The Midlife Spouse: Emotional History Will Repeat

Human behavior, good OR bad, as a general rule is actually a set of emotional habits that we have learned to develop over the years, and human behavior is actually learned behavior. People teach us to how to treat them, while we reciprocate, because we teach them how to treat us. On both sides we treat people based on what we have learned from others that came before them, and they treat us based on what they have learned from others who came before us.

Some of those behaviors are ingrained, as we operate on habit, routine, and most of our actions we didn’t really think about, we just did it, assuming it was the way it was, again, based on what we were taught in the past.

Cue an emotional crisis, and everything we’ve ever been taught in our lives, comes into question. The midlife spouse questions everything they’ve ever been, and everything becomes a challenge, to see if somehow they can rid themselves of these negative feelings that were based in the issues of their past. However, choosing to do a healthy self examination is not on the agenda, because it involves a foreign concept, or “theory” called “Looking within Self,” for the areas that need major improvements, for the issues of one’s past that need taking apart, and for the emotional wounds that were caused by past emotional damage that were always covered in bandages, red, raw, and often weeping infection, and blood. It’s very painful to dig within Self, and the midlife spouse seeks to avoid this painful internal digging by repeating an old emotional habit–using outside solutions to try and fix inside problems.

Back in the day, these were called running behaviors–and at one time, I used to think the affair partner that MOST midlife spouses became involved with, were nothing more than a band aid used to cover those old wounds. Yet, I have to come to understand in the last few years, that it goes so much deeper than that, based on some deeper Insight I received many years ago, about how similar the affair partner usually is to the midlife spouse’s mother and/or father, OR the person who actually raised them–and those who caused great emotional damage within the midlife spouse when they were children.

Whether it was divorce, clear abandonment, emotional, physical, and mental abuse, OR a combination of all of the above, the fact is there is/was a major life-changing event, or a series of life-changing events that had happened TO that small child that created a major issue, that caused more pain than that child could bear, cope, or deal with as the child struggled, internalized these negative things, built an emotionally insulated wall against further hurt, and developed a self victimized attitude to cover up for their inability to control their environment. That was because it was all that child knew to do, they couldn’t risk trying to handle it on their own, because something deep inside of them knew this would shatter them into emotional, and mental pieces. This is actually a survival tactic, for the purpose of self protection.

With time, and gained knowledge on how to continue to avoid, evade, and escape, this issue, they eventually developed their own coping mechanisms, designed to keep the pain at bay, and far away, if that were possible to do. However, at midlife, all layers are stripped, leaving the bare emotional bones of that person exposed, and they are left defenseless, unable to cope and deal as they once did–so the only thing left to do, was RUN as far away as they possibly could get, in an attempt to widen the distance between them, and the painful past that never went away–they just buried it for most of their lives. Food for thought, because the midlife spouse actually repeats this kind of emotional/mental kind of distancing from what’s been done, and even from the damage they do, so that all of the emotional “mud” from their past pain, and from their present attempts to use outside solutions to solve inside problems doesn’t ruin their “good” person image.

Emotional history does tend to repeat itself in the absence of full emotional resolution into greater growth. The “bad” person who did these things, the sinner will seek to disown, and even claim that half of Self doesn’t exist..but that’s the lie the devil told them, too, so he could keep them prisoner in the pit of sin, they fell into. Guilt, and shame are the major aspects that keep a person wallowing in self victimization, and it takes great strength to overcome a sin committed, and eventually move out of that place…and the battle becomes fierce, and the pain is still there…because the mind can no longer protect them as it once did in their younger years. More to think about.

The mind is a strange aspect in that it does have the ability to shake life-shattering events off, detach those, shifting those into the emotional realm–which is also where all of the pain is felt. Logic can’t feel hurt, but emotions can. The resulting emotional distance becomes more of a buffer, an emotional cushion, if you will, against the causing of even more damage. There was an immense amount of emotional, and mental damage done by that life-changing event, and because they cannot shoulder any more damage, they will then distance themselves from the act, and the person that began turning that particular emotional wheel in a very negative direction.

Because said child did NOT have, and was never given/taught the emotional, mental, and even spiritual tools to be able to process, and deal with it, the major issue was put on emotional hold, or as I explain it, an emotional “piece” was broken off, and stored in the shadow of the psyche for a much later time. There is really no such thing as “small” issues within any human being who have internal issues they are struggling with.

Each person has their own tolerance for pressure, and pain–some are stronger than others, some are weaker than others, while others toe the line, and stand strong in their pain, because they know it’s better to Stand firm, and fight each battle into peace, than to run away, to come back, and fight this another day. However, the trouble with this kind of avoidance, is that what isn’t faced will always return, and worse than before…but you cannot tell one midlife spouse about that, because they would suspect you were running your own agenda, and trying to involve them in something they’re not ready for…and that’s doing a full facing, resolving, and healing of Self…their pain is simply too great to go into this process willingly.

You can’t emotionally deal with what you don’t know how to deal with. You can’t resolve that which you don’t have the mental ability to resolve. You can’t even seek God about something you don’t understand, until you’re able to understand. Furthermore, until you gain the life’s knowledge needed, which will bring the tools you have to have to resolve Self, you do what you have to do to survive–and other people call this repression of one’s past pain, which would be another way of speaking about putting an issue on emotional hold within Self, until you are equipped to go through the process of facing, resolving, and healing your Self.

Very few people ever reach the middle of life bearing the ability to cope with the future. Everybody is forced to turn back, because the journey into the past must be navigated, faced, resolved, and healed in full, before that person can even hope to continue forward into deeper emotional growth. It explains how elderly people can act so childish–their inner children have run the show for many years, came out during their time in middle age, but the adult counterpart, or core personality, was either unwilling, or unable to resolve those emotional children from the past. So, those children were never called into account for their rebellious actions by the adult counterpart, who was so overwhelmed, it could not do what was necessary to heal those children into the fullness of emotional health.

These things are a healthy mix of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual battles that occurs within each person, and though one of the end goals is peace, that same peace must be battled for–setting boundaries on bad behavior, and letting that person be mad, if that is what they choose to do.

Otherwise, the only real choice you have is to step back away from them…God will deal with them, don’t worry about that–just learn how to deal with yourself, to love and care for yourself, and in time you hold onto hope of their turning back at a later time.

More food for thought. ((HUGS))

Something else to chew on, just like my previous post. ((HUGS))

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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