Thanks for the quick and easy to retain wording on your reminder, HB. Sometimes I think we tend to forget some of the basics. At least I know I do! This MLC stuff can be complicated.
It’s only complicated if you make it complicated. The fact is the midlife crisis process requires that you learn to give your mind and emotions permission to go down a road less traveled. It requests you make a mental and emotional adjustment so you can enable yourself to begin to unlearn the “normal” way of being, doing, and relating, and teaches you to do the exact opposite of what you would have once done.
Instead of straightforward logical thought, you begin using the opposite–illogical thought. It sounds nutty as a fruitcake, and to those who have not ever gone down this particular road–it would be. However to people like me who have seen this multiple times in the past, and will see it more times in the future–physically grown people acting out in rebellion, acting like children on a playground, is a “normal” set of behaviors that are connected to this emotional redevelopmental process.
All people are responsible for continuing through the process of emotional, and mental, maturation, and this process was designed to last a lifetime. However, there is some of this process that is set to the side, pushed away, denied, and for as long as possible, childhood and teenage behaviors are not matured through. This concept of non-growth, was the basis for the story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, who never grew up, never wanted to grow up, and running away from this process was an every day thing for them.
I hadn’t read that story in a long time, but I may get down to business, and find time to read it again, because it’s a timeless classic, and based on the midlife crisis itself….that second childhood where the midlife spouse is recycled back into, because they didn’t learn that first time. What you don’t learn, always returns back to take you through again, and again, and again. Each time, becomes harder, takes longer, and the burden to finish what areas of emotional growth you are catching up on, increases.
What’s the major goal? Full emotional maturation. What’s the secondary goal that comes afterward? PEACE that leads into peaceful being, doing, and relating. The major problems that face any immature person is the inability to build, and maintain healthy relationships. They are unable to live in peace with anyone, not even themselves. They tend to sabotage any attempts to force them to outgrow the immature aspects that would lead into developing a solid identity, and sense of Self that utilizes healthy boundaries, and they give away so much to get what they think is love, but it’s more like being used for what one can do, rather than being loved for who they are.
We’re not required to earn love through actions, but that’s what a lot of us think–to be loved we must emotionally over-extend ourselves, often to the point of emotional burnout, and even then, love isn’t given willingly, just because—it’s often withheld, out of reach, and in our frustration, because we really don’t know until we get underway on this journey, we keep trying to gain approval, be accepted, want to be viewed as “special”—and it never happens.
Out of ignorance, we allow ourselves to be controlled, manipulated, choosing to accept behaviors that we’re vaguely aware aren’t right, but because we think we need our partner so much, we keep swallowing a lot more than we should, and they keep shoving it down our throats–all because we allow them to do it.
We don’t change ourselves to give them any real incentive to change themselves. Just like change is our choice, changing to better relate to us, is the other person’s choice. This is not about control, nor manipulation, it’s about seeing a situation we know isn’t right, and taking the steps to change it.
In this process, we become willing to let go of the outcome, because our emotional growth becomes more important than taking continued emotional abuse.
Regardless of whether we make these changes or not, because the midlife spouse hasn’t grown up during their first half of their lives, the midlife crisis is still on the horizon, according to life’s schedule, and it will still come forth. Why? Because our spouse’s midlife crisis is not about us, nor did we “cause” it–it’s all about our midlife spouse, and there is nothing we can do to stop it, or halt its progress.
In time, the midlife crisis bomb is dropped, the bottom drops out, and we find that all our ‘doing’ for love, is all for naught, because we perceive we’re losing what we think is the best thing we ever had—but I’m here to tell you, that no matter how you thought your marriage was–no matter how perfect, great, good, and loving it was, it was NOT what you thought it was. It was all an illusion, based on what you didn’t know before about what constitutes healthy and mature relationships.
It’s often hard to take, and people sometimes run, not walk, RUN, to file for a divorce. That’s their choice, their prerogative, and it’s their life, after all. However, because they did not take the time to do a search of Self, and did not take the time to figure out what their half of the contributions were that led to the breakdown of their half of the marriage, plus, take the time to get down to the business of growing up for themselves, it’s only a matter of time, before they’ll find themselves in this crucible of change again.
It’s a known fact that new partners do NOT fix old problems. You do take unresolved issues and problems into new relationships. It’s a never-ending emotional cycle that gets harder each time you choose to walk away from one relationship, and jump right into the other.
It’s just like the midlife spouse who does this same thing when they choose to step directly from one relationship into another, for however long that might last until they wake up to their damaged Self–broken attracts broken, and this behavior is not exclusive to a major midlife crisis, it’s a part of immature human behavior that seeks outside solutions for inside problems. Not going to happen, because the repairs that are necessary, come from within Self, just like everything else, even the personal journey toward wholeness and healing the left behind spouse is always encouraged to take for Self.
Every question you ask about your midlife spouse, every piece of information you read is meant to lead you toward your personal mental and emotional journey that if taken properly, will transform you–and it also takes time. I completely understand that left behind spouses want to try and comprehend what’s happened before they may choose one of two options: Sit in the negatively-charged emotional rut, where they continue projecting their misery upon the midlife spouse, OR something snaps, or gives way within them, and they finally understand they have no control over anyone but themselves.
It’s YOUR CHOICE. No one else can live YOUR LIFE–it’s yours to live, your choice to make, and YOU will be the one who lives with the consequences of these choices YOU make. You might blame the midlife spouse with everything, but it’s YOU who are choosing YOUR path forward, OR backward. I could write until the World ends, but it’s not up to me. I’ve already been this way, and I’m offering you an opportunity to do as I did. I’ve walked my journey in full, have already finished that path, and have gone onto another path. I return back for the purpose of walking this journey again with other people who need this kind of guidance. I’m not an anomaly, nor an exception, I can promise you that.
Quite a few of your counselors, psychologists, and there are other people who also have this knowledge to pass on to you. Now, granted, there are other people who think they know what I know, and others know, but they don’t know anything, and these do more harm than good. They steer people off on wrong paths, encourage them to end their marriages, tell them to do what “feels good” to them, and it doesn’t matter that marriage is an important relationship, one that was meant to be honored.
All they see is instant gratification, but something gained in an instant, doesn’t last. It crumbles away to nothing, and in time, that person has wasted their time, possibly their money, following the advice of someone who does not care if they live or die, and that same person, when confronted, will project, blame, and distance themselves from their advice given that they are accountable for, whether they want to see it, or not.
You don’t want to deal with people like that–you want to deal with people who have your best interests at heart. People who are truthful, and will not coat reality with honey, or sugar, who keep these processes honest and real. That’s what you want–especially when you’re paying money for a service that’s supposed to help you grow. If you’re not being encouraged to grow, search elsewhere, because your time, and your money is being wasted.
Now, once you actually “get” what you’re supposed to do for yourself, and begin walking the journey toward wholeness and healing, then you’ll find this same process will challenge everything you’ve ever been taught. You will learn through the inner journey that begins within you FIRST, that you have a lot of emotional and some mental growing up to do…this involves the inner facing of the past, which involves your childhood upbringing….and it exposes your Self TO your SELF, as the dusty cover is removed from the mirror of Self-Reflection, and emotional Windex is sprayed on the mirror, cleaned off for clarity, and this leads to seeing YOU as you’ve never seen your Self before—this is a painful, yet necessary, process, because everybody has issues, everybody has areas within that need change, growth, and becoming, and everybody has contributions to half of the events that occurred that led into the breakdown of their marriages.
It’s a pretty straightforward process that leads down this road, if you think about it….your midlife spouse emotionally bombs you, you search for help, you find people whom you can bind yourself to, and UNTIL you reach a greater understanding of what’s next, you will ask a lot of questions about the midlife spouse. Of course, you can’t control them, but you don’t know that in the beginning–all you know is you’ve come to see if you can possibly save your marriage.
The process you begin for yourself, involves turning your focus back on yourself, just like an Individual, or a Marriage Counselor would do. I’ve been told before that my particular way of guidance is like the 12 steps to sobriety–the AA organization…but the actual addiction that remains to be broken, is to the co-dependent ways that have kept you in the emotional “dark” for most of, if not all of, your life.
You’re going to struggle, that’s a given. You’re going to fall off the wagon of opposite doing, being, and relating, that’s also a given. You’re going to cycle back and forth, because some aspects of growth will not appear until you have advanced to certain places in your growth, and sadly enough, some of you will never reach a point of accepting this process as being beyond your control–that a greater Force than you, has every bit of the control that leads into the future–and it’s dependent on how willing you are to do what’s necessary for yourself, to face yourself in full honesty, to accept, forgive, and begin healing yourself, so you will be able to clearly see your midlife spouse in reality.
Most of you are still unaware the people you married, are not completely “good” people–they’re emotionally abusive people in ways. They’re people that I, myself, would not associate with, because at this point in my journey, I ‘know’ and ‘recognize’ them. I’ve been down this road, and from the place of my own growth, I wouldn’t give them a second look. Yet, you chose them from the place of your emotional growth at the time you met, and married them. You love them, you committed your life to them, but somewhere along the way, identities were lost, respect for each other was lost, and because of the lack of emotional growth in both of you, something became missing, as perception skewed in both of you, long before the midlife crisis came about.
If you say that’s not true, you’re not being honest with your Self. You’re still wearing the rose colored glasses that hid all of the truth. I know, because I once wore them too….and while I could probably get away with putting total blame on my husband for all that happened that destroyed our marriage, the truth was, I didn’t do everything “right” and “correct” either.
I didn’t do my part, so he would do his part, and he didn’t do his part, so I would do my part. What we did was lose ourselves in each other, unaware of where each one ended, the other began, and we stopped thinking independently for, of, and within our individual SELF….throw in lack of emotional growth, relational stagnation, and a certain comfort zone, that we thought would always be there, and you have a full recipe for an eventual emotional upset/unrest that would directly lead into a marital crisis. It was only a matter of time before that happened.
Nobody is perfect, nobody is “special” and nobody can escape, or avoid, this time of mandatory transitional redevelopment. This painful process of transitioning from immature to mature is not a choice, it’s a necessary part of life’s process that transforms all of us from emotional children to emotional adults, and the major aspect the transition targets is from a relational aspect–how we choose to deal with relationships in general from the point of our ongoing emotional growth.
We have a major relationship with God, our Creator to learn how to build, and maintain, first. This includes learning to connect with Him through Godly intuition. Then, we learn to build and maintain a relationship with Self, as we learn about ourselves, our past that contributed to the person we became at the time we started our journey into wholeness and healing. We learn to change ourselves, based on learning what is emotionally wrong within, and achieve growth, and mature becoming from that experience. Afterward, we learn to build, and maintain relationships with other people, based on what we have first learned from God, and have learned to apply within our Self. It all goes in step, and if one of these steps are out of alignment, the whole process fails, and goes into a continuous cycle.
In time, we will be emotionally recycled back to do it again, resuming the journey from the point we failed to complete in our growth. That’s what happens when the midlife crisis process is not completed–recurring bouts of the crisis result. So, you don’t want the midlife spouse to bury their issues, and this is why you, the left behind spouse, really need to take the advice of giving space, time, and distance to the midlife spouse.
Not just that, please, please, please learn your lessons, learn where you need to change, grow, and become for yourself. Learn to overcome your fear of loss that has already happened, learn to set relational and behavioral boundaries that emotionally separate you from the rebellious midlife spouse, and learn to become emotionally dependent on yourself. Break out of the emotional mold you’ve been fitted into for so long. Find yourself again, and understand that happiness is not contingent on your marriage–that everything you need can be only found in two sources–God, and YOU.
Food for thought.