Psychology and Psychiatry

Middle age crisis

Middle age crisis - This is an emotional long-term condition that occurs in middle age and is marked by depressive manifestations due to the overestimation of life experience. The crisis affects the age from 35 to 55 years and includes regrets about irretrievably missed opportunities, dreams, as well as experiences associated with the onset of their own old age.

Symptoms of a midlife crisis

External manifestations of midlife crisis are different and are marked by the following symptoms and signs:

- the refusal of the individual to achieve in life, despite the positive opinion of others about the achievements of the person;

- emptiness, zagnannost and self-pity;

- a sense of the injustice of life, the trap of marriage or career;

- depression and loss of interest in previously many significant aspects of life;

- change of a circle of significant people and values;

- change in values;

- eccentricity;

- a sense of meaninglessness of life.

All these signs are able to knock even a successful person out of their emotional balance, breaking a strong family, career and habitual way of life.

Causes of midlife crisis

The American psychologist K.Pack highlighted the main problems affecting the development of a midlife crisis:

- the need to reorient the life forces from physical to mental activity. This is associated with significant changes in the physiological characteristics of the organism;

- the importance of recognizing social priorities over intimate. This is due to biological changes in men;

- the need for the formation of emotional flexibility in connection with emotional impoverishment, which is caused by the loss of friends, relatives, the destruction of the usual way of life;

- the need for the development of mental flexibility, overcoming mental straightness;

- differentiation of social interests that are concentrated around work and family. Problems in these areas often lead people to the brink of disaster;

- the need to redirect their attention from personal growing ailments to other social landmarks;

- Concentration on the problem of the inevitability of death and the approaching old age.

The combination of these problems leads to the development of the crisis. The most pronounced problem of middle age reveals itself in the context of interpersonal relations: friends and family.

Middle-aged people play a connecting role between the older generation of parents and the younger generation of children. On their shoulders they carry the burden of social duties. This responsibility brings with it also social conflicts. People regret that they have not achieved certain goals, but some things have not been completed and much of what was planned remained in their dreams. However, middle-aged people understand that they have to live with problems and everyday worries, they cannot, like their parents live in the past or how their children live in dreams. They are assigned the role of family custodians: to keep history, to celebrate achievements and holidays, to keep traditions, to keep in touch with absent family members.

The first prerequisites for a middle age crisis are the maturing of children and their departure into a separate independent life. Psychologists are unanimous that leaving children from the family nest is a serious stressful situation. Although on the one hand, there is also a positive moment - the appearance of free time that can be spent on yourself. However, the problem lies in the fact that by this time there are no significant interests of the parents, and the development of new ones leads to psychological problems, which middle-aged people are wary of in advance.

The second premise of the crisis is associated with relationships with aging parents. Often, by this time they are experiencing psychological deep transformations and the situation is significantly exacerbated if the parents are intellectually degraded and too weak. Very often, the time and attention freed from children is transferred to the parents, aggravating in some cases dissatisfaction with how unsuccessfully life has developed by the middle of the life’s path. The problems of the crisis are also aggravated by the fact that former friendships are losing their urgency.

Midlife crisis in men

A man for forty years, it would seem, for no apparent reason, quit a well-paying job, fall into depression, start a young mistress or leave the family, while withdrawing into himself. Often, neither the man himself nor his inner circle is able to understand and explain this behavior.

When does the middle age crisis come? Often in a man to 40 years wakes up feeling dissatisfaction with life, as well as social role in a group or society. This is due to a number of failures, broken hopes in the implementation of life plans, as well as due to irretrievably lost opportunities. The crisis period is characterized by a global reassessment of values, self-pity, superficial talk about nothing, or accusations of loved ones of their failures. Often, a midlife crisis in men is observed at the age of 40-45, when a significant part of life is already lived. However, now psychologists have noticed that the age of the crisis period in men is younger than 35 years. The crisis does not choose its victim. Both a successful man and a person who is lonely without a stable salary fall into this trap. The beginning of this is evidenced by philosophical conversations from the mouth of men about middle age, as well as about lost opportunities. In men, there is a revision of life priorities and values, a desire for new social and personal goals is being formed.

Avoiding a midlife crisis is possible due to socialization (the growth of the individual into the human world), as well as planning the upcoming critical life situations. The most obvious frightening changes that are associated with the onset of a crisis in a man are psycho-physiological changes that are difficult to avoid. For many middle-aged men, there comes a moment of truth when, looking in the mirror, they find an enlarged belly, new wrinkles, gray hair and bald patches on the temples, causing only a feeling of despondency and annoyance.

From the age of 40, there is a decrease in physical abilities affecting motor and sensory functions, as well as the activity of all systems and internal organs. Gradually, over the years, men have reduced hearing and vision acuity, which creates a certain discomfort in communicating with others. Pain, taste, olfactory sensitivity decreases, but these changes do not appear as noticeable as a decrease in hearing or vision. The skeleton gradually loses its former flexibility, muscles and skin begin to lose elasticity. Men who are prone to fatness tend to accumulate subcutaneous fat. All physical changes occur in parallel with mental transformations, which are marked by apathy, prolonged periods of depression, loss of interest in life (anhedonia). Increasingly, men develop nervousness, exacerbated feelings of insecurity, depression and fatigue. There are conflicts at work and in the family. Often, the question of the mutual understanding of generations is acutely brewing, since children by this period are already moving into independent adult life and do not want to take into account the opinion of their father.

The fight against chronic diseases is becoming more acute, and this is becoming the main occupation of middle-aged men. Most men realize that they need to change their bad habits with healthy ones, however, such a replacement often faces overcoming psychological barriers that not everyone obeys.

Sometimes, in parallel with bad habits, new useful ones are formed, for example, an active lifestyle, everyday walks, and gymnastics. Especially important for middle age is the limitation of mental as well as emotional stress. Thirst for career, social self-affirmation at this age are not stimulating, but on the contrary, desires that are destructive for a person.

The crisis in men is a revolt against imposed rules. Men in this period are actively engaged in finding the answer to the question "How to find yourself in life?". And here teenage complexes rise to the surface, including all “I want” instead of “I must.” The depth and nature of the complexes in adolescents will determine their behavior during the mid-life crisis.

The midlife crisis in men does not have clear boundaries. He is able to last, as one year, and drag on for decades. The support of the family and loved ones, the temperament and character of the man, the social role, well-being, status at work - all this has an impact on the duration of the crisis and its depth.

The midlife crisis of a man directly depends on what and how many teenage unresolved complexes he has survived since his youthful years. Psychologists have established a direct link between the midlife crisis and adolescence. At the age of 11-12, the boy seriously thinks about himself, about his social roles and interpersonal relations, and while looking at social roles, he is looking for the most "comfortable" one. Forming an attitude to yourself and finding yourself does not go smoothly and always leads to numerous adolescent complexes. This happens when the desired social role does not coincide with the real situation in the group and the adolescent turns into an aggressive and alienated. The luggage of teenage complexes stretches for a man all his life and makes himself felt in middle age. For example, at the age of 15, an indecisive boy has a heightened interest in intimate life, but only in adulthood does he begin to search for new mistresses. Thus, it becomes clear why middle-aged men often embark on love adventures, give birth to young mistresses or leave the family, filling their lack of experience.

In adolescence, it is very important to give the child the right to err, to take responsibility, to allow him to find a way out of a difficult situation and to draw the right conclusions. If parents provide such an opportunity to a teenager, then in the future he will be able to safely avoid a mid-life crisis. If a teenager doesn’t get out of control in time, as well as parental influence, their imposed lifestyle and rules, by the age of 40, the man suddenly realizes that he has lived life according to other people's rules, and all social roles have been imposed on him.

What happens in this case? One middle-aged man will quit his stable job, stop communicating with his parents, buy an expensive car, in a word, boycott other people's rules by setting off on various adventures. Another man, if, for example, the parents wanted to see their child as a doctor, and the son dreamed of a photographer’s career, then realizing that there was no time for mistakes, the man would suddenly give up his previous job and take a passionate photo job. The environment will attribute this behavior to eccentricity, and the man finally sigh with relief. A timid man in a period of middle age crisis will begin to act actively: he will work more, look for new hobbies. An active man in his prime, on the contrary, is able to withdraw into himself and become a homebody, and can also become an opponent of noisy companies. Everyone in his own way is trying to find the answer to an exciting question about himself in life.

A middle-aged man overestimates his own life through the lens of lost opportunities. Turning over and rethinking his life values, he tries to find himself, but often takes a false mark that leads to nowhere. Conversations of men acquire a somewhat doomed and philosophical shade, and life presents itself with its transience, as well as a real quite final stop. In this period there is a revaluation of values, as well as professional plans. Having achieved a social role, a certain status, and financial well-being, men produce an "inventory" of values, as well as their achievements, since the financial well-being of men no longer gives a sense of stability and reliability. Often, men start talking about health, watch TV shows about health with interest, and start going to doctors. This is due to the fear of death and the fear of old age. Often he gets depressed, he is covered by unreasonable anxieties, insomnia, and his mood changes several times a day.

Trying to find himself, a man puts on different social roles and tries himself in various fields. Dissatisfaction with the current situation pushes him to change, but his specific goals do not mature.

How to overcome a midlife crisis? A crisis is not the end of the world, but a reassessment of values. It is important for the family to understand this, and for the wife to support the spouse’s transition to a new life stage. The wife also needs to be tolerant and not pushing the spouse with his crisis. There is no point in rushing into this natural process. Especially important are encouraging conversations with a man. Wife should remember her husband's achievements, make him feel its importance and necessity. Consider together the values ​​of your husband and bring diversity into your life. In addition to conversations with a spouse, it is important to show your love, appreciate it, make gifts, taking into account, above all, his interests. Be sure to relax together in the fresh air, buy a vitamin complex, offer your spouse extreme rest.

After the end of the crisis, the man’s self-pity will disappear, he will reconsider the social roles at work, in the family, with friends, carry out a deep reassessment of values, achieve stability, emotional maturity and consciously take his life.

Midlife crisis in women

Throwing in search of novelty sensations and feelings, constant irritability, ashes in the soul, from tears wet pillow - a complete dissatisfaction with life, overtaking a woman after 35 years.

The crisis in women is marked by the following symptoms:

- anxiety and insecurity;

- misunderstanding, how to fill your life;

- a feeling of irretrievable omission of time;

- confidence that the best years are over, but there is no future;

- fading love for her husband;

- emotional distancing from children;

- disappointment and devastation of the soul after flirting and romance;

- the desire to move away from friends, avoiding parties;

- regrets of unfulfilled dreams;

- dissatisfaction with the years lived;

- dissatisfaction with the professional activity;

- dissatisfaction with external changes.

Council of psychologists for women in this state: do not cultivate longing for the past years, look for the right direction and not get stuck in place. Find your favorite occupation: yoga, swimming, foreign language courses, classes in a fitness club, driving lessons, etc.

Anything that can help you find new landmarks and paint life with fresh paints, as well as interesting communication, will do. Women who have stayed at home should start realizing themselves in the profession and although it’s not easy to start a career in adulthood, everything depends solely on the zeal and abilities of the woman.

Due to the mid-life crisis, many women became successful, having decided to start their own business out of hopelessness. The attendant success helped desperate women overcome their mid-life crisis.

Lonely career women who have reached professional heights but who have lost interest in life should think about creating a family.

Women who are endlessly delving into errors, psychologists are advised to draw the right conclusions and determine the direction of future activities without losing the opportunity. You should try to look for sources of creation in your soul. Try to honestly and objectively answer the question: is everything so bad in life? Is she ready to leave work, quit her husband? Undoubtedly, there are pleasant moments that can be proud of in the profession and in living together. Perhaps it is better to change your attitude to work, change your life, talk to your husband, rather than drastically break the whole established life?

Often a woman is discouraged by a personal reflection in the mirror. Gray hair, extra pounds, wrinkles, cellulite, warts, as well as other numerous changes associated with the age of women are experienced much more acutely than in men.

In this case, psychologists are advised not to look for evidence of the former irresistible, but to devote themselves to working on their figure and appearance - fitness, diet, modern cosmetic procedures. It is necessary to change the hairstyle, update things in the wardrobe. Rejecting laziness can significantly extend their youth. Cheerful, active, energetic women look much younger and more attractive than apathetic and gloomy peers.

How to survive a midlife crisis? It is necessary to be realistic and not exaggerate the existing problems, but not to deny their presence. Love yourself, find something you like, praise for all the achievements, do not withdraw into yourself, take care of your appearance, health. It must be remembered that the age does not affect the quality of life.

У женщин продолжительность кризисного периода зависит от многих факторов. Если она чувствует, что самостоятельно не может выйти из депрессии, следует обратиться к психологу.