Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Signs of Depression in MLC
#1: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS WILL OFTEN VIEW THEIR LEFT-BEHIND SPOUSE AND THEMSELVES AS ONE PERSON
The man in midlife crisis’ lack of boundaries comes from not viewing his spouse as separate from himself. He is so engulfed in negativity that he does not think clearly. As the man in midlife crisis looks to his loved ones to define and deliver his happiness, he eventually feels betrayed, because happiness must come from inside oneself, not from others. This feeling of betrayal may cause some of the anger we see in our men in midlife crisis.
#2: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE UNABLE TO SUSTAIN AND MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AS WELL AS RESOLVE RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS.
Because of his irrational ways of thinking, mainly due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, the man in midlife crisis will hear/interpret WHAT HE THINKS others are saying rather than hearing what really is being said. He destroys relationships by hearing blame rather than suggestions or means to problem-solve.
#3: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS HAVE DEPENDENT PERSONALITIES.
We are overly dependent on others when we do not feel complete or whole. This is the very essence of a man in midlife crisis. As he continues through the tunnel, the man in midlife crisis gets much worse before he gets better. The left-behind spouse is often forced into a caregiver role, trying desperately to fix the crisis. The man in midlife crisis becomes aware of his neediness and becomes jealous/envious of his loved ones’ strengths and efforts to help, and responds with more anger.
#4: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE UNABLE TO SHOW EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
The man in midlife crisis is unable to stand the emotional pain he is creating. He becomes distant and indifferent to his loved ones. He views the left-behind spouse as the cause of his suffering and therefore treats her as the enemy.
#5: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE EXTREME ATTENTION SEEKERS
Attention, both positive and negative, can confirm love and self-worth to the mid-lifer. To some men in midlife crisis, negative attention becomes better than no attention. Many have experienced "no attention" periods in their childhoods. Many men in midlife crisis use drama, sinfulness and confusion in an effort to get love. This then ensures the mid-lifer of keeping the left-behind spouse close.
#6: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE SELF-CENTERED
It is all about him. As he becomes more absorbed in finding himself, everyone else in his past life gradually becomes more and more obsolete. Most find their way back to what is really important - family and commitment. Unfortunately, they leave a heavy path of destruction that has to be faced.
#7: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE UNABLE TO TRUST
How can the man in midlife crisis trust his left-behind spouse if he cannot trust himself? His emotions and thought processes are unpredictable and irrational. When he cannot trust, he often acts out in angry outbursts and infidelity. He is searching for someone to see him as a perfect hero.
#8: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE UNABLE TO HANDLE STRESS
As the man in midlife crisis progresses through the tunnel, he becomes more and more unable to handle stress. His life is now full of lies, deceptions, betrayals and manipulations. It becomes harder and harder to maintain his superficial world. When he is reminded of his inabilities and flaws, he reacts by getting angry, blaming, spewing, etc...
He will do anything to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. If you doubt this, try having a "relationship talk." You will no doubt be disappointed in the outcome. Until he is ready to repent and show remorse for his behavior, relationship talks are useless.
#9: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS REWRITE HISTORY
The man in midlife crisis typically has very low self-esteem. He will rewrite past events in his favor to try to build up his fragile ego. He would rather lie than face the possibility that something is wrong with him, let alone a mental illness. His brain chemistry is skewed, not allowing him to distinguish between reality and distorted perceptions. However, the distortions cannot go on forever. ... As time goes on, he often gets caught in his lies because he cannot keep his stories straight.
#10: MOST MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS HAVE AFFAIRS
The most painful and devastating part of the midlife crisis for the left-behind spouse, children and family is the affair or series of affairs. Emotional affairs as well as physical affairs occur, and most emotional affairs turn into physical affairs for the mid-lifer. Some of the affairs produce a "love child.” Some result in the mid-lifer marrying the other woman. Even though the mid-lifer is not thinking clearly, there is no justification or excuse for committing adultery. This is by no means meant to excuse his behavior. It is unacceptable. Forgiveness depends upon the abandoned spouse and the mid-lifer’s ability to repent and show sincere remorse.
An affair allows the mid-lifer a distraction from the pain resulting from one or more of the following issues: childhood abandonment/abuse, grief, aging, health, job loss or dissatisfaction, parenting, sexual dysfunction or financial difficulties. The man in midlife crisis feels if he starts over with someone else, all his issues will go away. Little does he realize how much he has just complicated his life, not to mention all the pain he will inflict on "loved ones" and friends. He is self-absorbed and only cares about trying to obtain his own happiness.
The other woman knows little or nothing of his history or flaws. The mid-lifer feeds the other woman rewritten history about his spouse. She starts the relationship by idealizing the mid-lifer. The mid-lifer can portray himself as heroic, perfect and accomplished. Both individuals are living a fantasy. Each believes they have found their soul mate. A new relationship and sex partner is empowering. Morality is no longer important. Lust equals love in the MLC mind.
The other woman is an extremely flawed individual. She has many issues as well, some identical to the mid-lifer’s, which helps create the connection so many men in midlife crisis claim they are missing with their left-behind spouse. The man in midlife crisis chooses someone who is safe. He chooses someone who will not outshine him or pose a threat. The other woman is usually a very insecure, fragile individual who needs to be taken care of in some way, shape or form. In many cases, the mid-lifer tries to create in the other woman a version of spouse he abandoned. Some encourage her to dress and act like the left-behind spouse. They will often take them to the same places as they did the left-behind spouse. Being of weak character and integrity, the other woman allows this and goes along for the ride. Many are in it for the financial and social status benefits that the mid-lifer brings to the table. The mid-lifer is usually not looking to find someone better than his spouse. He wants to find someone that he can feel superior to, which will help nurture his bruised ego.
Eventually, chemical imbalances, stress, and doses of reality hit the mid-lifer, causing him to display his true self. Fears resurface in the mid-lifer, materializing as anger and hostility. The other woman no longer reflects back to the mid-lifer intense feelings of admiration and perfection. Sex becomes routine. Many experience sexual dysfunction during the MLC, but very much want to portray themselves as sexually potent individuals. Responsibilities increase for the mid-lifer, especially if he is maintaining two households. His world collapses very slowly, almost to the point of being hard to detect for the left-behind spouse. The mid-lifer has come full circle. He is now at the same place he started. What the mid-lifer does at this point varies. Some go home after they realize the grass is not greener on the other side, others stay in this miserable state of self-pity and despair, and others just repeat the cycle and find another other woman.
#11: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE CONTROL FREAKS
The man in midlife crisis has no control over his behavior and actions. He feels if he can control others as well as his environment, he will eventually become whole again. This of course is not true. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect. The more controlling one is with others, the more we push him away.
How does the mid-lifer control others? By being verbally/physically abusive, manipulating, complaining, criticizing, blaming, saying things like "I want a divorce,” "I don’t love you,” having an affair, threatening to take your children away, threatening your living arrangements, threatening your financial status, losing his job, threatening suicide, etc.
How does the mid-lifer control his environment? Moving constantly, traveling more than usual, changing jobs, changing what he eats/how he dresses/his overall appearance/what he drives, changing his friends, replacing his spouse, replacing his children, etc.
It is only when the mid-lifer realizes that he is not in ultimate control of others or things that a breakthrough can occur. That is why setting boundaries is important. It makes the mid-lifer realize his limitations and lack of control. Boundaries should be set in a firm but loving way. The man in midlife crisis is more willing to respond to the left-behind spouse’s requests when this is done in a non-authoritative way.
#12: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS HAVE EXTREME ANGER/RAGING/SPEWING
Mid-life crisis is a form of depression. Depression is anger turned inward. Unfortunately, anger is a large part of the MLC journey. Anger is the path of least resistance. It is easier for the mid-lifer to be angry than to deal with his issues. Until that pain is acknowledged and experienced, it continues to trigger anger and depression.
Beneath anger lies pain, and beneath that pain lies fear. If we remember this, we are more likely to become more sympathetic to the man in his midlife crisis journey. Unfortunately at times, it is very difficult to do. The bulk of his anger is directed at the left-behind spouse. The man in midlife crisis very much wants to alter his spouse’s perceptions to match his own.
#13: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE INDIFFERENT
Indifferent is defined as "without interest or concern, not caring, disinterested, impartial and apathetic.” Nothing is harder to live with than an indifferent person. The man in midlife crisis is indifferent primarily toward his past life. He is no longer interested in what his spouse, children, relatives, dog, cat, best friend or church group are doing. He could care less about the lawn being cut, the dishes being done or the bills being paid. His past life no longer exists. He becomes an "alien" to the people who love him. There are many reasons why this happens. The man in midlife crisis is self-absorbed and doesn’t want to focus on anyone but himself. The man in midlife crisis no longer wants any responsibility in his life and just wants to have fun and freedom. People and things of the past remind the mid-lifer of his failures. What better way to not have to deal with his pain then to pretend people and things don't exist anymore?
This indifference creates a whole new set of problems for the left-behind spouse. She now has the responsibilities of two people. The left-behind spouse becomes overworked and overwhelmed, not to mention emotionally devastated. Many times she becomes financially devastated as well. The mid-lifer does not seem to notice the turmoil he has caused his spouse and is again indifferent.
#14: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS CAN BE NARCISSISTIC
The mid-lifer is full of low self-worth. By focusing on his appearance, his possessions, and his needs, he tries to project an air of importance and perfection. He seeks attention by focusing on superficial things and soon discovers that these things bring only fleeting moments of happiness. No matter how many times you remind the mid-lifer that happiness comes from within, he tries to prove you wrong by buying the next item or enhancing another body part. Everything is about the mid-lifer. Everybody else's needs don't exist.
#15: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS MAKE POOR DECISIONS
The man in midlife crisis bases his decisions on emotions as well as faulty perceptions due to chemical imbalances in the brain. This prevents him from functioning properly in important areas of his life like the workplace and home. As he makes his way through the midlife tunnel, he makes more and more poor decisions, eventually causing him to doubt his abilities. This is just another hit on his already low self-esteem.
This is where the role of the other woman comes into play. The man in midlife crisis often will give up some of his decision-making power at this point and depend on his "soul mate" to intervene. The other woman may or may not have clearer thinking at this time, but you can bet her thinking will be in HER favor. The mid-lifer is much easier to convince, manipulate and persuade than ever. Since this is not a relationship based on trust and love, each player in this dysfunctional relationship is out for himself/herself. The man in midlife crisis also will often choose not to make any decisions due to his confusion.
#16: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE POOR MONEY MANAGERS
The man in midlife crisis has no control over what he does with his money. He tends to be very impulsive and often spends like crazy and makes bad investments. He also uses his money to satisfy and impress the other woman in his life as well as newfound friends. Traveling seems to increase. Credit cards are often used to their limit and he has no awareness of the consequences of his debt. His past financial responsibilities, such as bills and supporting his left-behind spouse and children, are put on hold. This is no longer important to him and he seems oblivious to how he affects others. It is important that the left-behind spouse protects herself financially at this time, and sometimes that means resorting to legal assistance to prevent involvement with collection agencies and bankruptcy. Spending serves as a distraction as well as a feeling of power and control to the mid-lifer. Money makes him feel immortal and special. This feeling slowly dissipates as he faces his pain and debt.
#17: MOST MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE ABUSIVE
Emotional abuse is is more prevalent than physical abuse during the MLC journey and can be divided into various categories:
A. Withholding: By withholding love, affection, accolades, sex, children, communication, etc., the mid-lifer is saying, “I have something you want and I can withhold it from you.” The mid-lifer can take this even a step further by withholding love and affection from you and then giving it to someone else.
B. Discounting: By discounting the left-behind spouse's perceptions, the mid-lifer is saying, “I can point out your uselessness.”
C. Accusing and blaming: By blaming the left-behind spouse, the mid-lifer is saying his spouse is to blame for his pain regardless of what he does to you, so he doesn’t have to stop or be accountable.
D. Judging and criticizing: By judging the left-behind spouse, the mid-lifer is saying to his wife, “When I tell you that something is wrong with your thoughts and actions, I put myself in charge of you.”
E. Threatening: This a way for the mid-lifer to have control over his spouse, to imply that he will take away something valuable to them, such as family life, financial stability, home, etc.
F. Name Calling: By calling names, the mid-lifer is saying to his wife that she is worthless and doesn’t exist.
G. Denial: By denying what he is doing to you, the mid-lifer can keep everything like it is and not take any responsibility for his behavior.
H. Abusive anger: By being extremely angry and raging, the mid-lifer is saying, “As long as I am scary, I can have my way.”
The most common element of the categories of abuse is control. The mid-lifer avoids his feelings of insecurity and powerlessness by controlling his wife. If the mid-lifer does not have anyone to have power over, he doesn’t have any power. He often connects with someone who is easier to control and who won't resist his need to dominate. It is in debate if a mid-lifer behaves this way intentionally. I think it can vary with the mid-lifer. Some do not seem to have awareness that they are hurting others. Most men in midlife crisis seem to be totally out of character and are labeled "aliens" by their Standers (waiting spouses). The thing that is very confusing to the Stander is that often men in midlife crisis can control these behaviors in front of others, but seem to let loose when alone with the Stander.
#18: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS MAY ABUSE ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
Another escape from reality is the use/abuse of alcohol and drugs. Those who never used on a regular basis may start experimenting with various substances. Those who routinely used may increase their usage of alcohol or drugs or both. Substance abuse may deepen MLC depression, causing more pain and problems. Misery loves company, and many times the mid-lifer will choose to associate with people who also resort to alcohol and drug abuse.
#19: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS CAN EXPERIENCE SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of menopause in women (irregular periods, decreased fertility, etc.). Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of andropause in men (decreased bone density, hair loss, etc.). Hormonal changes in both men and women can cause emotional problems such as depression.
Men can go through what is called andropause, or male menopause. Andropause is characterized by a loss of testosterone. This affects some men more than others. Both males and females experience similar symptoms during this time: irritability, loss of libido in women and erection problems in men, sleep disturbances, mood swings and depression. MLC involves hormonal, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual and spiritual components.
#20: SOME MID-LIFERS EXHIBIT JEALOUSY
Men in midlife crisis exhibit jealousy as a method of control. Many have fears of abandonment and loss. The man in midlife crisis shows jealousy because of his feelings of emptiness. Deep down he is terrified of losing his loved ones but feels it may be inevitable. The man in midlife crisis senses that he will no longer feel needy if he can only control his spouse.
#21: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE FULL OF SELF-PITY
The man in midlife crisis hates himself. He may or may not show this to his wife, but that is what is brewing underneath all his horrible behavior. Often, childhood issues come to the surface and feelings of rejection and abandonment prevail. Because of his self-hate and low self esteem, he has difficulty accepting that his wife cares for him. Some men in midlife crisis will express this by statements such as, "You cannot love me like I need to be loved,” "Why don't you date other people,” "The kids would be better off with a different father,” “Why don’t you hate me,” etc..... He is so involved with his pity party that nothing else matters to him.
#22: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS DON'T WANT ANY RESPONSIBILITY
Before his crisis, the man in midlife crisis was a very responsible, productive member of his home and work environment. Not anymore. Life is a party and he wants to have fun. Many men in midlife crisis lose their jobs, stop working around the house, ignore their children, don't pay their bills, spend foolishly, the list goes on and on. He actually feels that this is the time for him to get everything HE wants out of life and other people need to take care of their own responsibilities. Chemical imbalances cause him to lose focus and control of himself. The left-behind spouse is forced to take on all his responsibilities as well as her own. This is usually not acknowledged by the mid-lifer or appreciated. In fact, he will use this as an opportunity to criticize or cut down his spouse's way of handling things. This gives him the opportunity to disconnect even more from his wife and family. It is only when his world starts falling apart that he realizes how irresponsible he has been in his work and home environments. Guilty feelings will then set in and eventually be processed by the mid-lifer in later stages.
#23: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE VERY SENSITIVE TO CRITICISM
The man in midlife crisis has an intense need to be respected and admired. He is overly sensitive to any suggestions, comments, helpful remarks and criticisms. Any comments even remotely critical are perceived as attacks on his already low self-esteem. The man in midlife crisis will take these "perceived attacks" and deflect them by finding fault in his spouse. Usually these acts of finding fault are either non-existent or exaggerated remarks or incidents.
#24: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS USE PROJECTION AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM
Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which one attributes one's own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and actions to others. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.
#25: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS CREATE CONFLICT/ARGUMENTS WITH LOVED ONES
The man in midlife crisis creates conflict/arguments with his wife in order to have her respond in a negative way. When the wife responds in a negative way, i.e. anger, crying, panic, criticism, rejection, etc., this enables the mid-lifer to attach blame to wife's normal defensive reactions. This also enables the mid-lifer to justify his horrible behavior to himself and others. For example, my ex started an argument with me one day on the way back from the grocery store. He said I should have been spending time with him alone instead of shopping for food for the kids. I told him how silly he was behaving and became angry. By the time we got home, he was so upset at my "insensitivity to his needs" that he left the house for that day and spent his time with the other woman. Not only was this a way for him to make me look bad, but it was also a way for him to justify being with his "soulmate".
#26: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE IN DENIAL
Along with projection, denial is another major defense mechanism that mid-lifers use. Denial is the psychological process by which human beings protect themselves from things which threaten them by blocking knowledge of those things from their awareness. It is a defense that distorts reality; it keeps us from feeling the pain and uncomfortable truth about things we do not want to face. If we cannot feel or see the consequences of our actions, then everything is fine and we can continue to live without making any changes.
When the man in midlife crisis is feeling bad, he will often associate these painful feelings with his wife instead of taking responsibility for his own actions. Getting rid of his wife seems to be the only way to escape. Denial can become increasingly worse as the mid-lifer continues on his journey. His list of bad behavior and deeds becomes so long that there is no better place to be than the world of denial. The mid-lifer becomes unrecognizable to his loved ones until various circumstances force him to examine the hell he has created. These circumstances may involve excessive debt, unwanted pregnancy, loss of job, fractured family, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, loss of friends, homelessness, etc.
#27: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS BECOME VERY COMPETITIVE WITH LOVED ONES
When a man is in midlife crisis, his wife becomes the enemy. The man in midlife crisis is constantly comparing his loved ones to himself. Many times he falls short, and this leads to further insecurity and self-doubt. During his journey, he is out to prove that he is important and admired and becomes very competitive. He will withhold compliments toward family members at this time. He begins to bring people into his life that will make him feel good about himself. Usually this means choosing people who are less accomplished and lower in character in order to make him feel better about himself.
#28: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS HAVE MAJOR MOOD SWINGS
Family members who witness this depression sign often feel like they are going insane. The frequency of the mood swings with mid-lifers varies. Some experience rapid cycling, others much slower. Loved ones describe their mid-lifers as having Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personalities. They begin to feel like they are walking on eggshells. The littlest thing can set the mid-lifer into a rage or period of depression. Some family members may feel their mid-lifer is on drugs. These mood swings may or may not affect the work environment. Some mid-lifers are better at controlling what they let others see. This can leave the left-behind spouse feeling responsible for the mood swings and her world may begin to fill with self-doubt.
#29: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS ARE MANIPULATIVE
People become manipulative when they are afraid of losing something of value to them. This can range from fear of losing an actual person or losing a perception that someone has of them. The mid-lifer manipulates loved ones into believing his reality, which at times can be very distorted due to chemical imbalances in the brain, guilt, shame, denial, self-centeredness, etc. He may twist words around, create confusion, drama, rewrite history, lie. Unfortunately the mid-lifer’s use of manipulation usually ends up pushing people away from him.
#30: MEN IN MIDLIFE CRISIS HAVE WITHDRAWING/ABANDONING BEHAVIORS
Another very painful characteristic of the midlife journey is when he abandons/withdraws from loved ones. This varies with each mid-lifer and changes with each stage. It can range from emotionally withdrawing to physically abandoning his entire family. Many are simply just imitating a part of their childhood when they experienced some form of abandonment or abuse. Many use it as a form of control and power. To some, it is easier to run than face their demons, so they hide to get away from things and people that remind them of their pain or failures. Regardless of the reason, these behaviors leave loved ones shocked and confused. The mid-lifer is oblivious to the pain and suffering he is causing. Many left-behind spouses lose homes, self-esteem and/or children due to the abandonment.