by Becky Whetstone
Mid life crisis has been identified and written about for hundreds of years, but that does not make it any easier for the person going through one, and most especially for a husband or wife mystified and frightened as they watch in horror as the person they thought they knew so well behaves in new, different, and sometimes nutty ways.I see this sort of thing frequently in my practice, and even went through one myself back in my late 20’s. At the time I felt like I was wrestling with two parts of myself, the part that wanted to conform and fit in to what society and my family expected, and the part of me that hungered for the freedom to do what I wanted without any sorts of constraints. It turned out that this is exactly what was going on, and the key to reconciling these two parts is to work it out with a therapist who can help you understand the journey, assist you in finding the new (and better!) you, and who will coach you not to make drastic and life-changing decisions until the dust from this mid-life “crisis” settles.
Although people refer to the metamorphosis that millions of Americans go through as a “mid life” crisis, I typically see it in young people between the age of 28 and 33. If a person is older than that, then they usually initially had the feelings of confusion during the years 28 to 33, but have held them inside for years until holding it in became unbearable. Part of what is going on is literally the need to shed the child and immature self, like a butterfly’s cocoon, and blossom into your more mature adult self. Some people do this more gracefully than others, and that is why many will say things like, “Bob has lost his mind, he must be having a mid life crisis,” when the truth is that Bob has not lost his mind, he is simply finding himself. A therapist provides a crucial piece to helping a person find his or her way through this blossoming of self, so that it is achieved smoothly and safely for all involved.
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