A Sharing of More Knowledge from Past Experience

My husband was very nasty in the beginning but has not displayed the same type of behaviour since (only once he did in the last month and it was because I wasn’t giving him his space).

Anytime you invade the midlife spouse’s space without their permission, they will spew in anger and act out in confusion. That’s almost guaranteed–it’s a hallmark behavior of the crisis. Not just that–if you think about it, if your personal space was invaded without your permission, what’s the first thing that you are going to do? Get ANGRY..why? Because maybe you don’t want to be touched, don’t want to be pushed, don’t feel like talking, don’t feel like interacting.

It doesn’t even matter that you might have been manipulated into accepting this given some time, and pressure, possibly guilt triggered from your spouse, who wanted this when you didn’t–the fact is, your spouse was wrong not to back away from you, when you didn’t choose to have them invade your space.

You might not know exactly WHY you felt that way, but that was your right to feel like you did. What’s my point? Give him that same consideration, and if you’re not willing to give him that, then you are guilty of violating HIS personal boundaries he has chosen to set on you in this same area.

Being married does NOT automatically give a spouse the right or entitlement to invade the physical, emotional, and mental space of their marital partner without their emotional permission. A veteran of nearly 30 years of marriage, I completely understand where people are coming from, and I once felt this same way.

I totally understand there are certain needs one can only have their spouse meet, but guess what? You can’t coerce, or force someone you’ve married to meet your needs, nor can they make you meet theirs. Both of you came together of your own free will, and what the two of you choose to do to keep this marriage together, or break it apart, is also based on free will.

You can’t make people honor their vows. You can’t make people allow you to get close to them. Your choosing to come into their personal space because you have a need, is all about you, not about that person who is either willing to meet that need or refusing to meet that need. There are some needs that each person would go to family members, or even their friends to meet, because no spouse can ever meet every need their spouse has.

I’m sure I don’t have to spell out which needs can be “farmed” out, versus needs that can’t be. At any rate, having some emotional needs met outside of your marriage is not wrong, until you become guilty of crossing certain emotional lines, of refusing take your concerns to your spouse, of talking behind their back, and not trying to get their attention.

I know this is going to sound like I’m on the midlife spouse’s “side” but I can tell you from experience, there is so much emotional pain occurring within the midlife spouse, that they are completely consumed with Self, and they have no room for what they see as “needy” people who are trying to emotionally suck them dry, when they have nothing to give.

It’s like an animal, who has been cornered, and because their paramount need is to survive, they’re not going to stay cornered for long, before they come out fighting. You’re either going to get out of the way, give them space and time to calm down, or get bitten….OR, if it’s a wild animal, you’re going to kill them, if they don’t kill you first.

The world is not going to end if you back off, give space, detach yourself, distance yourself from their drama. You don’t have any control of what they will do, nor what they won’t do—the only person you have control over is YOU.

Right now, his state of mind is not toward you–it’s against you, and you need to accept this change, and emotionally adjust to it. If you don’t, you’ll keep swirling in a deep and negative emotional rut. Right now, it is what it is, and what it shall be for now. This may change later, but only time will tell, if and when it will change.

Keep in mind that it’s respectful, to back off, and give him what he says he wants…emotional space to learn how to deal with himself. They ask for it in many ways–

  • Leave me alone.
  • Back off.
  • I can’t do this.
  • I will smother to death if I don’t get away.
  • If you don’t stop, I will leave.
  • If you don’t shut up, I will get a divorce.
  • I can’t stand this anymore.
  • I know it’s all midlife crisis “script,” but people do need to take into consideration that crisis, or not, the midlife spouse is still a human being with feelings, wants, and needs. Their feelings, wants, and needs, might not be what you agree with, but they have every right to feel what they feel, want what they want, and need what they think they need. The current state of mind they are in sees nothing and no one but THEM.

    Contrary to what other people have written, total detachment, emotional distancing, no contact, and going dark are emotional tools to be used to benefit the left behind spouse so they can rebuild their strength, regain their balance, and do some necessary Self-healing. These emotional tools are NOT games to play for the purpose of control and manipulation of another human being. They are designed for the left behind spouse to use for their own benefit.

    However, during this usage, it’s always possible the midlife spouse may respond in controlling and manipulating ways. This is all about human nature that often wants what has been placed beyond its reach.

    When the source of the emotional pressure is removed, the one who once ran, often begins to close the emotional gap. Why? Because this release of emotional pressure triggers their insecurities, fear of abandonment, fear of loss, and fear that the left behind spouse will move beyond them, and never come back.

    Yes, the midlife spouse has rejected the left behind spouse, but at the same time, once space has been created through the usage of the above tools, they can’t stand to be without them, and separation anxiety occurs.
    Also, and this is also about human nature–some people aren’t going to choose to turn back, and do what’s right, until they perceive the emotional door closing on them in what seems to be forever. There are some people who run for that door when it has closed to the point that it’s about to lock them out.

    Remember that feelings cannot be switched off on a dime. Though the feelings the midlife spouse once had are currently buried under many layers of justification for their wrong behavior, deep inside of themselves, they don’t really want to lose their spouse

    Constantly confronting, showing anger, trying to force the midlife spouse to do what you want, when you want, is completely disrespecting their right to do what they think is right, even when you think, and know, they’re going a wrong way.

    The best way to guarantee a final end to what’s left of your marriage, is to constantly keep the emotional pressure going without letting up. I can’t guarantee your marriage will make it, but I do understand what will not help your marriage, if you don’t learn to do the opposite of what you would have done, that used to work, but will not longer work.

    The midlife spouse is going to do what they want, when they want, and all you can do is seek to minimize the damage to yourself, and your family as much as possible. The first thing I would suggest that you do is set the fact you love them aside, so you can learn to deal with them more effectively, and understand that your love is NOT going to fix them, nor bring them through this.

    In their deepest rebellion, they could care less what you think, and all you represent to them, is another set of rules to follow, that, in their minds, will result in THEM being controlled, manipulated, and forced to do what someone else wants them to do, and in their minds, they’re not going to do it anymore.

    The above is the basis for their comment that everybody has always told them what to do, when to do it, and how to do it their whole lives, and now, it’s “my turn” to do what *I* want, when *I* want, and how *I* want it done. Nothing you say or do, will stop this from progressing forward. It’s up to them, and no one else to find their own way, in their own time.

    However, it’s NOT your job to straighten them out, put them on a right path, and threaten them when they refuse to see their sin. Who are you to treat them like little kids with no real sense, despite the fact they’re dealing with a major midlife crisis, and are acting immature?

    You’re not their keepers, their mothers, their bosses, nor their jailers—you’re their spouse, and as it stands, this crisis is a major wake up call for all of you–to get on the road into your own journey that leads into change, growth, and healing. You can’t do one thing for them, but everything for yourself.

    You need to back away completely, and trust that God will deal with them, in His time, His place, and in His way. You also need to understand that any kind of influence you once had on the midlife spouse is no longer there. Their view of the left behind spouse is skewed, perception is twisted, and their perspective is going down a road you never thought they would ever go down…and there’s nothing you can do about that.

    Human nature is such that if you give someone what they say they want, most of the time, they won’t want it, and they’ll be drawn back to you—you are what’s familiar, you are what they have history with, and you are someone who has always been there, no matter what.

    In the darkest of hours–the Light of Hope, though sometimes faint, is always shining. God is that hope we should be clinging to, when we can’t cling to anything else. ((HUGS))

    I have gone through an emotional roller coaster these past five months: I’m sad; I’m angry; I’m defiant; I’m depressed; I’m scared…and the list goes on. Right now, I’m leaning towards the angry phase. I feel angry at my husband that he is putting me through this; that what I read on here sometimes says that we should embrace the opportunity to change ourselves, etc. I get all that and I have been working myself…but I still cannot help but feel that what has happened to my husband is not a healthy thing and the fact that he refuses to get helps scares me because I know it means he may never come out of this as a healthy, whole person.

    I have been in your shoes, and I understand what you’re saying. This time of The Change, which, brings forth change, growth, and becoming, follows a process of tearing everything down. Then later, as the midlife spouse begins to understand more within themselves, this same process starts building them back up.

    Of course, it looks unhealthy to you, because all you see is the battle within, that has worked its way outward. The physical signs are terrible, and their physical, mental, and emotional health suffers, but internal battles do external damage for as long as the person fighting said battle continues to engage.

    Bottom line–he’s doing this to himself, he’s not doing this to you. You’re not the one who is rebelling against everything you were taught in your life leading up to this point–your husband is. As long as he struggles, his countenance, his physical appearance, and his emotional outlook, (otherwise known as positive mental attitude), is going to suffer. He’s fighting between right and wrong, good and evil, and he will either win this battle, or lose it–there are no two ways about it.

    What can you do? Nothing for him, nor against him—this is all about him, and this is up to him. Your journey will teach you what you need to know so you can deal with him. All your worry for him is actually wasted worry, because there is not one thing you can do to help him. He doesn’t want your help, he doesn’t need your help, the only help he really needs is God, and even God isn’t going to make this man do what He knows is right.

    Sometimes people have to run that entire gauntlet of sin through the whole of the darkness before they’ll ever see the light of day. Some people can’t learn the major lessons, until they fall, and make those major mistakes that lead them down wrong paths of self-destruction.

    Not all of us have the strength of character needed to fully navigate a midlife transition without falling into temptation. This is a life’s trial of huge proportions, where Satan is targeting the emotional health of the person going through. Every trial faced involves emotions rising high, dropping low–emotional strength will be stressed, and tested to the max. Not just that, but people tend to find out exactly what they are made of, what kind of strength they have, as they move forward through these times of adversity.

    God knows what we’re made of, but do we know? It’s one of the major questions the midlife spouse, and left behind spouse will face during their time in this emotional crucible. None of us have really lived our lives, until we face these major emotional trials that are meant to create stronger, more mature, and much better people than we were before they ever happened.

    Yes, it’s in human nature NOT to want anything bad to happen, to want that easy way across, to want that short cut, that fix, that ending that returns everything back to what it once was. It’s not going to happen, because the only way out is through, and the midlife spouse has a lot of past emotional damage to overcome within themselves.

    Much of it is based in early childhood–emotional damage that often connects back to the parents who raised them. It’s hard to recognize early emotional damage in Self, because we are taught not to see our parents as being anything but perfection. Any other thoughts, like honestly viewing our parents as being the human beings they really are, capable of errors, mistakes, and even being wrong in how they raised their children, are hard to see.

    We often feel that if we honestly see our parents as being wrong, we’re being disrespectful, when that’s not true.
    It is possible to respect and honor our parents, but still know they’re not perfect, and still know what mistakes they made. It’s possible to reach a greater understanding of where our parents were when they were raising us, and this takes time to sort it all out.

    In fact, parents who don’t do the full job of raising interdependent children, are not doing them any favors. Those children have a lot of overcome once they become adults, and the world begins to teach them what their parents didn’t.

    I cannot explain in full why immature parents raise immature children, except the parents didn’t learn their own lessons, and didn’t learn to break the cycle of immaturity. I can’t explain why some people choose a right road into change, growth, and becoming, while others decide to increase their own misery, yet, seek to wrongly justify this failure by saying that God never, ever, meant for people to have it hard, and He wants them to be happy, except that each person chooses their path based on what they know within themselves. Everything we do, and say, is based within Self, how we feel, and how we view everyone that is in our lives.

    All I know is at the end of the day, each person has a crossroad and at that crossroad lies two choices. One way goes right, the other goes left. Every person’s decision lies upon them, and no one else.

    I know what you should do, but I also know I cannot make you do it. I’ve been this whole way, and I’m still walking an advanced journey that has everything to do with the aspects of the journey I once walked for myself.

    When this happened to me many years ago, I didn’t ask for it, and I didn’t want it. However, it was the best thing that ever happened, because those experiences, that eventually led my husband and I into the end of both our trials, brought forth PEACE.

    There is hope, there is always hope, as long as there is love in your heart. If you ever come to a point where love is lost, hope, will also be lost. I know from experience that commitment will hold you in place, when love has been fully destroyed during your journey…and this destruction of love will happen. However in time, you’ll birth a new love, one that is based on God’s Unconditional Love. You are forced to release your midlife spouse to grow up, but if you let this process work on you, you will also grow up. ((HUGS))

    The way I see it is this: if my husband was an emotionally healthy man (something I did not fully see until all this began), then he would not have to be experiencing this turmoil right now. It’s not just about me and how I feel, but I can’t help but worry about him and his lack of emotional maturity. He’s as stubborn as a bull and I fear he will be stuck in this for many, many years to come…and perhaps never emerge healthy and whole. I have gone for counselling to deal with my own issues (first time in my life I’ve ever done this or even thought I needed to) but I know my husband and I know he will not go for the same help.

    Sorry for the rant but it feels good to get it off my chest.

    The good news is you’re understanding something I’ve struggled for a long time to get people to understand. If both people in the marriage were what they’re supposed to be, this midlife transition/crisis would only have been an emotional course adjustment. Which means that both of you, at different times, would have done three things:

    (1)Take stock of the past life that led into the place you arrived into.

    This simply means that during life’s journey one takes some time to reflect on the past, to see where they came from. This is part of what life is about. You do tend to look back to see if there is anything you need to change, any growth you need to accomplish, both of which would lead you into becoming what God would have you to be. It’s not conscious–it’s more subconscious, and in some ways, even unconscious. No one is really aware of doing this, but it must be done, in order to move forward in one’s life.

    (2) View where you are in the present time, to see if you’re on track with your life.

    This is a good time to examine any life’s goals (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) that remain to be met, if any exists. If not, then this is a time when new goals are to be set. What this means, is the past contributes to the present, and this past reflection leads into the present time, and you’re looking to see how this connects with your future.

    (3)Look ahead, plan your future, and get prepared to start moving forward, once the past, and present have been accepted, settled, and one’s Self is at peace.

    Now, you notice, I hope, that all of this was done without disrupting the family, without ending a marriage, and without causing total chaos.

    If both people were what they should have been before the midlife transition came forth, the transitioner’s spouse would not be left behind, that spouse would understand that emotional growth, and further emotional development was taking place. So, space, time, and detachment would temporarily occur, so as not to increase the amount of stress their transitioning spouse was experiencing. Anytime a person goes through a process of change, growth, and becoming, there is always emotional stress involved, even during an emotional course adjustment.

    I’ve already been down that particular road. I found out three years ago, that I was facing another process of change, growth, and becoming for myself.

    For me, that was a two-year process, because it involved deeper change, greater growth, and a more advanced becoming for myself. I was driven to pick up some left-over aspects that had occurred due to a lifestyle change, and settle these. I was checking my personal life’s path, and I adjusted my emotional course to reflect where I was going into my future. I also experienced a resetting of personal and life’s goals, and I did it all without disrupting my marriage or my life.

    From my current personal viewpoint, my future looks bright, life is good, and this is not even about my marriage–this is about ME, whose life is separated from my husband’s, yet at the same time, it’s connected. ((HUGS))

    There are people in this life who have accomplished their stages of life’s growth without causing emotional upheaval in their families. They understand that what is happening in them, is all about them, but their character is strong enough NOT to traverse down a road that leads into temptation. These are the people who have successfully finished each stage as it came forth–from the onset of puberty, into midlife, and beyond that time.

    Unfortunately, those people are few and far in between. I haven’t known many of this type, but they do exist, because I have talked to them. They were open with the fact they faced this kind of battle, but it was a minor one. Because they had followed life’s program for all of their lives, learned their lessons, and honored themselves, their times of emotional growth that occurred, were only experienced as a bump in life’s road to be navigated through, and life went on for them.

    The main aspect these people had in common, was the fact, they thought all the way through to the consequences of every one of their thought-about actions. There was no making the spur of the moment decisions that would destroy them. They knew that whatever they did, would reflect on them, and no one else. They also understood that thinking was just that, thoughts, and the choice to act on those thoughts was all about them.

    Mature people understand that thinking in depth before you do anything, choosing your battles, choosing your actions, and saying anything, is all about THEM, and the choices they would make. Unfortunately, this is the biggest problem the midlife spouses face—considering and thinking about the consequences before committing any action that will change the rest of their lives.

    Thinking won’t condemn a person, because you can think all you want to, but it’s your actions, in response to a thought that hasn’t been deeply considered, that will destroy you. No one knew this better than the people whose midlife transition period, stayed an emotional course adjustment.

    Now, as far as counseling goes–good for you, get the help you need for yourself, because you are the only one who can.

    As for your husband, well, no midlife spouse ever wants to go to counseling. My own husband didn’t go, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t hope for him. As a matter of fact, I didn’t go either. God was my counselor.

    I went crying to Him because my husband refused to go to counseling, and I said something to the effect that I would go, even if he didn’t go. The Lord said that I didn’t need a human counselor, that He would counsel me directly…and I’m here to tell you He did counsel me. What about my husband? God did His Work on my husband, and I never did ask him again to go to counseling.

    Counselors cannot “fix” anyone, and the person who expects a counselor to “fix” them, hasn’t even begun to understand that the Self work that needs accomplishing is not up to the counselor, it’s up to the person who is paying for that counseling. The counselor is just there to listen, validate, assist, and expose the tools necessary for the person who is seeking guidance. That’s it. The rest of the work is up to the person who is going to counseling.

    There are different kinds of counselors, and you have to figure out which one is going to be best for you, for the kind of help you need. I’d have to admit, it irritates me to see people expect counselors to “fix” them, when that’s NOT the counselor’s job. That counselor is getting paid to help that person without getting emotionally involved, and without advising them to do something that’s going to irrevocably destroy their lives.

    I don’t care for the counselors who advise divorce, and I don’t care for the counselors who advise doling out punishment against the person who is sinning against his family–the sinner isn’t a child that is under subjection to a parent. It’s enough to know the sinner is already paying consequences, you just can’t see them.

    Punishment, chastisement, and discipline is not up to the person who is being sinned against that is something God will most certainly take up, given time, and His time is always better, because He knows exactly how to hit that sinner where it hurts them the most.

    It’s one thing to protect yourself from further damage, quite another to treat people like they don’t matter, deliberately hurting them, just because they hurt you first. Get a grip on yourself, understand you have no control over any of this, while retaining full control over yourself.

    Let God have the whole of this situation, focus on yourself, and understand that no matter what happens, you’ll be just fine. Do your inner work, keep asking questions, and keep moving forward in your journey.

    I hope this helps.


    Since 2002, Hearts Blessing has been a pioneer in the area of knowledge and information written about the Mid Life Crisis. The owner and author of https://thestagesandlessonsofmidlife.org she writes articles that help people learn more about this confusing time of life. The main goal of this site is to help people know and understand that no matter what happens, every situation works out to the good of those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose. :)
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