth between the various aspects of life.

Within every writing and teaching exists both Truth and Falsehood.

    During the time of re-defining oneself,
    everything is open for consideration.

Final Stages

The final stage of midlife transformation is when all four aspects (Mind / Body/ Soul / Spirit ) blend together into a single harmonious being again. This is the final stage of a midlife transformation. While many names exist for this final point, I call and teach it as being acceptance.

How can a Person Determine when Midlife Crisis is Over?

The simple answer:

When the MLC er can laugh at everything about him/herself and any part of there behaviour when going through there MLC life

Or put in another way:

When feeling an overwhelming but complete acceptance of your own life, and here is the tough part: consistently from moment to moment for days after days ...
a MLC teaches a person not to focus upon this process but instead simply to let go to ones life to live it as it happens. Letting go is part of the acceptance. In a goal based society, letting go is the hardest part of the process for most people.

A Reflection of Change

If a person channels all their energy into changing the larger world it distracts a person from experiencing their own life. How a person directs and focuses their personal energy is a very key part on how a midlife transformation will unfold. Many MLC ers want to change the world they will say - instead what they really want to change is themselves

During midlife transformation, a person is refocusing the intent and purpose of their entire life. Mid life transformation is a time when a person's psyche is very malleable and new patterns are getting established for how to lead their life.

When a person channels all their energy into fixing the larger world: it leaves little space for personal development. Trying to directly fix the world can for all purposes be considered to be endless. As a result taking a path as a pure social reformer leaves little room for personal development.

Eventually a person will begin to focuses on a path of self exploration - usually spending a lot of  time alone. (withdrawal) In this time along this path a person can spend their energy and time to better understand their own nature and how it connects outward to the larger world.

Taoism doesn't discourage a person from making a difference or from changing society. Taoism teaches that such change comes from within first. To truly be oneself you need to have you rippling outward.

e.g. Others will always be drawn to completeness of self, real confidence and honest integrity. The MLC er lacks these skills duing transition he/she is trying to find their core - who they want to be.

Because of this, the process of reflection works both ways. Actively working to change the world will delay a process of personal enlightenment, while working to find self completion will help speed up the process of changing a society.

A perfect example of this is the Buddha. The Buddha spent many years trying to find solutions to human suffering. Once the Buddha turned the path inward and discovered his own personal path, it created a path others could follow, the way of Buddhism. As such then: in finding a personal path the Buddha opened a process of change with the entire world.

Looking to the Future.

Taoism teaches us not to worry about the future as: it will happen and is happening. A person still acts towards the future but without fear or concern. This means the future is part of living well and with grace now. Think to the future not in fear but in hope and grace towards building what you would like to live in tomorrow: in the now.

All cultures, even ours, contain seeds of hope, of life and of renewal. But those seeds are all within the actions of living in the now.

To be a futurist and working towards a better world for our children simply means living now in the fashion we desire of the future. It doesn't need to all happen at once, just start and in small steps work your way towards those desires.

It's so simple, that if you live as yourself, love who you are try your best etc - no one can stop you from making a difference.

This is the Taoist path and it is the way and wave of the future But it will have a thousand other names, a thousand other faces since it's a wave, that is us.

We are the wav   ;De.

What are the steps of doing this?

By Living in the now.

Together, hope and grace are the key. Hope is the vision and grace is the motion of working thru a midlife crisis. The true secret of midlife transformation, is combining the hope of your vision with the grace of movement. Just hoping for change, changes nothing, since to reach a destination it takes a start of just the smallest of actions, the smallest of pauses to make a difference. A difference is what we seek, so a person must plant a seed for a difference to occur.

A Simple Taoist Approach.

Here is a Taoist outline for working through Mid life Transformation:

Stop and when feeling hectic

    Take a moment and simply smile for yourself
    Take a deep breath occasionally and enjoy the breath.

Surprisingly, in simply doing just do that This becomes enough of an action to form a seed of a new and more complete life for yourself.

We make life and solutions to be complicated: since as a person, we have the ability to see into the future. We see everything that should be happening and so… all the future sight becomes paralysis. Because it's impossible to apply all that action we can foresee happening over years to be within a single momenta

Don't look ahead.

Don't add up all the work.

Instead take a moment within a breath and smile …

This ends up adding up and up and up…

To become the future you actually desire to live now…

Don’t worry about the details and instead just take a moment to smile  and examine the possibilities not in the future you see… but rather within a moment of pause being yourself

It's within the pause…

That each step becomes visible for your larger life to improve and follow upon.

Smile, when needing to pick a possible next step. Since to smile is to open possibilities.

Breathe when needing a break. Since to breathe is to be at one with yourself.

Alternate the two and your path will become free and clear for an entire life time of wonder to explore.

A person living through Midlife Transformation will experience new ways of seeing life, make mistakes along the way and almost always will end up in a place they never even suspected exists. Midlife Transformation often leads to experiences of “Enlightenment”. If you are fortunate enough to have had such a feeling of “Enlightenment” once, then be aware this is a new starting point of living life fully.

The process of receiving insight and growing is gained by tumbling through all the edges/boundaries of the transformation providing a person perspective. It's this perspective and the changes in your perceptions that fuel the “Enlightenment” process. So don’t hesitate to change, don’t hesitate to practice and try new activities.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 17, 2011, 01:45:08 PM

Signs of a Midlife Transformation

Finding Answers & Help
This article is an introduction and a list of signs to help identify midlife crisis for yourself or someone you love.

I professionally work with many people in Mid Life Crisis by guiding the process to become a time of transformation. The most important truth is that this event doesn’t have to become a crisis. This should be a time of life to embrace change to become something greater. Don’t let this be a fear driven event, instead follow inner inspiration to make life better.

People often look for a list of signs to validate if a midlife crisis is at hand. The experience is a combination of feelings, events and physical changes that indicate a transformation is at hand. The final proof often occurs in retrospect after a person accepts they have changed and comes to terms with new life patterns. However, it’s possible to see the signs that forewarn of crisis and over time use the symptoms to actually help guide the mid life transformation process.

The truest indicators are the signs that actually illustrate drastic lifestyle changes in a person’s life. Most typically it will be friends and co-workers who diagnose the Midlife Crisis before the person in crisis will even realize it. In fact: just having someone point out you are in a crisis can be enough stress to trip a person into actually having a crisis.

Symptoms of Mid Life Crisis

The following is a list of symptoms that illustrate how defining a mid life crisis is truly relative to the person experiencing the changes.

   1. Looking into the mirror and you no longer recognize yourself.
   2. Desiring to quit a good job.
   3. Unexplained bouts of depression when doing tasks that used to make you happy.
   4. Changing or investigating new religions, churches or new age philosophy.
   5. Change of habits. Activities which used to bring pleasure now are boring. Unab
    to complete or concentrate on tasks which used to be easy.
   6. It feels good to get hurt.
   7. Wanting to run away from everything.
   8. A desire to get into physical shape.
   9. Irritability or unexpected anger.
  10. Change in allergies.
  11. Desire for physical -Free Flowing- movement (Running, Cycling, Biking, Dance, Fast red sports cars, Sky diving, etc).
  12. Exploring new musical tastes.
  13. Sudden desire to learn how to play an instrument or liking different music
  14. Sudden interest in drawing, painting, writing books or poetry.
  15. Shifting sleep patterns (Typically to less).
  16. Thinking about death, wondering about the nature of death.
  17. Changes to the balance of vitamins you take. Or taking dietary supplements for      the purposes of extending life.
  18. Extreme changes to what you eat.
  19. Excessively buying new clothes and taking more time to look good. Or being in to teenager dress
  20. Hair changes. (Natural changes in thickness, luster, color or Assisted changes in dying hair suddenly or shaving your head bald)
  21. A desire to surround yourself with different settings.
  22. Hanging out with a different generation as their energy and ideas stimulate you.
  23. Restarting things, which you dropped 20 years earlier.
  24. Upset at where society is going. Experience a desire to change the world for the better.
  25. Feeling trapped or tied down by fiscal responsibilities.
  26. Leaving (Mentally or Physically) family or feeling trapped in current family relationships.
  27. A desire to teach others or become a healer.
  28. Desiring a simple life.
  29. Excessively looking back to one’s childhood.
  30. Playing like a child - just to play!
  31. Keep re-asking yourself: “Where am I going with my life?”
  32. Getting fixated on new “wonder” solutions to problems.
  33. Recently experiencing something extremely stressful.

Stress can trigger a Midlife transformation. Some examples include: Changing Jobs, Divorce, Death of someone close, Chemical/Toxic exposure upon the body or experiencing a major illness. Or worrying shock you might
  34. Doing things that get you into trouble when it surprises everyone as being out of character.
  35. Someone unexpectedly exclaims: “You are going through a midlife crisis!”

A Midlife crisis is actually the attempt to restart life to better fit a person’s heart. Due to existing personal commitments, it often isn’t easy to self resolve the inner conflict a person’s feels. As a result many times a person in mid life crisis will act confused or lost while trying to sort out the contradictions they feel and now have in their life. Also many times a person is trying to improve their life while not really understanding why they are acting in the manner they are. This mixture of conscious to unconscious actions often makes a person in midlife crisis unpredictable. This is also leads to the most dangerous mid life crisis symptom of denial. To confront a person in the initial stages of midlife crisis will often invoke and reinforce strong statements of denial due to the disconnect of conscious vs unconscious actions.

Most often a Midlife Crisis is defined well into the process of change. This is because it becomes most visible after a drastic shift’s in one’s nature. However, the process often has started long before the visible symptoms appear. It’s possible to aid a person to discover how to define life to fit better to what makes them content and happy. Care does need to be taken as often times a person in midlife crisis will feel trapped and in a corner without options.

Handling the Symptoms of Mid Life Crisis

Experiencing a midlife crisis is not about curing a set of symptoms. In other words this isn’t something you go to a doctor for a treatment to cure, rather this represents a time of life when a person is looking for an education to expand their life. It’s about shifting life to better fit where the person’s spirit yearns to be. A midlife crisis is a very natural biological and psychological process of a person maturing. While some of the symptoms might indicate a process opposite of maturing: at times a person needs to step backwards in order to move forward. This can also mean learning to play again since play is indeed a form of education.

Everyone evolves within their life as they get older. The truest resolution to crisis is learning to embrace the facts of one’s change and investigate methods of transformation. To do nothing is to let crisis decide how you change, Crisis still invokes change, but it’s an external change that a person no longer can control and often breaks those around us in the bargain.

Another problem is that modern western lifestyles are based upon chasing dollars and goals rather than supporting personal truth. People are so focused looking forward to their incomes and the next pay check that they forget or feel they cannot afford to embrace living to their true internal personal needs in the now. Sadly this way of looking at the problem in terms of finance only, also means just doing nothing and that only promotes and expands the crisis into happening anyway!

    Understand: It is far cheaper to address and educate oneself in this process than it is to pay the longer term consequences of letting it become a full fledged crisis.

Midlife Crisis Symptoms

Find Help Changing Direction

One of tht most difficult symptoms to resolve is the fact that people experiencing midlife crisis often feel separated, misunderstood and alone.

A bigger truth when in midlife crisis is that you don’t have to be alone. Rather you can find solace with those that don’t limit the transformation by outside judgments. Many times people in midlife crisis seek solitude to more easily avoid judgment from others.

I know from personal experience you can find answers that gracefully work. This isn’t easy and this is always an educational process. Finding guidance can make this process more graceful by showing ways to work around the common pitfalls. Don’t look for help that tries to define you, rather look for help that helps you avoid common mistakes! The trouble is the pressing feelings of being alone and the need to make this process one’s own path often make it all the more difficult to find outside help.

Partners of Mid Life Crisis

We must also consider the partners of those experiencing mid life crisis. Some of the signs that Mid Life Crisis partners often exhibit are:

    * Becoming more judgmental
    * Ignoring there is a problem at all and thinking it will all go away with only patience
    * And usually 1/4th of the symptoms that the person in midlife crisis is experiencing

As stated earlier: becoming judgmental or patiently waiting for things to resolve actually only reinforce the problems of crisis..

Understand that the process of change is often as hard for the partner as it is for the person experiencing crisis. Partners often find themselves confused and even worse getting left behind as the person in crisis sometimes goes running off to search for freedom that eludes their capacity to define. This often forces partners to become more judgmental as they look for answers and this further drives a wedge between the partners. Know that the worse thing a person can do is to act in a judgmental manner that will actually aggravate a person in mid life transformation into running away straight into facing a full blown midlife crisis.

The most ironic fact is since partners are so close, is that they reflect each other. When one person is in midlife crisis, that midlife crisis is often psychologically contagious to partners. As a result, partners are often a few steps earlier in the process and this can allow the partner to approach their own mid life process more openly in terms of transformation. Since usually they are looking for answers to help their partner, partners often use those very same answers to help themselves unconsciously. Three times out of four it’s the partner who I first assist as they are usually the first person to contact me for help. Being earlier in their own process it is easier to help shift the process in transformation as they have made less mistakes to recover from and are all too eager to avoid the problems they see from the other person in crisis.

Finding Help to Resolve Mid Life Crisis

If this page resonants with you, then it means: it’s time to change routines and shift how you move in the world. The very nature of the signs you are witnessing are also a reflection of a process of change. Denying change is what brings about the crisis you are in or feel is looming ahead of you. Holding on to old answers gives life no space to grow into something new, the very thing a midlife transformation is all about. To preserve the aspects of what you love most often means to release and switch around quite a bit in your life to open space for the path of discovering positive transformation.

Change isn’t easy, and the prospects of change often paralyzes the strongest person. Ironically when this is the case then the solution is often to take a simple retreat to pause and to reflect on one’s life. Sometimes to take pause in awareness itself is the change people need! Often times pausing means to stop the actions which were fostering the crisis. As a result, Pause isn’t to do nothing, pause is an active process of examining potentials and considering which options would fit best in life! People often need to be taught how to pause and this is why those in midlife crisis often seek to learn meditation as a technique of pause to help them find peace in their situation.

This is a time of choice, the choice of crisis or transformation. To do nothing is to pick Crisis, To do nothing is to continue living life to the past choices that led everything to this crisis you face. In these articles I give a person some basic information to work with, enough so you have a chance to encourage the process towards transformation. If you have questions then it is a simple matter to contact me to ask a question.

The solution is often getting a new perspective to encourage actions that channel the crisis energy into constructive processes. Sometimes just asking a question is enough of an action to resolve a seemingly impossible crisis into a process of growth that truly transforms everything.

EDIT: I liked this so much I found the original URL. --SS
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on February 25, 2011, 12:37:30 PM
For those that are interested in Michelle Weiner Davis's divorce busting 180 degree list, here it is:

1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or
2. No frequent phone calls.
3. Do not point out good points in marriage.
4. Do not follow her around the house.
5. Do not encourage talk about the future.
6. Do not ask for help from family members.
7. Do not ask for reassurances.
8. Do not buy gifts.
9. Do not schedule dates together.
10. Do not spy on spouse.
11. Do not say "I Love You".
12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.
13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.
14. Don't sit around waiting on your spouse - get busy, do things, go to church, go out with friends, etc.
15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.
16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING.
17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.
18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold - just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing
19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show her someone she would want to be around.
20. All questions about marriage should be put on
hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).
21. Never lose your cool.
22. Don't be overly enthusiiastic.
23. Do not argue about how she feels (it only makes their feelings stronger).
24. Be patient
25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.
26. Learn to back off, shut up and walk away when you want to speak out.
27. Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil).
28. Be strong and confident and learn to speak softly.
29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest
CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.
31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.
32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because she is hurting and scared.
33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.
34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

[ November 11, 2004, 10:38 PM: Message edited by: T00MuchCoffeeMan ]

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 27, 2011, 03:34:15 PM
Bill Roberts was a successful minister and theology professor, husband, father of three sons, and respected member of the community. Then he "threw it all away." He gave up his career and his marriage (for 3 years he left his family) underwent great strain, because something was missing.

His book Crossing the Soul's River: A Rite of Passage for Men tells his story, as the context for laying out the insights, the wisdom, he gained by going through this process, here are some of his own thoughts about the book and the process he went through.
Crossing the Soul's River book cover

You have written this book about the psychological issues men face at midlife. Why did you write it?

Part of the reason is very personal. After many years of talking with other men about their midlife transitions, I went through my own. You can tell from my resume that I made major changes in my work – after twenty five years as a clergyman, I became unemployed; when I made my way back into the workforce, I was with KPMG Peat Marwick (one of the then Big Eight Accounting Firms). That was a very big change – from a respected minister of a local church to a rookie consultant with a gigantic international accounting firm.

But what the resume doesn't show is that I went through a similarly major – and far more traumatic – change in my personal life. For a period of several years I was separated from my wife and family, and moved something like eleven times in a two-year period as I struggled to know what was going on inside of me.

But even that is not the full story. What really happened when I left my job and I left my family, was that I left my identity. Where I was once a respected person, I was, quite suddenly, an outcast. Most of my friends thought I had gone crazy and, almost without exception, their counsel to me was just to go back to my life.

There is one guy, however, who didn’t say that. I remember seeing him on the street one day. He asked me how I was doing. I began to tell my story for the umpteenth time, and he, instead of running away from me, said, "Stay with your journey, Bill. You'll figure out what it is really about. Then you owe it to the rest of us to tell us what you learned."

Some two years after that conversation – and after I had destabilized my life..

happily still married to my first wife and reconnected with my children

successfully launched on a new career as a consultant.

I got a call from a man who wanted me to write some essays on the midlife passage. I agreed to do it and began to read the literature in the field. That's when I discovered that the craziness I had gone through had a purpose – and a certain predictable pattern.

That's when I decided to write the book. I now believe that if men can really deal with the psychological issues of midlife, they are likely to live the second half of life in a healthier way.

You refer to this midlife passage as one of the two great transitions in a man’s life?

The first is the passage from boyhood to manhood during adolescence. The second is the passage from the first half of life to the second in midlife.

We know that the first passage is important – a boy can’t stay a boy forever. But why is the second so important?

One of the thinkers who has helped me understand masculine psychology is Jung – Carl Gustave Jung, a Swiss theologian, philosopher, psychologist who died in 1961. Jung makes this statement about the midlife passage.

We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at the evening have become a lie.

That insight of Jung’s is ignored by most men – so most men try to live both halves of their lives according to the program of the morning, which is inappropriate as your strength begins to wane. When men can’t keep up with their misplaced notions of what they should be doing with their lives, they become depressed – or worse yet, to quote Thoreau, men live lives of quiet desperation.

Can you describe these programs – the one for the first half and the one for the second?

From the time we are little boys, we males are programmed – both socially conditioned and psychologically hard-wired – to prove ourselves, to make a name for ourselves. Consequently, we experience life in a superficial way, almost inevitably focusing on the surface issues of our lives.

When someone asks us who we are, we instinctively respond at the level that identifies our roles – I am a doctor; I am a Vice President of Human Resources at such and such bank; I work 80 hours a week at my law firm, and, by god, I am going to be a partner by the age of whatever.

After you have answered in that manner for a while – several years or a couple of decades – you begin to think of your self (and know yourself) only in those superficial terms – your public identities.

The image I use in the book is that of a lobster. A lobster is known by the somewhat distinctive shape of its shell. But the lobster is not the shell. There is a living being inside that shell. That’s the lobster. The fact is that, in order to live, a lobster must lose its shell – again and again. Too often we men come to think of ourselves only in terms of our shells.

At midlife, for many of us, we become aware that there is more to life – my life, my only life, the one which is about half over – than just the shell. When we make the first attempt to know that living creature inside the shell then we begin what I call the midlife passage, what society calls "the midlife crisis."

Does everyone have a midlife crisis?


Who does and who doesn’t?

I wouldn’t imagine to be able to predict this. Life is too much of a mystery for that type of certainty. But I do believe that there are two factors that contribute to the midlife crisis – they are success and sensitivity.

    * If you are successful – even reasonably successful – you will be known by your successes. You will be known by your shell. (The term I use in the book is Persona, which is the old word for Mask.)

    * If you are sensitive and especially if you are resolved to be both reflective and creative in the living of your life, you will most likely experience the restrictions of the Persona and will struggle to break out of those restrictions. When there is a Breakdown of the Persona, then you head out into the river and start your midlife journey.

If you are not successful, you can do all the changing you want and no one will notice.

If you are not sensitive – or, to say it another way, if you have been so de-sensitized by being a male, which means by being taught from the time you are a little boy to ignore your pain – then you won’t have a midlife crisis.

And the tragedy of that is that you won’t have the opportunity to CROSS THE SOUL’S RIVER and discover what is on the other side, what is the program for the second half of life.

In your book you talk about four tasks – you call them Soul-Tasks – of men at midlife. One of those tasks is the Encounter with the Soul Mate? Are you actually encouraging men to have affairs or to get divorced to resolve their midlife crises?

No, I am not. In fact the opposite is true. I am saddened that there are so many divorces. And I believe that most affairs are unwise and unhelpful. Men too often have affairs, but don’t learn anything about themselves in them.

But isn’t the Encounter with the Soul Mate just a fancy term for falling in love with your ideal woman?

Once again, the answer is no. So often in the quest to know our Soul Mate, which is really the Mate (the Feminine) that is located interiorally in our Souls, we play out the drama outside of ourselves. We become animated by the sight of some exterior flesh and blood woman, fall for her, lose our wits, have an affair – often do great damage – to her, to our families, to her family (if she has one). But so often we learn almost nothing from the experience. It turns out that we just had an affair. We didn’t have a meaningful Encounter with our Soul Mate.

Maybe we need to get back to basics. How do you define "Soul Mate?" Where does this concept come from?

It comes from the thinking of Carl Gustave Jung. He believed that we are made, not simply male or female, but male and female. He posited that men had an anima (the Latin word for soul, feminine form); women had an animus (Latin word for soul, masculine form).

Rather than using Jung’s technical term – anima or animus – I have chosen to use the phrase Soul Mate. By that I mean that all persons have an idealized notion of the opposite sex in ourselves. To a great extent this notion is hidden from us and, since we frequently lack the gift of introspection, we don’t know it’s there. Then we are surprised and confused when it gets activated.

When does it get activated?

Classically the Soul Mate is most active during the two great transitional stages – adolescence and midlife.

The Soul Mate becomes activated in different ways for men and women. For men, the anima comes alive when we see an actual woman who in some ways resembles that unconscious notion of the feminine that we have within ourselves. It’s the act of seeing her that causes us to become animated. So many moments in movies or songs dramatize this for us. "Some enchanted evening….you may see a stranger…..you may see a stranger across a crowded room." The advice, "Then fly to her side, make her your own….." That’s the anima at work. The man is animated by the sight of the woman.

For women it is different. The animus becomes activated not so much by seeing a man who resembles that interior notion of masculinity, but by entering into relationship with the man….or more narrowly, by hearing. There are certain resonances, certain cadences, that connect for the woman. You see this in adolescent girls swooning over singers – Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles – most of those crazed people in their audiences were young girls.

You see this same thing, by the way, in the so-called chick flicks, where feminine modes of falling in love are dramatized. Think of the very popular Sleepless in Seattle. Meg Ryan is in Baltimore, Maryland, listening to the radio. She hears a man – Tom Hanks – talking in Seattle. She listens more carefully, she is moved, she begins to cry. A few nights later she hears him again. Now she is really moved. She goes to the office the next day, tells her best friend – Rosie O’Donnell – that she is flying to Seattle to see this guy. And Rosie, instead of talking her out of it, encourages her. You cannot imagine a man flying all the way across the country to see a woman he only heard talking on the radio. The anima is animated by seeing. The animus, by hearing.

You said that the anima – or to use your term, the Soul Mate – is active during adolescence and midlife. Why at those times?

This is a fairly complicated idea – but very important to understanding the Encounter with the Soul Mate. Jung claimed that the anima – this interior notion of femininity – actually developed over the course of a life time. She took four different forms, which he has associated with four different women:

          o Eve – who is the Mother of all things
          o Helen – Helen of Troy, the Beauty, the face that launched a thousand ships
          o Mary – the Spiritual Companion
          o Sophia – Feminine Wisdom

When we are little boys our notion of the feminine is shaped by Eve, the Mother. Then when we become adolescents, we begin to be drawn, powerfully drawn, to a much more sexy notion of the feminine – that’s the Beauty, Helen. During adolescence as we begin to look at pin up girls and begin to imagine ourselves with a beautiful woman, we live with a terrible tension. The external form of the tension is that our mother is going to come walking into our rooms when we are looking at Playboy. The internal form of the tension is that the anima is transforming herself – our notion of the feminine is moving from the safe figure of Eve to the more risque and exciting figure of Helen.

Very often we move out of adolescence with this internal tension still in process. Very often we marry and bring that tension into the relationship with our wives. She is, of course, sexy and beautiful, which is to say she is the external reflection of our Helen. But she also carries some of our infantile notions of femininity – Eve, the Mother – and this is especially true if we actually have children and she begins functioning primarily as the Mother in the family and not the Beauty in the bed.

What happens in early adulthood in its classic form, is that the two of you – husband and wife, mother and father – raise your children and start your careers. You are so busy that you have little time left over for psychological development.

But in midlife, that changes. And one of the first signs that it is changing is that the anima becomes activated deep in the male psyche. And when she does, she often puts new energy into the old adolescent conflict – the one between Eve (Mother) and Helen (Beauty). Men start flailing about to get some resolution to this conflict, and, too often they resolve it by projecting the undesired feminine onto their wives – she is experienced as a controlling mother – and the desired feminine onto the so-called "other woman "– she is bliss itself.

I’ll interrupt simply to say….That’s the affair. Right?

Exactly. When the unconscious is so forceful but so little understood, then you will act out the drama, which should be an interior drama, in the exterior world. And, too often, that is when terrible damage gets done to relationships.

I have the sense you are not finished with this. Please go on.

That is almost all that I want to say to men. PLEASE GO ON. Please don’t stay stuck at this stage of the anima’s development – the transition from Eve to Helen. There are other stages. There is the stage when women can be friends – to Jung the figure of Mary captures this possibility for male-female friendships.

And most importantly, there is the final stage, where we men begin to know Sophia. The word is the old Greek word for Wisdom – Feminine Wisdom. And the real goal of the Encouter with the Soul Mate is not simply having an affair or getting a new wife (almost always a younger wife), the goal is to become a Philosopher……literally, a lover of Wisdom, Feminine Wisdom.

So much of the mythopoetic movement uses material from other cultures – frequently Native American, exotic places like Asia, or exotic times like the middle ages. Frankly, we don’t know anyone else who uses the scriptures. Why did you choose to do that?

At the simplest level, it is because I know those stories. I was a minister for twenty-five years.
Every week, I studied scripture to prepare my sermons.

More than that – week after week I met with groups to read and reflect on the oldest stories of our faith. One of those groups was founded by a group of ten men in 1976. We got together on a little experiment – a six week commitment to share lunch and read stories of the lives of men in the Hebrew scriptures. That group still meets every week. Those men taught me much about the richness of the biblical tradition.

Any other reasons for using the scriptures?

Yes. In Western culture – even if we never went into a church or a synagogue – we know the biblical figures. But so often we know them only at a very superficial level. We know the sweet stories, the dramatic successes, which are frequently the successes of adolescence or young adulthood. We don’t know the stories which talk about life’s trials. We don’t know about the failures and the frustrations, many of which come in the second half of life.

For example……

A perfect example is the story of David, the greatest King of Israel.

Almost everyone is familiar with the story of David and Goliath. It’s such an important paradigm that we constantly assume everyone knows it. It’s the story of a young man – really a boy – slaying a giant by the use of his wits – selecting just five smooth stones and putting them in his sling shot and killing this gigantic threat. It’s a story of victory. It’s pleasant. It’s sweet. And it’s not complicated. And it teaches us almost nothing about what life is really like.

But if we had read the rest of David’s story, we would come to other moments in his life, which aren’t so sweet, but do teach us something about what life is really like.

A few of us know about the great midlife story – David and Bathsheba – when David spies this gorgeous woman bathing on her roof, takes her, gets her pregnant, and then has to arrange for the death of her husband. The story of David and Bathsheba is much more complicated than the story of David and Goliath.

But even that story is nothing compared to the real story of David at midlife, a story almost none us know. That is the story of David and Abishag. And it dramatizes how poorly David managed his midlife passage.

Tell us the story of David and Abishag.

When David is old and his power is waning – his political power, his personal power, and, in an only slightly veiled way we are told, his sexual power. In fact, it has waned. As the bible says, "He is cold. He cannot get warm." Since I am afraid you will think I am making this up, let me simply quote the scriptures.


King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm. "Therefore," his servants said to him, "Let a young maiden be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait upon the king, and be his nurse; let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may be warm." So they sought for a beautiful maiden throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The maiden was very beautiful; and she became the king's nurse and ministered to him; but the king knew her not.

I Kings 1: 1-4

Now that is not a pretty story. But it is part of the story of life, especially the second half of life.

When we are young and virile and can slay Goliath, we also perform, as they say, "in boardroom and bedroom." But if we are still trying to act like adolescents when we are grown men, we in for immense frustration.

David teaches us that.

In your book you argue that men need a Rite of Passage to help them with their midlife passage. Why is this important?

To say it simply, the potential for major transformation is so great that anything less than a Rite of Passage can’t realize that potential.

That’s a mouthful. Maybe you need to break it down. First, what is the midlife passage?

The midlife passage, when it is understood in its fullness, is a change in consciousness which reorients you to the tasks that are appropriate for the second half of life.

    * In the first half we men focus on our identities, on being successful, on making a name for ourselves. And, inevitably, we end up knowing ourselves only in superficial ways.

    * In the second half, if we have made a successful transition, we balance that external orientation with a greater consciousness of our selves, our deepest and truest selves.

That shift is so great that we need help to accomplish it. And the best type of help is a Rite of Passage.

What is a Rite of Passage?

All primitive cultures, which is to say, all cultures that are still in touch with deep human wisdom, have Rites of Passage to assist in moving from one stage of life to another – birth, marriage, death – plus the passage from childhood to adulthood.

Some cultures also have a Rite of Passage, generally just for men, to assist them to become elders – the wise, accomplished leaders of the tribe.

What does a Rite of Passage accomplish?

The classic purpose is "to impart entry level knowledge of the techniques and mysteries" of the next stage of life.

How does it do that?

There is a set structure. Every Rite of Passage has three moments – they begin with a Rite of Separation; then there is the long transitional time when important information and wisdom are imparted; they conclude with a dramatic Rite of Incorporation.

In addition to the structure, the content is punctuated with rituals. You can’t just talk your way through these transitions. You must do something. This is particularly important for men. Women have something that helps them with their major transitions – they have first menstruation to mark the passage to womanhood and they have menopause to mark the passage to the second half of adulthood. Women learn naturally about the seasons of life.

Men don’t have that advantage. There has to be some way for men to experience the changes of life, to embody the changes of life.

So in a Rite of Passage men do things. They act out the changes of life through these mystery rites that you have created. Can you give an example?

Probably the best example is the Rite of Separation.

The rite is adapted from a Native American tribe in the Pacific Northwest (the Kwaikutl). These people are spiritually gifted with elaborate myths and rituals. They had developed a Rite of Passage for those men who were selected to make the passage to become elders – the wise old men of the tribe. These men were different from ordinary men. Therefore, they were taught to sing different songs, to learn different myths, to experience deeper notions of themselves. The Kwaikutl began this transition with a very dramatic ritual.

The ritual is a midlife variation of the Masking Ritual they used as part of their Initiation to Adulthood. During the adolescent rite the Initiates were guided in creating masks for themselves, images of themselves which used the animals and birds and fish and other life from the natural world. When the Initiates had carved their masks, they put them on and began to talk through them, to relate to their society through them.

For men in passage to the eldership, the Kawaikutl took this act of making masks, which was familiar to all of the men, and made it appropriate to midlife. Now the men carved not simple masks, but Transformation Masks, which are masks within masks.

In our ritual we have modern men making Transformation Masks. After a period of preparation and reflection, we are transported back to an earlier time in life (like a second grade classroom with its little chairs and little tables). On those tables we set out all types of material for making masks.

    * We start creating our most exterior masks, the ones we put on every day to go to work and to live our lives as successful men. Generally, these masks have symbols to connect them to our work and our families – stethoscopes for doctors, paint brushes for artists, pencils for architects, drawings of children and spouses.

    * Then we create a mask which is hidden inside the superficial mask. These more interior masks are rarely as simple as the first; they are sometimes dark, often childlike or clownlike, occasionally, scary.

    * Then, for those who choose to go this far, we go all the way to the familiar contours of our own faces and create a statement of who we are and who we are going to be.

    * Once we have created our Transformation Masks, we put them on, one hidden inside the other, and we speak to the group from several different levels and invite the personal metamorphosis that the masks portray.

It is a very powerful experience. If gives you a dramatic sense that you are en passage. It empowers you to break out of the masks that have limited you. It invites you to become your fullest self.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: trusting on February 27, 2011, 03:47:38 PM
Very interesting, Bewildered.  Thanks for posting.  I definitely see my husband as the "sensitive" type, so I guess the type more likely to have an MLC.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 28, 2011, 02:06:14 AM
another one

Is Mid life Crisis a valid condition or an excuse to be selfish and make up for poor choices along the way?

Is it a human condition that we will all experience in varying degrees as we pass through their middle ages, or is it reserved for those who share certain personality traits?

Is it possible that it is related to female menopause or male Andropause?

Do hormones have anything to do with the 'stress and distress of those in the eye of this storm?

Are these people as out of control as they sometimes seem to be?


I am not a doctor and do not know the answer to these questions but I do know as a Life Coach and a woman in her middle years, that there seems to be a great many people in this age category who are seeking and searching for something that will fill a part of them that is missing.

They have a great desire for something more (happiness/vitality/success/validation/etc)in their life, but what that MORE is they don't know. It is a time of personal reflection and for some breaking out of a mold that has held them for many years.

Perhaps you know someone who has quit their executive position or walked out on their 30 year marriage. It doesn't always make sense, this behaviour, but there is common theme. CHANGE! NEW! EXCITING!

It seems that many are seeking their destiny, and the meaning of life. They want to know what their purpose is and where they fit into the Grand Scheme. They want to know what this thing called LIFE is all about, and they are seeking their soul, their soul mates and questioning long held beliefs.

Spirituality is a common theme, and many search for their connection to something larger than the known world and for answers they go to the Unknown world

A metamorphosis is taking place and I see it as our third great struggle of life.

The first is being born, the second is adolescence and now this time I will coin, The Emergence of Self.

The emergence because it is our true self we are seeking. Not the daughter, son, mother, father, doctor, cook or any other label we have put on ourselves, but OUR true SELF , our true soul, the nature of who we really are. It seems this is a time where anything can happen and does.

Sometimes those who are most surprised by what happens next are the seekers themselves.

As adolescents we go through the change together, it is expected, so resources are in place to help us deal with it. Our families and teachers are there for us, supporting the change. Now in our mid 40's- 50's, it seems we face this change alone. No longer are our buddies, families or teachers there to support us. In fact, it may be that those closest to you don't understand why you are contemplating the things you are. They may argue that you are making a big mistake and you don't know what you are doing. Even if this is true, and in many cases it is, there doesn't seem to be anything to do about it except ride it out.

Have you ever wondered at the timing of all this? Why is it so important to KNOW right now? Why upset the apple cart at this stage of your life?

Perhaps it is so that our time here is not wasted in the larger sense. Many of us as children had a dream or a goal. I think that this first memory may be the truth of who we really are and why we are here.

How many of us have stayed true to who we were? I know that there have been many times in my life that duty as a daughter, a mother, and even a wife have taken precedence over who I wanted to be. So maybe this frustration, this time of wanting is really the only way to help us break the chains of 'good behaviour' and allows us the time to search for our lost selves or if you believe in the metaphysical then perhaps we are waking up to what brought us here in the first place, our contract or mission.
Have you felt that there is a master plan but you haven't been let in on the details?

The there is a great secret, albeit unknown to you, and almost like a cosmic joke, it is at your expense.

Why does this transformation take place? Is there a way of escaping it?

I think not. It seems to me a natural progression to a higher state of being if we are lucky. It seems we all go through the process, albeit at slightly different ages and degrees of angst.
I believe that this is one "Crisis" that is supposed to happen and rather than describe it as a crisis we could rename it as a transformation.

We have all have known a "Gerald", a 50 something guy who finally buys his corvette, or his Harley, leaves his wife or leaves his job- any or all of these are fairly common and classic crisis behaviour. As I said earlier, Women are not immune either. We can all envision the Cougar, a woman in her mid to late 40's who used to be Lizzie the Homemaker and is now on the prowl for a 30 something guy to make up for her boring life.

On the outside, this behaviour seems selfish and I suppose in some ways it is. But remember, this Emergence is about self and change and change never comes easily. There is always a struggle and in this instance, doing what is opposite in nature of what one has always been done may be one of the catalysts to the next step. These folks are in the midst of a chemical and physical transformation.

Alchemy is taking place. When all is said and done, they will be different.

They are reaching out for their world to make sense and hopefully when all is said and done, they will have found peace. Peace within themselves and peace with their outside world.

We know that these folks want more, but they don't know what more is - the sexy car, younger mate is not the whole answer because change on the outside does not equate with change on the inside.

I feel that this transformation may actually be harder on the MLC er than adolescence. When we are young, we have out parents to support us. We walk en mass with our friends to school and we are all going through stuff together.

But in mid life, ................................
well,  we do this one by ourselves and many times, we wreak havoc on the lives of those we love the most. This change, this metamorphosis, cannot likely be stopped, anymore that you can stop breathing, but for some, it comes with great cost.

Our bodies change- we don't - women - child bear anymore. We - men - have sexual issues , impotance etc -  We all get wrinkles and grey hairs sprouting from places they aren't supposed too. Our skin on our hands begin to thin and become translucent, showing the blue of our veins. We fear we are losing our sexuality, our vitality and our ability to be 'seen' as one of the players. We fear this invisibility and we fight to be more than we are, because we want to stay in the game. We also know that we are more than we are showing.

We wake to an unknown dream or assignment and strive to fulfill our life's mission, but the guide book is missing. The map is gone and our hands flail in the wind seeking something solid to grip onto.

It's a turbulent time until one day, you wake up and your life begins to make sense again. You start to realize what is important. Who you are and what you are passionate about. You know what you love and whom you love and you have a sense of the greater picture. You know why you are here. You understand your ties to the past and what you bring to the future.

The Emergence of Self will happen whether you plan for it or not. At some point in your life mid life, an amazing discovery of self will take place, and I hope that you complete your transformation all the way until you feel at peace within your heart and the world around you.

For those of you who are wondering what signs to look for or if you are currently experiencing your transformation, below you can find a list of common features:

Typical features of mid-life include: these are extremes when in crisis ....

Experiencing 'healthy' dissatisfaction........yearning for more.....is this it??

What worked before no longer rocks your world.

The changing body becomes your guide.

You get used to uncertainty

You want to give back - change the world

You want to become much more than you thought you were.

Your values change significantly - you don't like the person you are (but you don't know this at first)

You are getting a hefty whiff of you own mortality.

You are anyones view not your own - MLC gives you an emergence of wisdom

MLC er s need to :

o Find Passion

o Remove FEAR from the Change Process

o Learn how to acknowledge and accept others

o Learn to Communicate at an emotional - heart level

o Reconnect with your SELF

o Leave Guilt Behind

o Trusti your instincts

o Create a vision that is deliverable and learn to love unconditionally
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: StandandDeliver on February 28, 2011, 04:37:59 AM
I have a question about this point in Still's post about how to deal with MLC.

6. Do not ask for help from family members.

I have been receiving a lot of help from my H's family in terms of helping me move, GAL of my own, job hunting and even having me and the kids to stay. I do not ask them to intervene on my behalf with H in any way, although I have discussed MLC with MIL and she agrees that H is in a crisis. Is this sort of help ok? Tbh, I cannot ask for this kind of support from my own family for various reasons and my IL's love their grandchildren and want to make things as smooth for them as is possible. I know they disapprove of H's R with OW, although as his parents they feel an obligation to accept him and his choices that I obviously do not have. Is this kind of help problematic? I try to keep my discussions about the separation and about H and his partner to an absolute minimum as I know that focusing on that with them could possibly put them in a sitch where they need to "choose sides" and, no matter what, H is their son. What do you think?
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on March 07, 2011, 03:26:50 PM

Welcome to the ongoing discussion about living your best life after 40, a view on & about the challenges and joys of midlife.

My question isn't meant to create a schism between men and women. Nor is it a question about how we look. It's about how we feel.

Do women embrace aging better than men? Are we happier with our lives and are we better equipped to handle the myriad of changes than they are? Are we better at digging deeper to our very core to pull out our inner resources for what we truly need as we get older?

According to Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a noted Yale professor of psychology and author who wrote an article for Psychology Today recently, the answer could be "yes." Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema believes women's lives get better with age, not worse. Rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide in women go down, not up, as we grow older, and she contributes that to the natural strengths women possess -- coping skills, empathy, ability to listen & hear , patience -- which help us to tackle new problems and situations that arise as we age, and also give us the courage to pursue new paths.

In the article, Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema states, "Women's full complement of strengths give them the mindset to celebrate older age as a time of joy, love, and fulfillment for all they have worked for and grown to be over their lifetimes."

Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema conducted a study recently and it seems that women over 40 are often better equipped to handle life's increasingly complicated challenges, than men:

Among the older adults, 55+ who were facing the adversities that come with aging, the men showed less inclination to use these important coping skills compared to the women. In other words, older women were more likely than older men to tap their mental, emotional, and relational strengths to deal with adversity, which in turn left them less vulnerable to depression and anxiety in the face of difficulty.

Contrary to what many articles and experts want us to believe, women over 45 tend to find their confidence and increased levels of satisfaction from within... not from without. In fact, it seems that even in the face of the media's obsession with youth and beauty, older women place a greater emphasis and pride on their own maturity, experience and wisdom. But, make no mistake: women over 45 think they're looking pretty good, too: according to Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema's study, women's body images actually become more positive as they move from their 20s, 30s and 40s, into midlife.

Finding your own inner strength, though, sometimes takes a village and therein lies the Number One reason why women probably age better and more successfully than men:

Women have a remarkable ability to connect, engage, share and create and maintain solid networks and relationships throughout our lives. This is our greatest strength.

We thrive on the building and nourishing of friendships, and look upon them as an integral part of our ongoing support system, especially when going through tough times (i.e., dealing with aging parents, illness, death, loss of job). And, as so many studies and anecdotal evidence have shown, women, once they reach midlife, are more confident in their own personal power and are willing to tap into that power to not only help themselves, but to help others, especially other women. The wonderful thing is that we don't even have to know the other women personally to make and feel a connection. My network of women friends on websites & Facebook, has grown exponentially during this past year because I've been reaching out to other women, and they've been reaching out to me. I've learned so much from all of them, and they continue to enlighten, motivate and engage me, every day.

As a result of our desire to stay connected and foster each other's growth as we age, an amazing crop of websites and blogs have blossomed and continue to flourish. These are places where women can "meet" safely, without judgment (for the most part), get information, and each one has its own unique voice, frequently reflecting the sensibilities of its founder. Some are energetic and sexy, urging its readers to push themselves out of their comfort zones, while others are like soft, gentle breezes, coaxing hard-working women to relax, replenish, renew. I love them all, and I love the women behind them.
      So, about that question:

      Are women better at aging than men?

      I put the question out to my friends on Facebook, and here's what a few of them had to say (reprinted with their permission):

      Barbara Briggs Ward: I think the tide has turned. Women are more in charge of their aging. They are no longer giving in to it. They run; walk; try new careers; eat well; find new loves. Age no longer means slowing down and retreating. Age does not define a woman-for better or worse. It only opens new doors for them. And I think all of this has given women an edge over the men who are used to doors always being open.

      Denise Taylor Tremaine: You don't ever hear, or rarely, of women going through a mid-life crisis... we handle everything with grace. MEN on the otehrhand whoa!!!!

      Kim Okerson: I agree that the social pressure on women is far greater, but it is up to each of us to have the grace and dignity to accept that our age is state of mind.

      Connie Katon Wingo: The emotional impact of aging is difficult for men, I'd say. In their youth, they were able to have the perception of controlling their environment. Their identities as men were so often tied to their sexual perception and themselves. Their sex drive slows down, and for a great deal of men their "manhood," is tied into their perception of their sexuality. Also, as men begin to age in the workforce, their roles begin to change and coping with the feeling of obsoleteness is frightening, possibly causing men to feel more insecure about aging.

      Melody George: I dont think one gender has it over another on aging. I think with men and women it is equally daunting or exciting depending on the person.

      Whatever your thoughts are on this... here's the fundamental truth: the more we women stick together, the happier we will be.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on March 25, 2011, 08:59:30 AM
Tsunami sent this.....

YOU SAY                                             GOD SAYS BIBLE VERSES  
You say: 'It's impossible'                 God says:  All things are possible( Luke 18:27)
You say: 'I'm too tired'                      God says: I will give you rest( Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: 'Nobody really loves me'          God says: I love you( John 3:1  6 & John 3:34 )
You say: 'I can't go on'                                   God says: My grace is sufficient(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say:  'I can't figure things out'   God says: I will direct your steps(Proverbs 3:5-  6)
You say: 'I can't do it'                      God says: You can do all things( Philippians 4:13)
You say: 'I'm not able'                      God says: I am able(II Corinthians 9:8
You say: 'It's not worth it'                   God says: It will be worth it(Roman 8:28 )
You say: 'I can't forgive myself'                   God says: I Forgive you(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: 'I can't manage'                   God says: I will supply all your needs( Philippians 4:19)
You say: 'I'm afraid'                                   God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear( II Timothy 1:7)
You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated' God says: Cast all your cares on ME(I Peter 5:7)
You say: 'I'm not smart enough'                    God says: I give you wisdom(I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: 'I feel all alone'                   God says: I will never leave you or forsake you(Hebrews 13:5)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on March 29, 2011, 05:21:04 AM
I thought this email from Rejoice Marriage Ministries was worth sharing:

"Charlyne Cares" is a free daily devotional from Rejoice Marriage
Ministries, Inc. sent only to subscribers.
- - - - -

Tuesday's message is from Bob who was a prodigal who returned
home and was remarried to me for 23 years. Today I have selected
a devotional where Bob shares a letter that could have been
written by your own beloved husband or wife.   - Charlyne
- - - - -

The Letter From A Prodigal Spouse -

How in the world did I wind up out here?  I just wanted to have
some innocent fun and things just got out of hand.  It took more
and more fun to keep me happy, until the guilt was more than I
could handle, so I left.  Maybe I was not as mad as you thought,
but I just knew that I did not deserve to be married to you.  I
thought once I was away from you that the guilt would go away,
but it hasn't.  I only feel more guilt about leaving.  The world
says divorce is OK and that I am on my way to becoming
a "swinging single," but so far it looks like I am on the way to
being a sad single.

Not to cry, but things are rough for me also right now.  Do you
think it is pleasant to be uprooted from your entire life and
replanted in a land where guilt and sin and shame prevail?  It is
not.  I know, it was my decision, but I had to do it.  Besides,
it was almost as if it really wasn't me doing those things.  I
wish I did not even know the word "divorce."

I do not mean those things I say, such as, "I never loved you."
We both know that is just not true, but saying a lot of stuff is
just part of this whole mess.  You are not a bad person.  In
fact, you are a pretty neat person.  That must be why I think
about you about a hundred times a day (but have never told anyone
that part before).  I am trying so hard to look happy, but am
slowly dying on the inside.

"Then why don't you come home?"  You must be wondering.  I just
can't, even though I think about that often.  What would others
think?  That I am a baby and needed my mother (or father)?
Besides, I do not know how to break it off with you-know-who, who
does not know that I am even writing you.  If I came home, I
would have a hard, hard time putting all this behind me.  Would
you be patient enough to let me heal?  I am so afraid that if I
ever came home (but I am never coming home) I would do something
and you would want me gone again.  It will (I mean it would,
sorry) take time and a lot of work from both of us.  Did I tell
you I dreamed about you and I praying together?  It was only a

The best I have ever felt in a long time is when I heard that you
were praying for me.  My prayers right now only go as high as the
ceiling, so I do not pray, but I know God is still there.  He did
not go away just because I turned my back on Him, but I was
ashamed to really seek Him after all that I did.  I know that God
would never allow me in Heaven now, so thanks for your prayers
that are keeping me alive on this earth.

What does "standing" mean?  You need to get on with your life.  I
stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago.  I am never
going to come home, but would like for us to be friends.  I will
call you to talk about our being friends-just friends.  No, I
can't because you-know-who forbids me to call.  I do not know why
there is such a strange pull on my life from that corner.

I could come over and talk to you.  That would feel good.  I need
to lie to get out, so that would make you like the other person,
so I can't do that either.  I feel like a caged animal most of
the time.  Would you want me home just as I am, confused and
all?  Probably not, after all that I have done to us.

I think this needs to be delivered in person, maybe left at your
(our) door.  I will bring my things with me, just in case I
happen to see you and you say yes to my coming home.  I can get
out of this other mess later, if you are willing.

Know what?  My heart beats fast and I feel lighter when I plan
how I could come home.  It is like the weight is off of me.  This
may be another of many false starts, but I am practicing coming
home today.  Sure hope you are ready to receive me, warts and all.

From someone who really never stopped loving you.

May God bless you for standing,
Bob Steinkamp
Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
Post Office Box 10548
Pompano Beach, FL 33061 USA
http://rejoiceministries.org (Ministry web site)
http://rejoiceministries.org/r.php?num=tizwl (Bookstore)
http://rejoiceministries.org/r.php?num=1qrwh (24/7 Radio)
http://rejoiceministries.org/r.php?num=z8hij (Support)
http://rejoiceministries.org/r.php?num=huncd (Chapel Page)
- - - - -
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: xyzcf on March 29, 2011, 07:25:09 AM
I read this too this morning and it caused me to cry....but also to have some hope that perhaps something like this might be going through his head..and if so, his pain is worse than mine because I know that I can open my arms for him anytime...and that's the danger for me perhaps...way, way too forgiving.

Perhaps that's why God has taken him so far out of my life..so that he can work on himself..and if he does return, it will not be a half baked cake...but someone who is ready to enter into a true partnership..and that I make myself care enough about myself, that I would never accept anything less.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mitzpah on March 29, 2011, 07:29:23 AM
I read it too, and it made me sad because I don't see my husband at that point yet, in fact I begin to wonder if his conscience bothers him that much. I pray for it, but I see no real progress at all :-\
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: LoveMeMyself on March 29, 2011, 11:55:40 AM
Just read this and I now have big, big tears on the brim of my eyes about to spill over........and I'm at work!  Thank goodness I am alone right now.  I feel such a heaviness in my heart and a gloom hanging over me.  I wish for this to be my love as well but I truly don't see this in him.  He was/is a very good man but he's treating me as his "ex wife" (his words) so I do not feel that he will ever come back to me.  I do not want to let go and give up on my hope for us but it is so very dim right now.  My prayers for every single one of us here in hopes that one day our hopes and dreams will come true.  Here's to more happy endings!
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: loveyourenemies on March 29, 2011, 01:27:56 PM
Huge tears....  :'(   as I was reading this I did identify with some of what he said, when my XH came back in Sept last year, he too told me how he felt like he wanted to return so many times, but how could he? after all he had done? all the pain he had caused? so that was more of the reason he stayed gone longer....

What an amazing letter. I love rejoice marriage ministeries. I actually bought his book about the Prodigal and his experience while in MLC, pretty good read.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on March 30, 2011, 01:13:47 PM
Experts: Middle Age is Depressing
Midlife Crisis

According to a comprehensive study of data from 80 countries, researchers at Britain's Warwick University and America's Dartmouth College have confirmed what people in their forties have known for years, middle age is indeed truly miserable. Researchers discovered that "for both men and women the probability of depression peaks around 44 years of age. In the US they found a significant difference between men and women with unhappiness reaching a peak at around 40 years of age for women and 50 years of age for men. "University of Warwick Economist Professor Andrew Oswald said:

    "Some people suffer more than others but in our data the average effect is large. It happens to men and women, to single and married people, to rich and poor, and to those with and without children. Nobody knows why we see this consistency."

    "What causes this apparently U-shaped curve, and its similar shape in different parts of the developed and even often developing world, is unknown. However, one possibility is that individuals learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses, and in mid-life quell their infeasible aspirations. Another possibility is that cheerful people live systematically longer. A third possibility is that a kind of comparison process is at work in which people have seen similar-aged peers die and value more their own remaining years. Perhaps people somehow learn to count their blessings."

    "It looks from the data like something happens deep inside humans. For the average person in the modern world, the dip in mental health and happiness comes on slowly, not suddenly in a single year. Only in their 50s do most people emerge from the low period. Perhaps realizing that such feelings are completely normal in midlife might even help individuals survive this phase better."

Scientists have only recently begun to tackle middle age issues with the same vigor as the physiological changes of other periods. The changes of puberty and adolescence have been well documented, in part because the changes are so evident--even on an individual level. However only through studying large numbers of people, as was this study, do the dramatic patterns of middle age appear. Charting happiness shows a "U-shaped curve" with relative highs at the beginning of life (the joys of youth) and at the end of life (the golden years), but with a very clear low period during middle age.

The research was aimed at identifying unhappiness patterns but it was not structured to pinpoint causes leaving researchers to hypothesize why midlife is so darn tough. One of theories is that middle age begins with the realization that one won't achieve all of one's aspirations and then ends after "seeing their fellow middle-aged peers begin to die" therefore kicking off a period where they value their own remaining years and embrace life once more. If true, this would explain why people who express gratitude and people who are goal-oriented (especially so-called "self-concordant" goals) generally record higher happiness levels.

Another contributing cause could be the large number of life changes that can happen during this period. In the span of just a decade individuals can experience empty nest, elder care/loss of parent, divorce/marital issues, forced job change, financial pressure, menopause/andropause, and possibly serious illness. This is also the time that looking in the mirror can highlight the effects that the passage of time has had on our appearance. We might have the psychological strength to handle one or two of these but the cumulative effect of too many of them might simply be too much.

The good news, and this was true across almost all 80 countries in the study, is that if you make it to aged 70 and are still physically fit, your are on average as "happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year old."

B xx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: OldPilot on March 30, 2011, 01:41:46 PM
if you make it to aged 70 and are still physically fit, your are on average as "happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year old."
Great I only have another 13 years to go' :) :) :)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on March 30, 2011, 01:52:10 PM

As you are surviving this horror of MLC I think you will get a telegram (or by them a 'tweet or e-mail') from The President !

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: faithled on March 31, 2011, 08:21:30 AM
These articles have been sooooo hopeful to me; very healing.  My H recently told our teen boys that he has moved in with OW.  We are just awaiting H giving my lawyer a proper business valuation next week.
     I am going to keep reviewing these articles when I feel down.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on March 31, 2011, 10:52:24 AM
Thanks for these links, Bewildered and Still. Insightful, and helpful. It's good to get perspective on all this. It's not about us, it's about them.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on April 08, 2011, 03:30:36 PM
Someone forwarded this to me. The author is unknown, but it was a pleasant excerpt.

The wall will come tumbling down when he's ready for it to crumble. Be a
friend, that's all he's looking for right now. Friendship is the foundation to a
stronger relationship and yours is turning around a bit. Continue to drop those

He's starting to reconnection w/old friends. Good first step for him. He's
starting the end of his journey. He's still a bit in replay, depression and
withdrawal. He's still got a ways to go, but he's 3/4 of the way through his
crisis. Don't try to figure out where he's at. It's very hard to do this when you
are so very close.

Eventually he will reconnect w/you. You will be the last one for this.
Remember, you are the first that he disconnects from, therefore you will be the last
for reconnection. While in mlc, everything is backwards and/or mirror image.
Nothing is as it appears. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland a bit.

Don't worry about him and who he is reconnecting with at this time. Everything
he's doing is very normal for a mlcer who is attempting to find his way out of
the tunnel. Be patient w/him, the situation and above all else please be
patient w/yourself. Have faith in what you've accomplished thus far.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on April 08, 2011, 04:11:14 PM
Submitted By A Covenant Keeper

When a spouse chooses to walk away from a marital commitment, the
abandoned spouse can choose to put Christian principles to work
amidst the hurt and the pain by embracing and following this pledge.

1. I choose to honor my vows and commitments as a declaration of my
belief in the authority of scripture and as an expression of my own
conscience. I do not do so as a way of trying to control my spouse,
nor does this represent unrealistic wishful thinking. I do so in
order to maintain my own integrity before God.

2. I commit to pray that God's spirit would be active in my life
guiding me in all things - especially when I am confused and hurt;
and I continue to pray regularly for my spouse that God's Spirit
would be alive in his/her life.

3. I choose not to criticize my spouse for his/her actions but I
elect to concentrate on how God may be working in circumstances and
situations that I cannot see. I choose to identify a few close
friends to whom I can pour out my heart, but otherwise, I always
choose to speak positively about my mate.

4. I acknowledge that no matter how hard I try, there is so much that
is beyond my control. In fact, the harder I try, the more I realize
that I cannot control anything or anybody—except myself. So I choose
to let go and let God. Instead of interfering in the life of the
other, I work on myself, to search my own heart and to let God use
this experience to point out my dependence on Him.

5. I commit to demonstrating the meaning of faithfulness and family
loyalty to our children so that they have a model upon which they
can build their own marriage — realizing that the selfish decisions I
might make could harm them even further and that the pattern I set
will have an effect for generations.

6. I promise to do all that I can to maintain contact with my spouse's
relatives and our mutual friends while recognizing that they too may
have their own dilemmas and hurts. Without imposing myself unduly, I
aim to show kindness to them even when seemingly ignored or

7. I choose to maintain as many of my pre-abandonment patterns as
possible rather than running away. I want to show constancy in the
midst of trial and hurt so that I can deal with my life in an orderly
and prayerful way. Rather than becoming isolated or difficult to be
around, I work hard to be sensitive to the needs of others in order
to be a true friend in anticipation that I might earn their
friendship in return.

8. I choose not to dwell on unkind remarks or well-meaning but
misplaced advice, but I will listen closely to God's Spirit in my
heart and the advice of trusted friends. I choose not to develop
animosity towards those who hurt me but instead to focus on those
who help me.

9. I elect to fill my mind with positive and uplifting thoughts and
music so that my attitudes and moods will be more stable and others
around me will be uplifted. I acknowledge that discouragement and
doubts will come my way, but I bring these feelings to God and ask
Him to deal with them and lift me up and out of the pit by showing
me the good things around me, that in self-pity I too easily forget.

10. I recall regularly that God wants me to bring my requests to Him,
but my final prayer is, "Not my will, but Thine be done." I rest in
peace and calmness knowing that He is in control. I walk in humbleness
of spirit but possess an inner confidence from knowing that I am in His

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on April 14, 2011, 01:52:51 PM
my friend sent this poem to me and wanted to share .. inb my opinion it serves as a powerful reminder or idea that we are what our thoughts are made of. What we consistently and persist in thinking, be it good or bad, sooner or later our thoughts will manifest into reality.

Mind is the master power that molds and makes,
And we are Mind, and evermore we take
The tool of thought, and shaping what we will,
Bring forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills,
We think in secret, and it comes to pass -
Our world is but our looking glass.

B x
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on April 14, 2011, 02:19:28 PM
Another one I love ...........

Letting Go

    To let go doesn't mean to stop caring;
    It means I can't do it for someone else.
    To let go is not to cut myself off...
    It's the realization that I can't control another...
    To let go is not to enable,
    but to allow learning from natural consequences.
    To let go is to admit powerlessness,
    which means the outcome is not in my hands.
    To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
    I can only change myself.
    To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
    To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
    To let go is not to judge,
    but to allow another to be a human being.
    To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
    but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
    To let go is not to be protective,
    It is to permit another to face reality.
    To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
    To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
    but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
    To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
    but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
    To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
    but to try to become what I dream I can be.
    To let go is not to regret the past,
    but to grow and live for the future.
    To let go is to fear less and love more.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ;D
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on April 27, 2011, 03:36:47 AM
Sent to me by a friend:

Experts: Middle Age is Depressing
According to a comprehensive study of data from 80 countries, researchers at Britain's Warwick University and America's Dartmouth College have confirmed what people in their forties have known for years, middle age is indeed truly miserable. Researchers discovered that "for both men and women the probability of depression peaks around 44 years of age. In the US they found a significant difference between men and women with unhappiness reaching a peak at around 40 years of age for women and 50 years of age for men. "University of Warwick Economist Professor Andrew Oswald said:
"Some people suffer more than others but in our data the average effect is large. It happens to men and women, to single and married people, to rich and poor, and to those with and without children. Nobody knows why we see this consistency."
"What causes this apparently U-shaped curve, and its similar shape in different parts of the developed and even often developing world, is unknown. However, one possibility is that individuals learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses, and in mid-life quell their infeasible aspirations. Another possibility is that cheerful people live systematically longer. A third possibility is that a kind of comparison process is at work in which people have seen similar-aged peers die and value more their own remaining years. Perhaps people somehow learn to count their blessings."
"It looks from the data like something happens deep inside humans. For the average person in the modern world, the dip in mental health and happiness comes on slowly, not suddenly in a single year. Only in their 50s do most people emerge from the low period. Perhaps realizing that such feelings are completely normal in midlife might even help individuals survive this phase better."
Scientists have only recently begun to tackle middle age issues with the same vigor as the physiological changes of other periods. The changes of puberty and adolescence have been well documented, in part because the changes are so evident--even on an individual level. However only through studying large numbers of people, as was this study, do the
dramatic patterns of middle age appear. Charting happiness shows a "U-shaped curve" with relative highs at the beginning of life (the joys of youth) and at the end of life (the golden years), but with a very clear low period during middle age.
The research was aimed at identifying unhappiness patterns but it was not structured to pinpoint causes leaving researchers to hypothesize why midlife is so darn tough. One of theories is that middle age begins with the realization that one won't achieve all of one's aspirations and then ends after "seeing their fellow middle-aged peers begin to die" therefore kicking off a period where they value their own remaining years and embrace life once more. If true, this would explain why people who express gratitude and people who are goal-oriented (especially so-called "self-concordant" goals) generally record higher happiness levels.
Another contributing cause could be the large number of life changes that can happen during this period. In the span of just a decade individuals can experience empty nest, elder care/loss of parent, divorce/marital issues, forced job change, financial pressure, menopause/andropause, and possibly serious illness. This is also the time that looking in the mirror can highlight the effects that the passage of time has had on our appearance. We might have the psychological strength to handle one or two of these but the cumulative effect of too many of them might simply be too much.
The good news, and this was true across almost all 80 countries in the study, is that if you make it to aged 70 and are still physically fit, your are on average as "happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year old."
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: LifeGoesOn on May 15, 2011, 04:03:50 PM
I came upon these thoughts in my investigations of control, allowing, and letting go. I found them thought provoking. Same stuff, a different way :).

Article found here (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cui-bono/201104/freedom-and-control)

Freedom and Control
Does being in control really make us free?
Published on April 30, 2011 by John A. Johnson, Ph.D. in Cui Bono

I have been thinking a lot lately about freedom and control recently because . . . well, because my therapist suggested that I do this. (Yes, psychologists sometimes need to be in therapy as much as anyone else, sometimes even more so.)

It seems to me that people often equate freedom with having a lot of control over things. We think we would rather be the boss who has control over other employees than the subordinate or follower who is under the control of the boss. Psychologists reinforce the idea that control is a good thing. Research on locus of control indicates that people with an internal locus of control (people who believe they are in control of the rewards they receive in life) are psychologically healthier and more successful than people with an external locus of control (people who believe their fate is in the hands of external, uncontrollable factors).

Yet there is a downside to being in control when it involves trying to control other people, because other people don't want to be controlled by you any more than you want to be controlled by other people. In therapy, we often hear that if we do not like the way in which others are behaving, we are better off changing our own feelings about their behavior than trying to change their behavior. The reason for this is that behavioral habits are notoriously difficult to change, even when a person really wants to change his or her own habits; if people are not interested in changing their behavior, it is almost impossible to make them change.

In keeping with a theme I've developed in this blog, a theme of finding interesting and valid psychological insights in what some consider to be fringe science, I want to write a bit about what James Redfield said about control issues in his novel The Celestine Prophecy. Drawing on the work of Ernest Becker, an existentialist-psychoanalytic, cultural anthropologist, Redfield suggests that attempting to control another person's behavior is a type of neurosis, based on childhood feelings of powerlessness. Redfield referred to different strategies of attempting to have a hold over others as control dramas. Attempts to hold sway over others is more obvious in the two active control dramas, The Interrogator and The Intimidator. The Interrogator constantly questions and criticizes the behavior of others, throwing them off-balance and making them feel uneasy. The Intimidator uses violence or threats of violence to get others to comply with his or her wishes. Redfield also identifies two passive control dramas, The Aloof and The Poor Me. The Aloof acts distant and detached, speaking rarely and then only in vague and cryptic ways. This strategy makes others do all of the work in communicating and in coordinating activities. The Poor Me constantly whines and complains about not feeling well. This strategy is meant to make others feel guilty about asking the Poor Me to do anything, forcing them to take care of everything, including the Poor Me.

The ways in which people attempt to control others is not limited to the neurotic control dramas. Many of the ways in which people strive to regulate each others' behavior are regarded as perfectly normal and not at all neurotic. For example, people use flattery and do nice things for others, expecting that they will return the favor. Most of us hold standards of what we regard as appropriate behavior, and we try to change people who do not follow those standards. People will use negative labels such as lazy, foolish, and wrong in attempts to persuade people to change behavior they do not like. Often they claim they are trying to change others for their own good.

A truly free person, according to Don Miguel Ruiz, is immune to both the neurotic and normal attempts of others to regulate his or her behavior. The advice he gives us for accomplishing this is to make the following agreement with ourselves: "Don't take anything personally."
When we agree not to take anything personally, we regard all attempts by others to control us as statements about them, not about us. By refusing to take threats, criticism, evasion, complaints, praise, or disapproval personally, we act upon our own reality, not upon theirs.

I would add that a truly free person does not attempt to control others, either. Trying to control others, even people who, in our eyes, are misbehaving, is like trying to make water run uphill. Unless you can convince a person that listening to you is in his or her own best self-interest, you are wasting valuable time, which is antithetical to freedom.

Finally, I am beginning to believe that there's a lot to be said for giving up control sometimes, or "letting go and letting God" as they say in the recovery movement. I know that this flies in the face of research on the merits of internal locus of control, self-efficacy, and similar research. Nonetheless, it seems to me that such an attitude has a strong basis in reality. We are much more likely to achieve success and happiness if we allow ourselves to align with greater forces than to fight the flow and deny reality.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on May 16, 2011, 02:28:15 PM

yes makes sense .. difficult to do ? however, but in some ways easy ...in MLC anyway if you detach and let go?

I think we all try and control a person based on life expectations .. and what we learn from them as we go along and get to know them. MY h was always sociable then he got moody and stopped doing the things he used to do and said he din not like our friends etc and this we then find hurtful as we expect our H/W to want to do the things a W?H should do .. attend parties, weddings, etc with us, When they don't want to it upsets and hurts us and we try (well i did) make my H see (when he suddenly got like this about 6 years ago ) how hurt it made me feel so to control him make him feel selfish and to try and make him come along - he didn't ..So I decided well if he could do it so then could I  BUT when I wouldn't do things with him that I had done to please him in the past (sports events, his University friends the horrible ones) that I didn't want to do well strange he didn't like that and would go on and on about me being miserable but never saw the hypocrisy of the situ.

I think however not control over our lives would make us very dull someone gently pressurising me to do or try something I thought I didn't want to try or do has given me many lovely experiences so ............ to quote my grandmother moderation in all things makes you happy?
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on June 09, 2011, 10:44:19 AM
Not related to MLC per se, but some interesting stuff once I edited all the info-mercial gobbledy-gook.


Did your spouse tell you, “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you?”

What does that statement mean?

A person who says, “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you,” is making a distinction between 2 different feelings. But NEITHER of those feelings are love!

When a person says, “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you,” they’re saying that I CARE about you but I’m not EXCITED about you.

CARING about someone is a good thing. It’s reflective of CONCERN. But it’s different than love. I care about the starving children in Africa, but I don’t love them.

Being EXCITED about someone is also a good thing. But it’s different than love. I might be excited to have a relationship with the President of the United States or a Hollywood star, but that doesn’t mean I love them.

While someone who says, “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you” seems to be making a distinction between “different loves;” in fact, they are expressing their confusion about what love really is. And that’s why they’re having marital problems and maybe even an affair (because who are they IN LOVE with?).

Love is something we articulate in the vocabulary of ACTION. Love is a verb. It’s not a feeling you get from another PERSON; it’s an experience you receive as a result of DEEDS YOU DO for another person.

“I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you” is a cop out. It basically means that I have no clue how to make a relationship last LONG-TERM so I’m exiting to get high from another short-term romance. But whoever they’re IN LOVE with now will also eventually hear, “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you.”

Warm regards,

Mort Fertel, Marriage Fitness

Author of Marriage Fitness

Marriage Coach

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on June 19, 2011, 06:11:28 AM
Maybe a politicain that really understands ???

David Cameron: Absent fathers are as bad as drink drivers

By Brendan Carlin

Last updated at 1:38 AM on 19th June 2011

    Comments (240)
    Add to My Stories

Fathers who run out on their families should be ‘stigmatised’ in the same way as drink-drivers, David Cameron said last night.

In an impassioned appeal to mark Father’s Day today, the Prime Min¬ister called for ‘runaway dads’ to be made to feel the ‘full force of shame’ for their actions. He insisted that it ‘simply isn’t acceptable’ for single mothers to be left to bring up their children on their own.

He added: ‘We need to make Britain a genuinely hostile place for fathers who go AWOL.

‘It’s high time runaway dads were stigmatised, and the full force of shame was heaped upon them. They should be looked at like drink-drivers, people who are beyond the pale.’
Father and son bond: David Cameron, seen here with his late father Ian, says single mothers should not be left to raise their children on their own

Father and son bond: David Cameron, seen here with his late father Ian, says single mothers should not be left to raise their children on their own

Mr Cameron, who has three children with wife Samantha, also admitted he ‘could be better as a parent’, and acknowledged how much he owes to his own father, who died last year.


    I don't know how he does it! Meet the superdads who come to the rescue of their families

Condemning the effect of absent fathers, Mr Cameron said: ‘They need the message rammed home to them, from every part of our culture, that what they’re doing is wrong – that leaving single mothers, who do a heroic job against all odds, to fend for themselves simply isn’t acceptable.’

It was not clear last night if the stern message will be followed by specific new measures to crack down on errant fathers.

In a newspaper article, Mr Cameron also delivered a moving tribute to his own father, Ian Cameron, who died last September, aged 77.
Family man: David Cameron, with wife Samantha and baby Florence, says fathers should not be able to shirk their responsibilities

Family man: David Cameron, with wife Samantha and baby Florence, says fathers should not be able to shirk their responsibilities

Mr Cameron has previously spoken of how his father, who overcame the disability of being born with severely deformed legs, was such a powerfully influential role model for him.

But in his article, Mr Cameron wrote: ‘On this day, the first Father’s Day since my own father died, I want to acknowledge just how important dads are to laying the foundations.’

He added: ‘From my father, I learned about responsibility. Seeing him get up before the crack of dawn to go and do a hard day’s work and not come back until late at night had a profound impact on me.

‘My dad, who was disabled, taught me about optimism – that no matter how bad things are, you can overcome them if you have the right frame of mind.’

But in singling out the role of fatherhood, Mr Cameron signalled he ran the risk of protests by equality campaigners.

‘We live in an age of equality, where people don’t like to see the differences between the sexes,’ he said.

‘But it goes without saying, two different people, nurturing the same child, will bring different things to the table.’

He reaffirmed his determination to introduce tax breaks for married couples. This was a General Election pledge which some Tories have feared was being ditched to appease the Lib Dems in the Coalition.

‘I want us to recognise marriage in the tax system so as a country we show we value commitment,’ he wrote.

The Prime Minister issued a strong defence of traditional family life as the ‘cornerstone of our society’, calling for a new drive to ‘bring fathers back into the lives of all our children’.

Even when parents were separated, fathers had a duty to support their children ‘financially and emotionally’ – spending time with them at weekends, attending nativity plays and taking an interest in their education, he insisted.

Mr Cameron, who with wife Samantha is bringing up his young family in Downing Street, admitted he could better as a father.

‘I don’t for one minute claim to be a perfect father to my kids. Just ask Sam.

‘But this is too important an issue to remain silent on.

‘This is about our children’s futures, and with that, our country’s future too.

‘We owe it to them to be there for them, however hard we
may find it.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2005402/David-Cameron-Absent-fathers-bad-drink-drivers.html#ixzz1Pj7uv78e
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: justasking on June 19, 2011, 07:30:26 AM
This is an intersting look at adulterous affairs.........

It was on Radio 4 and called A forensic look at Infidelity http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b011vhsn

The programme lasts for 30 mins.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: MelanieB on June 20, 2011, 02:38:59 PM
3 of the best articles that I have read on the why's and with whom's of Midlife Crisis in the journal "Manzine":

From his book The Inner Man, psychotherapist Dr Peter O’Connor discusses how it is usually death which characterises the mid-life transition and provides the opportunity to initiate men into adulthood. (The Inner Man can be purchased through the Manzine merchandise section as can Peter O’Connor’s other best-selling book Understanding Mid-life Crisis.)
Mid-life, that period between 35 and 45 years of age in a man, is, above all else, a psychological return to adolescence. Because adolescence involves a reworking of the Oedipal themes, this earlier stage of psychological development is also present in a man in the mid-life transition

Death and the Midlife Crisis:

On the Midlife Rage:

On Mothers and Midlife Crisis:  Reworking the Oedipal Complex
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Dontgiveup on June 21, 2011, 05:40:03 AM
I read about a timeframe in reference to the trigger somewhere, but I can't remember where.  Seems like it referenced approximately 12-36 months.  Three years is about the timeframe for my MLCer as well.....it might have been closer to four.....but it was in that range.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Trustandlove on June 21, 2011, 07:08:24 AM
 2.5 years before BD was the trigger in my MLCers case, I believe....
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: LoveMeMyself on June 21, 2011, 07:11:25 AM
I believe the trigger was 2 to 2 1/2 years before BD as well.  His mom passed away, he retired from one job and started another job (which he hates)...........thus I feel like these two major events pushed him into MLC. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: With Gods Help! on June 21, 2011, 02:16:54 PM
Hi everyone i know keep posting these articles and your probably sick of them lol but i post them because sometimes although much of this as been said different ways of putting them sometimes helps others understand xxxxxxxxxx

Detach from Outcomes

find happiness Our relationships with other people are the main sources of our happiness and also the biggest causes of our heartaches.

The heartaches happen when we expect certain outcomes from our relationships: that our children do as we say, that our partners show love the way we want them to, that our friends agree to our requests, that the person we love reciprocates our feelings.

While letting go of expectations goes a long way to living a joyful life, this is hard for many people to do. Detaching from outcomes may perhaps be easier. How do we do this?

1. Identify possible outcomes

Many of the issues that we obsess over usually have only two possible outcomes: either you get the job or you don’t, either she will come back to you or she won’t, either he will ask you out or he won’t.
2. Plan the best action in each case

Funnily enough, the best action no matter which outcome actually happens tends to be the same. This also tends to be the best way we can treat ourselves in any case. I’ll use romantic relationships as an example as this seems to be a major cause of heartache for most people.
Example 1

After a break-up it is very common to hope that the other person comes back to us. If she comes back, then there is no need to grieve and your best action is to continue exercising etc so you’ll be in great shape when she sees you again. If she does not come back, your best action is to continue exercising through your grief so you’ll be in great shape to start dating other people.
Example 2

If he asks you out, your best action is to continue hanging out with your friends so you remain objective, strengthen your friendships, and remain your own person. If he doesn’t ask you out, your best action is to continue hanging out with your friends so you get to meet people instead of sitting at home waiting for him to call.
3. Focus on the action

Once we realise that the outcome makes no difference to our best course of action, we can focus on the action which is within our control, rather than the outcome which is outside our control.

This brings two key benefits: the confidence that we are in control of our lives bolsters our esteem, and our actions often bring tangible external benefits like new friends or a better appearance. This gives a double boost to happiness.
Bonus outcomes

Besides making ourselves happier what we detach from outcomes, we also release those around us from the need to produce our desired outcomes. This frees them to be themselves, to live their own lives freely and joyfully instead of trying to fulfill some need in ours.

And very often, our detachment from outcomes and the joy it brings makes us attractive to others who then want to be around us. By detaching from what we want, we very often get what we used to want. And even if we don’t get it, it doesn’t matter because we’ve taught ourselves not to want.

When we detach from outcomes, the heartaches evaporate and the joy remains.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: LifeGoesOn on June 21, 2011, 06:04:53 PM
From Daniel Amen's newsletter today:

Brains Acting Badly: A New Twist on an Old Question

“Faced with the recent surge of sex scandals, I have found myself holding back, not wanting to comment. They happen all the time, but somehow this season seems different, worse,” begins the article I wrote for the Huffington Post last week, on June 8, 2011.

“The ex-governor of California had his family torn apart by an affair he had a decade ago; the IMF leader was arrested for an alleged assault on a hotel maid; Senator John Edwards was recently indicted on cover-up charges related to his affair; and now married congressman Anthony Weiner admits to tweeting his genitals!

“Why are so many men acting badly? The easy answer is to just say that these men are high-testosterone-driven cheaters who choose to make bad decisions. They should be divorced, scorned and ridiculed. They should just say no and stop being so stupid, we think.

“But as a neuroscientist who has scanned tens of thousands of patients’ brains over the last 20 years, many of whom were sex addicts, I know the brain tells a different story.”

Below is the rest of the article, in total.

There is an area in the front part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. It is also known as the executive brain because it acts like a boss at work. It is involved in forethought, judgment, impulse control, organization and planning. When there are problems in this part of the brain, men in particular are excitement-seeking and prone to exhibit poor judgment. And what is more exciting than illicit sex or tweeting your genitals?

I was on the “Dr. Phil” show last year for a feature we did on compulsive cheaters. I did a brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scan on Jose, who had cheated on his wife eight times in the four years they were together. His brain showed very low activity in his prefrontal cortex. He also had a brain injury pattern from playing football and mixed martial art fighting. From seeing his own scan, Jose developed brain envy and wanted a better brain. He did not want to be divorced and have his daughter raised by someone else. He did everything I asked.

Cheaters often experience the pain of rejection from their behavior and, with enough pain, can become motivated to change. Jose changed his habits, improved his nutrition, took some simple supplements to boost brain function and has not cheated on his wife for over a year. His follow-up brain scan also looked dramatically better. As we changed his brain, we also changed his life.

So what do we do with all these cheating men? Should we yell at them, belittle them, scold and scorn them? Or should we scan their brains? I think we should start by looking at their brains. How would we ever know if it was just bad behavior or a brain acting badly unless we looked? Psychiatrists, whom these people come to see for help, are the only medical professionals who rarely look at the organ they treat. Psychiatrists still make diagnoses today as they did in 1841, when Abraham Lincoln was depressed: by talking to people and looking for symptom clusters. Imagine if a cardiologist or an orthopedic doctor acted that way!

If the cheating man’s brain is healthy, then he should just deal with the fallout of his poor judgment and learn to behave better. If, however, he has brain dysfunction (as is often the case), perhaps from a brain injury in the past (a barbell dropped on his head, for example), or other prefrontal cortex problems (such as ADHD), then getting a brain makeover with appropriate treatment is essential. Just making these men, who have real brain dysfunction, feel more guilt and shame will not help solve their problems.

Your brain controls everything you do and all the decisions you make. When the brain works correctly, you work correctly. When the brain is troubled, you are much more likely to make troubled decisions. Whenever human frailties are involved, think about the brain. In our experience, with a thoughtful approach, the brain can be better, which will ultimately be better for the whole family.

Resource: The Huffington Post, June 8, 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-amen-md/why-men-cheat_b_872564.html

Dr. Rhea Orion
Posted June 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

Dr. Amen, i agree that as a psychologist – id love to be able to examine the brains of many of my patients – people who’ve experienced many kinds of trauma in their lives and are still experiencing emotions and behaviors that interfere with happy, healthy lives and relationships. But how CAN i examine their brains? Most of us clinicians out here do not have access to brain scan equipment nor even know where we would send a patient for one. If I knew where to send them, would they be able to pay for it? i KNOW the brains of most people i see have some injury and hold keys to understanding and correcting problems. I want the brain scan info = how can i get it?

Best regards,
Rhea Orion, PhD, CSC

Posted June 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

What type nutrition are you recommending for low activity in the prefrontal cortex?

Debra Lowe
Posted June 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

What kind of supplements would you recommend to men that suffer with these issues?

Posted June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

I would like information on the prefrontal cortex and what supplements aide in its function.

Kathy Kimtis
Posted June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

I had a cheating husband. Men who are sabbotaging their marriages– Why do they think they will not get caught. It is narcicism and a sense of entitlement….plain and simple. Don’t look at the brain so closely. It is pure indulgence and a lack of committment to the vow that they made. So PLEASE don’t try to make “brain” excuses for these dogs. Women cheat too. Is it because of their brains? People cheat because they are bored with marital sex… Plain and simple, they want the rush that comes with flirting, clandestine lunches which finally leads up to sex (oh, they don’t know how it happened!!!) that is such bull!! They are selfish human beings, willing to risk their families’ happiness for a fling or two– or hundred in my husband’s case. Stoop making excuses for them. whatever happened to good old fashioned will power, not to mention the thought that you are risking hurting the person who loves you the most. These are people who need to grow up, not have their brains examined. Dr Amen, I am surprised at you!!!

Posted June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

Having been married and now divorced to a physician namely an orthopaedic surgeon who was a pathological adulterer I do have to question whether all medical residents need to have their heads examined, literally speaking. Doctors have an extremely high rate ofadultery especially the higher up in Godsmanship that you go (surgeons vs family care). So many families destroyed on account of this. Should the medical profession weed out applicants into medical school based on brain scans or enroll them into a brain improvement program. Don’t you new your prefrontal cortex to make operating decisions? Some of the best surgeons I’ve known have also been the worst marital offenders. The new medical professionals entering the field really need some help as I witnessed an enormous amount of debauchery within the circle I was in. It would be a service to the medical profession since there is an increasing hypocrisy of “do no harm oaths” yet much harm IS being done to families destroyed by adultery within the medical profession. I think Dr Amen is a leader and can really make some changes. For those of us who work in the healthcare field and with many unpleasant physicians please get their heads examined!
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: truth_seeker on June 24, 2011, 09:23:46 AM
Many of you may have already read this via the divorcebusting site but thought it would be of benefit here as well.  Good reminder if you're on the fence about your M or not. 

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on July 27, 2011, 11:16:21 PM

****I retrieved this from the alt; as I'd written this as the board was in preparation of being moved over to a new server, and so, now, I've moved it all over here with some edits for continuity.****

Ok, you guys and gals, the title of this discourse is "The End of everything; and everything comes to a total End"..a fitting title, I think, because it will describe from the end of the Settling Down Process the final 6 months..and guess what? This is one of my last discourses on the crisis...I have covered the entire crisis from beginning to end..in various puzzle pieces; there's more hindsight that I see; and that's one thing, but I feel the pressure to share what I'm seeing in this last phase lasting 6 months; and that is the ONLY sure time that you will ever see written by me. :)

All righty then, this is not exactly a formal writing; and there's no real "mystery" about it; but most of you remember what happened when my husband came out of the Settling Down Process in late February of 2011; just before that happened, he withdrew suddenly and completely for two weeks, and during that time he went through a total facing that involved in full all that he had done; my part in it; and the Lord shamed him deeply for how he had treated me; but he also finished healing the wounds of his issues, most especially the deep abiding wound of his final issue; which was his parent's divorce at age 7..

At the end of this; it was suddenly, that he picked up again in contact with me and our son; and our lives began to go forward; and since then, I have seen the steady positive change in him; that has not looked back...and this is good, a blessing, and I had thought, that it was all this would be, thanked the Lord; for His great mercy, and had walked right along; all the while dealing with all of the emotional changes I knew were necessary for him to continue finishing himself.

Little did I know; there's one more step, LOL, and it actually surprised me when the Lord happened along around two weeks ago, and informed me that my husband was within the "final finishing phase" that would last a total of six months; no more, and no less; this particular time having begun right when he had finished his Settling Down Process..and I do remember thinking "Huh?"

He explained that this final phase dealt with 'self healing' of the SELF INFLICTED wounds they inflict within when they turn on their LBS, their children, their families, friends, etc...NOT to be confused with the wounds of their issues which are ALREADY healed; because, these were healed during the Settling Down Process(Unless, of course, any Issues were set aside and these were trying to be bypassed; which brings on other problems, but that's another story)

There ARE differences to the degree of self inflicted wounds; some have minor wounds, some have major, but ALL WILL HEAL....there are NO exceptions, no "carrying out" of anything...this is the ending of ALL endings...nothing more will be required afterward except to live and experience life.

I tried to argue, because I really didn't remember; that I had not faced and done that...He simply said "Yes, you DID;" and then He proceeded to pour the necessary memories back into my mind of both my Settling Down Process, AND this Final Finishing Phase...and I was forced to conclude that I, too, had to gone through that final processing and metamorphosis, ALSO for 6 months, no more, no less.

I had always explained that each time a MLC'er turns on the LBS, family, etc. doing and saying the things they do, did, and say; they DAMAGE THEMSELVES; and though intuitively, I knew it was true; I had NO clue when or how they healed themselves....the Lord would always have me detail healing of the wounds due to the issues within; but I don't recall Him ever having me detail how or when they heal the self inflicted damage they do to THEMSELVES..that was because my own situation had NOT reached that point; and some things I wasn't shown ahead of time; because for one, it was set in stone to happen, and two, there wasn't anything I could have done to bring it on any faster; not that I would have wanted to; but there could be no anticipation; not like there is, now that I KNOW the total end is just a little over a month away; and all I have to do now, is wait and watch for him. :)

This final phase is after ALL other healing has occurred; and this last and final healing WILL occur; there is NO chance by then, when they have made it that far; that they will run or hide; because by then they will be that well aware of what they must do; and most importantly they will be more than capable of getting it done and walking right across the finish line; coming out of the Chrysalis; CHANGED forever into what they have, and were supposed to become.

The caterpillar FINALLY becomes the BEAUTIFUL butterfly. :)

You see, it's all in step and finally, I see an order of things in the aspect of the healings that must occur; the issues and wounds associated with the issues must be resolved and healed FIRST during the actual crisis, continuing and finishing that aspect within the Settling Down Process; then comes the process of the Self Inflicted wounds to be healed during Total Inner Healing; and this completes within the six months that follows AFTER the Settling Down Process is finished; after that six month period afterward, the crisis is DONE, finished, complete......do NOT confuse these..they are TWO SEPARATE events connected with the crisis...but the total inner healing involves the added component of completing the finishing of them as whole people physically and emotionally; completing the metamorphosis into their becoming that beautiful butterfly...and this is worth waiting for, no matter how long it takes.

It's like a cabinet or a dresser that gets "stripped" down to the wood, sanded, varnished, and the final coat gets put on for a beautiful finish...this takes time, sometimes a lot of it, depending on how many coats of original varnish needs to be stripped off, and the imperfections that need to be filled in and worked on..you think about this, and much work is put in to get the result...this is another way of describing a MLC'er who gets worked over during the crisis..GOD does His part as He should IF you allow Him to; yet, at the same time, YOU get worked on, too...it's much the same process there, as well. :)

But once it's all complete, you enjoy the beauty of the finished work for years to come. :)

Food for thought, and another way of explaining the process of MLC in a nutshell using woodwork for an example. :)

And for questions I know always comes, LOL..the answer is NO, they do NOT run from this; in fact, they CANNOT and won't even try, and YES, they DO face this in full..and NO, there is NO 4th of July fireworks, and YES, there is a sense of even deeper peace that you'll sense from them as they continue to heal themselves; in fact you'll perceive them growing closer to you as each self inflicted wound within is healed, and yes, it DOES involve FINALLY forgiving themselves..don't ask me how; but the Lord did show me my husband reaching forgiveness of himself which is critical for going into the future WITHOUT guilt or shame.

He says this is true of ALL who reach this FINAL point/ending of the journey...nothing is left within to resolve; ALL is resolved in full within those aspects; there's a true devotion; a true humanity, and a deep and true connection that forges and most of all, they become proper Godly spouses; although still not perfect; but no one ever is, or ever will be. :)

In further description of what I'm seeing currently as of July 17, 2011:

One more thing; I have been instructed to stay open for him; he may or may not talk to me once more; but I don't expect it to happen at all..although I have observed him having a lot of nausea, and restless nights; this is all part of it; as his self inflicted wounds continue to heal within...above all, I've been instructed NOT to push him in any way; and there are aspects I'm beginning to see where I'm NOT to push him at all; and he's really not doing anything wrong.

I just see him distancing some, coming closer, distancing again in various aspects..and some of it is irritating me in some ways that I won't go into here...I think it is in these type of life aspects I'm not to push him; because the Lord wasn't clear in how I was NOT to push him, I think it's more emotionally than physically; nothing bad; but it could breed conflict where it's not important; and cause friction in areas that would take time to smooth across... if I pushed him in certain aspects that are not really that important..anyway, it's personal for me and for him...and between us two old chickens, LOL!!

It's a strange thing to know the straightforward descriptions I spent years writing are done; well, we KNEW an ending had to come, sometime. :)

I do, indeed have ALL the pieces now, and the picture is crystal clear to me; and I see where one piece has locked into another; creating the big picture I see in front of me...I realize that most of what I've described has been what I've seen personally, but I've found my descriptions has not been that much different from what people saw later as they walked behind me....there HAS been some differences, sure, owing for the differences in people, but the basic concepts of what is supposed to be seen, have NOT been that different.

The Stages themselves were/are actually a template of sorts written as a guide to help, and are seen more clearly by one within the hindsight that kicks in later, rather than foresight; yet, for someone like me, who has been there; one of the ways I could see where most people were and are; was because of having been there; seen many things; but the Lord was instrumental within me, helping me to be able see more clearly as time went on.

Yet, the Lessons written were and are UNIVERSAL, applying to BOTH LBS AND the MLC'er...each INDIVIDUAL person learns the SAME lessons..no exceptions...and these lessons, like the issues faced by the MLC'er and the LBS during the crisis must be learned in FULL, change must be COMPLETE..as in complete overhaul in those aspects....some "old" may stay, but it should not be much at all...usually the majority of the "old" must be shed, because it will NOT work in the "new" marriage; conflict will arise; and it should in order to work out the final details of the "new" marriage that comes.

You may reconcile or start over many times during the crisis, and even into the final phases of this..but that's OK, too, because this is where growth, change, becoming is still ongoing, and all is getting rebuilt from ground up..and if the foundation is not right; it gets torn down once again to the bare ground, and started again...I remember that happening several times during this entire time. :)

In all that I have preached, taught, bulldozed, been flamed for, LOL etc...one thing has remained constant; CHANGE WILL COME; like it or not; and you'll need to go right with it; as it's for your own good; NOT for the good of others...YOU, and the people around you, who will benefit from the "new" you; and you'll feel much better because you took the time to just "do it"....

In closing, the road is long and hard, the obstacles seem insurmountable; and the crisis seems like it will last forever; but remember this one thing if you don't remember ANYTHING else; the Lord is there, will always be there; He will help you with all that you need inside and out; and once you learn to connect with Him on this deeper level; you've a great companion, friend, and Father to be with you on your journey to wholeness and healing; so you will be ready when your NEW spouse comes out of the crucible for good. :)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on July 31, 2011, 01:10:11 PM

This I too agree is very insightful into the journey - which so many of us are not yet at and hopefully will help us understand if we are lucky to reach this stage?

Acceptance and Reconciliation would be good to have guidance on - appreciate we have some information  but a more detailed  picture of how to recognise these stages I feel would be invaluable??
B x
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: HeartsBlessing on August 19, 2011, 10:57:21 PM
Acceptance and Reconciliation would be good to have guidance on - appreciate we have some information  but a more detailed  picture of how to recognise these stages I feel would be invaluable??

The description of the stage of Acceptance is on the prior page of this thread; along with the Settling Down Process. As the crisis winds down into the final stage of Acceptance; you should be able to see more clearly as you set the "template" of the previous 5 stages across your situation; only then, will you see Acceptance as it's played out in your situation.   That's also what Hindsight will do; it will show you clearly; just as it did me, what has occurred beforehand.

Always check yourself as you watch your MLC spouse; and make sure that you're doing what you are supposed to be doing; and it's NOT continuously watch your MLC spouse...that's being TOO focused on them, and not enough on you. :)

I'm sorry, I can't give you a clear picture/description of Reconciliation, no one really can; as it's ongoing once the MLC'er begins to try again with the LBS; this is truly a multi faceted aspect that is as unique as the couples that enter into it.

You need to also bear in mind that once the MLC spouse ends their affair, goes through the affair partner withdrawal associated with this ending, and turns back to you to try again; the crisis is NOT over; there is still a long way to go before it all ends...so, don't make the mistake of thinking it's over when it's not.

Within Reconciliation, each person gives as they can; each person receives as they are able.

You don't get everything from me, you're not supposed to...some things you must navigate on your own; and this aspect is something I haven't been given clear Insight on, therefore, all I can tell you is as follows:

As a matter of fact, I found it came naturally, as my journey to wholeness and healing taught me much about what I needed from my husband in order to help him to rebuild our marriage...it was a process of leading, then following, then leading, then following......and we negotiated with each other for what we wanted within our relationship.  But we were rebuilding OUR relationship; not creating one that was "tailor made" from a "script".

Some things I really can't give you; you've been provided with the tools, the stages, the lessons, and clear directions to take the journey; what you do with all these things is then, up to you; not me or anyone else.

By the time you begin the aspect of Reconciliation; you'll know so much more about yourself, your MLC spouse, your past marriage; and only then, will you be able to set the "rules" for reconciliation for your OWN relationship.

Keep walking the journey to wholeness and healing; rest assured this journey doesn't just stop because reconnecting/reconciliation begins to happen for you and your MLC spouse.

All you need to really remember is this: If your journey to wholeness and healing doesn't complete within you, or if the MLC'er's journey doesn't complete within them; you're looking to do this again at a later time from a different aspect.  BOTH MUST FINISH their respective journeys, although reconciliation will begin long before these finishings complete themselves; that is ALSO part of the journey that should run to completion within both people.

Both people continuing to work toward the finish lines within both journeys is the only way you'll reach what you're seeking; Patience, Hyperglad, and even BonBon are good examples of the continuing work that's being done in an ongoing way.   

These ladies are still working on themselves, as their MLC spouses are still working on themselves, and reconciliation, and even some aspects of reconnecting are occurring within each of these situations.   Yet, even these situations are so different that I don't have a certain "script" to read from; or even to be guided from so I can help them.

Their situations are unique, as they should be; and I'm having to go by what I'm being shown by my Intuition; not so much by Insight within in a "case by case" analysis as I try and keep up with their various problems that crop up from time to time.

This happened for me, too, I had to continue working on me, as my husband was still working on himself; and we worked on "us" in between.   This ongoing process was the only way I could reach what I was seeking in the way of information regarding these two aspects, but what I got applied to US; not another couple. 

The only other thing I can say with a certainty is that it's a long and hard process,(not as long as the crisis/LBS journey; but time is always a factor in rebuilding) as each person begins to bring nearly all new aspects within to the table of the new marriage that's rebuilding; these have to be adjusted to, and, in time,  from the fires of the crisis and the LBS journey, a new marriage will emerge; rebuilt, and fortified from the foundation up, to better withstand what life will certainly begin to throw at the couple in the way of challenges and obstacles, once again; some old, some new, and some, they will solve together, and some they'll solve as individuals.

Life then becomes a series of ongoing problems to solve each and every day; and if the couple is well equipped; they will take each problem in hand, and resolve each one successfully with what they've learned.

The Lord/my Intuition guided me through this particular aspect; the same guidance I trained all of you to develop early within the crisis...knowing you would need this tool much later; even though it's used during the crisis itself.  Only God knows each couple fully; and what they need; and He deals with them just as He deals with various individuals within the various aspects they have need of.

NO two couples are the same; each one has to blaze their OWN trail of life.

This is the best I can do with this aspect. :)

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on August 20, 2011, 02:15:16 PM

Many thanks for your views and they are helpful and useful as a flexible guide ... the process does become more difficult to keep in your mind (I think) as the MLC moves forward and the time it takes begins to make you even more detached ...  so I will as I am sure others will keep this post of yours at hand for reference ... if and when this stage starts to happen

B xx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: StandandDeliver on August 21, 2011, 12:20:03 AM
I liked this article about infidelity. It is not expressly about MLC, but it does discuss  that leaving marriage for an affair usually makes personal growth for the WAS impossible. I don't know if it belongs here or in resources for dealing with infidelity (sorry RCR, OP, HB if this is the wrong place - please feel free to move it!

http://ojar.com/view_5441.htm (http://ojar.com/view_5441.htm)

What Happens When an Affair Ends a Marriage?

These days, nobody's social circle is without someone who's gotten, getting, or about to get a divorce. The impact of divorce looms so large--or perhaps it's so commonplace--that it's easy to ignore how it comes about.

A couple I know is in the middle of a divorce. In this case, one partner moved out suddenly, filed for divorce, and "quickly" took a lover. All indications point to the prior existence of a hidden affair.

In this situation, our hearts go out to the partner who remains monogamous. We understand their feelings of humiliation, envisioning themselves as the butt of derision from the trysting couple--or as the object of scorn from neighbors and coworkers. Overwhelmed by a potent mixture of anger, guilt, and wounded narcissism, they're often kept afloat by the solace and support of caring friends. The faithful spouse is perceived as the more disadvantaged, almost without fail. After all, the other partner is now comfortably ensconced in a new relationship.

PATTERNS OF FALLING OUT As a sex and marital therapist, I've seen lots of marriages dissolve in this pattern, and it has changed how I focus my efforts to help both partners. For all the emotional turmoil monogamous spouses endure, I've also known them to emerge from this situation in better emotional shape than they've ever enjoyed before. Not so for the spouse who "found someone new" before separating from their current partner, all the while lying about it.

While the pain of the monogamous spouse is immediate and apparent, the fallout for the adulterous spouse is usually longer in coming and less predictable--until you understand what's going on.

PATHS TO GROWTH Some people become richer, fuller, happier human beings by staying in their marriages; others accomplish this by getting divorced. But I've never seen growth occur when someone continues an extramarital affair while ending their marriage.

"I've outgrown you"--sugar-coated as "We've grown apart"--is often the stated reason for the split. They may look like they're standing on their own two feet, or even standing up to their spouse, but when there's an extramarital affair going on, it only seems that way. Such behavior is a charade of independence, integrity and personal growth, not the real thing. The departing spouse isn't just holding onto a "new" partner while they let go of the other; more often, they're leaning on the new partner because they can't or won't stand up--or hold onto--themselves.

Although real efforts towards autonomy may get worked out in the new relationship, that's not often the basis on which the new partner is selected. The spiffy new relationship frequently lacks sufficient resilience and motivation to support the tough struggles of self-development and bonding. But neither spouse appreciates this while they're divvying up the household.

MAKING A HEALTHY BREAK Getting out of your marriage is one thing; how you go about it is another. Using an affair as a support system or transitional process is often like leaning on a rubber crutch. It offers the least benefit to people who have difficulty standing on their own two feet. Yes, some people find this is the only way they can "make the break." But in that case, what looks like an act of autonomy and growth is really pseudo-maturity--which actually interferes with personal development while masquerading as the real thing.

The bottom line: If you've got to go, use different advice for extramarital affairs than you do for your credit cards: "Make sure you leave home without one."
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on September 05, 2011, 05:12:30 AM
A very poignant article of the effects of divorce:

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Trustandlove on September 05, 2011, 10:55:47 AM
I like those....  unsurprisingly.

And even though I've been in this for so long I STILL feel like sending them to H.  A couple of years ago I probably would have done it, actually.....    but of course I won't.

I particularly like the line about us "deserving to be happy" (yes), and the idea that that CAN be done within the marriage. 

It wouldn't surprise me if I did use that with H at some point; what will be different this time is that I will wait for the proper time (if ever), rather than just trying to work it in as soon as I could.


Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on September 15, 2011, 11:43:55 AM

In one of our Daily Newspapers yesterday and though it would be worth adding to this thread ....
B x

http://goo.gl/lj29c (ftp://goo.gl/lj29c)


Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Stillpraying on September 24, 2011, 06:36:27 AM
"During their marriages, these men developed the equivalent of a self-object transference with their wives, in which they re-experienced earlier, unsatisfied developmental needs such as the need for mirroring, merging, and holding (tension regulating). All marriages have aspects of these need requirements within the couple, but where the self is defective, these needs are greater and there is a greater hunger to have them met. These men used work to cover up this primary defect in the self. They attempted to realize their ambitions and compensate for the defect in this way. The spouses were not up to the almost impossible task of empathic attunement required by these men, to provide the reparative experience they needed".

I really understood the part of the article above.  Before I knew anything about MLC.  Before my first BD, I felt this 'pressure' and expectation from H.  I couldn't understand it but it was like I could never make him happy and he was always asking for more affirmation and affection.  Before he left I actually asked him what did he want in terms of affection and he couldn't answer.  When he was sick, I felt like he was treating me as his mother.  Wanting heaps of hugs and reassurance.  He would get very moody if he was missing attention.  I have 4 young children and he didn't have broken legs, but would still be in bed all day. (not man-flu)

He played the drums and does it very well.  I like listening to him. However, each time he'd play in church, he'd come back and sit down next to me and ask how he sounded and did I notice the mistake he made.....  I would answer it sounded great and no, didn't notice the mistake.  What I was thinking though was "H, I keep telling you, you are a great drummer.  That you have a gift for it (self taught).  Why do you keep asking me every time you play?  Wasn't I the person who encouraged you to play in church in the first place when you thought you weren't good enough????"

Even just after BD, he said he needed to praise himself because no body else did.  I countered that comment by letting him know that I praised him about work he did on installing our shower just a few days before but it seems to never sink in.

I don't think I could ever fill his need for affirmation and affection.

Here's another link that ties in with this theme:

The difference in the bigger part of the article is that my H was not successful at school.  However, he did manage to keep employment without rising to executive status.  He has had many lower paid jobs, but always employed, even self employed for 7 years now.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Synicca on September 24, 2011, 07:09:09 AM

hmmmm...now that I think of it, I would constantly praise my H for his abilities...He also plays drums..:)
Self taught as well...and he does it very well....Everything he has ever tried or done, he always asked me what I
thought...How he did...When he would struggle at work...I would always tell him that I believed he could do anything
that he put his mind too....That I believed in him...that I knew he would make it work..Complete faith in him.

But, when it came to affection...he would say I never gave him enough...but yet when I tried to pursue him..
(get him in bed) he would turn me down.....then at BD telling me I never tried  :o

my H was/is a big baby when it comes to being Ill..he would want me to take care of him...treat him like a child.
but, when I was sick...I still had to take care of everything else....If he had some little cold he would think he was dying..

I think in my case...my H has severe self esteem issues and needed praise and ego stroking to feel better about himself.
I hope he realises happiness comes from within...I cant make him happy. On some level he knows that know and has
mentioned it in the last year....
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: With Gods Help! on September 24, 2011, 08:33:50 AM
This article is quite long but i tried to copy the download address however it wouldn’t allow me to......its quite informative xxxxxxxxxx

This article is due to be published in Human Relations.

In this paper, attention is paid to a dysfunctional emotional behavior pattern whereby
individuals experience very little (or a total absence of) pleasure. Instead, there is a
feeling of emotional numbness. Although this phenomenon touches all parts of life, this
paper focuses on the organizational context. For some executives, the stresses and
strains of midlife (including stresses involving career issues) become the catalyst for
this dysfunctional emotional behavior. Their reactions are of a quasi-alexithymic and
anhedonic nature. Some of the characteristics of this dysfunctional emotional pattern
are delineated in these pages. In addition, the related experience of depersonalization is
highlighted. Some of the factors that contribute to these kinds of phenomena are
explored. At the end of the paper, a number of recommendations for dealing with these
difficulties are given.
KEY WORDS: Midlife crisis; emotion; passion; anhedonia; alexithymia;
depersonalization; isolation; withdrawal; manic defense; generativity.
Organizational Sleepwalkers
-3 -
By passions I mean appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy,
friendly feelings, hatred, longing, emulation, pity, and in
general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain.
The passions are the gates of the soul.
—Baltasar Gracian-
Man is only great when he acts from the passions.
—Benjamin Disraeli
Given that midlife is a time of reassessment, and given the power many executives
wield at this point in their life—the influence they have on their organizations—what
are the pitfalls and hazards that individuals and organizations should watch out for at
the approach of middle age?
At midlife many executives are at the height of their powers but simultaneously
subjected to many responsibilities which can become a drain on time and energy. For
some individuals this critical period can be a time of major revitalization, the prime of
life. Others, however, have great difficulty in passing smoothly through this life stage.
For them, midlife represents a perturbing period of serious reappraisal and self-doubt.
Whether it is experienced positively or negatively, the self-questioning that
characterizes this time is a logical development in the life of an individual. As Jung
once said:
Aging people should know that their lives are not mounting and
unfolding, but that an inexorable inner process forces the contraction of
life. For a younger person it is almost a sin—and certainly a danger—to
be too much occupied with himself, but for the aging person it is a duty
Organizational Sleepwalkers
and a necessity to give serious attention to himself. After having
lavished its light upon the world, the sun withdraws its rays in order to
illumine itself (1933, p. 125).
Mdlife is a time of greater reflection, of questioning and seeking; it is a period of
increased interiority. Personal relationships and work activities, the two anchors of
emotional stability, begin to be regarded in a different light. The ways in which people
respond to these impulses vary greatly, however.
There is no escape from the conflicts of middle age. Consciously or unconsciously we
protest that there are limits to our omnipotence, that there are limitations to what life
has left to offer us. Many people cope with this well, adapting to aging more or less
gracefully. They see midlife as an important transition point from which to review and
assess the past, and make plans for the future. But not everybody responds
constructively to the transitions of middle age. For some the passage through middle
age turns into a full-blown crisis. Dante's words in The Divine Comedy (1954, p. 28)
are telling:
Midway in our life's journey, I went astray
from the straight road and woke to find myself
alone in a dark wood. How shall I say
what wood that was? I never saw so drear,
so rank, so arduous a wilderness!
Its very memory gives a shape to fear.
It was in recognition of these conflicts that scholars introduced the notion of the
midlife crisis. According to Jaques (1965), this is precipitated by the growing,
inescapable awareness of the inevitability of one's own death which awakens fantasies
of annihilation and abandonment. He noted that the resultant serious psychological
disturbance could lead to manic behavior, depression and breakdown. Erikson (1959,
1963) viewed the middle years as a time when the individual has to deal with the
opposing forces of generativity and stagnation. In other words, a person has to make
Organizational Sleepwalkers
the difficult adjustment to feeling alive through their contact with others (particularly
the oncoming generation) or risk entering a cocoon of self-concern and isolation, and
eventually suffer from a sense of psychic deadness.
For many people this crisis point can cause considerable psychological pain, with their
fear and unease stimulating the sense that they need to act before it is too late. This can
be felt as an impulse to disrupt the comfortable routines of life, to make dramatic
changes. If they fail to act now, the alternative could be psychic deadness and
stagnation. These confrontations with the self can be accompanied by great stress. For
people who find this dilemma—generativity versus stagnation—very anxiety-
provoking, getting older is accompanied by considerable psychological pain.
The stress of this experience may be expressed in many ways. People may give in to
dysfunctional, impulsive behavior, often fortified by drugs or alcohol. Some people
become prematurely old and excessively routine bound, extremely wary of trying
anything new. Others may begin to lose interest, energy, and concentration. And there
are some for whom this period is characterized by depressive reactions. Unfortunately,
none of these symptoms—these states of negativity—augurs well for a person's
For many people a major source of stress is found in midlife changes in the home
environment—children moving out on their own, for example. Relationships at work,
however, can also be major stressors. At midlife many executives ask themselves
whether they should be content with what they have achieved in the workplace or
strive for something more. They evaluate whether their original career goals match
what they have achieved to date. What sets this evaluative process in motion is the fact
that the discrepancy between aspirations and current achievements becomes more
noticeable at midlife. For some executives this process of internal questioning is quite
alarming. They may feel stuck at work and become painfully aware that time is running
out. They may have difficulty dealing with the changes in life's circumstances. Some
become frantic; others acquire a zombie-like quality. Although people in this latter
group are present at work, they appear to sleepwalk. For these people the comment of
Organizational Sleepwalkers
one wit—"The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in
the morning and does not stop until you get to the office—seems appropriate.
Thus these people, instead of adding value in the workplace, seem to be only going
through the motions. Merely spending time at work—looking at the clock and
shuffling papers—replaces being engaged in creative work. These workers lack passion
in whatever they are doing; their sense of joy, affection, love, pride, and self-respect
appears to be weakened. Strong emotions seem to be absent. There is very little, if any,
pleasure in any activity they engage in.
In this article I want to focus on just this kind of reaction—on those individuals who
no longer seem to experience pleasure in what they are doing. What characterizes this
group of people is their absence of passion. In this context psychiatrists employ terms
such as alexithymia and anhedonia. I will describe some of the indicators of these
dysfunctional emotional patterns. In addition, I will pay attention to a related
experience called depersonalization. Furthermore, I will explore some of the factors
that contribute to these phenomena. At the end of the paper, I will give a few
recommendations for dealing with these difficulties.
The material for this article is based on interviews I conducted with over 200 senior
executives. Many of the individuals interviewed were presidents or members of the
board of their companies. Most of these executives had enrolled in a leadership seminar
at INSEAD—a seminar that had as its objective providing participants with a better
understanding of their leadership style and helping them develop their emotional
intelligence. The average age of the participants was forty-five. The interviews were
structured around verbal accounts of each executive's life history, major relationships,
key events, and major organizational complaints.
Because of the nature of the seminar and the time I spent with these senior executives
(usually three periods of five days), it was possible (in contrast to more traditional
interview formats) to engage in a deep analysis of these individuals' preoccupations,
motives, drives, needs, desires, and fantasies. Because participation in the leadership
Organizational Sleepwalkers
seminar was voluntarily, most of these people were highly motivated to engage in this
process of self-inquiry.
The Challenges of Midlife
Physiological Changes
Many things—experiential, behavioral; cognitive, and physiological—seem to be
happening at midlife. Let us start at the end of that list. A major catalyst for the
transition and reappraisal process of middle age appears to be physical wear and tear.
Painful and pleasurable experiences having colored the early developmental processes,
the primacy of bodily experiences continues throughout adulthood. To paraphrase
Freud's comment that "anatomy is destiny," physiology seems to be very much destiny.
As we know all too well from having been sick, the ego is foremost a bodily ego.
Bodily sensations determine our way of relating to the external world. When there is
something wrong with the body, all other problems tend to take second place.
One subtle way of experiencing bodily changes is by looking at ourselves. For some
people the daily process of staring in the mirror is like looking at death, but on the
installment plan. The mirror is where, incrementally, the decline of the body can be
observed. And when the integrity of the body image begins to disintegrate, that process
is echoed by a string of associated mental processes.
At midlife these concerns with altered body image come to a head. The changes are no
longer dismissible. The physiological implications of aging are there for all to see—
baldness, gray hair, wrinkles, sagging breasts, a belly, glasses, hearing loss, a decrease
in cardiovascular efficiency, and a slower response time (Butler, 1989). These
transformations, making the maintenance of a youthful image of the self more difficult,
are stimuli that force people to reflect on their lost youth.
Sexuality is also an important factor at midlife. Men, although generally referring to
this issue rather indirectly, may have concerns about a decrease in or loss of sexual
potency. From midlife onward there is a gradual diminution in sexual interest, arousal,
Organizational Sleepwalkers
and activity (Weg, 1983). For people for whom sexuality has been an essential part of
identity, concerns about failing sexual performance can be devastating. To have this
part of the self malfunction can cause considerable agony. Unfortunately, difficulties in
sexual intercourse are often translated into a self-fulfilling prophecy. When a person
doubts his ability to perform, the risk of failure becomes greater. Thus by far the
majority of cases of impotence are caused by psychological rather than physiological
factors. Furthermore, two of the major contributors to impotence are excessive alcohol
consumption and excessive use of drugs such as tranquilizers and antidepressants—the
side effects of stress—rather than aging.
For women the onset of menopause can be stressful, particularly to those who delayed
having children in order to pursue a career; menopause is a forceful and unwelcome
reminder of the implications of the biological clock. For some women this change in
life is marked by depression, weight gain, tiredness, headaches, palpitations, insomnia,
and digestive problems.(Greene, 1984).
Furthermore, given the premium society puts on looks, and given that self-esteem and
sexual body image are very closely linked, a number of women become preoccupied
with losing their femininity and sexual attractiveness. Having the sense that their
youthful good looks are fading and that the time for having a child is running out, they
may experience serious coping difficulties. Although women are more susceptible to
self-esteem problems rooted in appearance, many men suffer from such problems as
well. Both men and women may resort to cosmetic surgery in order to preserve their
youthful appearance.
Changes in Social Relations
For some individuals the stability of the marriage becomes a major concern at this life
stage. If increased routine has led to a sense of ennui and tediousness, couples may
begin to wonder whether they should be content with a boring but untroubled marriage
or should look for a new marriage partner as a way of revitalizing their emotional life.
What often brings matters to a head is the sense that time is running out, that some
kind of action needs to be taken. These people feel that if no immediate (and dramatic)
action is taken to get them out of the rut, change will never happen (Bergler, 1954).
Organizational Sleepwalkers
What often sparks these kinds of preoccupations is the empty-nest syndrome—the
depression that some parents feel when their children leave home. This is not
inevitable, however. For many people the empty nest comes as a relief. Those
individuals who do become depressed with the departure of the youngest child may
have invested so much in child rearing (having found no compensating activities) that
they experience a great sense of loss when their off-spring cease to be dependent on
them. It is difficult for these people to deal with being a twosome once more. As some
marriages may have been largely maintained through the children, there may be very
little left to hold the couple together once the children have gone. In some instances
this may be a stimulus for divorce. And although such a rupture may occur late in
marriage, it has its roots in a much earlier period of life together.
Changes in male and female roles may also contribute to disequilibrium at this life
stage. Men and women often start to take on somewhat different roles as they enter
middle age. The traditional stereotypes of men being more active, independent, and
assertive and women being more passive, dependent, emotional, and nurturing may no
longer be appropriate, if they were ever appropriate at all. A gradual reversal—a
redefinition of roles, if you will—may take place. At midlife men may shift toward a
more nurturing role, while women may become more assertive (Jung, 1933;
Neugarten, 1970; Chiriboga, 1981). In some instances these changes may destabilize a
marriage. Some partners are unable to adjust to these different ways of interacting.
Furthermore, what may have been good at twenty may not necessarily be exciting at
forty-five. People tend to age at different speeds: chronological, physiological,
emotional, and mental ages are not necessarily synchronized.
In general, at midlife people experience a growing awareness of aging, illness, and the
resulting dependence on others. Friends, relatives, and acquaintances to whom one has
been close become sick or die, which is for many an ominous sign of things to come.
Some people start to wonder when their time will be up. They struggle with the idea
that it is now their turn to grow old and die. Especially devastating—because it
shatters the unconscious conviction of one's own immortality—is the decline and death
of one's parents. Such an occurrence can cause a great sense of disorientation.
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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In the context of the physical decline of one's parents, there is the further question of
role reversal. As they grow older, parents begin to abdicate their role as caregivers and
need increasing care themselves. This reversal of roles—difficult, certainly, for those
who are aging—can be a major source of stress for the younger generation as well.
Changes in one's perception of aging parents, along with one's own role-change from
"player" to "coach," have a disruptive effect on a person's mental map. It is hard to
relinquish the inner perception of the omnipotent parent of childhood, the person who
was always able to make things right. To have this situation now reversed—to have the
one who could always be depended on now depending on the "child"—can be quite
anxiety- and stress-evoking. Depressive reactions may follow, as may regressive
episodes. Hypochondriacal concerns are also common. The care of a demented relative
can be particularly stressful, often contributing to emotional disturbance on the part of
the caregiver (Morris, Morris, and Britton, 1988).
Apart from the time and energy needed to take care of aging parents, there is also the
psychological drain of seeing what is happening to them. Not all people age gracefully.
If aging is a problematic process for our parents, we wonder whether we ourselves will
age in a similar manner. Will we follow a parallel pattern, or can we be different?
Frequently, in our parents we see caricatures of ourselves.
The problem of aging parents is exacerbated by the fact that the middle-aged are often
sandwiched between their aging parents and their children. Being in that position may
imply a considerable financial burden, especially if the children are in college. For
people so situated, midlife is a period characterized by overwhelming pressures and
obligations. Various stress reactions are often the consequence.
Above all, the realization of the gradual disintegration of the body—reflected in what is
happening to one's parents—evokes very primitive forms of anxiety. The fear of death
becomes stronger. Death, which used to be an abstraction, becomes a more personal
issue, a tragic reality pertaining to the self. Time, which used to be calculated as time-
since-birth, now becomes time-left-to-live. This can stimulate an overwhelming need to
come to terms with unresolved problems before it is too late.
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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An acceptance of the inevitability our own death is one of the challenges of midlife.
Denial of this prospect cannot be squared with a realistic appraisal of life. This period
also initiates a mourning process for our lost childhood and youth, along with a
reexamination of our life goals—that greater sense of interiority described by Jung.
Changing Perceptions of Work
Given all these transitions on various fronts, midlife is likely to be a time when
ambitions become less abstract. In the workplace executives are increasingly influenced
by the constraints and opportunities of reality (Buhler, 1968; Buhler and Goldenberg,
1968; Levinson, Darrow, Klein, Levinson, and McKee, 1978; Gould, 1980); the
illusions of adolescence and young adulthood are relinquished. After all, grandiose
fantasies are the healthy prerogatives of the younger generation. At midlife executives
have to come to terms with their limitations. They should become more realistic, giving
up fantasies of omnipotence and invulnerability, with their activities rooted in the here
and now. The instrumental approach to a career--doing things now to benefit one
later—is changing. The postponement of gratification is no longer attractive or
stimulating. It is important to be able to mourn unattained goals and to accept what has
been achieved. Confronting this necessity can be very hard, as it involves abandoning
old dreams and redefining the nature of the challenges to be faced.
One of the most difficult of these to accept is the possibility of loss of effectiveness in
the workplace. With the plateauing of an executive's career—a real possibility at this
stage in life—routine sets in. For some, new learning slows down or becomes non-
existent. The excitement of exploring new things has disappeared. Life at work
becomes repetitive. A sense of déjà vu may lead to a loss of self-confidence and
For some people these transformations in the "inner theater" may lead to
Torschlusspanik (literally, panic because the gate is closing)—the feeling that very
little time is left to pursue their original dreams. Such individuals may try to ward off
these feelings by taking recourse in the "manic defense"; in other words, they may
engage in a frenzy of activities. It is a form of denial, a way of dealing with the sense
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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that time is running out, a'weapon against the encroaching sense of deadness. These
activities may take place at work, where a desperate effort may be made to achieve the
original career goals. Frenetic efforts may also be non-work-directed, however.
Nfiddle-agers may try to appear more youthful through their actions, resorting to age-
inappropriate (and sometimes even promiscuous) behavior as a way to prove their
youth and potency. Some executives become susceptible to love affairs as a way to feel
alive. After all, emotions tend to be more intense in new relationships. Such people are
unable to allow themselves to engage in contemplation; they sense that interiority
might set off thoughts of depression and death anxiety.
This "expansive mode," however—this preoccupation with doing, not being; this
illusion that there are no limit to one's abilities—comes at the cost of one's awareness
of inner reality. Moreover, given the emotional drain of this kind of behavior, its
uplifting effect may not last. Eventually, the other side of the coin will show, making
for feelings of depression and a sense of futility about whatever the person is engaged
Narcissistic individuals, in particular, begin to deteriorate at midlife. What sets this
process into motion is the fact that their charm and their good looks often wear out.
Other people within their sphere become less receptive, less willing to provide them
with narcissistic supplies. In addition, the awareness of the limitations of their
achievements may lead to feelings of envy, rage, and defensive devaluation of those
who are perceived as more successful. Envious of youth (even their own progeny) and
engaged in self-deception, they lose whatever external and internal sources of support
might have still been available. Some narcissists may become more introverted in a
world seen as devoid of meaning and perceived as hostile. Relational failures, fatalism,
isolation, and rigidity are common patterns (Kernberg, 1980).
Given the importance of narcissism in leadership development, many executives will be
especially affected by this category of midlife problems. Some executives, however,
may also have serious difficulties in dealing with the developmental tasks of this
period. Indications of such problems are the inability to enjoy sexuality, the incapacity
to relate in depth to others, emotional detachment, and a lack of satisfaction at work.
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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All these problems seem to have to have a common denominator: a lack of passion.
Feelings of zest and enthusiasm have dissipated; emotions have flattened; there is very
little, if any, pleasure. Instead, people succumbing to this sort of midlife crisis live in a
world permeated by deadness.
In psychiatry the word alexithymic is given to people who have a dead-fish quality to
their behavior—individuals who either struggle, -or are unable, to understand their
emotions or moods; they are incapable of perceiving the subtleties of mood change.
Such people also experience problems in expressing affect. The fairly recently coined
term alexithymia comes from the Greek and means, literally, "no word for emotions."
True alexithymics are individuals who feel and show no passion or enthusiasm,
individuals who have no fire in their belly (Nemiah and Sifneos, 1970; Sifneos, 1972;
Krystal, 1974, 1988; McDougall, 1982, 1989).
Identification of alexithymics is not difficult. The symptoms of alexithymia include an
impoverished fantasy life, a paucity of inner emotional experience, and a tendency to
adopt a lifeless, detail-oriented way of speaking. In dealing with alexithymics, other
people perceive in them feelings of dullness, and boredom, and become frustrated.
Winston Churchill's description of the Russian politician Vyacheslav Molotov fits this
type of person: "I have never seen a human being who more perfectly represented the
modern conception of a robot."
Alexithymics radiate a kind of mechanical quality. They appear to remain unperturbed
by what other people would find emotionally shattering experiences. A death in the
family, a partner's infidelity, being passed over for a promotion—nothing seems to
ruffle them. All experiences seem to slide down into a black hole of inexpressiveness
and blankness. They seem incapable of spontaneous reactions. Their incapacity for
empathy or self-awareness and mechanical, robotic responses to conflict amount to
psychological illiteracy. They are preoccupied with the concrete and objective;
metaphors, allusions, and hidden meanings are like a foreign language to them. They
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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have no sense of fun. They tend to negate and deny the existence of emotions. A
concentration of detail is used as a way of filling their inner deadness.
Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts trace the root of true alexithymic behavior to a lack of
transitional space in childhood. They suggest that some overprotective mothers
frustrate the child's individuality and attempts at play, not allowing the child to feel for
him- or herself The child becomes trapped in an aborted symbiotic relationship
whereby extreme dependence is artificially prolonged. Such mothers treat their children
as extensions of themselves and keep them under their constant surveillance. The
child's body is handled as if it were someone else's property; the child's natural
emotions are discouraged. The ability, to differentiate and verbalize emotions never
develops properly. Thus true alexithymics ignore the distress signals given by their
mind and body; they are out of touch with their psychic world.
This kind of behavior fits in well with many organizations. After all, few organizations
have a reputation for being places where emotional expressiveness is widely
encouraged. At senior management levels it sometimes seems as if a division of
emotional labor has taken place. Blue collar workers are permitted to express emotions
while white collar employees are supposed to be models of emotional control. It takes
a lot of energy, however, to keep emotions under lock and key for long periods of
time, and eventually, this will take its toll on an individual. Midlife seems to be the time
when this kind of wear and tear begins to show.
Thus we often see at znidlife, at the senior executive level, the regular occurrence of
quasi-alexithymic behavior. Think about all the corporate types scuttling around the
workplace—the men in their gray flannel suits, the women in their severely tailored
outfits—who make all the right noises, who seem to behave appropriately, but in
whom nothing distinctively human is revealed. They follow the rules, never rocking the
boat, but they do not know how to play. Interaction with this kind of people has a
draining quality; there is so little emotional resonance that we may wonder whether
there is anybody home. After a short while, being with them gets to be boring. One
feels like kicking them just to get some kind of reaction out of them. These people can
be extremely exhausting because of their lifelessness.
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The nature of quasi-alexithymic behavior is revealed in this excerpt from an interview
with a CEO:
I sometimes think back about the time when I was a child. I have the
image of a person full of life. I remember the tantrums I used to have as
a kid. I would scream and yell at my mother if things weren't going my
way. Not exactly pretty behavior, but at least I showed that I was alive,
that I cared. At university I remember the pleasure I experienced when
our team won a soccer game. There was this enormous feeling of
exhilaration. Even when I started working I remember temporary
highs—for example, when I was asked to set up a sales office in
Indonesia. Now, at the age of forty-seven, all these feelings seem
somewhat strange to me. It's as if they're from another planet. Whatever
passions I had, my company has taken care of them. I learned very early
on that "Don't show any excitement" is the rule here. And I've been very
good at following that rule. I know that behind my back people call me a
cold fish. I've overheard them say that I must have ice water in my veins.
They may have a point. I keep myself well under control. Doing so isn't
that difficult. Everything seems rather flat.
At home my way of interacting isn't that different. Now, with the
children gone, being alone with my wife, there seems to be very little to
say. We go through the motions. We're like two ships passing in the
Somehow the organizations where such people work encourage this kind of behavior.
And the years take their toll. Whatever life these people once possessed is driven out
of them. Such individuals may not be truly alexithymic, but because alexithymic-like
behavior is encouraged in the workplace, behaving in an emotionless way becomes
second nature to them. They conform to what their organization expects of them, and
this lack of emotionality eventually begins to stick. It turns into the real thing; it results
in a partial deadness. Whatever playfulness the person once possessed seems to be
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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gone, replaced by ritualism :and apathy. This kind of deadness, however, leads to a life
without pleasure.
The pursuit of pleasure is reflected in the Greek word hedonism. As professed by the
ancient Greeks, hedonism was a doctrine arguing that pleasure—the gratification of
sensual desires—is the highest good. This notion of hedonism led psychiatrists to
introduce a concept called anhedonia to describe the opposite state (Ribot, 1896;
Meehl, 1962; Klein, 1974; Snaith, 1993). The label anhedonic is applied to people who
have a lowered ability to experience pleasure; it implies a sense of apathy, a loss of
interest in and withdrawal from all regular and pleasurable activities. Anhedonics are
unwilling to seek out new sensations; their attentional function is diminished; they lack
a zest for life. Activities that would provide pleasure and satisfaction under normal
circumstances do not do so any longer.
Pleasure, in the context of anhedonia, can be grouped into three categories (Watson,
Klett, and Lorei, 1970; Chapman, Chapman, and Raulin, 1976). There is physical
gratification—the pleasures of eating, touching, feeling, sex, temperature, movement,
smell, and sound. Then there are interpersonal, social pleasures, being with people,
talking, doing things with them, interacting in many different ways. Finally, there are
pleasures that are neither physical nor interpersonal. Intellectual pleasures or the
pleasures of achievement fall into this category. In cases of true anhedonia, however,
these pleasures are absent or seriously reduced.
Full-blown anhedonia is a worrisome disturbance. In interviews, anhedonic people
indicate a paucity of inner life. This sort of prolonged, marked flattening of affect has
been associated with various forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia, and
schizoaffective and bipolar disorders. The nature of this connection between anhedonia
and mental illness is unclear. However, neurobiological disturbances have been
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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People in a depressed state' show many similar characteristics (Klein, 1974; Loas and
Boyer, 1993). Depressive symptoms, such as a lack of energy, a decrease in activity
level, reduced concentration, loss of appetite, weight loss, lack of sexual activity,
slowness of thought, inability to respond to the mood of the occasion, insomnia,
suicidal thoughts, and feelings of tiredness resemble some of the indicators of true
anhedonia. However, quasi-anhedonic behavior can be transient and does not
necessarily imply the life-long characterological defect in the ability to experience
pleasure that is found with real anhedonia.
Apart from depression, there are other mental states that result in quasi-anhedonic
behavior—mental states whereby an individual no longer enjoys a previously enjoyed
activity or pastime. My observations, which reveal that such behavior often comes to
the fore at midlife, support the conjecture that a contributing factor is the way people
cope with the process of aging. As with true anhedonia, what characterizes people
adopting such behavior at midlife is an absence of pleasure. They experience a loss in
the joy of living, a defect in the experience of pleasure. In its milder forms, this
anhedonic-like reaction is expressed as a difficulty in maintaining concentration and
interest in normal activities. It may also be symptomized as a steadily increasing
reluctance to take part in normal activities. People struggling in this way keep to the
minimum the effort they expend; their energy level seems to be fading. Activities that
used to be of interest to them are now of little consequence. Because boredom comes
quite easily to these individuals, their participation in activities drops off; undertakings
that continue are conducted at a minimal, desultory level. Negativity prevails.
Decisions are put off; indecisiveness becomes increasingly troublesome. Emotional
expressiveness is weakened. Sexual intercourse, if it takes place at all, gives no, or very
little, pleasure. To some extent these midlife quasi-anhedonics withdraw from "worldly
activities"; they become more introverted. They seem to be cut off from life, no longer
interested in other people. One senior executive recounted:
I realize now that the only time I've been creative—if that's the right
word to use—is when I was passionate about things. That seems now
ages ago. I can no longer remember when I had this feeling, when I
really felt alive. I don't know what's happening to me. I've lost interest
Organizational Sleepwalkers
in most things. Very little gets me excited these days. I feel very distant
from people. Oh, I put up a nice front, but that's what it is. I go through
the motions.
The same thing is happening at home. My relationship with my wife and
family has become quite ritualistic. My sex life is nonexistent. I assume
what keeps my wife and me together is sheer inertia.
This lack of interest also applies to other things of my life. For example,
I used to be quite passionate about food. No longer. I don't much care
what I eat these days. The same thing with reading. It used to be one of
my favorite pastimes. Now my concentration isn't what it used to be. I
start reading a book but very quickly put it down, because I lose
interest. I spend quite a bit of time watching television. Maybe watching
isn't the right word. I play with the remote control. One program seems
like any other. As a matter of fact, I forget immediately what I've seen.
I know things can't go on like this. There's no pleasure in what I'm
doing. I can't keep up this facade much longer. Something has to
It is not always obvious that these changes in behavior and attitudes are taking place.
The process can be very subtle. Often, someone behaving in this manner may not even
be consciously aware of it, although subliminally they may realize that there is
something wrong. In fact, many executives whose behavior could be termed quasi-
alexithymic or quasi-anhedonic comment on their sense of feeling detached, like
observers of their own actions.
Feeling Unreal
In psychiatry the term dissociative disorders refers to a disruption of the usually
integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, and perception of the
environment (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Within this group of disorders
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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we find depersonalization disorder, which is characterized by a persistent or recurring
feeling of being detached from one's own mental processes or body (although reality
testing seems to remain intact). This disorder might be described as a feeling of
unreality or strangeness regarding the self, a feeling of numbness or death, a feeling
that parts of the body are disconnected. People suffering from depersonalization
complain about a discontinuity in physical reality, in one form or another. A central
part of the experience is their disconnection or disengagement from the self and/or the
physical surroundings. Depersonalized individuals feel themselves to be detached from
their own ongoing perceptions, actions, emotions, and thoughts. What should be
familiar is perceived as strange and unreal.
This psychological detachment from the physical environment makes for a reduction in
the intensity and vividness of experiences (Dugas and Moutier, 1911; Jacobson, 1959;
Walsh, 1975; Fewtrell, 1986; Steinberg, 1993; Cardefia, 1994). Diminished capacity to
experience emotions is an especially worrisome part of this phenomenon. People
troubled by depersonalization experience a sensation of being an outside observer of
their own mental processes (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). It is as if these
people were watching a dream or a movie about themselves. No matter what they are
thinking or doing, their participation does not seem real; it no longer has a personal
relation or meaning. These feelings of depersonalization are more common than may
be initially thought. Most people, however, will not admit to this experience without
prompting. A Swedish CEO touches upon this feeling quite well:
When I was chief executive of Dagens Nyheter [a major Swedish daily
newspaper], my collaborators started to complain about me. . . . To my
horror, I noticed my tendency to emotionally disappear in the middle of
a presentation. Suddenly I would be gone, closed, no longer part of the
surroundings. People would notice; they would become edgy, as
evidenced by the way they would cross their arms and legs; their
attention span would wander off . . . To this strange state of mind was
also added my incapacity to listen and function in company (Douglas,
1993, pp. 65-66, my own translation).
Organizational Sleepwalkers
I overheard another senior executive make the following comments:
Here I am sitting in my office. People come and go, but there's nobody
home. I hope you realize that I'm talking about myself. Oh, they don't
really seem to notice. I ask the right questions; I make notes; I make an
effort to laugh with whoever is there. They assume I'm with them, but
I'm not. I'm looking at myself doing all those things and feel strange.
It's like I'm on automatic pilot. Whatever happens, it doesn't seem to
touch me. Things seem to take place outside me; I feel quite removed
from the experience. Sometimes I look at my reflection in the window
to see if it's really me; if I'm still there. I seem to oscillate between
being part of what's going on and feeling like a spectator. If I'm in the
latter state, it's like I'm in a movie or a participant in one of my dreams
from which I can wake up any moment. It reminds me of the story of
the sage who once dreamed about a butterfly. Afterward, being awake,
he would wonder if he was a sage who had dreamed about a butterfly
or a butterfly dreaming about a sage.
As these excerpts show, depersonalized individuals experience a split between the
observing and the participating self Because bodily actions seem to happen on their
own, there is a heightening of the function of self-observation; the self can merely
observe, instead of experiencing emotions or thoughts. Although reality testing remains
intact, all experiences have an "as if' quality to them: the person feels like an
automaton, physically numb, as if bodily sensations were happening at a distance.
There is also, however—somewhere—the awareness that what is happening is only a
feeling, that one is not really an automaton.
Because of the quality of unreality and estrangement attached to personal experiences,
the depersonalized individual has the dual perception that everything is the same as it
has always been but is at the same time different, since it lacks personal involvement.
Derealization may also be present: in other words, perceived objects in the external
world may have the same quality of estrangement and unreality.
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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Depersonalization is viewed as a mechanism to mask anxiety—one that results in a loss
of affect (Oberndorf, 1950). As such, it can be seen as a primitive defense allied to
denial, an emergency measure used when the more usual defenses (such as repression)
fail. We can also view it, however, as an adaptive mechanism, a response to danger
that makes for a heightened alertness on one hand but a dampening of potentially
disturbing emotions on the other (Noyes and Kletti, 1977 One potential precipitating
factor for this strange state of mind can be the stress of the middle years, when work-
related factors may play an important role.
Passion and Work
An exploration of alexithymia, anhedonia, and depersonalization provides us with a
certain amount of insight into the kind of emotional malaise some people are subjected
to. We have seen how these processes can be viewed both as defensive reactions and
as adaptive mechanisms to assist in dealing with stressful situations—situations that
may include the vicissitudes of midlife.
As a caveat, it should be noted that it is executives at midlife, at the peak of their
careers, who are most often responsible for critical decisions in organizations. Some of
these decisions—such as downsizing, with its negative effects on other people's
lives—may take their toll in the form of stress reactions (Kets de Vries and Balazs,
1997). For some people, the combination of the stress associated with such difficult
organizational decisions and the stress of the challenging midlife transition can be
Defensive Reactions
Some individuals at midlife resort to psychological withdrawal as a way of removing
themselves from active participation in interpersonal problem solving. For them, the
outer world feels full of threats against their security and identity. They become
emotionally numb as a means of defense.
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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Others, despite appearances, are not truly emotionally numb. They give this impression
because they have withdrawn from the outside world to hide in their own private
space. In resorting to this kind of action they may appear dull and boring. The reality,
however, can be quite different, as they may have retreated into an exciting world of
the imagination. But in acting the way they do, in creating a split between the self and
the outside world, a sense of estrangement may occur. To the external world they seem
purposeless, drifting.
As we have seen, there are also individuals who resort to isolation as a way of dealing
with painful states of mind—the isolation of feeling from knowing. They may
recognize the conscious experience but its emotional meaning is no longer there.
However, this way of coping with painful reality makes for emotional numbing,
creating phenomena resembling alexithymic and anhedonic behavior.
I have also mentioned that some people, as a strategy for dealing with the unpleasant
sensations associated with midlife, engage in vigorous activity to induce sensations of
an intensity that can breach the wall of numbness. However, this "manic" way of
dealing with the stresses and strains of midlife (although much more attractive than
withdrawal or isolation) also has its problems. Manic behavior does not make for a
stable state; it is only a temporary solution. It is a kind of "flight" behavior, a way of
escaping from painful emotions. The manic's many grandiose schemes, racing
thoughts, and apparent freedom from normal physical requirements (such as food and
sleep) eventually lead to a serious state of emotional exhaustion. In the long run, this
sort of manic behavior does not make for enjoyment; on the contrary, it leads to mental
impoverishment. It is a very ineffective way of dealing with the challenges of middle
age, serving only as a postponement of the dreaded depression.
Dysfunctional Leadership Behavior
As is to be expected, reactions such as social withdrawal, loss of a sense of purpose,
and depression not only cause serious problems at home but have a considerable
impact in the workplace. Studies of leadership have shown that emotional presence—
the energizing role of leadership—is a key ingredient in successful company
Organizational Sleepwalkers
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performance (House, 1977; Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Zaleznik, 1989; Bass, 1990;
Hogan, Curphy, and Hogan, 1994; Kets de Vries, 1995). Acting passionately makes
others feel alive, involved, and motivated. Without passion, there is no inspiration; and
inspiration is essential if others are to share and enact a leader's vision and create a
high performance organization.
Another important prerequisite is the ability of senior executives to create an
atmosphere which allows employees to enjoy their work. Many of the more effective
CEOs have discovered that people work harder when they have fun (Kets de Vries,
1995). A sense of pleasure at work makes for greater productivity and encourages
playfulness and creativity. Thus the ability to instill pleasure in the workplace is an
important contributing variable to effective leadership.
Leaders, at whatever level they may be in the organization, can be compared to
psychiatric social workers: they are the "container" of the emotions of their
subordinates. One of their tasks is to provide a sense of security, trust, and confidence.
Truly effective leaders possess a kind of "teddy bear" quality. Their presence is
reassuring. They know how to create a safe and comfortable holding environment for
their employees.
Leaders with this teddy bear quality are gifted with empathy. Their emotional presence
and "aliveness" puts people at ease. They are extremely good at picking up elusive
signals in conversation. And because of their teddy bear quality their employees are
willing to do things they would not otherwise do; they will make unusual contributions.
Empathic leaders also have a strong sense of generativity. They take pleasure from
helping the next generation, as mentor and coach. They do not suffer from the kind of
envy that characterizes other people who experience difficulties at midlife. This sense
of generativity is critical for organizational learning. Without it, organizational learning
will be stifled and the future of the organization will be endangered.
Obviously, leaders in the pangs of quasi-anhedonic and quasi-alexithymic behavior,
and those prone to depersonalization, are not organizational teddy bears. Neither do
they demonstrate a passion for learning and further development. Their emotional
Organizational Sleepwalkers
- 24 -
absence is noted by those they work with. And given the power that senior executives
wield in their organizations, their negative mood states and their emotional absence—if
prolonged—can become quite infectious, coloring corporate culture, strategy, and
structure (Kets de Vries and Miller, 1984, 1987) and eventually contributing to the
organization's decrease in performance.
Love of Life
The key question is how the stresses of midlife can be transformed into a progressive
process. How can we retain an energizing role and recapture lost passion? What can
people do to maintain a sense of vitality? Regaining a love of life takes a lot of work
but we have to make it happen.
We should keep in mind that as adults our life situation is quite different than it was in
the days of childhood. When we were very young, everything was new; everything was
worth giving attention to; it was a world full of new experiences. But as adults,
retaining that sense of newness is not easy. We have to search out ways to stimulate
our exploratory disposition. A continuous effort has to be made to renew ourselves
(without resorting to manic defense solutions).
Various steps, in both the private and the public (i.e., work) spheres, can be taken to
maintain this sense of aliveness. We may not always be able to take these steps alone,
however. We may need professional help to get the process underway. Understanding
what is happening to us at midlife—that our emotions may be flattening, that we are
losing our zest for life—is not easy, given the blind spots we all have about our
character. Others may help us acquire the courage to address the issues we are
struggling with. Dynamic psychotherapy, personal coaching, and/or participation in
group dynamics seminars where feedback about personal style is part of the process
may provide us with insights into our own behavior.
Self-knowledge is the first step in the process of disentanglement from an unhealthy
situation. Thus it is imperative that anyone attempting to address midlife concerns
Organizational Sleepwalkers
- 25 -
acquire a certain amount of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995). Awareness makes
for insight about one's own motivation; and from insight, strategies can be developed
to deal with the problematic situations represented at midlife.
In private life, marriage can be revitalized when children leave home. Breaking
established routines and doing things together can be a means of avoiding mourning
the empty nest. In fact, once the children are out of the house, there may be many new
opportunities for renewal within the marriage relationship.
New relationships can be built with children who have left home as well. Parents and
children relating to each other on an adult basis can discover different interaction
patterns. Leaving the parent-child role enables parents to see their children in another
perspective. The possible new role of grandparenthood may be of help in creating these
new relationships and may come with its own satisfactions.
Making new and different friends can be a very effective therapeutic exercise. Most
people have a tendency to associate with people in the same socio-economic bracket,
in similar occupations. Mixing with people from different backgrounds can be a
learning process for both parties. Joining different organizations may be one way to
meet new people.
Some people may take a very different route. They may find excitement in starting an
affair, or divorcing and finding a "trophy wife." For many, sexuality becomes a major
avenue toward a sense of aliveness (Bergler, 1954). Not surprisingly, there is a peak in
the divorce rate at midlife (Keys, 1975). When a marriage has become completely stale
and both parties are merely going through the motions—when the partners truly have
very little in common anymore—a divorce and a new relationship may be a good way
to engage in a new beginning.
Some people may see middle-age as a good time to pursue completely different
interests or to go back to interests abandoned earlier in life. This may mean doing
something for humanitarian, political or social organizations, becoming involved in a
social cause or pursuing altruistic concerns. Time can be made now to take up
Organizational Sleepwalkers
- 26 -
different, less strenuous sporting activities or to rediscover old interests in aesthetic
and recreational activities.
In the work setting, a logical move is to set goals that will stretch us. Tackling new,
challenging tasks makes for a sense of "flow"—feelings of exhilaration about what we
are doing. Learning new things is the best way of making the most of humankind's
pursuit of exploratory needs. And organizations that put an emphasis on learning
create opportunities for creativity and innovation; they make self-improvement a
cultural imperative. To learn from experience and adapt successfully to the changes in
the business environment makes for a continuing sense of feeling alive.
Some people "do a Gauguin," an expression coined from the name of the artist who
gave up his job as a bank clerk and went to a Polynesian island to paint. "Doing a
Gauguin" means starting something completely new, making a dramatic change in
one's career. The catalyst for this is the feeling that unusual action is needed to get out
of a rut. At midlife it dawns on some people that they have chosen their career for the
wrong reasons, for example to please a parent. At this stage in their life, these people
are finally ready to make the jump and do what makes them- feel most alive, pursuing
activities that they had been interested in for a long time. To experience a sense of
renewal, to feel passion once more, they make a complete break from their previous
career and find new challenges.
Others revitalize themselves through mentoring. Getting involved in the development
of young people, enjoying vicarious gratification by sharing their disappointments and
victories, can be an exhilarating and enriching experience. It keeps the mentor young,
interested, and involved. As mentioned before, taking the generativity route also helps
to establish continuity in the organization. It institutionalizes learning and makes it an
intrinsic part of the corporate culture.
In connection with this, there is the notion that each of us has a kind of "generativity
script," our plan for what we intend to do in order to leave a legacy for the next
generation (Erikson, 1963; Kets de Vries, 1980; Kotre, 1982; McAdams, 1992). This
generativity script charts the way to attaining a kind of immortality; it lays out
Organizational Sleepwalkers
something through which the person will be remembered and which will outlive the
self. This creation can be tangible or intangible; be it a child, a book, a business, an
idea, or a good deed that becomes a statement of the self, it is a self-expression that
will be shared with others. In generativity the person gives guidance to the next
generation through parenting, teaching, leading, and/or doing things for the
community. Something of a lasting nature is done—something that will outlive death.
Because generativity promotes continuity from one generation to the next, taking that
route indicates a faith in the value of human life, a sense of hope for the future.
As someone once said, life is not a rehearsal. A major life task is to die young as late as
possible. We must do all we can to avoid being diminished by circumstances and
sleepwalking through life. It can be a daunting task—but what is the alternative?
Socrates said that "the unexamined life is not worth living" and we can equally
maintain that a passionless life is not worth living. At midlife, we must be alert to the
dangers of inertia, the tendency to detachment and emotional absence, the panicked
rush into action—all negative responses to the crises that accompany this stage in the
life cycle. We must recognize and create new sources of energy and excitement, for, as
the French writer Diderot said, "Only the passions, only great passions can elevate the
mind to great things."
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Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Flowerpower on September 24, 2011, 09:43:49 AM
Just found this thread.....OMG, we must all have the same H's, somehow he must be time travelling or the knack of being in so many place at the same time!!

"During their marriages, these men developed the equivalent of a self-object transference with their wives, in which they re-experienced earlier, unsatisfied developmental needs such as the need for mirroring, merging, and holding (tension regulating). All marriages have aspects of these need requirements within the couple, but where the self is defective, these needs are greater and there is a greater hunger to have them met. These men used work to cover up this primary defect in the self. They attempted to realize their ambitions and compensate for the defect in this way. The spouses were not up to the almost impossible task of empathic attunement required by these men, to provide the reparative experience they needed".

Even just after BD, he said he needed to praise himself because no body else did.  I countered that comment by letting him know that I praised him about work he did on installing our shower just a few days before but it seems to never sink in.

I don't think I could ever fill his need for affirmation and affection.

My H also said that I never appreciated him.....and like you all, I have done everything to please him.....and appreciate everything that he has done.....maybe too much!!

Thanks for the thread, Mermaid!!
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: limitless on September 24, 2011, 10:23:04 AM
At BD, my H said that I was always there for everyone else - but never him.

Yet, in my memory - the times that I attempted to "be there for him" - he would get angry with me and tell me to stop.  It was difficult to ever be there for him - as he wouldn't allow me to.  Yet, at the same time - he put in the "Mother" role - and, resented me for being in that role and playing that part.

It is all so exhausting when one thinks about it.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Anjae on September 24, 2011, 11:59:57 AM
Mermaid, I'm the more introverted one, INTJ type or personality. Don't know what husband's one is but he is much more extroverted and like your husband's sister manages to generate more social support for himself.

I'm the oldest of 7 (4 boys, 3 girls, I'm also the eldest grandchild of both my grandmothers) he is the younger of 7 (has an elder sister). So, theoretically I'm the one who should be feed up with the responsibility (since I'm the oldest of the grandchildren I know, since I'm a kid that one day I will have grandmother's part, the family matriarch. That does not upset me a bit. In reality, I like it.  :) )

I would praise my husband as much as he would praise me, enough. But I would not praise just for the sake of praising. He never said he did not get enough affection nor would ever turn me down. The only thing he said, after BD, was that he though I no longer loved him. But he could not explain why did he though so.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on September 24, 2011, 12:55:21 PM
I think this article is useful in understanding something of what is going on underneath. It's interesting that each of us sees different aspects that are useful, or even recognising their own childhood patterns.

I don't think grown up resilient children need to be introvert or extrovert; the point is that the have survived by substituting parental love with success. In the case of my H, he actually dislikes praise. His idea of perfection is beyond the gratitude and praise of parents and peers; it's completely internalised. He has always been extremely successful, academically, professionally, and in sports too, but this exhausts him. When he comes home, he needs to be by himself.

I'm not sure, even now, what else I could have done. I thought I gave him space, I certainly bent over backwards to take care of him, and love him, yet he felt lonely and unloved. He now recognises that he has problems with himself.

If we learn anything from this, it is about how some of our partners have deep problems that we did not cause and cannot solve. But we can understand, and love, and do whatever we need; to be responsible for ourselves, to stand, to stop pursuing.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: kikki on September 24, 2011, 04:47:02 PM
WGH - Alexithymia, Anhedonia and depersonalisation - my H is suffering from them all.

Very interesting article, thanks, although some of the advised changes in behaviours will be bandaids - divorce, new partner etc. But we all know that here on this forum ......
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: BirdSoul on September 24, 2011, 05:39:37 PM
Dear Mermaid,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. It is a great source of comfort for me to read that these men have a need for affirmation that is impossible for the spouse to provide. I am 9 mos into this and still struggle with thinking his crises is somehow my fault. This article describes my H to a T.

My H is the youngest of 3. His father emotionally and physically abandoned the family (frequent affairs). My H was in Jr. high when his father left for good (and then financially abandoned them). My H had to be the "man" of the house and care for his mother, who was raised by an alcoholic foster parent. H's mother was depressed at her abandonment (of course).  H had to get a job to help out. He was the "perfect" child. Hyper-responsible, straight-A student. Never got into trouble, never had a "normal" adolescence (parties, friends, dates, etc). Always putting the mother first. Driven and very successful at work.

I always supported and encouraged my H. I see a beauty and goodness in him that he cannot see in himself. But no matter. I could not convince him of his worth. My love was not enough to heal his pain.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: With Gods Help! on September 24, 2011, 06:00:34 PM
I think it should be all us LBSers who should be having a mlc we put all the work into our marriages did more that  a lot of mlcers ever did for the marriage yet they get to experience another life and reconcile with us if they want to later on.come on what do we have to lose lol :o :o :o :o :P :P :P ;D ;Dmaybe my h may hook with me if im in MLC we good be drink buddies and maybe something else at least we could to relate each other mmmmmmmmmmmm consider nah not a good idea lol theres got to be one sensible person standing lol and looking after the family xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mermaid on September 25, 2011, 01:41:14 AM
nah not a good idea lol theres got to be one sensible person standing lol and looking after the family xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Someone's got to be the  rock, or we'd all float away...

I always supported and encouraged my H. I see a beauty and goodness in him that he cannot see in himself. But no matter. I could not convince him of his worth. My love was not enough to heal his pain.

Birdhouse, your H does sound typical of the type described in this article, and similar to my H.

 My H has now realised that the pain and the solutions are in him. I think the quality he most appreciates in me is kindness. When I react (as I have, sometimes), he disappears; he can't take it. He was always Mr Perfect in everything, and only admitted this inner worthlessness at MLC. I always told him I believed in him, and loved him, and could see his qualities. After three years of overt MLC (there were years of depression and withdrawal before that), something seems to be changing.

I hope this helps.xxx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: LifeGoesOn on September 28, 2011, 08:28:57 AM
An interesting read on optimism, memories, happiness, and the brain.

The Optimism Bias (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067-1,00.html)

We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures. We watch our backs, weigh the odds, pack an umbrella. But both neuroscience and social science suggest that we are more optimistic than realistic. On average, we expect things to turn out better than they wind up being. People hugely underestimate their chances of getting divorced, losing their job or being diagnosed with cancer; expect their children to be extraordinarily gifted; envision themselves achieving more than their peers; and overestimate their likely life span (sometimes by 20 years or more).

The belief that the future will be much better than the past and present is known as the optimism bias. It abides in every race, region and socioeconomic bracket. Schoolchildren playing when-I-grow-up are rampant optimists, but so are grownups: a 2005 study found that adults over 60 are just as likely to see the glass half full as young adults.

You might expect optimism to erode under the tide of news about violent conflicts, high unemployment, tornadoes and floods and all the threats and failures that shape human life. Collectively we can grow pessimistic — about the direction of our country or the ability of our leaders to improve education and reduce crime. But private optimism, about our personal future, remains incredibly resilient. A survey conducted in 2007 found that while 70% thought families in general were less successful than in their parents' day, 76% of respondents were optimistic about the future of their own family.
(See the case for optimism in TIME's special "10 Ideas That Will Change the World.")

Overly positive assumptions can lead to disastrous miscalculations — make us less likely to get health checkups, apply sunscreen or open a savings account, and more likely to bet the farm on a bad investment. But the bias also protects and inspires us: it keeps us moving forward rather than to the nearest high-rise ledge. Without optimism, our ancestors might never have ventured far from their tribes and we might all be cave dwellers, still huddled together and dreaming of light and heat.

To make progress, we need to be able to imagine alternative realities — better ones — and we need to believe that we can achieve them. Such faith helps motivate us to pursue our goals. Optimists in general work longer hours and tend to earn more. Economists at Duke University found that optimists even save more. And although they are not less likely to divorce, they are more likely to remarry — an act that is, as Samuel Johnson wrote, the triumph of hope over experience.
(See if the global "happiness" index will ever beat out the GDP.)

Even if that better future is often an illusion, optimism has clear benefits in the present. Hope keeps our minds at ease, lowers stress and improves physical health. Researchers studying heart-disease patients found that optimists were more likely than nonoptimistic patients to take vitamins, eat low-fat diets and exercise, thereby reducing their overall coronary risk. A study of cancer patients revealed that pessimistic patients under the age of 60 were more likely to die within eight months than nonpessimistic patients of the same initial health, status and age.

In fact, a growing body of scientific evidence points to the conclusion that optimism may be hardwired by evolution into the human brain. The science of optimism, once scorned as an intellectually suspect province of pep rallies and smiley faces, is opening a new window on the workings of human consciousness. What it shows could fuel a revolution in psychology, as the field comes to grips with accumulating evidence that our brains aren't just stamped by the past. They are constantly being shaped by the future.

Hardwired for Hope?
I would have liked to tell you that my work on optimism grew out of a keen interest in the positive side of human nature. The reality is that I stumbled onto the brain's innate optimism by accident. After living through Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City, I had set out to investigate people's memories of the terrorist attacks. I was intrigued by the fact that people felt their memories were as accurate as a videotape, while often they were filled with errors. A survey conducted around the country showed that 11 months after the attacks, individuals' recollections of their experience that day were consistent with their initial accounts (given in September 2011) only 63% of the time. They were also poor at remembering details of the event, such as the names of the airline carriers. Where did these mistakes in memory come from?

Scientists who study memory proposed an intriguing answer: memories are susceptible to inaccuracies partly because the neural system responsible for remembering episodes from our past might not have evolved for memory alone. Rather, the core function of the memory system could in fact be to imagine the future — to enable us to prepare for what has yet to come. The system is not designed to perfectly replay past events, the researchers claimed. It is designed to flexibly construct future scenarios in our minds. As a result, memory also ends up being a reconstructive process, and occasionally, details are deleted and others inserted.
(See why happiness isn't always good.)

To test this, I decided to record the brain activity of volunteers while they imagined future events — not events on the scale of 9/11, but events in their everyday lives — and compare those results with the pattern I observed when the same individuals recalled past events. But something unexpected occurred. Once people started imagining the future, even the most banal life events seemed to take a dramatic turn for the better. Mundane scenes brightened with upbeat details as if polished by a Hollywood script doctor. You might think that imagining a future haircut would be pretty dull. Not at all. Here is what one of my participants pictured: "I was getting my hair cut to donate to Locks of Love [a charity that fashions wigs for young cancer patients]. It had taken me years to grow it out, and my friends were all there to help celebrate. We went to my favorite hair place in Brooklyn and then went to lunch at our favorite restaurant."

I asked another participant to imagine a plane ride. "I imagined the takeoff — my favorite! — and then the eight-hour-long nap in between and then finally landing in Krakow and clapping for the pilot for providing the safe voyage," she responded. No tarmac delays, no screaming babies. The world, only a year or two into the future, was a wonderful place to live in.

If all our participants insisted on thinking positively when it came to what lay in store for them personally, what does that tell us about how our brains are wired? Is the human tendency for optimism a consequence of the architecture of our brains?
(See the new science of happiness.)

The Human Time Machine
To think positively about our prospects, we must first be able to imagine ourselves in the future. Optimism starts with what may be the most extraordinary of human talents: mental time travel, the ability to move back and forth through time and space in one's mind. Although most of us take this ability for granted, our capacity to envision a different time and place is in fact critical to our survival.

It is easy to see why cognitive time travel was naturally selected for over the course of evolution. It allows us to plan ahead, to save food and resources for times of scarcity and to endure hard work in anticipation of a future reward. It also lets us forecast how our current behavior may influence future generations. If we were not able to picture the world in a hundred years or more, would we be concerned with global warming? Would we attempt to live healthily? Would we have children?

While mental time travel has clear survival advantages, conscious foresight came to humans at an enormous price — the understanding that somewhere in the future, death awaits. Ajit Varki, a biologist at the University of California, San Diego, argues that the awareness of mortality on its own would have led evolution to a dead end. The despair would have interfered with our daily function, bringing the activities needed for survival to a stop. The only way conscious mental time travel could have arisen over the course of evolution is if it emerged together with irrational optimism. Knowledge of death had to emerge side by side with the persistent ability to picture a bright future.

The capacity to envision the future relies partly on the hippocampus, a brain structure that is crucial to memory. Patients with damage to their hippocampus are unable to recollect the past, but they are also unable to construct detailed images of future scenarios. They appear to be stuck in time. The rest of us constantly move back and forth in time; we might think of a conversation we had with our spouse yesterday and then immediately of our dinner plans for later tonight.

But the brain doesn't travel in time in a random fashion. It tends to engage in specific types of thoughts. We consider how well our kids will do in life, how we will obtain that sought-after job, afford that house on the hill and find perfect love. We imagine our team winning the crucial game, look forward to an enjoyable night on the town or picture a winning streak at the blackjack table. We also worry about losing loved ones, failing at our job or dying in a terrible plane crash — but research shows that most of us spend less time mulling over negative outcomes than we do over positive ones. When we do contemplate defeat and heartache, we tend to focus on how these can be avoided.
(See 20 ways to get and stay happy.)

Findings from a study I conducted a few years ago with prominent neuroscientist Elizabeth Phelps suggest that directing our thoughts of the future toward the positive is a result of our frontal cortex's communicating with subcortical regions deep in our brain. The frontal cortex, a large area behind the forehead, is the most recently evolved part of the brain. It is larger in humans than in other primates and is critical for many complex human functions such as language and goal setting.

Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, we recorded brain activity in volunteers as they imagined specific events that might occur to them in the future. Some of the events that I asked them to imagine were desirable (a great date or winning a large sum of money), and some were undesirable (losing a wallet, ending a romantic relationship). The volunteers reported that their images of sought-after events were richer and more vivid than those of unwanted events.

This matched the enhanced activity we observed in two critical regions of the brain: the amygdala, a small structure deep in the brain that is central to the processing of emotion, and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC), an area of the frontal cortex that modulates emotion and motivation. The rACC acts like a traffic conductor, enhancing the flow of positive emotions and associations. The more optimistic a person was, the higher the activity in these regions was while imagining positive future events (relative to negative ones) and the stronger the connectivity between the two structures.
(See "Do We Need $75,000 a Year to Be Happy?")

The findings were particularly fascinating because these precise regions — the amygdala and the rACC — show abnormal activity in depressed individuals. While healthy people expect the future to be slightly better than it ends up being, people with severe depression tend to be pessimistically biased: they expect things to be worse than they end up being. People with mild depression are relatively accurate when predicting future events. They see the world as it is. In other words, in the absence of a neural mechanism that generates unrealistic optimism, it is possible all humans would be mildly depressed.

Can Optimism Change Reality?
The problem with pessimistic expectations, such as those of the clinically depressed, is that they have the power to alter the future; negative expectations shape outcomes in a negative way. How do expectations change reality?

See how negative thinking affects your health.

To answer this question, my colleague, cognitive neuroscientist Sara Bengtsson, devised an experiment in which she manipulated positive and negative expectations of students while their brains were scanned and tested their performance on cognitive tasks. To induce expectations of success, she primed college students with words such as smart, intelligent and clever just before asking them to perform a test. To induce expectations of failure, she primed them with words like stupid and ignorant. The students performed better after being primed with an affirmative message.

Examining the brain-imaging data, Bengtsson found that the students' brains responded differently to the mistakes they made depending on whether they were primed with the word clever or the word stupid. When the mistake followed positive words, she observed enhanced activity in the anterior medial part of the prefrontal cortex (a region that is involved in self-reflection and recollection). However, when the participants were primed with the word stupid, there was no heightened activity after a wrong answer. It appears that after being primed with the word stupid, the brain expected to do poorly and did not show signs of surprise or conflict when it made an error.
(See how playing the part of an optimist can help your health.)

A brain that doesn't expect good results lacks a signal telling it, "Take notice — wrong answer!" These brains will fail to learn from their mistakes and are less likely to improve over time. Expectations become self-fulfilling by altering our performance and actions, which ultimately affects what happens in the future. Often, however, expectations simply transform the way we perceive the world without altering reality itself. Let me give you an example. While writing these lines, my friend calls. He is at Heathrow Airport waiting to get on a plane to Austria for a skiing holiday. His plane has been delayed for three hours already, because of snowstorms at his destination. "I guess this is both a good and bad thing," he says. Waiting at the airport is not pleasant, but he quickly concludes that snow today means better skiing conditions tomorrow. His brain works to match the unexpected misfortune of being stuck at the airport to its eager anticipation of a fun getaway.

A canceled flight is hardly tragic, but even when the incidents that befall us are the type of horrific events we never expected to encounter, we automatically seek evidence confirming that our misfortune is a blessing in disguise. No, we did not anticipate losing our job, being ill or getting a divorce, but when these incidents occur, we search for the upside. These experiences mature us, we think. They may lead to more fulfilling jobs and stable relationships in the future. Interpreting a misfortune in this way allows us to conclude that our sunny expectations were correct after all — things did work out for the best.

Silver Linings
How do we find the silver lining in storm clouds? To answer that, my colleagues — renowned neuroscientist Ray Dolan and neurologist Tamara Shiner — and I instructed volunteers in the fMRI scanner to visualize a range of medical conditions, from broken bones to Alzheimer's, and rate how bad they imagined these conditions to be. Then we asked them: If you had to endure one of the following, which would you rather have — a broken leg or a broken arm? Heartburn or asthma? Finally, they rated all the conditions again. Minutes after choosing one particular illness out of many, the volunteers suddenly found that the chosen illness was less intimidating. A broken leg, for example, may have been thought of as "terrible" before choosing it over some other malady. However, after choosing it, the subject would find a silver lining: "With a broken leg, I will be able to lie in bed watching TV, guilt-free."
(See how self-help can stop negative thoughts.)

In our study, we also found that people perceived adverse events more positively if they had experienced them in the past. Recording brain activity while these reappraisals took place revealed that highlighting the positive within the negative involves, once again, a tête-à-tête between the frontal cortex and subcortical regions processing emotional value. While contemplating a mishap, like a broken leg, activity in the rACC modulated signals in a region called the striatum that conveyed the good and bad of the event in question — biasing activity in a positive direction.

It seems that our brain possesses the philosopher's stone that enables us to turn lead into gold and helps us bounce back to normal levels of well-being. It is wired to place high value on the events we encounter and put faith in its own decisions. This is true not only when forced to choose between two adverse options (such as selecting between two courses of medical treatment) but also when we are selecting between desirable alternatives. Imagine you need to pick between two equally attractive job offers. Making a decision may be a tiring, difficult ordeal, but once you make up your mind, something miraculous happens. Suddenly — if you are like most people — you view the chosen offer as better than you did before and conclude that the other option was not that great after all. According to social psychologist Leon Festinger, we re-evaluate the options postchoice to reduce the tension that arises from making a difficult decision between equally desirable options.

In a brain-imaging study I conducted with Ray Dolan and Benedetto De Martino in 2009, we asked subjects to imagine going on vacation to 80 different destinations and rate how happy they thought they would be in each place. We then asked them to select one destination from two choices that they had rated exactly the same. Would you choose Paris over Brazil? Finally, we asked them to imagine and rate all the destinations again. Seconds after picking between two destinations, people rated their selected destination higher than before and rated the discarded choice lower than before.

The brain-imaging data revealed that these changes were happening in the caudate nucleus, a cluster of nerve cells that is part of the striatum. The caudate has been shown to process rewards and signal their expectation. If we believe we are about to be given a paycheck or eat a scrumptious chocolate cake, the caudate acts as an announcer broadcasting to other parts of the brain, "Be ready for something good." After we receive the reward, the value is quickly updated. If there is a bonus in the paycheck, this higher value will be reflected in striatal activity. If the cake is disappointing, the decreased value will be tracked so that next time our expectations will be lower.

In our experiment, after a decision was made between two destinations, the caudate nucleus rapidly updated its signal. Before choosing, it might signal "thinking of something great" while imagining both Greece and Thailand. But after choosing Greece, it now broadcast "thinking of something remarkable!" for Greece and merely "thinking of something good" for Thailand.
(See pictures of couples in love.)

True, sometimes we regret our decisions; our choices can turn out to be disappointing. But on balance, when you make a decision — even if it is a hypothetical choice — you will value it more and expect it to bring you pleasure.

This affirmation of our decisions helps us derive heightened pleasure from choices that might actually be neutral. Without this, our lives might well be filled with second-guessing. Have we done the right thing? Should we change our mind? We would find ourselves stuck, overcome by indecision and unable to move forward.

The Puzzle of Optimism
While the past few years have seen important advances in the neuroscience of optimism, one enduring puzzle remained. How is it that people maintain this rosy bias even when information challenging our upbeat forecasts is so readily available? Only recently have we been able to decipher this mystery, by scanning the brains of people as they process both positive and negative information about the future. The findings are striking: when people learn, their neurons faithfully encode desirable information that can enhance optimism but fail at incorporating unexpectedly undesirable information. When we hear a success story like Mark Zuckerberg's, our brains take note of the possibility that we too may become immensely rich one day. But hearing that the odds of divorce are almost 1 in 2 tends not to make us think that our own marriages may be destined to fail.
(See "A Primer for Pessimists.")

Why would our brains be wired in this way? It is tempting to speculate that optimism was selected by evolution precisely because, on balance, positive expectations enhance the odds of survival. Research findings that optimists live longer and are healthier, plus the fact that most humans display optimistic biases — and emerging data that optimism is linked to specific genes — all strongly support this hypothesis. Yet optimism is also irrational and can lead to unwanted outcomes. The question then is, How can we remain hopeful — benefiting from the fruits of optimism — while at the same time guarding ourselves from its pitfalls?

I believe knowledge is key. We are not born with an innate understanding of our biases. The brain's illusions have to be identified by careful scientific observation and controlled experiments and then communicated to the rest of us. Once we are made aware of our optimistic illusions, we can act to protect ourselves. The good news is that awareness rarely shatters the illusion. The glass remains half full. It is possible, then, to strike a balance, to believe we will stay healthy, but get medical insurance anyway; to be certain the sun will shine, but grab an umbrella on our way out — just in case.

Adapted from The Optimism Bias, by Tali Sharot. Copyright © 2011 Tali Sharot. Reprinted with permission of Pantheon Books, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.

Sharot is a research fellow at University College London's Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Dandy Lion on September 28, 2011, 09:49:14 AM
During the Midlife Affair

The truth is sometimes the midlife affair has to happen. Too much tension exists or the need for freedom is so strong that a person finds themselves in a relationship with another person. Part of this attraction comes out from that fact all new relationships are relatively judgement free still. New relationships are fresh, this opens up new experiences and kick starts the exploration of life again. The pull to live again is very irresistible. The pull to be with a person that doesn’t limit one down with judgements or measurement is intoxicating.

The only problem is this: having started a new relationship by breaking trust, this also sows the seeds of hidden judgements, judgements that will grow and circle back around to slowly eat away at your choices. A person can run only so far before having to start dealing with the very issues that created the previous set of relationship problems eating away at the earlier relationship.

The first few months of any affair is magical, but at some point judgement and past patterns will creep back into the situation to cause most people to repeat the seeds of crisis they were running away from.

Post Midlife Affair

At some point, events catch up to a person and their relationship. Most people fall back to the common tools taught to them by society to handle the after effects of an affair: anger, judgement, hate, despair, feeling wronged and feeling morally right…

Conflict accomplishes nothing, and in the end judgement results in conflict.

The truth is this:

    The whole midlife affair ends up actually being inconsequential. Most people living fresh from the results of the affair won’t believe this statement. But it is true. What truly matters is this: What did you learn and how did you use the situation to grow from?

If you focus on the affair, you then get stuck in the past and judgements which limit how you can grow from the situation. Learn from the affair but don’t focus upon it either. The affair is a stepping stone towards a better life for everyone, if used as a stepping stone. For most people affairs become swamps of despair. Such a place is not a place worth living within.

Many people waste the experience to hate or regrets. Hate is a very sad limited way to hold an experience. Hate allows no room for growth. In fact, hate dissolves the heart away, it eats a person away until they are left with nothing. Those resorting to hate often will fall prey to depression and slowly pull away from others.

No this whole process means being brave enough to stand up and learn from the experience. To be willing to live life honestly and not hiding away from others.

The Real Truth about Midlife Affairs

This is a very delicate case by case situation that most of the time will not be resolved smoothly without outside assistance. The truth is once the affair happens, the marriage is officially broken. The fundamental value of trust that a marriage is based upon is broken and will never again be the same.

But here is the secret:

    Mid life transformation is all about starting a new life. You and your partner are in mid life transformation. This means it’s possible to start and build a fresh new trust between partners, to create a whole new relationship, since you both are in transformation!

The process runs like this

    Remove judgement. No one is guilty.
    Release the Relationship. (All relationships)
    A new friendship is beginning.
    Work with kindness.
    Help each other grow
    In time, if love reignites then remarry, if not then help each other move on

Is this easy? No it isn’t. The over whelming response of our society is to push guilt, to force relationships and want answers right away. Yet the mid life transformation process takes roughly two years to grow within. It takes time to grow and find one’s nature.

But to those who take the time:

    This is literally becomes a magical process,

    truly the stuff of stories everyone else reads about and wishes would happen to them.

The only trouble is this, reading a story with a happy ending is fast and quick and takes no effort.

To live the happy ending is a slow process requiring patience, it means making mistakes and growing from those mistakes. It’s lots of hard effort which very few people are willing to do in a society where everything is consumed and expected to happen by miracles and pills…

Finally and most importantly:

Be Brave.

Hiding from an midlife affair or truth only diminishes you in this process.

Be Brave: so you can live your life and grow.

Right now, it won’t seem possible that the whole affair issue can ever resolve out gracefully, but having work with many people, all my clients say the same thing, they would go thru the process again: because it allowed them to truly live again, honestly and completely as themselves! In other words, many relationships have become a prison from judgements and that is where the affair comes into the picture. In this process, we free those involved to live to heart, without judgement. The whole affair literally just becomes a past story to be shed as each person transforms into a newer wiser person.


    Shed it or have it shred you.

Many people reading this are probably feeling shredded by the thoughts of an affair…The shredding feeling is your soul eroding away. Stand up and live your life.. or watch it erode away in pain.

It really is a personal choice. Sadly most people in this culture choose the painful path, only because they haven’t been shown another way. This article is to help show, there is a better path that does work.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: LifeGoesOn on October 02, 2011, 11:21:34 AM
This is not about MLC, but I found it interesting in my explorations and Self Focus:

"Hold Me Tight" by Dr. Sue Johnson

June 1st, 2010

Is it natural for human beings to live a monogamous existence? When I ask this question, people look at me with surprise and answer derisively. A colleague from Europe tells me, “Oh, no-one is getting married these days. They are just so discouraged. What is the point? Monogamy is unrealistic, impossible.” My friend mutters, “It’s about time we gave up on that one! It’s a myth.” So when I am asked this very question by a television host, I take a very deep breath before I answer, “YES. I think we are naturally monogamous.” You can hear jaws dropping everywhere. Cynicism wins hands down. And yet we still glory in the ideal of monogamy. We spend fortunes on whiter than white weddings and act much of the time like the 90% of teenagers in a recent study, who affirm that they hope to marry and remain with the same partner till death do them part! Are we deliberately delusional and setting ourselves up for heartbreak and failure?

The easiest rock to sling at the big M word is that the media is awash with news about people having affairs. Brief sexual dalliances do indeed occur in nearly all socially monogamous animals like the grey wolf or great northern loons who nevertheless prefer to mate and bond with one partner at a time. In our species, some surveys have wildly exaggerated the occurrence of affairs. Reliable studies suggest that around 25% of men and 11% of women will end up in bed with someone other than their partner at some point in their lives. The mundane fact that most of us do not have affairs is overshadowed by titillating public stories of intrigue and deception.

A more basic argument against monogamy is the theory that affairs are, in fact, inevitable precisely because sex is the most powerful instinct of all. Men in particular, as this theory goes, are sex addicts at heart. Given any opportunity at all, they are wired by evolution to pass on as many of their genes as possible and so achieve a kind of immortality. Oh please! This is a long way from more mundane motivations whispered in the pick up lines that I can remember. Having worked with and researched distressed couples for 30 years, I am more convinced by the view that most affairs are the result either of unbearable loneliness that happens when we don’t know how to make love work, or of preemptive attempts to grab at a loving monogamous bond when the one we are in seems to be dying and taking us with it.

The second apparent nail in the coffin of monogamy is that we do indeed divorce. About a third or more of us (and yes, the rate is going down in North America) don’t make it to the “death do us part” bit, especially if you marry young. But so called serial monogamy is still monogamy, even if, like everything else, it’s not absolute and for all time. I think the divorce rates simply mean that most of us just don’t know how to get it right – we don’t understand how to create a strong loving bond. We try desperately to dance a love-you-forever tango often without ever having even seen the steps! As a couple therapist, I see how intently invested partners are in this struggle on a daily basis. And when we fail, most often we find another partner and keep right on trying!

There are other arguments against monogamy. One is that polygamy dominates in many cultures. Romantic love, however, seems to exist everywhere and given half the chance, rears up and takes over. When people have a choice and do not have to marry out of fear or just to survive, they marry for love. They choose to bond with a special other. But, some naturalists say, only 7% of mammals are socially monogamous. My response is, “Yes and we are one of those 7%”. It is accepted by scientists that 90% of birds are monogamous, even though birds, like seagulls, have about a 25% divorce rate. The arguments are probably different in seagull couples though. They might go, “That stick you found does not go with the feng shui tone of this nest”. Some animals are actually better at monogamy than us! The pygmy marmoset is faithful, dedicated, and shares symptoms of pregnancy with his lady. The Californian mouse is socially and sexually monogamous and this matters; if the babies aren’t cuddled constantly by Mr. Mouse they don’t make it.

Now we come to the reasons for my belief that monogamy, based on deep bonds of romantic love, is natural for humans. First, monogamy shows up in animals who invest time and work in rearing their kids and dealing with survival challenges. Beavers work as a team to rear young, build dams and gather food. They have to coordinate their movements, synchronize efforts, and read each other’s cues. They depend on each other, and this is an important word, depend.

The second and most potent argument for monogamy is that we are wired for it! A huge part of our brain is designed not just for social group interaction but for the intimate synchrony of emotional connection and bonding. The pacing, the give and take, the tuning in, the adapting to the other’s emotional cues between parents and infants and between adult lovers, are all about bonding. The main message of the new science of adult bonding is that the instinct to reach, connect and rely on loved ones is primary, more fundamental even than sex. Monogamous mammals like us have special cuddle hormones like oxytocin or OT – the so called molecule of monogamy. It turns off stress hormones, turns on reward centers, and fills us with calm contentment and well-being. OT is released at orgasm and even when simply thinking of our partner! When primed with this hormone, our brains find it easier to tune into another person and read intentions. When scientists increase OT in little monogamous prairie voles, they cuddle more and mate less. When they block OT, they mate but don’t cuddle. Our brains are wired for a certain kind of connection with those we depend on. As the Dali Lama suggests, human affection is the one indispensable necessity in life.

We are bonding animals who live best in the shelter offered by another’s love. An attachment bond is persistent. Once made, it is specific to another “irreplaceable” person. Once we are bonded, we seek out closeness with our loved one and we are deeply distressed at emotional or physical separation. We seek comfort and a sense of security with this person. We can have more than one bond of course. But for most of us, there is a hierarchy of one or two loved ones, and our sexual partner is usually at the top of the list. We are emotionally invested in these relationships and they penetrate key aspects of our lives. These bonds have incredible survival value. We are healthier, happier, psychologically stronger, and we live longer when we are close and connected. This deep desire to matter to another, to be able to turn to another as a safe haven, gets lost in our culture of mine, me and myself. We forget to mention that being the best you can be inevitably involves being connected to somebody else! We are not meant for so called self-sufficiency and the emotional isolation that comes with it.

Behind the sappy romantic novels and sentimentality associated with love is a bred-in-the-bone longing. It is wired into our mammalian brain. This is why, even though we might get distracted into a one night sexual adventure, we still fight to connect and to hold onto our love relationships. Our most natural and longed for state is a strong, nurturing monogamous pair bond and on this bond we base our families.

The real issue here is that when we fail the monogamy test it is most often because we have no blueprint, no map for loving connection. Science now offers us such a map. Until very recently, we have not known what the bond of love, the basis of successful monogamy, is all about and how to shape it. Lets see how good monogamy can be now that we know how to love.

Dr. Sue Johnson – Alliant International University, San Diego, USA & University of Ottawa, Canada

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Still on October 04, 2011, 06:02:51 AM
Some interesting articles:

- Couples: Look harder at the reasons for your split
- Divorcing couples open to second chances
Sharon Jayson
Sept 29, 2011

They were a few steps shy of divorce, separated and working out child custody, when Rick DeRosia of Hartford, N.Y., realized he wasn't so sure he really wanted a divorce.

He says his 16-year marriage had been shaky before the separation in 2009, when he told his wife, Tina, he wanted out. Their son and daughter were 13 and 11. And life in the midst of recession was also taking a toll.

"There wasn't any one event," says Rick DeRosia,  42. "It was several things over the years that started a downhill slide that never really came back up."

Divorce "was not really what I wanted," says Tina DeRosia, 38, but she thought he did.  "I felt moving on was what I needed to do, but …  should we try to do more? I thought about the effect it would have on my children."

The DeRosias, like so many couples, were teetering on the brink of divorce. The angst of such a major decision is very real. But little is known about how people actually decide — or why, like the DeRosias, they sometimes change their minds. New research offers the first inklings of understanding — and shows that there's uncertainty even among couples who have already filed for divorce.

Adding to the confusion is the financial reality that a split is expensive. Census data released last week  suggest that the economy has indeed caused a dip in divorce. Some experts predict a divorce explosion when the economy improves, but others say the recession may keep some together long enough to work it out.

"There's a whole lot more ambivalence out there than any of us ever thought," says psychologist William Doherty, a marriage and family therapist and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. He'll present results of his survey in Washington next month, expanding on his research published last spring.

Frank and Julie LaBoda of Cross Plains, Wis., were just weeks from a divorce decree that would have ended the marriage that began Aug. 7, 1992. "All that fun stuff was gone," says Frank LaBoda, 46, a transportation operations manager, who says his wife was so busy with the kids that he started spending more time with the guys. Then he had an affair and moved out for six months. That was in 1996.

"We tried to put it back together after the affair, but it was ugly," says Julie LaBoda, 44, a dental assistant.

Two years later, she filed for divorce, and they separated for another six months. But they opted for a last-ditch marriage weekend that they say saved their relationship.

'Forgiveness and hope'

"We found out that forgiveness and hope was possible and that people can and do change. We saw real-life examples of people who shared stories with us. Frank changed his behavior drastically, and I'm quite sure I changed my attitude," she says. "But it was a process to get through it — a good, solid two to five years." In 2000, they had a third child; their fourth daughter was born in 2002.

Doherty's survey of 2,484 parents who filed for divorce in Minnesota offers new insight into how people decide whether to call it quits or try again. About a quarter of those surveyed thought there was still hope for the marriage; in 12% of a subset of 329 couples, both partners independently indicated interest in reconciliation.

Additional surveys in 2009-10 of 886 Minnesotans who filed for divorce dug deeper into contributing factors. "Growing apart" was the top reason, cited by 55%, followed by "not able to talk together" (53%). Infidelity was cited by 34%, the same percentage who cited "not enough attention."

Doherty says lack of attention from one's spouse and in-law problems were among reasons associated with partners thinking the marriage could be saved. Also, infidelity wasn't a factor in whether  someone was open to reconciliation, he says. . . . .

Doherty says marriage today involves expectations of more gender equality than in the past.  "We expect so much out of marriage, but we haven't prepared people for the skills that are necessary for the kind of marriages that we want now.". . .

They went to classes to bolster communication and conflict resolution, which she says helped when their home went into foreclosure. . . . 

Every Other Weekend, a Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney  song about the kid trade-off, brought them back together, he says. "I had the song on the radio and asked her if she would take me back," he says. "I don't know if that time apart was necessary for me to realize it, but I had more fun with her that week than I had in years. I realized I wanted to try again."

USA Today Sidebar:
- Couples: Look harder at the reasons for your split
William Doherty, a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, says there are “hard reasons” and “soft reasons” couples split up.

“Is this an intolerable situation? Chronic affairs, chemical dependency, gambling — those are the kinds of hard reasons,” he says. “The person is not willing to change. They have a drinking problem and won’t get it fixed. They’re gambling the family money away and won’t get help. If somebody won’t work with you on that, then you have to go. Nobody should have to live this way.”

“Soft reasons,” Doherty says, include “general unhappiness and dissatisfaction, such as growing apart and not communicating.”

If your reasons are in this category, he says, “you probably have a lot to gain from slowing down and seeing if you can get those things fixed. The majority of people get divorced for the soft reasons that they’ll turn into hard reasons.”

Marriage is a “very high-skilled activity,” says Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist in Denver. “If your marriage is failing, make the assumption your skill set is insufficient.”

She advises couples to take a fresh look at themselves and get creative about new ways to be a better marriage partner. “Let go of their preoccupation with what the other person did that was so terrible and switch to ‘What could I do that might make this marriage work better for me?’” she says.

If you’ve been issuing complaint after complaint, “flip to only giving compliments, so you have to focus on what you like about the other person instead of constantly shooting the other person down.”

If both parties “will each take personal responsibility and focus on their own skills upgrade, the whole picture turns around. Even one person can turn the marriage around,” she says.

Doherty says people shouldn’t divorce unless “they have sought good help” for their marriage, which might include getting a second opinion. “If you don’t feel after a few sessions that you’re getting help, look elsewhere,” he says.

“As a culture, we should consider it irresponsible to end a marriage, particularly one with children, unless that couple has gone all out to get help,” Doherty says.

The full article: http://tinyurl.com/44ggz49

- Divorcing couples open to second chances
Jeremy Olson                         
September 29, 2011                                                                   
"Marriage-friendly" therapist William Doherty of the University of Minnesota has published new survey results suggesting that a surprising number of divorcing couples are interested in reconciliation.
In collaboration with Hennepin County District Court Judge Bruce Peterson, Doherty surveyed 2,500 couples with children whose divorces were pending but not finalized. After taking court-ordered parenting classes, one in four said they believed their marriages could be saved through hard work. For one in 10 couples, both divorcing spouses expressed interest in reconciliation counseling. For one in three couples, only one spouse expressed interest, according to Doherty's study, which was published in the journal Family Court Review.
A  U of M press release called this "the first time data has been gathered on divorcing parents' interest in reconciliation." Doherty's research and advocacy generally tilts in favor of preserving marriages. His last mention in this blog  <http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/127883263.html> was regarding a study that suggested cohabitation, in leiu of marriage, presented risks to children because it increased the likelihood of parents splitting up. Doherty concluded:

"In the 1960s, many family court professionals viewed themselves as having a responsibility to help couples reconcile if that was possible, or have a constructive divorce if reconciliation was not possible. This reconciliation-first approach did not survive the cultural changes of the 1970s. Instead divorce practitioners generally assume the inevitability of divorce once people begin the legal process ... While many who enter the divorce process may have made a final decision to end their marriages, those who are uncertain or are open to reconciliation deserve more attention from professionals than they receive currently."

Peterson is in the Fourth Judicial District's criminal and civil division, but previously was a presiding family court judge. The number of divorcing couples who seemed amicable during court proceedings led him to wonder if more reconciliations could be possible, according to the U of M release.
The study comes at an intriguing time. Divorce numbers dipped in recent years, as stressed-out couples tried to weather the recession. Some predicted a resurgence in the American divorce rate as the economy stabilized, but new American Community Survey data from 2010 suggests that didn't happen.
The data from the U.S. Census survey showed a rate of 9.8 divorces per 1,000 women in the U.S. in 2010. The Minnesota rate was 8.1. The rates were actually higher -- at 10.5 and 9.3, respectively -- in 2008 when families supposedly stuck together for financial survival. Minnesota's 2010 divorce rate was sixth lowest in the nation.
Sept 28, 2011
Reuters, Chicago

When Glenn Phillips went through a contentious divorce, his company unwittingly came along for the ride.

Phillips, the founder of software consulting firm Forte Inc, estimates his divorce cost him more than $200,000 - about a quarter of his annual revenues at the time - in lost potential new business and add-on business to existing clients. He was regularly pulled away from work to meet with lawyers, dig up reams of paperwork called for by his wife's attorneys, and work out a settlement, a process that took more than a year.

"It was painful, it was costly. And I wasn't particularly efficient with my team," said Phillips, who divorced in 2003. "I wasn't there to lead and direct."

He ended up settling outside of court and was able to keep complete control of his Birmingham, Alabama-based company. He eventually got the business back on track.

Despite the hardships, Phillips likely got off easy, said experts.

"The economic turmoil of divorce and separation is immense," said George Cloutier, CEO of American Management Services Inc, a consulting firm aimed at turning around struggling private companies.
Full article: http://tinyurl.com/5wu3tkg

Iris Krasnow, Huffington Post, Sept 24, 2011
Does Separation Make the Heart Grow Fonder
Iris Krasnow, Slate, Sept 23, 2011

Expert help on Emotional Abuse as well as other relationship problems.


I know many of you met Dr Alqashan at mart Marriages Conferences.  He sends news and gratitude.  - diane

Dear Dr. Diana
I am pleased to extend to you on behalf of all Kuwaiti families my greetings and to everyone who presented and attended the  Smart Marriages conferences as well as to those who contributed in your website and the Newsletter, which have had an impact on Kuwaiti Society.
Your direct and indirect help resulted in improving our marriage enrichment programs that effectively increase and improve marital satisfaction and marital communication of Kuwaiti couples. In addition, it helped in awareness-raising campaigns for  the success of marriage and reduced divorce in the State of Kuwait. The good news is that divorce fallen from 30% in 1995 to 8% in 2006 to only 3.4% in 2011 so far according to the official statement yesterday!
Dr. Humoud Alqashan
Dean Assistance for Academic Affairs & Graduate Studies
College of Social Sciences - Kuwait University

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Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Anjae on October 09, 2011, 07:33:48 PM
I liked this article about infidelity. It is not expressly about MLC, but it does discuss  that leaving marriage for an affair usually makes personal growth for the WAS impossible.

http://ojar.com/view_5441.htm (http://ojar.com/view_5441.htm)

"I've outgrown you"--sugar-coated as "We've grown apart"--is often the stated reason for the split. They may look like they're standing on their own two feet, or even standing up to their spouse, but when there's an extramarital affair going on, it only seems that way. Such behavior is a charade of independence, integrity and personal growth, not the real thing. The departing spouse isn't just holding onto a "new" partner while they let go of the other; more often, they're leaning on the new partner because they can't or won't stand up--or hold onto--themselves.

Although real efforts towards autonomy may get worked out in the new relationship, that's not often the basis on which the new partner is selected. The spiffy new relationship frequently lacks sufficient resilience and motivation to support the tough struggles of self-development and bonding. But neither spouse appreciates this while they're divvying up the household.

MAKING A HEALTHY BREAK Getting out of your marriage is one thing; how you go about it is another. Using an affair as a support system or transitional process is often like leaning on a rubber crutch. It offers the least benefit to people who have difficulty standing on their own two feet. Yes, some peole find this is the only way they can "make the break." But in that case, what looks like an act of autonomy and growth is really pseudo-maturity--which actually interferes with personal development while masquerading as the real thing. "

Thanks for sharing, Stand. I share this view, it is impossible to really grow if you jumped from marriage to affair. You are not really on your own, you need someone. The LBS will grow much more than the spouse that stayed with the affair partner.

That makes one wonder, if MLC tend to have affairs and even move from OP1 to OP2 or OP3, can they really grow until there are no more OP? I think they can't.

Still, interesting features. Found that one about divorce impacting small business quite relevant.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Silmarion on October 20, 2011, 03:52:11 AM
Uk is looking at male menopause and ML Crisis.

Here is website if anyone's interested:   

It's a concise description of MLC with the facts.   This should be used as a label/excuse for the sitch but certainly is useful to read MLC and/or hormonal imbalance. 

I personally think biological changes are underestimated in men because there has been less research in this field.  Women's are physical changes which are clearer to measure.

Sil x
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on November 03, 2011, 05:28:20 AM

The new mid-life crisis: Today's men seek their thrills on boys' own adventures. Now meet the women they leave behind

Mary Amos was looking forward to sharing the quiet comforts of middle age with her husband of more than 30 years. Their mortgage was paid off and the children grown up, so she pictured cosy evenings on the sofa, gentle weekend strolls with the dogs, and hard-earned holidays in exotic locations.
Her husband Brian had other plans, however. Which is why 52-year-old catering manager Mary now finds herself on the sidelines witnessing — with a mixture of bemusement and incredulity — her husband’s extraordinary mid-life transformation.
At almost 55, he has lost his paunch and his wardrobe is full of expensive new clothes. He has new friends and even, to Mary’s absolute horror, his very first tattoo. But if these sound like the symptoms of a classic mid-life crisis, then there’s a twist.
For instead of buying the motorbike of his boyhood dreams or finding a younger woman, Brian is one of a fast-rising number of middle-aged men who have become hooked on heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping adventure.
In their droves, men in their 40s and 50s — who have spent decades with their feet under a desk or on a footstool in front of the television — are risking limb and quite possibly life conquering the world’s highest peaks; trekking to the Poles; swimming across oceans; cycling stages of the Tour de France; going on motorcycle tours of India and Argentina; or training for the Cresta Run — as well as competing in ultra-marathons (any race longer than the standard 26.2  miles) in the world’s most inhospitable climates.
•   Leather boy Arnie! Schwarzenegger takes his bike for a spin in black chaps and a brown biker jacket
For adventure travel companies, it is undoubtedly a lucrative market.
But for wives such as long-suffering Mary, the trend for their husbands to morph into mid-life action men is as exasperating as it is bewildering.
For Brian, a utilities company manager from Oxfordshire, it all began last year with the relatively modest Two Moors Challenge — a five-day, 102-mile trek across Dartmoor and Exmoor, which raised several thousand pounds for charity.
But within two months of conquering that particular challenge, he was staggering to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, suffering from the effects of altitude sickness and anti-malarial drugs.
‘He said: “Shoot me if I ever say I want to do something like that again,” ’ says Mary.
Understandably, she thought that was the end of it. It wasn’t. ‘Now he’s going to the North Pole,’ she says. ‘It’s become a sort of addiction.’
On the many evenings and weekends she has spent alone in recent months while Brian and his friends have been cycling coast-to-coast or dragging sledges up and down their nearest beach (more than 100 miles away) in preparation for the big polar expedition, Mary has had plenty of time to ponder the reasons for her husband’s transformation.
‘I did think: Why are you doing this? Are you going to leave? What is it that you’re not getting from our life together? But now, I take a deep breath and tell myself it’s just a phase: “This too shall pass,” ’ she says with a sigh, thinking ahead to six more months of pre-trek training and nothing but North Pole talk at the dinner table.
 ‘I think we’ll get the North Pole out of the way, then we’ll have to have a serious talk before he has a chance to book the next thing.’
She insists: ‘I do understand the need for something to fill the gap when life gets a bit easier and you’re not ready for retirement, but I thought he’d join the Rotary Club.’
Yet for Brian, and growing numbers of men like him, it seems there is simply not enough chest-puffing pride to be gleaned from an evening of beer or bridge. A mid-life crisis, after all, has always been about massaging the ego, according to psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, a specialist in happiness and confidence issues.
‘Whether it takes a more cliched route — the Porsche, the mistress and so on — or this new, adventurous path, the mid-life crisis is about saying: “I’ve still got it. It’s not pipe and slippers time yet,” ’ Dr Arnall says.
Brian, whose new tattoo is a tribute to his six-strong team of polar trekkers, readily admits that, as a younger man, he imagined a very different middle-age for himself.
‘I’ll be 55 in seven weeks, and I’m doing things now that I wouldn’t even have thought about in my 20s,’ he says. ‘I don’t want to stop. Don’t tell Mary, but the South Pole is next on the agenda.’
The more gruelling the physical challenge, the better, it seems.
As Dr Arnall says: ‘Of course, men have always wanted to prove their vitality to themselves.
‘But this new form of mid-life behaviour has the added benefit of improving their physical fitness, and giving them tales to tell, instantly making them feel more attractive and more interesting.
‘When others are climbing higher, running farther and pushing themselves harder, it’s easy to be outdone, which is why so many men get hooked on ever-more extreme challenges.’
Andrew Boyle, a 45-year-old project development manager from London, admits he would never have challenged himself to climb Kilimanjaro — a popular first step for middle-aged adventurers — if his friend hadn’t done it first.
‘There’s definitely a bit of competition between us,’ says Andrew. ‘When my friend told me about Kilimanjaro, I knew right away that I wanted to do it. I thought: “Sign me up!” ’
Andrew confesses he wasn’t exactly in his physical prime, since work, marriage, and a young family had put paid his former hobby of playing football on a regular basis.
‘I’m sure my wife Tracy would have preferred me just to join a gym to shed a few pounds,’ he says. ‘But the opportunity arose to climb Kilimanjaro, and it offered more than just a chance to get fitter.’
Despite an agonising ascent to the summit after putting his back out en  route, Andrew came back down buzzing from ‘the thrill of getting off the treadmill of life for a while’.
But that was just the start of it. His sights are now set on a long-distance cycling adventure.
‘Maybe I could do the coast-to-coast ride through Cuba, or even the Lawrence Dallaglio and Andrew Flintoff ride from Greece to London next summer,’ he says, contemplating a mere 1,778  miles across Europe. (Needless to say, he hasn’t told Tracy of his plans yet).
But Andrew flatly rejects the notion that his sudden urge to be a he-man is the symptom of a mid-life crisis — though he admits the thought has crossed his mind.
‘Mid-life isn’t what it used to be. I may be 45, but I don’t feel old enough to be having a mid-life crisis,’ he says. ‘I’ve only been married a few years, my children are still young — Dominic is five and Molly is three. By the time my dad was 45, he’d been married for more than 20 years and was well on his way to his third affair by then.
‘The opportunity to be young, free and single into your 30s didn’t exist for his generation, and neither did the opportunity to climb distant mountains or trek through amazing landscapes. My life isn’t comparable.’
Nonetheless, countless adventure travel companies are tapping into what they see as the emerging ‘mid-life crisis market’ — leaving the wives back home to deal with the consequences.
As the exasperated wife of one City lawyer, whose husband morphed into a mid-life action man, told me: ‘It’s so competitive between him and his friends. ‘It’s no longer about what car you drive or where you go on holiday, it’s about how many triathlons you have notched up, or which far-flung part of the world you are heading off to for an extreme run or climb.
‘These are well-educated men who want to push themselves and push their boundaries, while their wives are left holding the baby at home and expected to cope with it all.’
That’s a sentiment 45-year-old Jacquie Cooke can sympathise with. Until his 40th birthday,  her husband Mark was more  than happy to put his feet up in  the evenings.
Little did Jacquie or their two daughters — Lucy, 19, and Holly, 16 — imagine that, over the next seven years, Mark’s one-time schoolboy enthusiasm for long-distance running would become an all-consuming passion.
‘Some men reach 40 and go off the rails — having affairs and buying motorbikes — so I suppose I got off lightly when Mark decided he wanted to run ultra-marathons,’ says Jacquie. ‘His alternative mid-life crisis may be all excitement for him, but it’s pretty tedious for us, the family he leaves behind.’
Mark has developed a love for particularly arduous races which last for days, cover hundreds of miles, and have resulted in runners’ deaths.
Once again, it was at the suggestion of a friend with a shared taste for middle-aged adventure that Mark signed up for the Marathon Des Sables four  years ago.
‘As a family, we look forward to it being over, so we can return to some sort of normality. But Mark is always wiped out and miserable. It feels like normal family life just isn’t enough for him — we’re not exciting enough’
During the race, which takes place in sweltering heat, runners battle across sand dunes, carrying everything they need to ensure their survival, while the sweat and sand flay the skin off their feet. Someone collapsed and died en route during the 2007 race.
Mark’s next challenge was the 2009 Jungle Marathon, a six-day, 125-mile race down a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil, in the company of deadly snakes and spiders.
‘We were out of contact for the whole time Mark was away,’ says Jacquie. ‘Whenever I checked the race website, I’d see video clips of runners looking like they were at death’s door.
‘I knew he’d gone out there as prepared as he could possibly be, having trained most mornings, most nights, and most weekends for months in advance. But the environment was so dangerous, I wondered if I’d see him again.’
Even when he does return home from his adventures, the anxiety continues as Mark adjusts back to his ‘normal’ middle-aged existence.
‘It’s such an anti-climax for him,’ Jacquie says. ‘As a family, we look forward to it being over, so we can return to some sort of normality. But Mark is always wiped out and miserable. It feels like normal family life just isn’t enough for him — we’re not exciting enough.’
Two years on from his last trip, Jacquie can sense that Mark’s keen to take on a new challenge. ‘That polar marathon looks like a good one,’ he cautiously admits.
And on behalf of the wives of middle-aged amateur adventurers everywhere, Jacquie heaves an exasperated sigh.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: With Gods Help! on November 04, 2011, 08:39:42 PM
I know some of you may have read this but thought i would post it anyway xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Six Stages of Paddy’s Midlife Crisis.

1. The Happy Marriage (23 years BGZ-before ground zero)

Love, youth, kids, friends, planning for the future. The usual ups and downs, but seemed to go by so fast that the bumps were not felt, the kids grew older too fast and life was good.

2. The Subconscious Struggle- Part A-No Clue (8-10 years BGZ)

I still percieved myself as being in an overall good situation. There were the usual stressors: work, teenagers, parents, bills, getting older, issues with my wife.

I kind of realized I was not quite satisfied with my life, but I could not put my finger on it. Looking back on this time I realize I was not the perfect companion, although at the time I was too focused on my own needs and struggles to see this.

I was a Dad, but still wanted to be a kid. I was a husband, but still wanted to be attractive to other women. I was pretty insecure in spite of my successes.

I was not totally satisfied, but was restless and completely unaware of the impending disaster.

2. The Subconscious Struggle, Part B-Very Slightly less clueless (0-8 years BGZ)

I was tending to focus more on issues with my spouse as the source for my restlessness. I never thought about leaving, but I began a lot of fantasizing about something different than what I had. I became more involved with exercise, music, coaching my kids (probably as a way to look for some distractions or fulfillment).

Still no thoughts of leaving, Loved my wife. Basically still clueless.

3. Fantasy Becomes Reality- Ground Zero (Tapers off over about one year)

All repressed frustration in my life seems to feel released when someone I have been fantasizing about shows emotional and physical interest in me.

The feeling is overwhelming. I imagine it feels like combining a bath in the fountain of youth, a rush of heroin reaching my brain, and the feeling of getting up on Christmas morning as a child, only better (I have only experienced Christmas morning).

I couldn’t stay away from it if my life depended on it. It was a pull so strong that came out of nowhere. It was like falling from the sky, I could only go down. When you are falling, how do you stop falling down and start to fall up?

4. Can’t Get Off the Train (or some trains do go both ways) (1-2 years post Ground Zero)-I still can’t get off

Confusion, ambivalence. I still loved my wife and my friend of 30 years. I still had the attraction/addiction to the other woman and the fantasy of another life.

Back and forth. Cortex vs Limbic system. Brain vs heart. New vs Old. Therapy, depression, suicidal thoughts, anti-depressants. The pain and hurt of my kids and wife.

I had no idea what I wanted or needed. I was still mostly blaming my wife for her role in this. If she had just changed, everything would have been different.

The pull from the other woman was like a drug (once I have started using I couldn’t stop). I could not be honest with my wife about contact with the other woman.

5. Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for landing. (Is this grand Central or Terrapin Station?)(2 years from Ground Zero to present)

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Things seem clearer. I see what I have given up and who I have hurt. I take more responsibility.

This has been about me more than my wife. I am no longer depressed.

I am slowly learning about myself and why this happened. I am continuing psychotherapy and have recently begun spiritual counseling.

My wife has been very patient and as understanding as a person can be. Although I try to separate myself from the other woman, I still sometimes break down and contact her and cannot always be honest about this with my wife. Although I feel like I am learning to be more honest.

The fantasy of the other woman is less a fantasy and less addicting.

I feel like I want to go back to my wife and family , but I need to know this for sure. I don’t want to hurt them again, and it was also very painful for me. I want to move slowly and be sure I am ready before I commit.

I want to act out of wisdom, and not fear or guilt.

6. Stepping onto fertile ground- Feets, don’t fail me now!

I’m not there yet.

If it is with my wife. It will not be the same as before, it will be better.

There will be much happiness and good, but also some sad things. I will be much wiser and will be a better companion and friend from all I have learned.

I hope to be mindful of my partner’s needs and less focused on myself. I hope to work hard to keep my new relationship exciting and romantic.

I will live in the moment and not for the future.

Thanks for listening.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Anjae on November 04, 2011, 09:14:10 PM
WGH, also did not knew this one. Do you know some stories, or have links to, of people that have spend over 5 years in MLC and how it went?

It would help my sitch if I could read some stories with people that have been longer in the crisis.Thanks.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: With Gods Help! on November 04, 2011, 09:23:56 PM

only just found it again this evening although i do remember visiting it a few months back......there is some stories there click on the link and then you will to see new and old stories if you click on them it will bring them up xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Anjae on November 04, 2011, 10:07:33 PM
Thanks, WGH. Already new the midlife club (found it before this site but prefer it here). Think I've read if not all, almost all the stories there. Must are for people that have been on the crisis 2-4 years. Think that may be the average time most MCLers take...

Still, I'm gonna check again the midlife club and see if I found something new with someone that as been on it for 5 + years.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Chrysalis on November 05, 2011, 11:56:18 AM
From the same UK paper today.

Letter to problem page.  Certainly sounds very likely to be MLC to me.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2057853/BEL-MOONEY-I-wish-husband-died-instead-walking-me.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2057853/BEL-MOONEY-I-wish-husband-died-instead-walking-me.html)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on November 26, 2011, 02:38:53 AM

2 great IMO articles -



B xx

EDIT: I replaced the redirect links with the actual links; it's not against the site policy to use link shorteners, but they're often used to hide spam links so I wanted to make sure everyone knew where they were going. -SS
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on December 02, 2011, 02:26:47 PM
Here is an Interesting One ............................

Is Your Midlife Just "A Long Slide Home?"

Posted: 11/29/11 05:19 PM ET


That's how a man in his 50s described his life to me not long ago: "It's my long slide home." He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him. I often see the "holiday blues" strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one's life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression -- especially during midlife.

For example, this time of year can intensify feelings of losses you've experienced as well as fears about change, in general. In a previous post I described how you can become frozen into a mindset and perspective that your life is fixed and will spiral downward from your middle years onward. Such a mentality restricts your vision. You can't see that it's possible -- and necessary -- to continue evolving your life, while reframing your emotional attitudes about the life changes that will continue to occur. I've always liked a line from one of Norman Mailer's novels, "It is a law of life... that one must grow, or else pay more for remaining the same."

Many of 78 million baby boomers, now in the thick of midlife, are vulnerable to feeling demoralized about their lives. For some it's the classic "midlife crisis." But for many, it's more of a chronic, low-grade fever, reflecting a range of things: Loss of intimacy with their partner, emotionally, sexually and intellectually. Regrets about what they didn't do well enough in their parenting of their children, who are now launched into their own adult lives... and in an uncertain world. Unfulfilled creative longings for their careers or for contributing to something more meaningful. A career that's flatlined, or worse -- lost altogether. Physical changes or limitations that accrue. The desire for deeper friendships as they feel increasingly sporadic and elusive.

On top of all that are the anxieties about what lies down the road for yourself and your children in this world of economic instability, political polarization, the specter of terrorism, and general unpredictability on all fronts of life. It can be hard trying to maintain sanity (assuming you know what that even looks like) while dealing with all this. It can make you wonder what the point of it all is, as a midlife woman said to me: "It's been hitting home lately that I'm going to die, eventually, and all of a sudden nothing has any meaning, anymore."

Of course, there are people whose emotional conflicts predate midlife, or for whom midlife issues trigger old conflicts that now erupt in the form of depression, anxiety and other symptoms. But most don't fall in that category. For the majority, their suffering is a product of having arrived at midlife in our culture with socially conditioned attitudes about loss and change; a mentality that doesn't allow for envisioning new possibilities within the reality that now exists. Without that vision, there's no hope. And without hope you can't learn what actions will support positive growth in your life from this point forward.

That's especially ironic, because people are living longer, with extended health and the potential for productive, energized lives. What we call "midlife" is really an outmoded term that reflects an earlier era in which you could expect to die in your 60s. But the mature adult years now cover several decades in people's minds. For example, recent surveys find that about 80 percent think "old age" doesn't begin until around 85.

So: Here are a few evidence-based ideas that can help catapult you out of the risk of suffering from midlife blues during this holiday period -- or any other time.

Continue Your Personal "Evolution"
Take note of the evidence that you can -- and should -- continue to evolve within your lifetime, especially during the so-called middle years. By then, you've accrued enough life experience to know what's worth going after, and what's worth letting go of. In a previous post I pointed out that your capacities for positive development -- emotionally, intellectually, creatively, spiritually, physically, and in your relationships -- are actually heightened, but you have to know how to use them. One example: Research finds that the brains of older people are not slower but rather wiser than young brains. That is, older adults in the study achieved at least an equivalent level of performance, based on that enhanced capacity.

Revise the Meaning of Loss and Change
What you probably call "loss" is the conventional emotional experience of change, transition and the overall impermanence of life. It reflects your desire to stay attached to and hold onto something that's ended or evolved in a different direction. It may be a relationship, your growing child, your physical state or some experience you once "had."

It can be hard to see or open yourself to the other side of that coin: that every "loss" contains a new experience to learn from and do something with. That's your karma in action. For example, if you accept that your son or daughter is no longer a young child, that opens the door to a new challenge: building a different kind of relationship as he or she grows and matures. You might not embrace that side of the coin if you're fixed on the fear and pain of letting go of what you've "lost." The key is to fully absorb your emotional experience of whatever's changing or evolving -- including sadness or regret. But at the same time embrace and feel gratitude for what now exists in the life you have, at this moment in time. This shift of perspective can be helpful to you if you've suffered a career loss or downturn, as well.

Build A Sustainable Relationship
Studies of couples who are able to maintain a highly positive, energized connection for the long term find that they learn to "forget" themselves and become more focused on serving the relationship itself. By "forget" yourself I'm referring to conscious actions that serve and support the relationship between the two of you, not just your own needs. That is, think of your relationship as a third entity, with a life of its own.

A woman in a 20-year marriage illustrated the difference when she said to her husband during a couples therapy session in my office, "I still love you, but I hate our relationship." Psychological and social conditioning within our culture teaches us to relate to intimate partners as commodities, and therefore engage with them in transactional, mercantile terms: I give in order to get. I "invest" in the relationship to receive a "return." Relationships have become another part of a commercialized, consumer-orientation approach to life.

At midlife, though, you have a greater opportunity to break through this mentality and behavior. One reason is that you've hopefully learned from some negative experiences in your relationship. Most people have some along the way. Also, it helps to note that research has found that couples who are pretty materialistic have unhappier marriages than couples who don't care as much about possessions. The effect holds true across all levels of income. And a more materialistic orientation goes hand-in-hand with the commercialized, commodity orientation to one's partner. That's a good prescription for becoming unhappy roommates, at best.

Serve Something Greater Than Yourself
It's almost a cliché to engage in volunteer activity around holiday time -- and then forget about it the rest of the year. But providing service to some problem -- through your time, abilities and efforts -- can generate renewed vitality and life purpose during midlife. It can mitigate feelings of inner emptiness or absence of real human connection. It stimulates more proactive growth regarding your values and life. Service to some issue or purpose larger than yourself at midlife often triggers a strong yearning and action to create more positive, authentic connections in your life. It can awaken you to the reality that beneath surface differences, we're all one; all organs of the same body, so to speak.

When you engage others who have it worse off than yourself, it often leads to a healthier perspective about your own life dilemmas or disappointments. That shift of consciousness increases your flexibility in the face of ongoing life changes, and contributes to your overall psychological health and resilience during the midlife years.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on December 03, 2011, 12:19:22 PM
Male Menopause

Maybe it is just that I am 49 years old and male, but I seem to be noticing that a lot of middle-aged men are killing themselves. My former patient, in his late 30s, said that half a life was enough happiness for him. My sister's friend, about 40, impulsively killed himself with a revolver after his long-time girlfriend told him she was leaving. My personal friend, a 38 year old dermatologist, is severely depressed and suicidal after his fiancée left him.

They say that older males are the most likely to kill themselves, and younger women are the most likely to make suicide attempts. What is happening with the middle-aged male cohort?

I presume it has something to do with the concept of a mid-life crisis. When I was not middle aged, I tended to think of the mid-life crisis as something faintly humorous: the balding 45 year old would buy a red convertible, maybe drive a little fast, remarry a trophy wife, and soothe his pain that way. But now that I am middle-aged -

I supposed I have to admit it now - and since most of my friends are too, I realize that it is something really dangerous, and that the pain is not like a toothache; it is more like peering down a deep well and feeling your feet giving way.

If you are lucky enough to have parents and grandparents with reasonably normal life spans, then the mid-life crisis begins to announce itself in your late 30s, and usually by your 40s, when those who meant the most to you as a child begin to die, one by one.

First, it was my aunt; she had schizophrenia. I loved her, but I rationalized her death by thinking that her life had been so painful. Then my grandmother; I loved her too, but she had begun to become distant in her later years through illness and depression. Then my uncle developed Alzheimer's dementia: he died before he died. I missed him: we used to talk about quantum physics. Then my aunt died after going into a coma after kidney dialysis: I missed her; I used to visit her in Los Angeles once a year. Now LA feels empty to me. Then my other uncle, and another aunt. My grandfather was left; I was closest to him. He kept getting ill; we kept curing him by diagnosing and treating whatever he had. We thought we had caught his colon cancer, but it came back, and last year, I spent two weeks with him as he lay dying.

After him, only my parents are left. And after them, I know that our generation is next.

That is the mid-life crisis: Being put face to face with the reality of the end of it all. And then there are the children. They seem to be waiting around to replace us. And yet they are so wonderful; the thought of leaving them makes it all even worse. On top of it all - I believe Freud noticed this - it is haunting how five year olds want to discuss the meaning of death.

Karl Jaspers, the existential psychiatrist and philosopher, talked about death as a "limit-situation" which gives meaning to our lives. We cannot avoid it; we can only live authentically if we face it, he said. Heidegger talked about Being-toward-Death; the idea that we could not live an authentic existence until we first came to terms with the reality of its end. I thought I caught the same idea years ago when a former Black Panther (I can't recall who he was; not one of the more famous leaders) came to speak to Harvard undergraduates. I happened to attend, and I recall how he must have felt odd speaking to that crowd. I don't know what led him to make this remark but I never forgot it.

He said: "Most people do not have any reason for living. They just find themselves alive and they go through the motions. They find nothing to be really important, so important that they would put their own lives on the line. They are not willing to die for anything, so they are not willing to live for anything. You want to know the meaning of life? Figure out what you are willing to die for, and then reason your way back from there."

I think that one can go through one's youth avoiding this question, but sometime, usually by mid-life, we are faced with it. We come face to face with deciding what we are willing to die and live for. And if the answer seems to be nothing, that is when the mid-life crisis itself can lead to death.

These days, Americans probably hear about Shiites only in terms of sectarian conflicts in Iraq. They come across as an ethnic group that seems to like to fight with other ethnic groups. Perhaps this is part of the problem in Iraq: we send our soldiers, who have no knowledge of Iraq or Shiism, into a place where they simply get shot. No wonder neither side makes any attempt to appreciate or value the adversary as human beings.

I am a Shiite, as are most Iranians. The leading figure in the Shiite faith, Imam Ali, lived and died in Najaf, Iraq. (His mosque, where he is buried, was the site of major battles early in the Iraq invasion). For Shiites, his ideas are as alive as those of St. Paul are to Catholics. Ali was the first person to join Muhammad in his new religion; he fought alongside Muhammad in decades of battles as the small band of original Muslims gradually took over Arabia. He killed many people, and he placed his life in jeapordy in battle many times. In the end, he was assassinated. After his death, his followers published a collection of his sermons, Nahj-ul Balagha, long considered a classic of Arabic rhetoric.

In his sermons, he frequently repeated the belief that God only fixes two days in a person's existence: the date of his birth and the date of his death. Neither are changeable. But everything in between is up to us.

Once, writing a letter to his son, he summarized his thoughts in a maxim:
"Plan for the future as if you would live forever," he said. "But live each day as if it might be your last."

I had heard this before: my grandfather repeated it to me when I was a teenager and a young adult. But now I think I understand better: Now I know that those are not morbid thoughts; those are words to live by.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: summer progress on December 04, 2011, 04:46:27 AM
Here is a great article on Moving Towards Wholeness:

http://www.lessons4living.com/moving_towards_wholeness.htm (http://www.lessons4living.com/moving_towards_wholeness.htm)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on December 04, 2011, 07:06:14 AM
Great Article Summer Progress as it centres the LBS as to the situation the MLCer is in and why?

B x
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Dandy Lion on December 05, 2011, 08:06:43 AM

Excellent articles, in fact I read every page on the site............thanks Summer for sharing  ;D
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Dandy Lion on December 08, 2011, 03:29:35 AM
http://www.peace.ca/survivalpapers.htm (http://www.peace.ca/survivalpapers.htm)

Don't know if anyone has every added this link before but I found it an interesting read.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: nlovemyfamily on December 08, 2011, 04:09:49 PM
Can anyone translate this psychological expose?  Way too academic for me to understand.  Can anyone dummy it down for me?

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Dandy Lion on December 10, 2011, 04:31:16 AM

I am not the person to ask for a translation.........I have trouble writing my own threads and that is on  good day! 

What I can give you is a link to a preview of the book.  I found the preview very interesting, in fact I am considering purchasing the book myself.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Heart to Heart on December 10, 2011, 09:33:38 AM
Thank you for posting this article.  While it is a bit difficult reading, it certainly follows RCR's advice.  The portion that I highlighted was: "Norman did not choose the hero’s journey.  It chose him.  He would avoid it if he could.  But something in Norman demands the journey and he us obliged to live it out whether he likes it or not. Norman is gripped by an inner imperative that must be allowed to run its course."  And:  "Part of the problem leading up to a breakdown is that some of the functions have been neglected, they finally demand to be recognized.  That’s painful. It’s usual then to project the cause of the pain onto somebody else." 

What is most frustrating to me is to understand the process, knowing that he doesn't; and yet we are not supposed to mention midlife crisis or try to explain to them what is happening.   Understanding the process is a double-edged sword.  It leads to compassion for the MLCer, hope and patience...and yet it keeps me from totally moving on.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: kikki on December 15, 2011, 03:08:25 PM
Dandy - thanks for posting.  This is really interesting.  I'm keeping it marked unread, as I'm going back in 'bites' to read.
Had a look at the book.  The reasons for the crisis are really interesting. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Phoenix on January 21, 2012, 03:15:06 PM
Hi All,
A friend just sent this information to me and some (a lot??) of it reminds me of the MLCer and/or OW/OM.

Sociopath? Malignant Personality? I realize this seems extreme, BUT I must admit I recognize a good deal of the behaviors. Is it possible for people to go through stages of being these things or having (hopefully temporary) sociopathic characteristics or have MLCers been covering up a bigger psychological issue for years?  Hmm...Creepy.

"Profile of the Sociopath
This summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.

Glibness and Superficial Charm

Manipulative and Conning

Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices . The end justifies the means .

Shallow Emotions

Incapacity for Love

Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

Callousness/Lack of Empathy

Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency

Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity

Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle

Other Related Qualities:

Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
Conventional appearance
Has an emotional need to justify and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
Incapable of real human attachment to another
Unable to feel remorse or guilt
Extreme narcissism and grandiose
(The above traits are based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.)


These people are mentally ill and extremely dangerous! The following precautions will help to protect you from the destructive acts of which they are capable.

First, to recognize them, keep the following guidelines in mind.

(1) They are habitual liars. They seem incapable of either knowing or telling the truth about anything.

(2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace.

(3) They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else's fault.

(4) They are remorselessly vindictive when thwarted or exposed.

(5) Genuine religious, moral, or other values play no part in their lives. They have no empathy for others. Under older psychological terminology, they fall into the category of psychopath or sociopath, but unlike the typical psychopath, their behavior is masked by a superficial social facade.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: kikki on January 21, 2012, 03:47:59 PM
Thanks for posting Phoenix - interesting.
I too recognise a lot of those behaviours in my MLCer.  As it is a transitional crisis and part of the shadow side (and 180 degree personality change), if they move through the process as they should, these behaviours should go.
If they remain stuck, then I guess the behaviours would remain for life.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Foxberry on January 22, 2012, 09:46:59 AM
Hi everyone,

This article was posted in the Daily Mail and I thought it was worth entering onto the Forum:


Although this is an extreme case, I think we all need to read these articles occasionally and realise what can happen if we don't look after "us" and realise what wonderful, special human being we are and are NOT defined by a man/woman, we are defined by what is inside us.  Just my opinion.

Love and hugs always
Foxy   xxxxx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 11, 2012, 03:26:47 AM
Narcissism and Entitlement: "Do I Have to Stand in Line?
When living large means something different

Published on August 19, 2011 by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. in The Legacy of Distorted Love

 A client once told me a story about how her narcissistic mother would never stand in lines. She was too important and had no patience. She also liked to gamble, but when she went to casinos she immediately got a wheelchair, though she was clearly not disabled, so that she could be pushed to the front of the line. This same mother would stand in the middle of the aisle at grocery stores and ask perfect strangers, "Could you find this for me?"
A recent story bowled me over with no pins standing. The daughter of a narcissistic mother had just had a home birth and her mother was there to help. Five hours after the birth while the young mother was nursing the baby on the couch, her mother asked her to get her a snack because she was hungry and so tired!

What is entitlement? It is the unreasonable expectation that one should receive special treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations. For the narcissist, they come first. They are unable to feel empathy towards others and therefore they operate from their own need base. When they speak, others are to jump. They somehow believe they are special and unique and should be treated so. Another client reports the example of going out to dinner with her family. She says her mother treats the wait staff like serfs in her personal kingdom. "She truly acts like she is the queen of the lizard lounge." Yet another sign of narcissistic behavior rearing its strange and ubiquitous head.

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Where does this sense of entitlement come from and what can we learn from it? As parents in a difficult time, how do we keep from raising entitled kids? Are we spoiling our children? Is our culture continuing to give messages that it's all about you and you deserve the best and you deserve it now? Is instant gratification a norm with recent technology and every app and piece of knowledge at our fingertips in a New York minute?

Some document that narcissists are like six-year-olds. They were emotionally arrested in development at an early age. Where does this come from? Were they spoiled? Many say there was too much focus on self-esteem and coddling children and the parenting models need to change to a focus on accountability. But, where does empathy fit into this model?

Narcissists are brewed in families where feelings are denied, projected and not dealt with. The children are not attended to emotionally. Maybe they are given lots of goodies, play every sport imaginable and always wear designer labels. And, some were just plain ignored. In both cases their feelings were not important. "A child too, can never grasp the fact that the same mother who cooks so well, is so concerned about his cough, and helps so kindly with his homework, in some circumstance has no more feeling than a wall of his hidden inner world." Alice Miller. If a child does not learn to identify feelings and have those feelings validated and acknowledged, that child does not learn to trust him or herself. If someone cannot tune into their own feelings and learn to responsibly process those feelings, how can they have empathy for others?

A recent clinical experience working with eight and nine year old girls was enlightening. These sweet little girls were developing cliques of buddies and speaking and acting awful to those who did not belong. Were they becoming bullies? Were they entering the "mean girls" drama? One can lecture about being nice to others. One can read them books about being a good friend. Some use punishment. What really works? Empathy for others comes when the child can feel their own feelings of being rejected and left out. Having those feelings validated makes them feel real. Then they can better understand the feelings of the "left out" group of kids. They can use the skills they used for themselves to understand the others and it makes more sense to them. Without this, they tend to normally focus on the issue of being accepted or not.

When adults feel stressed and overwhelmed, and who doesn't these days, what is the magical key to taking care of self and not acting like a six-year old who deserves immediate attention? If that six-year old suddenly takes center stage, there is a risk that others will be treated poorly. Think road rage. Think reactions to poor customer service. Think dealing with incompetence in the business world. We all know and have experienced these frustrations. We can't change others. But, we can tune into self. We can give self-compassion and gently deal with our own feelings and as soon as we do, it has a calming effect. It also instantly helps to see the concerns and plight of others.

Where did empathy go? Where did self-compassion go? If we want to change an entitled world and rail against the unrelenting rise in narcissism and entitlement both in ourselves and our parenting, we need to bring back the much needed empathic responses to self and others.

"It's surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you're not comfortable within yourself you can't be comfortable with others." Sydney J. Harris

Additional Resources:

Book: Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers http://www.amazon.com/Will-Ever-Good-Enough-Narcissistic/dp/14391...

Website: www.nevergoodenough.com
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 12, 2012, 11:57:46 AM
Hello another one I think is good ..........


B xx
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Bewildered on February 12, 2012, 12:02:31 PM
another about passive aggressive behaviour??http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200402/assertiveness-not-aggressiveness

B x
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: NoRegrets on February 18, 2012, 06:41:38 PM
Here's a good one that warns men about women with borderline personality disorder:


Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Silmarion on February 25, 2012, 01:30:11 PM
Interesting B...

The Assertiveness not Aggressiveness, is something I've discussed within a workshop and has come up several times as being a 'confusing' space for most people.

Sil x
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: kikki on February 27, 2012, 12:16:33 AM
Here's a list of depression signs in MLC.  From the forum on the Divorce Busting Website.  Not sure where the list originated though.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Sassyone on February 28, 2012, 05:16:14 AM

Wow, thanks for the reminder.  I can tell you this that my H has followed that script almost to a "T".  For me being in reconnection and dealing with insecurities and self-esteem issues manifested ten fold by his MLC, this list helped remind me of his MLC, depression, abandonment, etc.

Gives me strength to continue to plow forward.  Sometimes it helps to go back and re-read to move forward.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Shantilly Lace on February 28, 2012, 06:23:53 PM
Thought this belonged here as well
Hi KathySB:

Welcome to the forum.  This place is a lifesaver if you allow it to be.  Don't worry about the timeline they are all different.  Read this below and it will describe MLC to you, it was just posted recently by Kikki.  Keep reading and asking questions. 

It is so hard to see and understand that this MLC is not about us.  We can't fix it nor stop it. 

Apologize if this is a duplication, but I’ve found them of enormous value and put them together here for anyone attempting to understand a MLC partner.


The reason behind the MLC'ers lack of boundaries comes because they do not view their LBS separate from themselves. They are so engulfed in negativity that they do not think clearly. As MLC'ers look to their loved ones to define and deliver their happiness, MLC'er eventually feel betrayed due to happiness being an internal thing not external. This "feeling" of betrayal may cause some of the anger we see in our MLC'ers.


Because of their irrational ways of thinking mainly due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, MLC'ers will hear/interpret WHAT THEY THINK others are saying rather than hearing what really is being said. They destroy these relationships by hearing blame rather than suggestions or means to problem solve.


We are overly dependent on others when we do not feel complete or whole. This is the very essence of a ML'er. As they continue through the tunnel, the ML'er gets much worse before they get better. The LBS is often forced into a "caregiver" role, trying desperately to fix the crisis. The ML'er becomes aware of their neediness and becomes jealous/envious of their loved ones strengths and efforts to help. Thus the ML'er responds with more anger.


ML'ers are unable to stand the emotional pain they are creating. They become distant and indifferent to their loved ones. They view the LBS's as the cause of their own suffering and therefore treat them as strangers/enemies.


Attention both positive and negative can confirm love and self-worth to the ML'er. To some ML'ers negative attention becomes better than no attention. Many have experienced "no attention" periods in their childhoods. Many ML'ers use drama, sinfulness, and confusion in an effort to get love. This then ensures the ML'er of keeping their LBS's close.

Depression sign #6: ML'ERS ARE SELF-CENTERED

It is all about them. As they become more absorbed in finding themselves, everyone else in their past life gradually becomes more and more obsolete. Most find their way back to what is really important - family and commitment. Unfortunately, they leave a heavy path of destruction which has to be faced.

Depression sign #7: ML'ER'S ARE UNABLE TO TRUST

How can ML'ers trust their LBS if they cannot trust themselves? Their emotions and thought processes are unpredictable and irrational. When ML'ers cannot trust, they often act out in angry outbursts and infidelity. They are searching for someone to reflect back to them an image of perfection and often heroism.


As ML'ers progress through the tunnel they become more and more unable to handle stress. Their life is now full of lies, deceptions, betrayals and manipulations. It becomes harder and harder to maintain their superficial world. Once they are reminded of some bit of reality revealing their inabilities and flaws, they react by getting angry, blaming, spewing, etc...

They do anything to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. If you doubt this try talking "relationship talks". You will no doubt be disappointed in the outcome. Until they are ready to repent and show remorse for their behaviors, relationship talks are useless.

Depression Sign #9: ML'ERS REWRITE HISTORY

Ml'ers typically have very low self-esteem. They will rewrite past events in their favor to try to build up their fragile egos. They would rather lie than face the possibility that something is wrong with them, let alone a mental illness. Many Ml'ers brain chemistry is skewed, not allowing them to distinguish between reality and distorted perceptions. However the distortions cannot go on forever.... As time goes on, they often get caught in their lies due to not being able to keep their stories straight.

Depression Sign #10: MOST ML'ERS HAVE AFFAIRS

The most painful and devastating part of the MLC for the LBS and family is the affair or series of affairs. Emotional affairs as well as physical affairs occur and most emotional affairs turn into physical affairs for the ML'er. Some of the affairs result in producing a "love child". Some result in the Ml'er marrying the OW/OM. Even though the ML'er is not thinking clearly, there is no justification or excuse for committing adultery. This post is by no means meant to excuse their behavior. It is unacceptable. If it is forgivable depends upon the LBS and the ML'ers ability to repent and show sincere remorse.

An affair allows the Ml'er a distraction from the pain resulting from one or more of the following issues: childhood abandonment/abuse, grief, aging, health, job loss or dissatisfaction, parenting, sexual dysfunction, or financial. Ml'ers feel if they start over with someone else, all their issues will go away. Little do they realize how much they have just complicated their life not to mention all the pain they will inflict on "loved ones" and friends. They are self-absorbed and only care about trying to obtain their happiness.

The OW/OM knows little or nothing of the Ml'ers history or flaws. They are fed "rewriting of history" reports from the ML'er on their spouse or significant other. They start the relationship by idealizing the Ml'er. The Ml'er can portray him/herself as heroic, perfect, and accomplished. Both individuals are living a fantasy. Each believes they have found their soul mate. Newness of a relationship and sex partner is empowering. Morality is no longer important. Lust equals love in the Ml'ers mind.

The OW/OM are extremely flawed individuals. They have many issues as well. Some identical to the ML'er which helps create the "connection" so many Ml'ers claim they are missing with their LBS. Ml'ers choose someone who is safe. They choose someone who will not outshine them or pose a threat. The OW/OM is usually a very insecure, fragile individual who needs to be taken care of in some way, shape or form. In many cases, the ML'er tries to create in the OW/OM a version of their LBS. Some encourage them to dress and act like the LBS. They will often take them to the same places as they did the LBS. Being of weak character and integrity, the OW/OM allows this and goes along for the ride. Many are in it for the financial and social status benefits that the ML'er brings to the table. The ML'er is usually not looking at finding someone better than their LBS. They want to find someone that they can feel superior to which will help nurture their bruised egos.

Eventually, chemical imbalances, stress, and doses of reality hit the Ml'er causing them to display their true selves. Fears resurface in the Ml'er materializing as anger and hostility. The OW/OM no longer reflects back to the Ml'er intense feelings of admiration and perfection. Sex becomes routine. Many experience sexual dysfunction during the MLC, but very much want to portray themselves as sexually potent individuals. Responsibilities increase for the ML'er especially if they are maintaining two households. Their world collapses very slowly. Almost to the point of being hard to detect for the LBS. The ML'er has come full circle. He/she is now at the same place they started. What the ML'er does at this point varies. Some go home after they realize the grass is not greener on the other side, others stay in this miserable state of self-pity and despair, and others just repeat the cycle and find OW/OM #2.

Depression sign #11: ML'ERS ARE CONTROL FREAKS

Ml'ers have no control over their behaviors and actions. They feel if they can control others as well as their environment they will eventually become whole again. This of course is not true. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect. The more controlling one is with others, the more we push them away.

How does the ML'er control others? By being verbally/physically abusive, manipulating, complaining, criticizing, blaming, saying things like "I want a divorce", "I never loved you", "I love you, but I am not in love with you", being impossible to please, having an affair, threatening to take your children away, threatening your living arrangements, threatening your financial status, losing his/her job, threatening suicide, etc. The list can go on and on.....

How does the Ml'er control their environment? Moving constantly, traveling more than usual, changing jobs, changing what they eat, changing how they dress, changing their overall appearance, what they drive, changing their friends, replacing their spouse, replacing their children, etc....

It is only when the ML'er realizes that they are not in ultimate control of others or things that a breakthrough can occur. That is why setting boundaries are important. It makes the ML'er realize their limitations and lack of control. Boundaries should be set in a firm but loving way. Ml'ers are more willing to respond to LBS's requests when this is done in a non-authoritative way.

Mid-life crisis is a form of depression. Depression is anger turned inward. Unfortunately anger is a large part of the MLC journey. Anger is the path of least resistance. It is easier for the ML'er to be angry than to deal with his/her issues. Until that pain is acknowledged, and experienced, it continues to trigger anger and depression.

Beneath anger lies pain, and beneath that pain lies fear. If we remember this, we are more likely to become more sympathetic to the ML'ers journey. Unfortunately at times, it is very difficult to do. The bulk of the ML'ers anger is directed at the LBS. Ml'ers very much want to alter the perceptions of the LBS' to match theirs.

Depression Sign #13: ML'ERS ARE INDIFFERENT

Indifferent is defined as "without interest or concern, not caring, disinterested, impartial and apathetic". Nothing is harder to live with than an indifferent person. Ml'ers are indifferent primarily toward their past life. They are no longer interested in what the LBS, children, relatives, dog, cat, best friend, or church group are doing. They could care less about the lawn being cut, the algae in the pool, the leaking roof, or the bills being paid. Their past life no longer exists. They truly become "aliens" to people who love them. There are many reasons why this happens. ML'ers are self absorbed and don't want to focus on anyone but themselves. ML'ers no longer want any responsibility in their lives and just want to have fun and freedom. People and things of the past remind the ML'er of their failures. What better way to not have to deal with their pain then to pretend people and things don't exist anymore.

This "indifference" creates a whole new set of problems for the LBS. They now have the responsibilities of two people. The LBS becomes overworked and overwhelmed not to mention emotionally devastated. Many times they become financially devastated as well. The ML'er does not seem to notice the turmoil they have caused the LBS and again are "indifferent".

Depression sign #14: ML'ERS CAN BE NARCISSISTIC

The ML'er is full of low self-worth. By focusing on their appearance, their possessions, and their needs they try to project an air of importance, mortality, and perfection. They seek attention by focusing on superficial things and soon discover that these things bring only fleeting moments of happiness. No matter how many times you remind the ML'er that happiness comes from within, they try to prove you wrong by buying the next item or enhancing another body part.
Everything is about the ML'er. Everybody else's needs don't exist.

Depression sign #15: ML'ERS MAKE POOR DECISIONS

Ml'ers base their decisions on emotions as well as faulty perceptions due to chemical imbalances in the brain. This prevents them from functioning properly in important areas of their life like the workplace and home. As they make their way through the mid life tunnel, they make more and more poor decisions eventually causing them to doubt their abilities. This is just another hit on their already low self-esteem.

This is where the role of the OW/OM comes into play. ML'ers often will give up some of their decision making power at this point and depend on their "soul mates" to intervene. The OW/OM may or may not have clearer thinking at this time but you can bet their thinking will be in THEIR favor. The ML'er is much easier to convince, manipulate and persuade than ever. Since this is not a relationship based on trust and love, each player in this dysfunctional relationship is out for himself/herself.

Ml'ers also will often choose not to make any decisions due to their mass confusion.


ML'ers have no control over what they do with their money. They tend to be very impulsive and often spend like crazy and make bad investments. They also use their money to satisfy and impress the OW/OM in their life as well as new found friends. Traveling seems to increase. Credit cards are often used to their limit and they have no awareness of the consequences of their debt. Their past financial responsibilities such as bills, supporting their LBS and children are put on hold. This is no longer important to them and they seem oblivious to how they affect others. It is important that the LBS protect themselves financially at this time and sometimes that means resorting to legal assistance to prevent involvement with collection agencies and bankruptcy. Spending serves as a distraction as well as a feeling of power and control to the ML'er. Money makes them feel immortal and special. This feeling slowly dissipates as they face their pain and debt.

Depression sign #17: MOST ML'ERS ARE ABUSIVE

This is one of the most serious signs of depression - abuse.
Here I will focus on emotional abuse rather than physical abuse because I feel it is more prevalent in the ML'ers journey.

Emotional abuse can be divided into various categories:

A. Withholding: By withholding love, affection, accolades, sex, children, communication, etc.. the Ml'er is saying I have something you want and I can withhold it from you. The Ml'er can take this even a step further by withholding love and affection from you and then giving it to someone else.

B. Discounting: By discounting the LBS' perceptions, the Ml'er is saying I can point out your uselessness.

C. Accusing and blaming: By blaming the LBS, the Ml'er is saying the LBS is to blame for their pain no matter what they do to you so they don't have to stop or be accountable.

D. Judging and criticizing: By judging the LBS, the Ml'er is saying to the LBS that when I tell you that something is wrong with your thoughts and actions, I put myself in charge of you.

E. Threatening: This a way for the ML'er to have control over the LBS to imply that they will take away something valuable to them, such as family life, financial stability, home, etc....

F. Name Calling: By calling names, the Ml'er is saying to the LBS that they are worthless and don't exist.

G. Denial: By denying what they are doing to you, the Ml'er can keep everything like it is and not take any responsibility for their behavior.

H. Abusive anger: By being extremely angry and raging, the Ml'er is saying as long as I am scary I can have my way.

The most common element of the categories of abuse is control. The Ml'er avoids his feelings of insecurity and powerlessness by controlling the LBS. If the Ml'er does not have anyone to have power over, they don't have any power. They often connect with someone who is easier to control and won't resist their need to dominate. It is in debate if a Ml'er does these behaviors intentionally. I think it can vary with the Ml'er. Some do not seem to have awareness that they are hurting others. Most Ml'ers seem to be totally out of character and are labeled "aliens" by their standers. The thing that is very confusing to the stander is that often ML'ers can control these behaviors in front of others, but seem to let loose when alone with the stander.


Another escape from reality is the use/abuse of alcohol and drugs. Those who never used on a regular basis may start experimenting with various substances. Those who routinely used may increase their usage of alcohol or drugs or both.
Substance abuse may deepen the ML'ers depression only causing them more pain and problems. Misery loves company and many times the ML'er will choose to associate with people who also resort to alcohol and drug abuse.


Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of menopause in woman (irregular periods, decreased fertility, etc...). Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of andropause in men (decrease bone density, hair loss, etc...). Hormonal changes in both men and woman can cause emotional problems such as depression.

Most people know that woman go through menopause. Men can go through what is called andropause - a male menopause so to speak. Andropause is characterized by a loss of testosterone. This affects some men more than others. Woman experience a loss of estrogen. This affects some woman more than others. Both males and females experience similar symptoms during this time, irritability, loss of libido in women and erection problems in men, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and depression. Mid life crisis involves ones hormonal, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual and spiritual components.


Ml'ers exhibit jealousy as a method of control. Many have fears of abandonment and loss. ML'ers show jealousy because of their feelings of emptiness. Deep down they are terrified of losing their loved ones but feel it may be inevitable. ML'ers sense that they will no longer feel needy if they can only control their LBS.

Depression sign #21: ML'ERS ARE FULL OF SELF-PITY

Ml'ers really hate themselves. They may or may not show this to their LBS, but that is what is brewing underneath all their horrible behavior. Often, childhood issues come to the surface and feelings of rejection and abandonment prevail. Because of their self-hate and low self esteem, they have difficulty accepting that their LBS cares for them. Some ML'ers will express this by statements such as, "You cannot love me like I need to be loved", "Why don't you date other people", "the kids would be better off with a different father", “Why don’t you hate me”, etc..... They are so involved with their pity party that nothing else matters to them.


Before their crisis, most Ml'ers were very responsible, productive members of their home and work environment. Not anymore. Life is a party and they want to have fun. Many Ml'ers lose their jobs, stop working around the house, ignore their children, don't pay their bills, spend foolishly, etc... the list goes on and on. They actually feel that this is the time for them to get everything THEY want out of life and other people need to take care of THEIR responsibilities. Chemical imbalances cause them to lose focus and control of themselves. The LBS is forced to take on all the ML'ers responsibilities as well as their own. This is usually not acknowledged by the Ml'er or appreciated. In fact, they will use this as an opportunity to criticize or cut down the LBS' way of handling things. This gives them the opportunity to disconnect even more from the LBS and their family. It is only when their world starts falling apart do they realize how irresponsible they have been in their work and home environment. Guilty feelings will then set in and eventually processed by the Ml'er in later stages.


Ml'ers have this intense need to be respected and admired. They are overly sensitive to any suggestions, comments, helpful remarks and criticisms. Any comments even remotely critical are perceived as attacks on their already low self-esteem. Ml'ers will take these "perceived attacks" and deflect them by finding fault in their LBS. Usually these acts of finding fault are either non-existent or exaggerated remarks or incidents.


Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which one attributes one's own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and actions to others. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.


Ml'ers create conflict/arguments with their LBS in order to have them respond in a NEGATIVE way. When the LBS responds in a negative way, i.e. anger, crying, panic, criticism, rejection, etc.... this enables the Ml'er to attach blame to LBS' normal defensive reactions. This also enables the Ml'er to justify their horrible behavior to themselves and others. For example, my ex started an argument with me one day on the way back from the grocery store. He said I should of been spending time with him alone instead of shopping for food for the kids. I told him how silly he was behaving and became angry. By the time we got home, he was so upset at my "insensitivity to his needs" that he left the house for that day and spent his time with the other woman.
Not only was this a way for him to make me look bad, but it was also a way for him to justify being with his "soulmate".

Depression sign #26: ML'ERS ARE IN DENIAL

Along with projection, DENIAL is another major defense mechanism that mid-lifers use. Denial is the psychological process by which human beings protect themselves from things which threaten them by blocking knowledge of those things from their awareness. It is a defense that distorts reality; it keeps us from feeling the pain and uncomfortable truth about things we do not want to face. If we cannot feel or see the consequences of our actions, then everything is fine and we can continue to live without making any changes.

When Ml'ers are feeling badly, they will often associate these painful feelings with their LBS instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. Getting rid of their LBS seems to be for them the only way of escape. Denial can become increasingly worse as the Ml'er continues on his journey. Their list of bad behavior and deeds becomes so long that there is no better place to be than the world of denial. The Ml'er becomes unrecognizable to their loved ones until various circumstances force the ml'er to examine the hell they have created. These circumstances may involve excessive debt, unwanted pregnancy, loss of job, fractured family, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, loss of friends, homelessness, etc…


When a spouse is in mid life crisis, their LBS as well as other close family members become the enemy. Ml'ers are constantly comparing their loved ones with themselves. Many times they fall short and this leads to further insecurity and self-doubt. During their journey, they are out to prove that they are important and admired and become very competitive. They will withhold compliments/achievements toward important family members at this time. They begin to choose people in their lives that will make them feel good about themselves. Usually this means choosing people who are less accomplished and lower in character in order to make themselves feel better about themselves.

Depression sign #28: ML'ERS HAVE MAJOR MOOD SWINGS

This is a very obvious sign of depression but worth writing about. Family members who witness this depression sign often feel like they are going insane. The frequency of the mood swings with mid-lifers varies. Some experience rapid cycling, others much slower. Loved ones describe their mid-lifers as having Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personalities. They begin to feel like they are walking on egg-shells. The littlest thing can set the mid-lifer into a rage or period of depression. Some family members may feel their mid-lifer is on drugs. These mood swings may or may not affect the work environment. Some mid-lifers are better at controlling what they let others see. This therefore leaves the LBS feeling responsible for the mood swings and their world begins to fill with self-doubt.

Depression sign #29: ML'ERS ARE MANIPULATIVE

People become manipulative when they are afraid of losing something of value to them. This can range from fear of losing an actual person or losing a perception that someone has of them. Mid-lifers manipulate loved ones in believing their reality, which at times can be very distorted due to chemical imbalances in the brain, guilt, shame, denial, self-centeredness, etc... Examples of mid-lifers being manipulative can involve twisting words around, creating confusion, drama, rewriting of history, lying, etc... Unfortunately the mid-lifers use of manipulation usually ends up pushing people away from them.


Another very painful characteristic of the mid life journey is when they abandon/withdraw from loved ones. This varies with each mid-lifer changing with each stage. It can range from emotionally withdrawing to physically abandoning their entire family. Many are simply just imitating a part of their childhood when they experienced some form of abandonment or abuse. Many use it as a form of control and power. To some, it is easier to run than face their demons, so they hide to get away from things and people that remind them of their pain or failures. Regardless of the reason, these behaviors leave loved ones in shock and confusion. Mid-lifers are oblivious to the pain and suffering they cause. Many LBS' lose their homes, self-esteem, children, etc... due to the abandonment.

When I asked my H if this described him (we are in reconnection right now) here is his exact response:

"my goodness yes. if we had discretionary income, i would have spent the $hit out of that too."

The above article helped me put things in perspective the first time I read it and again now. 

Hugs we are here to help you.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: kikki on February 28, 2012, 11:27:38 PM
A few people have been asking if I knew where the Signs of depression in MLC originated.
Tsunami found it last year on the Divorce Busting forum.

I see that 'Trusting' was the original poster, over on the DB forum.  Back in 2007, she says:

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. I work everyday with clinically depressed people. I am fortunate to know many psychiatrists/psychologists in the field. These depression signs are pretty well standard for "clinically depressed/bipolar people. I am just taking these signs and incorporating them to the MLC persona.

My knowledge is a culmination of my own experience, my colleages in the field, my fellow ML'ers, and information I have read.
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Trustandlove on February 29, 2012, 12:07:24 AM
Thank you for finding that, Kikki -- that really is a brilliant list, certainly for me.  I'm glad it's from a "professional" source as well; it gives it that little bit more weight.  I do realise it's a compilation of all the possibilities, but for me, at least, it really gives me so much explanation. 

If this is the case, then MLC really is the "mother of all depressions".    And it becomes more and more important that we don't let ourselves or our children be drawn in. 
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Mitzpah on February 29, 2012, 03:02:29 AM
After seeing this posted again, I got out my printed copy and read it before going to bed last night - just to reassure myself  that this is, indeed, MLC! ::)
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Sassyone on March 02, 2012, 11:09:59 AM
Mitzpah, I think this is the third time I have read it this week too.  Isn't it crazy that we actually doubt ourselves sometimes.  Each time I read it I see my H in every single aspect of that.  Heartbreaking for sure.

We aren't crazy, this is real.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: angelgirl on March 10, 2012, 02:01:15 PM
"MLC is the mother of all depressions..." True in our case anyway. H is home, and being a physician is fully aware that this is what he went through (perhaps still going through to some extent, but not in "crisis" mode.)

He met all listed symptoms except "poor money manager" and "using drugs or alcohol". Everything else was him. Every so often, if it comes up, i might bring up something he said or did during that nightmarish time, and he is stunned. He believes he said and did it, so he doesn't deny it...but it's as if "another person" did it. He accepts responsibility however, even if that was a severe depressive episode. He insists that his brain is different now...he can't explain it, but there was something wrong he said, on how he "thought". He didn't care or have feelings for anyone he said. He had no empathy and it didn't occur to him that his family was hurt. He said he hated himself and therefore me. He was frantic for change.

The basis for how he got into that mess he is still working on....he knows. How his self-worth or happiness is dependent on the wrong things...etc. he sees me and him as one person or sometimes I'm on a pedestal (flattering, but not safe). At least he acknowledges it and he is not in denial. Interesting how just "knowing" gave him power against this thing. I thought it might be interesting to study this from an MLCer who is looking back on the destruction he caused.

We continue to rebuild...


Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: Tsunami on March 10, 2012, 02:50:55 PM

Thank you for taking the time to share your husband's feeling with us who are still living the nightmare.

Your post and contribution to the site is greatly appreciated.


Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: kikki on March 10, 2012, 02:55:38 PM
Yes, thank you angelgirl.  It is always really helpful to have feedback, from a MLCer looking back on themselves with more clarity.

Just a question -  do you mean that he still views you as one person, or still puts you on a pedestal?
Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: faithled on March 11, 2012, 08:48:15 AM
Faithled here,

     Sorry to interrupt the question.  I found this post so valuable today.  I have been praying if the recent chages in how I handle thigs was right.  I thought H was in reconnection, but I realize if he is still living with OW, and he is allowed to come here to see the boys, and then goes home to her and her boys after he visits, is that really unconditional love, or cake-eating.  Regardless, I have heath issues, managed by medication, which react to great stress.  Although things were peaceful, I have been praying for direction, and recently told H that it is not him, but his behaviours over the last 3 years that I do not condone, and have caused me great stress.  I told him I will always love the H I knew.  We are in the final stages of mediation to have a separation agreement (my insistance).  Our 3 teen boys continue to want to live with me.  I have recently decided to sell the house, as he is taking the cottage, and the boys are willing to move one or 2 neighborjoods over.  I am going to buy a smaller, newer house.  I wondered if this is a bad thing, but I see from this post (answer to prayer) that H could continue his damaging behaviours to myself and the boys, even though he is verbally nice to us, and helps when over, it is a way of him still having some control over me and living 2 lives.
     Again, thank you for this read, and I feel selling the house is a really good thing to do, having told H that I will treat him with kindness, but he will no longer visit the boys here once we move,


I have made some comments to this post on your thread.

Title: Re: Resources: About MLC
Post by: OldPilot on March 15, 2012, 02:29:38 AM
Thread is now continued here, make any comments on part 2


This thread will stay locked and stickied to the top of the board.