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Author Topic: Discussion I Had a Midlife Crisis

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Discussion I Had a Midlife Crisis
#30: May 13, 2024, 10:56:48 AM
My questions to MLC50 are:

  • How do you distinguish between MLC and grief depression? You had a lot of loss and it would seem understandable to be depressed and lose a sense of meaning.
    You say you did 'stupid $h!te' - can you give some examples? There is a lot of talk about replay behaviour on the forum, is that how you would describe this SS?
    Do you feel there was an element of self-destruction in your behaviour? If so, was it something you felt at the time, or just in hindsight?
    Did you discard/abandoned loved ones? If so, can you tell us your thought process and when/if that shifted back after the crisis.

Thank you
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Nas

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I Had a Midlife Crisis
#31: May 13, 2024, 11:02:37 AM
I’ve been hesitant to join this conversation because for some reason this particular one is eliciting something in me. I’ll have to contemplate that more, but that’s for me to deal with. I feel confident in speaking on the subject of healing from long term abuse that fits the description of “narcissistic abuse,” but with the caveat that even with consensus among professionals about therapeutic techniques for healing, healing is an individual journey. That said, I know some people want this thread to be a Q&A with a former MLCer so I will just state my thoughts and then step back from this point forward.

I just want to say that mistreatment is mistreatment and abuse is abuse. It doesn’t matter what you call the person who mistreated or abused you, what matters is healing yourself from it. As a matter of fact, focusing on trying to figure out what is exactly wrong with the people who abused me would be a way for me to focus on them and avoid the emotionally difficult process of healing, which includes a deep and honest look at many things about myself, including what brought me to my relationship/marriage in the first place and my own feelings, behaviors and choices throughout it and after it, and my reaction to both that it ended and the way that it ended.

Even my therapist is hesitant to give a definitive name to my mother or my husband’s or anyone else’s treatment of me. Because she doesn’t know them and because naming it with a diagnostic label would not erase or change anything for me. Reverse engineering myself has been a long and exhausting and brutal experience but it takes precedence over armchair or even clinical diagnosis of my former husband or my mother or anyone else. My healing renders a label moot because in healing, I know that I won’t accept it ever again, no matter what it’s called.

I totally understand that giving it a name helps one begin to understand that this is not about us and being abused or discarded (or both) is not an indictment of who we are or our worth. And that  is an important step, but that to me, jmho, is where the benefit of giving it a name ends.  I personally fail to see how it makes any difference in the LBS healing process whether it is *MLC or NPD (or anything else). IMO, to say otherwise (as the original post does) hints to the idea that there are things you can do to influence or change the outcome, or that because it’s MLC and not a DSM-recognized personality disorder, it will one day come to a near-spontaneous end without requiring psychological intervention or any significant effort on the part of the afflicted spouse.

I just wanted to add my thoughts. I’ve been tempted to start a discussion thread asking what does “doing the work” *really* mean to folks - for the MLCer and for the LBS, how is it the same and how does it differ, etc. 
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« Last Edit: May 13, 2024, 11:04:07 AM by Nas »
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I Had a Midlife Crisis
#32: May 13, 2024, 02:14:41 PM
Nas, I think we all touched on it, but we didn't say it.. if you try to define or diagnose whatever your spouse or partner is going through, with the hope that you'll be able to influence them in some way, the reality is you'll be wasting your time and possibly giving yourself false hope and delaying your own healing.

They won't change, get better or come out of it (whatever it is) until they want to or are ready to. You won't be able to educate, rationalize or set them straight in any way and crying begging or pleading won't help either (we've all tried it!).

My advice is, they want to do whatever, let them.. protect yourself, your finances, your kids and you work on you.
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« Last Edit: May 13, 2024, 03:22:14 PM by gman242 »

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I Had a Midlife Crisis
#33: May 13, 2024, 10:59:27 PM
Thank you midlifecrisis50. I just want to say I am very sorry for what you'd had to go through. It sounds incredibly harrowing to me. I'm guessing, rightly or wrongly, that it's not a walk in the park to revisit what happened. I truly appreciate your taking the time to do this.

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#34: May 15, 2024, 09:39:48 AM
I really hope we can keep this thread going.  Thanks for offering your insights midlifecrisis50.

Quick summary of the questions since the last time you posted:

Alvin:
Did you consider "normal" options, like going to doctor at the early stages? And since your recovery, have you seen and spoken to medical professional of what you experienced? And if not, why?

WHY

The community here largely agrees that family of origin issues are a big cause of MLC in later life.  I tend to agree.  Not in all cases.  But most recovered MLCers have said something about FOO.   Do you believe your MLC was cause by something in your past.  Your attachment style to your father?  Some trauma that happened?  If it’s too personal please don’t feel obliged to answer. 

KayDee:
How do you distinguish between MLC and grief depression? You had a lot of loss and it would seem understandable to be depressed and lose a sense of meaning.
You say you did 'stupid $h!te' - can you give some examples? There is a lot of talk about replay behaviour on the forum, is that how you would describe this SS?
Do you feel there was an element of self-destruction in your behaviour? If so, was it something you felt at the time, or just in hindsight?
Did you discard/abandoned loved ones? If so, can you tell us your thought process and when/if that shifted back after the crisis.

WHY (new)
Limerance appears to be the cornerstone of MLC.  For those MLCers that had spouses, the affair seems to be a given (whether it physical, emotional, fantasy).  Was there any limerance involved at the beginning of your MLC?  Even if it was someone you were fantasizing about that wasnt real etc.  It's more common than you think.  And again, if its too personal, you dont have to answer.  Thank you.
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I Had a Midlife Crisis
#35: May 15, 2024, 03:28:27 PM
AlvinTheMaker
Did you consider "normal" options, like going to doctor at the early stages? That’s funny because in my prior life (before MLC), I would have done just this. I had a depression a couple of times in my life and I sought counseling for it. I knew the depression was bigger than me and that I needed help. While I have always been pretty independent, I never had a problem getting help if I needed it. I believed (and do now again) that being able to ask for help when needed is part of being independent. Knowing ones limitations. With all that said, no, I did not consider going to a doctor or counselor. I believed then and through my MLC that I was in my right mind. Although now I question that. It certainly wasn’t MY mind.

And since your recovery, have you seen and spoken to medical professional of what you experienced? And if not, why? I did not. Earlier in this thread I said that I gradually came out of it over a period of 1.5 years. My ability to feel my feelings returned... One night in 2022, something inside me changed...again. In that moment, I returned to me. I knew that mind. I felt like me again. The me that was me be before MLC. That too was a very strange experience.

So I guess I would say that I didn’t see or speak to a professional because I didn’t feel like there would be any benefit in it. I was me again. I was fully home in my body.

WHY
Do you believe your MLC was cause by something in your past.  Your attachment style to your father?  Some trauma that happened? I do not believe that it had anything to do with attachment style. My relationship with my dad (and other members of my family for that matter) was pretty healthy. Not to say we never had any bumps in the road along the way, but it was indeed healthy.

As far as the possibility of it being caused by something in my past, it may have begun with the loss of my mother two years prior to hitting that wall. Although I argued that it had nothing to do with it while I was in MLC. It’s possible that at the time I hit it, there was a straw that broke the camel’s back.

But perhaps this will help you too. To understand why you did what you did.  And that it wasn’t really a choice or your fault.  That perhaps it was a result of something in your past. Thank you. I know that it wasn’t my choice nor do I believe that it was my fault. I don’t think anyone wakes up one day and decides to blow up their life in an almost instant. Certainly, SOMETHING happened!

KayDee
How do you distinguish between MLC and grief depression? You had a lot of loss and it would seem understandable to be depressed and lose a sense of meaning. IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: With grief, there is a wealth of feeling. I think that is the same with depression. At least it was in my experience with depression. Even though one might lose a sense of meaning, they still feel. The problem with those is the feelings tend to be unbearable. My feelings were flat. I couldn’t FEEL them. I didn’t call it numb, nor do I think that now. Just flat. I may have known how I felt about something, but I couldn’t FEEL it.

You say you did 'stupid $h!te' - can you give some examples? There is a lot of talk about replay behaviour on the forum, is that how you would describe this SS? I didn’t understand this so I had to look it up, lol.
impulsive – CHECK
restlessness – CHECK
feeling trapped (prison) – CHECK
I gave away everything I had and left the state without researching where I was going. All I kept was my clothes and a few personal items. I didn't even fill my little car. I was very impulsive throughout my MLC without considering the consequences which I always had before. I also felt like I was in a prison, like the universe wasn't big enough for me, so the trapped idea rings true for me.

Do you feel there was an element of self-destruction in your behaviour? If so, was it something you felt at the time, or just in hindsight? At the time, I didn’t think I was self-destructive. Although, I didn’t think about consequences before hand, which I always had prior to MLC and do now. Looking back now, I don’t think I was self-destructive. I was completely lost and confused. I didn’t know who I was. I believed it was a journey to learn about the different person I became. "Who am I now?" was my question. Maybe it was wasted time to try to get to know that person since most of who I was before MLC, came back to me. But maybe it was time well spent. I now know who I don’t want to be!

Did you discard/abandoned loved ones? If so, can you tell us your thought process and when/if that shifted back after the crisis. Some of my family did feel like I abandoned them although I didn’t think of it in that way at that time. And to be honest, I never discarded them. I was unable to feel empathy for them but I didn’t seek to actively move any of them out of my life. A few cut me off for many months and I just accepted it. I didn’t feel much pain from that, but then again, I didn’t feel much…period.

My kids, my dad, one of my sisters, and one of my nieces were pretty devastated. I think it scared them to a degree that they didn’t know me anymore. Like I was no longer a safe person in their life.

Now, while I didn’t discard them, I can see how they felt like I did. I have since given them my heartfelt apology without minimizing how they felt. I even validated their feelings. Like, I don't know what I would have done or felt if it was my sister who had  MLC.

There were a few lifelong friendships that I did discard. Again, to be honest, those weren’t healthy ones. I have since accepted one of those friends back into my life, accepting them for who they are and keeping my boundaries firmly in place. The dynamics in that friendship are now vastly different than before.

WHY
Was there any limerance involved at the beginning of your MLC?  Even if it was someone you were fantasizing about that wasnt real etc. I don’t know if you would consider it limerence, but I did want to meet new people. I met several men but most either felt like they had no personality to me or they just irritated me. I stuck to my age range and I thought maybe that’s why they seemed boring to me. They had little to no drive where I seemed to be quite driven. They were happy with where they at in life but I wouldn’t be happy with settling down in a house, in a town or city, and living out the rest of my life taking care of a home. The very idea felt like a prison. I wanted or needed something different than that. There had to be something more than that. I was NOT settled AT ALL!

But please remember, I wasn’t in a long-term relationship when I hit mine. I didn’t think that “falling in love” would get me to feel or something.

When I was in my MLC, I thought, “if I did find someone, what would it look like when I come out of this MLC? Would I still want to be with him? Would he still want to be with me?” At that point, I knew I would come out of it one day and that I wouldn’t be the same as I was in my MLC. I didn’t know how I would be, but I figured I would be different than while I was in it.

FrenchHusband
I hope one day the MLC will be known and recognized as it is already the case for the teenage crisis. I believe that will help people under MLC, and that will help also the LBS to focus less on this crisis and more on themselves. I couldn’t agree with you more. When I hit mine, I went looking for information or to be able to connect with someone who was either in one or on the other side. I found very little and of that which I did find, it was for the families and not for one in a MLC.

I started a YouTube channel on my midlife crisis for 2 reasons:
1 – So my family could see that I was ok, or at least alive and wouldn’t worry so much about me.
2 – So anyone in a MLC could connect with someone who also had it and could understand.

I wonder, if we can find a way to help MLC, wouldn’t that also help the families? Maybe prevent their upheaval? I mean, it isn’t even known if there is a chemical imbalance involved with MLC. Most professionals still don’t even believe it is a real thing. How does that help anyone?

sachertorte
I'm guessing, rightly or wrongly, that it's not a walk in the park to revisit what happened. I truly appreciate your taking the time to do this. Thank you. No, it is NOT a walk in the park, lol. I didn’t think much of it when I was asked to join, nor did I think it would bring up the feelings it has for me. This is why I have to keep stepping away for a day or two at a time.

But I will tell you this. There has been absolutely NO discussion about my MLC between me and my family… Until now. I mean, I apologized but no discussion about it. I think we might need to have that conversation. I was on the phone with my sister the other night and I brought it up to her. It was interesting to hear her side. What she thought at the time it happened, while I was going through it, and after. She said that, at one point she figured it was something that I had to go through and that she held onto the hope that I would one day come back to myself.

Soooo…. Maybe I needed this as much as I hope it helps others.

Nas
I’ve been tempted to start a discussion thread asking what does “doing the work” *really* mean to folks - for the MLCer and for the LBS, how is it the same and how does it differ, etc. I think, and this is just MO, That sounds like a good topic. I say, start the thread. Someone might learn a new way to cope or heal by reading what others do.
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I Had a Midlife Crisis
#36: May 15, 2024, 04:56:01 PM
This is really so insightful.  Thank you. 

You should show your family this thread.  Comments from other LBS etc. Perhaps it will help them to understand and be more empathetic about what happened to you. 

And I genuinely believe joining this forum will be helpful to your healing.  Instead of sweeping what happened to you under the carpet.  Truly give you the opportunity to process what happened and pack it away for good. 

Side note: the death of a parent is the biggest trigger for MLC.  But it’s a trigger.  Not the root cause.   This community, as do I, believes it has something to do with when you were a child.  I was hoping you would have some answers on this front.

Have you spoken to any other recovered MLcers that have come out the otherside?   Have they shared similar experiences?

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#37: May 15, 2024, 05:44:15 PM
And since your recovery, have you seen and spoken to medical professional of what you experienced? And if not, why? I did not. Earlier in this thread I said that I gradually came out of it over a period of 1.5 years. My ability to feel my feelings returned... One night in 2022, something inside me changed...again. In that moment, I returned to me. I knew that mind. I felt like me again. The me that was me be before MLC. That too was a very strange experience.

So I guess I would say that I didn’t see or speak to a professional because I didn’t feel like there would be any benefit in it. I was me again. I was fully home in my body.

Thanks for the responses. They open up your story nicely.

A shame you never discussed this with professional as it would have been tempting to hear how they would classify your experiences. I think part of the charm of "midlife crisis" is that it so easy to put anything without proper explanation or diagnosis into it.

As side note, not sure if you have ever heard of depersonalization disorder https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depersonalization-derealization-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352911, but at least to me what you describe you went through seems to have a lot of similarities. It is one of those bizarre mental snap-in/snap-out conditions people might experience once or multiple times in their life.

Alvin
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At time of BD.... Me: 43, XW: 41
Kids: G19,G18,G14,G12,S5
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years

BD ("I don't love you"): Feb 2019, 
BD2 ("I don't want to fix this marriage."), Mar 2020
D filed May 2020, D finalized Dec 2020
I have moved on, and am in new relationship.

Lessons from Stoicism and REBT helped me to exit the chaos zone and become a better person. 

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. - Epictetus"

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I Had a Midlife Crisis
#38: May 16, 2024, 09:15:30 AM
Thank you MLC50.
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