Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Maja

Submitted on 03/24/2014, This is from Maja. Her comments will be in bold italic, mine will remain in regular format.

Thank you HB for this amazing website. It really gives insight of what is going on in their minds.
I have seen here everything you wrote. The children of their issues, an OW who is the exact opposite of myself and, and on an emotional basis, a copy of his mother.

Hi Maja! 🙂

Thank you very much for once again confirming what I have always known to be the truth. 🙂 I don’t doubt that people have thought they were going crazy at times, and it’s often such a relief to know that someone understands and validates what they have seen. You can’t tell just anybody what you’re seeing, because they’re liable to think you’re crazy, or worse, cracking under the heavy amount of stress you’re already dealing with.

When the Lord began opening my understanding in these spiritual-type areas, and I had started seeing these same things that I write about, it was hard to believe what I was seeing at first. However, in order to believe, one must open their minds to these kinds of aspects, and accept them for what they are, and as the truth. You know what you’re seeing, and no one can discount or discredit what you’re seeing, because you’re not alone. 🙂

It’s nothing short of amazing for me to hear people tell of what they see in their mid-life spouses, and I’ve often been asked if any of it made sense, and to me, it does, because I have seen these things, too.

The mid-life affair partner often represents one or both parents and it usually represents the most painful issues surrounding this same aspect. Some mid-life spouses choose to go home to their mom and dad, because they have unfinished emotional business in this particular area. However, in the absence of mom and dad, or because going home is too unbearable, another woman/other man will serve as a “stand-in” for one or both parents.

On a side note, here’s the deal: You, as their spouse, do NOT want to have to deal with them in this way, and you actually could not even if you were able to, and I’ll tell you why. When you look at the coming explanation of what they must resolve for themselves-you’ll understand more. If they ever begin viewing you as “mom” or “dad”, you stand a greater chance of losing them, because one of the issues that most of them will have will have everything to do with the breaking of the emotional attachment they failed to break with their parents as young adults.

You, as their spouse, are clearly unable to pull “double-duty” as their parental “stand-in” and as the future relationship-only one can be done, not both. Carry out your own role as first, the Stanchion, then learn to adjust yourself as the mid-life’s spouse needs adjust in every area except the parental one. You didn’t break him, therefore, you cannot hope to fix him.

Also, remember you have your own emotional journey to walk as well, so you should have your own hands full and then some when it comes to yourself. If you are still seeking to control this process in some way, you will neglect yourself in that sense, fall behind, and find yourself having to play “catch up” in order to “keep up” with everything YOU need to be doing for yourself.

Although there are no guarantees, you want your marriage to survive this, if possible. Therefore, don’t give the mid-life spouse ANY reason to relate to you as someone who is taking care of them as a mother or father would do.
Their views and perceptions are skewed enough as it is without making this crisis more difficult upon you.

One of the main goals of the emotional affair is to recreate a time of unconditional love that wasn’t satisfied long ago-failing that, there is also a matter of an unbroken emotional connection on the part of the mid-life spouse that should be broken during this time. When they were young, and left home as young adults, most of them never made the emotional “break” that was required by a young man/young woman in order to render them emotionally independent. This break is the final step into adulthood. It doesn’t require the parents to actually “do” anything-the ability to make this break lies upon the young adult.

If the emotional break from the parents isn’t completed, the young adult will carry this same attachment into mid-life-and it’s at the root of adults who cannot let go of their parents, continuing to be emotionally “bound” to them-and never being able to relate to them as adults, instead of children, if that makes sense. This is one of the past issues a mid-life spouse will face, and they must complete this aspect, right along with every other issue they have from childhood forward.

Now, the mid-life affair isn’t about sex at all-it’s about reliving/reforging an emotional connection denied long ago. People think it’s about sex, but it’s really not about that. Most of the time, the other woman/other man will introduce sex into the mix in order to try and “keep” the mid-life spouse who seeks to escape the emotional affair-however this introduction not only transforms the emotional affair into a physical affair, this also traumatizes the “child”, and creates even more emotional damage.
This can result in prolonged trauma for the mid-life spouse, but there isn’t anything the left-behind spouse can do about it, except to keep praying for them.

Food for thought, and I will continue forward.

I always saw a huge gap in how my H viewed his mother (he adored her) and how she really was. A passive aggressive woman, manipulative and emotionally completely frozen. Not capable of giving the unconditional love to her children they all were so eager to get from her. Not able to communicate and not able to mirror her children. In fact all her children treating her as she is the child.

As I explained above, one of the purposes of the mid-life affair is the ongoing search for this unconditional love they never received as a child. Your husband had idealistic views of his mother that allowed him to avoid seeing her as she really was, and he apparently put her on a pedestal. Of course, all of her children worship her in this way, and she most likely shows Narcissistic tendencies, too. If you look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you’ll probably see several, if not all traits that she has.

It’s apparent the children were unable to let go of her, and she, in turn, is unable to let go of them. However, in order for her to begin growing up, they are called upon to first make their own emotional breaks, and then learn to begin setting appropriate boundaries within their individual situations that she would definitely rebel against, and have two choices–either accept said boundaries, or walk away from these.
Since the children are apparently afraid of losing what little love and favor she gives them in the first place, it’s not likely she would ever change on her own.

From what you describe, she never grew up in the first place, and raised children that cater to her every whim. It’s also apparent that her love is based on the children’s performance, and honey, that’s not love at all…that’s like you say…it’s control and manipulation at its worst.

Of course I didn’t know of all the damage done during his childhood. In fact H always told me he had a fantastic youth. Although his oldest sister told me he was the scapegoat, I believed my H. Until his MLC. In fact everything he accused me of, is his mother.

Apparently, all along the way, since he’d never let go of his mom, he must have “intermixed” the two of you once his MLC started, and this would contribute to his accusations matching his mom, rather than you. It sounds to me like he carried a lot of damage out of his childhood, and projected himself heavily upon you.

BD December 2010. H is a clinging boomerang. He was monster for about almost two and a half years, blaming me for everything wrong in his life and using projections in which I recognized his mother. Since July last year it all stopped. In fact after a false start when he woke me up in the middle of the night and told me he was coming home. He did not. Communication after that incident was about zero. The only thing he did when at home was playing games on his cellphone. Told me the grass was not greener, that in fact he didn’t find the happiness he was looking for, but still living with OW. In Sept last year My D21 told me once that he was almost in tears. That everything in his life went wrong. I never saw him that way. In fact that same day he came home an looked happy.

In other words, he won’t let go, and this is really common behavior of ALL MLC’ers. They ALL cling desperately to the left-behind spouse. Yes, they may leave, or they may be asked to leave, but that strange connection remains in place, and regardless of what happens, I don’t believe any of them ever truly stop keeping tabs on the left-behind spouse on their end of it–this is even IF the left-behind spouse doesn’t hear a word about or from the mid-spouse for a long period.

Playing games on the cellphone isn’t unusual-their minds are running fast and furious, and these “mindless” games are often soothing, and helpful in coping with this aspect.

If they weren’t able to do something like this, they would have a total meltdown, because they cannot get away from themselves in the first place. Also playing these “mindless” sort of games in some way, helps them to process for themselves-and I can’t explain much more than that, except that I know from the experience of my own Transitional Period that some of my biggest processing of aspects was assisted when I was doing something else that didn’t require much mental interaction.
Whatever answer I was looking for, would seem to come out of the blue in the form of an epiphany, all of a sudden, and as my mind remained “on hold” the processing was much easier, than if I’d been focused completely on myself that whole time.

His conversation with his daughter was a form of self-victimization. He didn’t show these things to you, because he’s not ready, just yet. He put on his “happy” mask when he came home, because again, he wasn’t ready to show you anything else-MLC’ers are often afraid of showing negativity to the left-behind spouse, most especially when they want something from them. Somewhere within himself, he doesn’t want to lose you, and in spite of his angry confused spewing, and projection, there are still feelings for you. Otherwise, he would have simply gone on with the other woman sometime back.

I now know the reason of his dysfunctional youth. His parents have been prisoners in the Japanese camps during WWII. It seems to be a known fact that many of their children are prone to psychic problems at middle age, due to emotionally unavailable parents who had their own problems. And due to the fact that this people learned to never talk about their past. They were unable to give their children an own identity.

I am very sorry to hear that, Maja. It looks like the parents were never able to overcome their own personal traumatic experiences, and in that process raised children that were just like them, emotionally unavailable, and unable to cope in a healthy way. To love someone, means one must know how to love themselves, and this is one aspect almost all mid-life spouses are lacking in. When a child isn’t taught what love is supposed to look like, they’re left stumbling around in the emotional dark, trying to figure this aspect out.

It seems to me that your husband must have “rewritten” his childhood to reflect something he had wished for it to be, instead of what it really was, a life of emotional withholding, emotional withdrawal, emotional abandonment, and a feeling of not being good enough, regardless of what he did.

I feel for him, and for you, because I know you love him very much. ((hugs))

In fact I have three questions. First I wonder how it is possible that someone with such an upbringing, who never learned to mirror, to reflect and to process their feelings and emotions, will be able to piece all the things together.

Childhood damage comes in all shapes and sizes. It is possible to do this with the help of the Lord who is ever present during this time. However, your husband must be willing to learn to help himself, in order to heal himself, and this will take time to accomplish. Emotional damage didn’t occur overnight, and it won’t resolve overnight. There are no two people just alike within the aspect of resolving emotional damage, and no two people take the same approach to this kind of resolution.

As each person is different…each one deals differently, according to what they can and will do as individual people.

There are some things we’ll never come to know or understand- this is where our faith is tested, and often tried hard, as we come to know that God is bigger than what we don’t understand. We further come to the deeper understanding that all things are possible, if we would just believe, have faith, and step back to let God do what we know will be His best work within the mid-life crisis spouse.

I know it takes time for this to occur, even within the ones who suffer from deep emotional damage. I cannot explain how they will learn this, I just know that they can, even if it takes some time for them to learn how. This is where God comes in, and works within their hearts. He has never enlightened me on “how” they learn to do it, He just says they can learn, and if they’re willing, He will help them learn.

Secondly, my H told me that he just met somebody who told him about the high divorce rate under this part of the populations (my H is from the Dutch Indies) due to psychic problems they get at an older age. Furthermore he told him about the traumatic life their parents had. In fact this man told him the history of his parents, a history his parents never talked about anymore. Do you think that this will ring a bell? Should I try to start to communicate with him about this or should I leave it to my H to figure out.

I imagine that was probably a shock to come to know what he probably didn’t know until now. This is how God will often use someone else to speak to the mid-life spouse about things in the past. If the left-behind spouse brings it up, they are accused of trying to “hold it over my head.”
It was better that it came from this other person, than it would have been coming from you.

Honey, if you begin trying to talk to him now, because he is still not receptive to you, and is still in Replay at this time, he will still perceive what you say as trying to ‘fix’ and/or control him, and this could cause him to run away from you. This is HIS past history, not yours, and in this aspect, you would need to wait for him to come to you with these things at a time of his choosing. It’s possible that he may come to you at a later time, but not now. Wait on him to see if he does bring it up on his own-otherwise, leave him in the hands of God, because God knows how to help him work it out on his own.

My last question is about the OW. I always read that the OW will be in the picture as long as Replay lasts. That this relationship will not survive the other stages. But I think my H is not anymore in Replay, don’t see the signs anymore. But still living with her. Is that unusual as far as you know?

The Other Woman still being present is a clear sign that he still remains within Replay at this time. She seriously cannot survive past the Replay stage. As long as she is present, she would remain an actual barrier to his further growth. Until he completely ends his affair with her, cutting all contact, and going through the affair processing (OW Withdrawal) completely, he will not come out of Replay at all.

Also, since he has not resolved your continuing presence in his life at this time, i.e. making a clear choice between you and her, this is also a point that keeps him continuing to languish within Replay at this time. It’s apparent he must be trying to figure out how to keep both of you, so that he can have this “best of both worlds” aspect, and this cannot be done.

Almost every mid-life spouse (most especially men), suffer from this kind of “entitlement” aspect, because they want what isn’t possible-to have two people “competing” over them-and they plot and scheme within this aspect, until THEY figure out that this isn’t going to happen, OR they are forced to choose what they want.

It’s a boost of their ego for them to see this when it happens, and in SOME cases, I have seen this happen before the left-behind spouse understood the other woman/other man wasn’t where their anger needed to be directed-it needed to be directed on their mid-spouses for having started this in the first place.

What the mid-life spouse doesn’t seem to want to understand is they stand to lose both people they seek to keep for their own selfish purposes. He’s using both of you for the meeting of needs that are met in him, and these will vary according to his individual wants and desires. Whichever way he decides to go, he would have to consolidate both sides into one side. Unless both people are willing to be satisfied to only have “half” of him, one of those people are going to force him to make a choice, and you want the other woman to jump the gun on that.

However, IF you see a time when he’s going between the two of you, showing confusion, seemingly unable to choose, (the “cake-eating” aspect), then you would need to call him on that, as it would be right time to tell him he must choose her or you.

Relationships are made for two people, not three, but until the mid-life spouse also figures this aspect out, or begins to “cake-eat” until forced to choose between the two, things will continue as they are.

It is possible for all behaviors of Replay to calm down, except for still having the mid-life affair partner. He still has something left to resolve within himself that prevents him from ending the affair, or she would not still be there.

As long as the Other Woman remains in the picture, he still remains in Replay. She is the most obvious “running behavior”, a temporary “band-aid” for one or more of his deepest emotional wounds, and again representative of an unresolved issue or issues that has/have to do with his mother. I’m surprised that you haven’t seen some emotional cycling in this area, or consistent shifting of clothing, attitude, something that indicates he’s struggling. Or maybe you don’t see these, because, true to form, he is most likely showing you one side of himself, while showing the other woman the other side of himself.

I’m even more surprised that you haven’t mentioned him trying to go between the two of you–trying to have both of you, instead of choosing one or the other.

Something is keeping him within the affair in spite of the fact he’s told you the grass is NOT greener, etc. It could be she’s emotionally blackmailing him, made him feel guilty, or he may not yet be strong enough to begin breaking the affair down, just yet.

It could be a number of different things, but since she is his problem, not yours, what he will or won’t do in the future is up to him–unless your Intuition advises you to do something.

Always consult your Intuition before you do anything to rock the boat, if this becomes necessary. God knows what is ahead, and we don’t, and He’s not going to advise us to do something that’s going to go against His Will in our lives. Whatever He says, do it, even if it doesn’t always seem to make sense. It’s all part our own learning process, because at various times during the mid-life crisis, we will learn as we go, in a hands-on kind of fashion, guided by God who empowers us to do the right thing at His “right” times. 🙂

Thank in advance for your reply.

I sincerely hope all of this helps, Maja. 🙂 May God continue walking with you, guiding you, and I hope all things work out for you and your husband in the future. 🙂 There is always hope as long as you still love your husband, and are willing to continue standing for him. Also remember that God is there, too, and He will never lead you anywhere that He won’t also bring you through. 🙂

((hugs))
Love,
HB

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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5 thoughts on “Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Maja

  1. Thank you HB for this amazing website. It really gives insight of what is going on in their minds.
    I have seen here everything you wrote. The children of their issues, an OW who is the exact opposite of myself and, and on an emotional basis, a copy of his mother.
    I always saw a huge gap in how my H viewed his mother (he adored her) and how she really was. A passive aggressive woman, manipulative and emotionally completely frozen. Not capable of giving the unconditional love to her children they all were so eager to get from her. Not able to communicate and not able to mirror her children. In fact all her children treating her as she is the child.

    Of course I didn’t know of all the damage done during his childhood. In fact H always told me he had a fantastic youth. Although his oldest sister told me he was the scapegoat, I believed my H. Until his MLC. In fact everything he accused me of, is his mother.

    BD December 2010. H is a clinging boomerang. He was monster for about almost two and a half years, blaming me for everything wrong in his life and using projections in which I recognized his mother. Since July last year it all stopped. In fact after a false start when he woke me up in the middle of the night and told me he was coming home. He did not. Communication after that incident was about zero. The only thing he did when at home was playing games on his cellphone. Told me the grass was not greener, that in fact he didn’t find the happiness he was looking for, but still living with OW. In Sept last year My D21 told me once that he was almost in tears. That everything in his life went wrong. I never saw him that way. In fact that same day he came home an looked happy.

    I now know the reason of his dysfunctional youth. His parents have been prisoners in the Japanese camps during WWII. It seems to be a known fact that many of their children are prone to psychic problems at middle age, due to emotionally unavailable parents who had their own problems. And due to the fact that this people learned to never talk about their past. They were unable to give their children an own identity.

    In fact I have three questions. First I wonder how it is possible that someone with such an upbringing, who never learned to mirror, to reflect and to process their feelings and emotions, will be able to piece all the things together. Secondly, my H told me that he just met somebody who told him about the high divorce rate under this part of the populations (my H is from the Dutch Indies) due to psychic problems they get at an older age. Furthermore he told him about the traumatic life their parents had. In fact this man told him the history of his parents, a history his parents never talked about anymore. Do you think that this will ring a bell? Should I try to start to communicate with him about this or should I leave it to my H to figure out.
    My last question is about the OW. I always read that the OW will be in the picture as long as Replay lasts. That this relationship will not survive the other stages. But I think my H is not anymore in Replay, don’t see the signs anymore. But still living with her. Is that unusual as far as you know?

    Thank in advance for your reply.

    I

  2. Dear HB,

    Thank you very much for your excellent comment. It is such a difficult journey, cause as you said, nobody will ever understand. You cannot talk about it with other people without risking that they think that you are the crazy one or that you are living in denial.

    First of all, yes I love my H very much. And to be honest, that makes me so angry sometime. Knowing how much love we as a family gave him, how beautiful our family was. And then just give it all up. Dumping us like trash. And if you know for what. The OW is a 50 years old hippie, with dreadlocks and looking everything but representative. People who met her told me they really were in shock. My H is a lawyer, so imagine.

    Even understanding what is going on, knowing the cause of this all it is sometimes so hard for me to stop my emotions. Although I try to zip my lips, sometimes it is really impossible due to the crazy thing he is telling me. So we have had hugh fights as you can imagine. Maybe that is preventing him to stop this behavior. I tried so many times to reason with him about her. But that is simply not possible. He is absolutely blinded. Telling me it is about us, and not about her. That she means nothing and even referring to her as a woman with a certain profession. He doesn’t seem to understand that a relationship is about two people and not about three. In fact he is demanding me to be nice to him, although he is living with her. It looks to me like he wants to test my unconditional love, while doing all this bad things to me and our children.

    There is a lot of shifting in his behavior. But he doesn’t show that to me. He left his previous cellphone in our house (he always stores his stuff in our house) and I saw the pictures he took. Besides pictures of the OW, I saw pictures which showed all the activities that he is doing right now. Riding horse, on a boat, skiing. Activities that he normally would never do. He hates them. It really looks like I was looking at the pictures taken by another person. My D told me yesterday that she saw him a week ago. He was looking terrible, was very negative and having old clothes on with wholes in it. She was feeling very sorry for him. Saying to me ‘Daddy never looked like that’. But, he never shows me this side of him.

    What you write about is mother. Yes, she is absolutely narcissistic. But covert, so not visible in the first place. Only since his MC I found something on the internet about the narcissistic family. Everything fits.

    HB,
    Thank you very very much for everything. It gave me so much insight.
    Huggs,
    Maja

  3. “Now, the mid-life affair isn’t about sex at all-it’s about reliving/reforging an emotional connection denied long ago. People think it’s about sex, but it’s really not about that. Most of the time, the other woman/other man will introduce sex into the mix in order to try and “keep” the mid-life spouse who seeks to escape the emotional affair-however this introduction not only transforms the emotional affair into a physical affair, this also traumatizes the “child”, and creates even more emotional damage.
    This can result in prolonged trauma for the mid-life spouse, but there isn’t anything the left-behind spouse can do about it, except to keep praying for them.”

    This is also so true. I saw it happen after he confessed about the OW. It was in that time that he was psychic, had dissociations and things like that. I didn’t know what was going on. The only explanation I had was that she had to be a Borderliner or something like that to get someone so crazy like he was at that time. But now I understand. Thank you for that.

  4. Thank you HB for opening a forum. Your comments are giving so much insight in this whole process. I have done a lot of research myself, but it was here that I got the confirmation about their children of their issues and their rebellious behavior. I sometimes told my friends that it looked like he revealed to me all his FOO issues which had been hidden for years. Nobody believed me. Moreover, all I have seen was so horrible and frightening that I sometimes doubted myself. Because to the outside world his family is the prototype of the perfect family.

  5. Hi HB,

    Just one question. You are always saying that the MLC spouse is trying to create a time of unconditional love with the affair partner. Bc they never experienced that in their childhood. As far as I know my MIL, thats absolutely true. But what about the unconditional love their spouse and their children holds for them. In my opinion that is the true unconditional love. Or do they just not recognize this kind of love as unconditional as they have never experienced it as a child.
    As far as my H told me something about the relationship with the OW is that it is a very different relationship than with me: that he is ‘free and on his own’. And to me that just looks like the the dynamics I always saw within his family of origin. My H was the one trying to keep his family together by doing everything for them, but I have never seen anything coming from them in this regard. Not even a ‘thank you’. It always looked to me as my H was taken for granted. And his mother and his siblings are also all ‘free and on their own’, no attachments whatsoever. All of them are emotionally unavailable, not able to help each other and unable to communicate with each other.

    Thank you in advance for your reply

    Maja

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