Mid-Life Spouses and Teens in Puberty: Common Ground

A mid-life spouse does have the capacity to act decent at times, but always be prepared for them to go the other direction at any time. Remember that either way they choose to act has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them.

As long as they continue to deal with the various issues that are still alive and “unwell” within, they will move back and forth from good to bad behavior, then back and forth again. These “mixed messages” can get very confusing, as one day, they are the best friend you ever had, and the next, you are their worst enemy, with the latter showing more often than the former.

They have good and bad days, depending on what has surfaced within them, and it is important to learn to detach, and distance yourself from their various antics. Of course, nothing you do will help the situation as it stands, and all you really can do is separate yourself emotionally, focus on yourself, and work on yourself; learning to completely let go of your mid-life spouse.

This is definitely an emotional developmental process they are going through, much like teenagers who are trying to find themselves in various areas, and it should not be surprising that the issues they face are so much like the teens who are struggling in some of these same areas.

The only difference is the teen has their life ahead of them, no spouse, no children, no job, no bank account, whereas the mid-life spouse has already reached mid-life, has a job, a spouse, children, bank account, and because they are currently within a teenage mentality, they may be laying total waste to funds that the left-behind spouse desperately needs to support their families.

The other difference is the mental capacity/maturation of both parties, the teenager doesn’t have the necessary mental tools to resolve their issues without help, and because of this, these issues are buried within for a later time.

The mid-life person has the mental capacity/maturation to face their issues if they are so inclined, as life has taught them some things, but upon reaching mid-life, as the truth unfolds within themselves, they do their best to shut it out, drown it out, and try to keep everything on a superficial level, so they hopefully will never have to search deep within themselves for the answers that lay within.

Unfortunately, in all their running, this can involve another person, but they don’t know this until later, as the whole affair aspect blows up in their face….but I digress.

The teenager, who has not received the necessary help to resolve their issues during puberty, is not aware of having buried their issues for a later time, whereas the mid-life person is brought to a state of becoming very much aware there is something wrong that bears examining within. However, because of the fear that also swells within, unfortunately, they make the choice to run away instead of choosing to take the more difficult path that leads into facing, resolving, and eventually healing themselves in full.

Teenagers and mid-life spouses can both use drama, the higher (for them, not you) the better for the purpose of controlling various situations. This is an attempt to get and maintain tight control of any situation. Both will stop at nothing to get their way, and both are crying out for boundaries, although they will both tell you they do not need help of any kind.

It’s nothing for both parties to throw tantrums when they do not get their way, act openly hostile, or be just plain hard to live with, because their attitudes are filled with anger, self-pity, self-victimization, and they hate themselves.

In spite of the fact that mid-life spouses are being completely rebellious, at the same time, they want to make sure you will still be there. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it is quite true. Though they may try to convince themselves that their life would be best without you, but at the same time, their unbroken connection to you continues to bring them right back to you time after time.

Just like a teenager in rebellion, they also say and do things designed to try and force you to keep feeding their various justifications for all that they are doing that is wrong. They really do know they are wrong, but since they cannot blame, nor look within, themselves at this moment, they will project outward the most hateful things they can spew onto you.

Emotional projection is meant to be turned around within one’s own mind, as it clearly shows where a mid-life spouse stands each time something is spewed outward that makes no sense to the left-behind spouse at the time it is spoken. Don’t get me wrong, there are some spewed comments that sparkle with grains of truth.

However, if you will put your anger aside, and pay strict attention, you will find that the majority of comments the mid-spouse will make are not about you, although they will say they are, these would actually be about them.

For example, when a mid-life spouse says you are a bad parent, turn this around in your mind, and realize they are projecting their personal thoughts of themselves as being a bad parent onto you. It’s the same when and if they tell you that you are crazy, mental, nuts, etc. It’s not you, it is them that are crazy, and they know it, but cannot “own” it.

Everything they feel about themselves, they will project these upon you in an effort to emotionally distance themselves from these. However, this never works, as the unresolved issues will continue to come back and bite the mid-life spouse time after time, until they decide to focus inward, and chose to face, resolve and heal all of these in full.

This kind of projection is also the result of the failure of the mid-life spouse to truly separate themselves from their spouse at a deeper level within.

They think because they feel a certain way, then you must feel the same way. However, they will attack you outward, to keep from looking at themselves inward. This is also a symptom of codependency; which is also the inability to separate oneself emotionally from another person.

Teenagers use a different kind of projection that are more geared toward trying to hurt a parent’s feelings, but when they say, “I hate you!” bear in mind, they actually hate themselves. Also, your typical teen is struggling with learning to be independent, and this includes learning to make a necessary emotional break from their parents in order to try and become adults.

Mid-life spouses have this same aspect to complete, IF they did not complete this as young teenagers/young adults.

Both parties will even use emotional deflection to keep from taking necessary responsibility for their actions, past and present. This is an aspect both must outgrow.

I’ve even seen it where a mid-life spouse (teenagers have done this, too) confessed to one thing to keep from confessing to something else they were unable to face. This is along the same lines of using this same aspect of deflection on their part that doesn’t make sense at the time they do it, but it does later on. Teenagers also do these same things consistently, as they never want to be seen as “defective” or “bad”.

In addition, just like their mid-life spouse counterparts, teenagers will do their best to use someone’s love against them, as when one loves, one can be hurt. Love, to a teen and a mid-life spouse, is perceived as a weakness that can be used, and then exploited. Both parties will often use this perception about love to their (dis)advantage.

They both suffer from depression, and both need firm, but loving boundaries set on their behavior.

If you learn to step back, and compare a mid-life spouse’s behavior with a typical teen in puberty, you’ll come a long way toward understanding how the mid-life crisis works, and you will be better able to see the similarities between the teen that is navigating through Puberty, and the spouse that is navigating through a major mid-life crisis.

Food for thought.

BIG 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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