Within the earliest part of the transition/crisis, there is a vacuum —an emptiness — that is noticed by the mid-life spouse. There is an attempt to fill this “void” with the wrong kinds of things designed to make them feel better about themselves.
Conversely, however, this only results in an increasing of the pressure within. The mistakes made will add to their already low self-image, increase their self-hatred, and what increases inward, in time, will explode outward as they experience a full-blown phase of crisis designed to help them try and get control of themselves.
For a time, during Replay, they try to make it work. However, helplessly, they cycle back inward, for another round of increasing pressure that once again, explodes outward. This process helps them to push more of the anger they feel at themselves out onto the table to be looked at.
This is a vicious emotional cycle of a kind that can only be broken by the very one going through this trial. In the interim, during the Stage of Depression once rock bottom is hit, this aspect gets their attention in a whole new aspect. The mid-life spouse comes to a dawning realization that the only way to go on through is to move upward, and begin to walk onward toward their final destination.
This is the most difficult part of the journey. Certain realities are faced that lead to another realization that if they don’t move forward, they will stay in the proverbial Well of Rock Bottom with their failures, real and perceived. So, slowly, and painfully, they begin the long arduous climb to come out, so they can continue forward.
This leads them into a more serious facing of their issues. Most of them also realize by the time they climb out of the Well of Rock Bottom, that there is NO “real” escape. Only an illusion that with each step, is further broken. For others who have been most stubborn about continuing to try and get away from this necessary facing within, their issues at that point, seemingly sensing that time is growing short for them, will begin to cry out that much louder to be seen.
These stubborn mid-life spouses finally see clearly what they must do to get rid of the various “voices” within that still plague them day and night, making them think at times they are crazy or worse, insane.
Once the business of issue-facing has begun in earnest, the mid-life spouse begins to realize there is an empty space waiting to be filled that begins to replace this vacuum they once felt. As the “clutter” of their individual issues is cleared, a few at a time, and the various pieces come together to create a whole picture within, they also begin to realize the feeling of having more “room” to recreate themselves in a whole new way.
It is extremely painful, yet at the same time, positively challenging. Their renewed strength rises to meet the final obstacles that must also be cleared to continue the creation of this brand new positive space within their hearts.
The last aspect to begin to complete is the task of using the space/room created within for the new changes, new ways of relating that are begun as a result of the cleaning that is completed within themselves.
No one can “fill” that space left except for the person who created it. Once they’ve completed all their changes, begun to grow in ways never imagined before, and start to become this “new” person they are creating, they begin the task of settling down, exploring the new aspects that are appearing to be assimilated within this “new self” that finally comes together as a result of such a long journey into their own wholeness and healing.
This particular ongoing phase stretches out into the Settling Down Process where there is an emotional place for everything, and everything is put into its emotional place.