Six Stages of MLC #42396 – 1/23/03 Hearts Blessing
Now remember, each
MLC is different and won’t be navigated in the SAME way as others-the
time-frames, stages gone through/not gone through everything could be a
totally DIFFERENT story.
Some will come through faster than others, some will be slower-some might
exhibit one stage at a time, some might exhibit MORE than one.
This gives you an IDEA of what
to expect, but don’t take it as whole
truth-each person is DIFFERENT, and the differences WILL show up.
By popular demand, here are the six stages once again, written by HB-drawn
from personal experience, as well as the experiences of others:
1st Stage of a Mid Life Crisis
The word Denial should speak for itself,
as the person in this
stages denies their feelings pretty strongly.
In a Mid Life Crisis,
however there are several things that are denied;
one is the fact
he/she is getting older, and their bodies either don’t work as well as they
used to or
don’t look as good as
it used to, and they feel "used up", but are even trying to fight that feeling.
They don’t want to face the fact they are "wearing
out" and they can’t do the things they used to do anymore. They had
always, up to this point, felt
they were still in their prime or
youthful, and was ignoring the aging that was sneaking upon them.
When it finally hits home, they panic and some consider using plastic surgery
to enhance the illusion-or
going on a buying
spree for new clothes that don’t exactly fit someone their age-
and usually end up
spending a great deal of money on other things.
All in a effort to "buy-off"
the aging process-it only leads to the next stage-Anger.
They look at their children, and in their mind’s eye, they are STILL
small, never mind they are now teen-agers that are on the verge of growing
into adulthood, and so therefore they attempt to treat the young man or young
woman as they did when they were three or four years old—
only the teen is
probably about 13-18, and starts to rebel against being treated like a small
which increases the
confusion of the Mid Lifer-
they go on to try and
make up for lost time, only to find rejection at the hands of their
and though they are
hurt, they react in the only way they know how-Anger
Then there’s the spouse of the Mid Lifer-
he/she doesn’t look
the same as she did-
as the Mid Lifer
ages, so does the spouse, and we cannot help what heredity does to our looks;
but their spouses are also
a REFLECTION of them,
how they have treated
them, what they have given or with-held,
and they begin to
deny what they are seeing,
thinking if they had
it to go all over again they might have married someone else and
been happier than they are now-never mind it’s not true-
and that leads to the
This stage is mostly quiet storming inside their heads,
no one knows what they are thinking,
only that they have become withdrawn somewhat because of their
minds being so active,
and they are not talking, so no one has
any clue what’s happening until the Anger stage begins.
If asked, they will
tell you they are fine, and if you listen closely, their answers are a little
short-tempered; because they just want
to be left alone to think it all out.
It could be as short as a month or as long as six months to play out this stage.
I have not included being unhappy within their jobs in the stage of Denial,
because I don’t think dissatisfaction
with the job begins until the Anger stage-
To be totally honest,
I didn’t see my husband’s dissatisfaction really come to the surface until
the tail-end of Replay,
although it showed while
he was IN Replay-in small spurts
2nd Stage of a Mid Life Crisis
While the Mid Lifer is in the stage of Denial,
it is actually
preparing him/her for this next stage, it seems be a "set up" or
the seeds of Anger are actually planted by being in that first stage.
Regardless, the anger begins to set in, reality hits somewhat and the Mid
Lifer begins to be really angry at
the "lot" he/she has been
cast in this life.
And they have a
tendency to forget that others have the same problems-
they begin to be
selfish, lashing out at others, not caring how much they hurt the people that are
closest to them, even lashing out at their bosses, not
caring if they are fired or not-
it does NOT matter to
them, and they really don’t even know WHY they are angry.
alone wears on them and they react with MORE anger-
understanding it, but just going on with it,
thinking they are
saying what they really feel for the first time in their lives;
walking all over
anyone who stands in their way.
They begin to think "run-away" thoughts,
angry at their perception that they are
"stuck" in the same dead-end job, year after year, after year;
angry their children
have grown up without them,
angry their spouses
aren’t what they think they ought to be,
angry that life has
dealt them such a cruel blow,
angry because they
feel "stuck" and "trapped" in the life THEY chose in
Angry because it
dawns on them, that they ARE growing older,
and there’s not
stopping the aging process.
They begin to think if they could just CHANGE their life, they would be
but even the
thought of change, makes them angrier.
They look for outside
sources to blame for this unhappiness they feel inside,
and guess who gets
the "brunt" of that anger-
one who has seen them through many things during the marriage.
Their anger takes the form of small criticisms to begin with and gradually
gets bigger and bigger,
and the fights
escalate into possibly throwing things against the walls, making impossible
their spouse begins
to walk on "eggshells"—
the withdrawal gets
worse, they can barely speak to one another without a fight breaking out from
the "sane" spouse saying or doing the wrong thing.
It begins to feed their justification and reasoning, and most will find a
"friend" and develop that friendship, never dreaming it will
escalate into something out of control-the Replay affair.
Others will begin to
take drugs, drink, continue with their quest for youth, and search of
So the next stage-Replay and the Anger Stage OVERLAPS,
just as Denial and
Anger did-each one has the seeds of the next and the one before.
And all of the angry outbursts gradually sets things up for the next
The anger stage can last from 3 to 9 months.
3rd Stage of a Mid Life Crisis
Now, Replay can take many forms,
from Affairs, to a
search for youth, catching up on "lost" time-although you can never
"catch up" what you have lost in that time-
but they don’t know that.
They are still searching for outside sources to blame for their misery,
and Replay is a
perfect time for a totally stable man to go crazy
and start an
affair-although the SEEDS for this affair were probably planted while in the
They will still try to
reconnect with children, or if they were close to their children, distance
it is also during
this time they become the total "opposite" of what they were,
before they entered
the tunnel, back in Denial.
They undergo a
gradual change in the first
two stages, going from what they were to the
direct opposite during this time.
They will do things
their husbands/wives never thought
they would do.
Besides the affair, they will feel "entitled" to what they take,
regardless of who
they hurt, or how much of a financial bind they put their families in.
becomes "Well, I have taken care of people my whole life, now it’s time
for ME to have fun."
The emotions, during this time, are in play, in a way they never have been,
and they don’t understand
what’s going on, and so they panic and "run";
but the running they do
will rock the very foundation of a marriage.
They may drink, take drugs, curse God for what He "has done" to
affairs, failing to see what
they are doing that’s so wrong-
still with the
attitude of it being "my" time now.
The "bomb" can and will be dropped during this time,
shocking the sane
spouse who probably has NO idea that anything was wrong,
and the problems
begin to escalate, as "crying and begging" ensues, and the Mid
Lifer turns away,
secure in his
"reasoning" for his behavior and /or the
Their behavior can disrupt the most settled of families,
most especially the
affair-the Mid Lifer’s reasoning is that he/she thinks they have "missed
out" when really, they haven’t,
and the OW/OM, they
can/will get involved with will NOT be what they wanted all along,
but they won’t see that
until they experience an "awakening" that gives them a direction,
and starts them along the path to facing their issues;
opening the door for
the stage of Depression.
As long as the Mid Lifer continues "replay" behaviors
they are nowhere near
to being ready to start their way out of the tunnel;
"awakening" they have IF they come to it, is a "turning
point" to beginning their journey out of the tunnel.
When the "awakening" occurs, they begin to suffer the next
and it is a low point
of the Mid Lifer’s journey.
The Replay stage is the LONGEST of the stages,
and can last up to
two years or even longer, depending upon the "replay" behaviors
used during this time.
4th Stage of a Mid Life Crisis
Now, we have traveled through the first
three stages, and during those stages,
the issues that are inside the Mid Lifer have STILL not been looked at.
This is the stage where the Mid Lifer is faced with the issues he/she are
beginning to face, and quite frankly, they feel like failures.
Nothing has helped the first
everything they have
tried has NOT turned to gold, on the contrary everything has turned to stone,
for lack of a better
word to describe their running-
and now comes the
time to begin to face their damage,
and this is done
inside-because that is what Depression is Anger turned inward.
Their hormones are out of whack, due to physical changes, and that makes them
Their self-esteem is
shot all to pieces, and they feel like failures.
They wonder if they
will ever be worth anything to anyone.
Some are in so much
pain, they commit suicide,
some get smart and
get anti-depressants to help them begin to clear their thinking processes,
some suffer in
silence, thinking nobody understands them or will understand what they are going
and so it goes on.
They will be on the verge of tears, most of the time, pacing the floor,
losing sleep, afraid of the dark-
or maybe what’s in
it; unable to escape negative thoughts,
down in word and action.
Extreme guilt may
compound this stage, and there is so much pressure,
forgetful, irritable, want to be left alone,
argumentative, sometimes unresponsive-
want to take long drives,
sit looking out the window-
their silences are
long and painful, as they don’t want
to talk about it preferring instead to
think and brood.
You must understand they will come through this or they won’t-
no one can
"make" them come out until they are ready-
pestering them only
makes them draw inside further,
and they need the
space to work within themselves, trying to understand some of what has
the parts they can
face, anyway, besides resolving issues that are inside them, from childhood
this journey must continue to made alone, no one can "fix" it or
"do it for them."
Pieces of the next stage are contained within, and Withdrawal begins to come
to the fore
as each individual
issue is faced-
it is a gradual slide
from Depression to Withdrawal or both stages can occur together.
The Depression stage can last from around two and a half months to possibly
depending upon the
severity of the depression they are suffering.
5th Stage of a Mid Life Crisis
Now, the Mid Lifer has been beginning to face his/her issues while in
and what they’ve seen has NOT
They’ve done so MUCH
damage, and don’t really know how to "fix" it,
and that has made
them even MORE depressed.
So, for a time, they conclude that life is not worth much, and so they
"drop out" of life or WITHDRAW,
hence the stage of
It is also during this time,
they will navigate
obstacles and question themselves, somewhat,
working their way
toward what is called the "final fears"
Not much is known
about what the final fears contain-
I think it is
beginning to accept the death of everything they have ever known,
including the death
of their "old" lives; AND beginning to accept their own mortality
without being afraid of it-
Depression sets them
up for this journey across an open field toward an archway to face these
During this time, they
will NOT communicate with ANYONE, not even and especially their spouse,
as they are drawn so
far within, no one can reach them.
They MUST be allowed
to continue, with NO interruptions, just like before-
they will NOT come
out until they are READY to come out.
Just like in Depression,
they want to left alone,
their issues and the damage they have done to their spouse and their lives,
and they make several
decisions during this time concerning their lives, job, and marriage.
But those WON’T be known UNTIL
they break Withdrawal and talk to their spouse the first time
They are still secretive, somewhat asserting their privacy, much like a
but during this time,
they must be gently but firmly led along, and only when the time is right-
a wrong word at the wrong time will
cause them to "stick" within the tunnel.
You will see some Depression and Anger within them,
they are mostly angry
at themselves, but will take it out on you,
and there are times
you will have to be quiet and just leave them alone;
letting them work
things out, and they usually will,
as the answers, such
as they are STILL come from within them, not outside sources.
As they begin to come forward,
they will begin the
journey out of the tunnel-
entering the first
stage of Acceptance.
Withdrawal can last from three months to one year.
6th Stage of a Mid Life Crisis
The Mid Lifer has navigated through five stages of his/her Mid Life crisis by
and begins into the
Now, Acceptance is entered in "Stages" Three, to be exact.
Stage ONE involves the
disintegration of his/her personality,
is lifted showing the Mid Lifer EVERYTHING, no holds barred,
and he/she realizes
for the first time just how much damage has been done to their
marriage, lives and spouse.
The spouse will be
surprised to see "children" surface, as well as "flashes"
of the "old" personality, "new" personality, good AND bad
I have described it
as similar to schizophrenia, Three faces of Eve, etc.
But, I promise they are NOT crazy, this is what is MEANT to happen,
for the Mid Life
Crisis extracts a CHANGE, and the disintegration is a part of it,
as they are FORCED to
look at every facet of their personalities and make some permanent changes.
The key to helping
them through is to ACCEPT what you see as it comes forth,
and don’t ridicule or
you will see little
kids picking their nose for example–I saw this happen.
They will apologize
for everything under the sun, and try really hard to make up for the damage;
for a little while.
Now during stage TWO of Acceptance,
will come the
temptations to want to go back to what
they came out of.
The silence of the
spouse is most important during this time-
all you can do is be
understanding and patient with them
as this MUST happen
and they MUST come through alone.
They will SEEM to be going backward, but aren’t, this is necessary for them
to move forward.
It is during this time they will "revisit" ALL stages of the Mid
Life Crisis except Denial
and this shuts the
"doors" to each stage PERMANENTLY one by one, never to return.
If they give in to temptation
OR get spooked by
their final fears,
they WILL run BACK
into the tunnel a little ways.
But they can only run back
as far as the doors have NOT been closed permanently;
most of the time they
just run back as far as WITHDRAWAL,
but will continue the
process to come out once they feel "safe" to continue.
So, they must be
allowed to come through WITHOUT interruption,
no matter what
Stage THREE involves the "Archway"
I spoke of in the Stage of Withdrawal-
all this time the Mid
Lifer has been coming across this open field toward this Archway,
where his "final
fears" are located and he finally begins to face these fears in full-
he may come out of
the tunnel and face them BEFORE he/she shuts the door to
or afterwards. But he
will have to face them, nevertheless,
before he exits to
begin his complete healing process.
It takes awhile for the Mid Lifer to get settled down,
even after he/she
comes out of stage three of the Acceptance stage-
they will experience
a final "rebelling"
before they settle down for good.
It is much like a teen-ager who has passed into manhood/womanhood-
there are still final
changes that must be made,
especially for the
one who has done so much damage during the crisis itself.
But if he/she can settle everything within themselves,
should be marked with a sense of peace,
instead of the
anguish they have known for as long as they were within the crisis.
And they will
have learned many things concerning life,
and will be changed
permanently as they will NEVER be the same, ever again.
Edited by Hearts
Blessing (01/23/03 05:05 PM)