Some time ago TRUSTING posted this valuable information in a series of threads which are now in the archives. Apologize if this is a duplication, but I’ve found them of enormous value and put them together here for anyone attempting to understand a MLC partner.
Depression sign #1: MLC'ERS WILL OFTEN VIEW THEIR LBS AND THEMSELVES AS ONE PERSON
The reason behind the MLC'ers lack of boundaries comes because they do not view their LBS separate from themselves. They are so engulfed in negativity that they do not think clearly. As MLC'ers look to their loved ones to define and deliver their happiness, MLC'er eventually feel betrayed due to happiness being an internal thing not external. This "feeling" of betrayal may cause some of the anger we see in our MLC'ers.
Depression sign #2: MLC'ERS ARE UNABLE TO SUSTAIN AND MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AS WELL AS RESOLVE RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS.
Because of their irrational ways of thinking mainly due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, MLC'ers will hear/interpret WHAT THEY THINK others are saying rather than hearing what really is being said. They destroy these relationships by hearing blame rather than suggestions or means to problem solve.
Depression sign #3: MLC'S HAVE DEPENDENT PERSONALITIES.
We are overly dependent on others when we do not feel complete or whole. This is the very essence of a ML'er. As they continue through the tunnel, the ML'er gets much worse before they get better. The LBS is often forced into a "caregiver" role, trying desperately to fix the crisis. The ML'er becomes aware of their neediness and becomes jealous/envious of their loved ones strengths and efforts to help. Thus the ML'er responds with more anger.
Depression sign #4: ML'ERS ARE UNABLE TO SHOW EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
ML'ers are unable to stand the emotional pain they are creating. They become distant and indifferent to their loved ones. They view the LBS's as the cause of their own suffering and therefore treat them as strangers/enemies.
Depression sign #5: ML'ERS ARE EXTREME ATTENTION SEEKERS
Attention both positive and negative can confirm love and self-worth to the ML'er. To some ML'ers negative attention becomes better than no attention. Many have experienced "no attention" periods in their childhoods. Many ML'ers use drama, sinfulness, and confusion in an effort to get love. This then ensures the ML'er of keeping their LBS's close.
Depression sign #6: ML'ERS ARE SELF-CENTERED
It is all about them. As they become more absorbed in finding themselves, everyone else in their 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 which has to be faced.
Depression sign #7: ML'ER'S ARE UNABLE TO TRUST
How can ML'ers trust their LBS if they cannot trust themselves? Their emotions and thought processes are unpredictable and irrational. When ML'ers cannot trust, they often act out in angry outbursts and infidelity. They are searching for someone to reflect back to them an image of perfection and often heroism.
Depression sign #8: ML'ERS ARE UNABLE TO HANDLE STRESS
As ML'ers progress through the tunnel they become more and more unable to handle stress. Their life is now full of lies, deceptions, betrayals and manipulations. It becomes harder and harder to maintain their superficial world. Once they are reminded of some bit of reality revealing their inabilities and flaws, they react by getting angry, blaming, spewing, etc...
They do anything to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. If you doubt this try talking "relationship talks". You will no doubt be disappointed in the outcome. Until they are ready to repent and show remorse for their behaviors, relationship talks are useless.
Depression Sign #9: ML'ERS REWRITE HISTORY
Ml'ers typically have very low self-esteem. They will rewrite past events in their favor to try to build up their fragile egos. They would rather lie than face the possibility that something is wrong with them, let alone a mental illness. Many Ml'ers brain chemistry is skewed, not allowing them to distinguish between reality and distorted perceptions. However the distortions cannot go on forever.... As time goes on, they often get caught in their lies due to not being able to keep their stories straight.
Depression Sign #10: MOST ML'ERS HAVE AFFAIRS
The most painful and devastating part of the MLC for the LBS 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 ML'er. Some of the affairs result in producing a "love child". Some result in the Ml'er marrying the OW/OM. Even though the ML'er is not thinking clearly, there is no justification or excuse for committing adultery. This post is by no means meant to excuse their behavior. It is unacceptable. If it is forgivable depends upon the LBS and the ML'ers ability to repent and show sincere remorse.
An affair allows the Ml'er 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. Ml'ers feel if they start over with someone else, all their issues will go away. Little do they realize how much they have just complicated their life not to mention all the pain they will inflict on "loved ones" and friends. They are self-absorbed and only care about trying to obtain their happiness.
The OW/OM knows little or nothing of the Ml'ers history or flaws. They are fed "rewriting of history" reports from the ML'er on their spouse or significant other. They start the relationship by idealizing the Ml'er. The Ml'er can portray him/herself as heroic, perfect, and accomplished. Both individuals are living a fantasy. Each believes they have found their soul mate. Newness of a relationship and sex partner is empowering. Morality is no longer important. Lust equals love in the Ml'ers mind.
The OW/OM are extremely flawed individuals. They have many issues as well. Some identical to the ML'er which helps create the "connection" so many Ml'ers claim they are missing with their LBS. Ml'ers choose someone who is safe. They choose someone who will not outshine them or pose a threat. The OW/OM is usually a very insecure, fragile individual who needs to be taken care of in some way, shape or form. In many cases, the ML'er tries to create in the OW/OM a version of their LBS. Some encourage them to dress and act like the LBS. They will often take them to the same places as they did the LBS. Being of weak character and integrity, the OW/OM allows this and goes along for the ride. Many are in it for the financial and social status benefits that the ML'er brings to the table. The ML'er is usually not looking at finding someone better than their LBS. They want to find someone that they can feel superior to which will help nurture their bruised egos.
Eventually, chemical imbalances, stress, and doses of reality hit the Ml'er causing them to display their true selves. Fears resurface in the Ml'er materializing as anger and hostility. The OW/OM no longer reflects back to the Ml'er 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 ML'er especially if they are maintaining two households. Their world collapses very slowly. Almost to the point of being hard to detect for the LBS. The ML'er has come full circle. He/she is now at the same place they started. What the ML'er 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 OW/OM #2.
Depression sign #11: ML'ERS ARE CONTROL FREAKS
Ml'ers have no control over their behaviors and actions. They feel if they can control others as well as their environment they 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 them away.
How does the ML'er control others? By being verbally/physically abusive, manipulating, complaining, criticizing, blaming, saying things like "I want a divorce", "I never loved you", "I love you, but I am not in love with you", being impossible to please, having an affair, threatening to take your children away, threatening your living arrangements, threatening your financial status, losing his/her job, threatening suicide, etc. The list can go on and on.....
How does the Ml'er control their environment? Moving constantly, traveling more than usual, changing jobs, changing what they eat, changing how they dress, changing their overall appearance, what they drive, changing their friends, replacing their spouse, replacing their children, etc....
It is only when the ML'er realizes that they are not in ultimate control of others or things that a breakthrough can occur. That is why setting boundaries are important. It makes the ML'er realize their limitations and lack of control. Boundaries should be set in a firm but loving way. Ml'ers are more willing to respond to LBS's requests when this is done in a non-authoritative way. Depression sign #12: ML'ERS 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 ML'er to be angry than to deal with his/her 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 ML'ers journey. Unfortunately at times, it is very difficult to do. The bulk of the ML'ers anger is directed at the LBS. Ml'ers very much want to alter the perceptions of the LBS' to match theirs.
Depression Sign #13: ML'ERS 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. Ml'ers are indifferent primarily toward their past life. They are no longer interested in what the LBS, children, relatives, dog, cat, best friend, or church group are doing. They could care less about the lawn being cut, the algae in the pool, the leaking roof, or the bills being paid. Their past life no longer exists. They truly become "aliens" to people who love them. There are many reasons why this happens. ML'ers are self absorbed and don't want to focus on anyone but themselves. ML'ers no longer want any responsibility in their lives and just want to have fun and freedom. People and things of the past remind the ML'er of their failures. What better way to not have to deal with their pain then to pretend people and things don't exist anymore.
This "indifference" creates a whole new set of problems for the LBS. They now have the responsibilities of two people. The LBS becomes overworked and overwhelmed not to mention emotionally devastated. Many times they become financially devastated as well. The ML'er does not seem to notice the turmoil they have caused the LBS and again are "indifferent".
Depression sign #14: ML'ERS CAN BE NARCISSISTIC
The ML'er is full of low self-worth. By focusing on their appearance, their possessions, and their needs they try to project an air of importance, mortality, and perfection. They seek attention by focusing on superficial things and soon discover that these things bring only fleeting moments of happiness. No matter how many times you remind the ML'er that happiness comes from within, they try to prove you wrong by buying the next item or enhancing another body part. Everything is about the ML'er. Everybody else's needs don't exist.
Depression sign #15: ML'ERS MAKE POOR DECISIONS
Ml'ers base their decisions on emotions as well as faulty perceptions due to chemical imbalances in the brain. This prevents them from functioning properly in important areas of their life like the workplace and home. As they make their way through the mid life tunnel, they make more and more poor decisions eventually causing them to doubt their abilities. This is just another hit on their already low self-esteem.
This is where the role of the OW/OM comes into play. ML'ers often will give up some of their decision making power at this point and depend on their "soul mates" to intervene. The OW/OM may or may not have clearer thinking at this time but you can bet their thinking will be in THEIR favor. The ML'er 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.
Ml'ers also will often choose not to make any decisions due to their mass confusion.
Depression sign #16: ML'ERS ARE POOR MONEY MANAGERS
ML'ers have no control over what they do with their money. They tend to be very impulsive and often spend like crazy and make bad investments. They also use their money to satisfy and impress the OW/OM in their life as well as new found friends. Traveling seems to increase. Credit cards are often used to their limit and they have no awareness of the consequences of their debt. Their past financial responsibilities such as bills, supporting their LBS and children are put on hold. This is no longer important to them and they seem oblivious to how they affect others. It is important that the LBS protect themselves 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 ML'er. Money makes them feel immortal and special. This feeling slowly dissipates as they face their pain and debt.
Depression sign #17: MOST ML'ERS ARE ABUSIVE
This is one of the most serious signs of depression - abuse. Here I will focus on emotional abuse rather than physical abuse because I feel it is more prevalent in the ML'ers journey.
Emotional abuse can be divided into various categories:
A. Withholding: By withholding love, affection, accolades, sex, children, communication, etc.. the Ml'er is saying I have something you want and I can withhold it from you. The Ml'er 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 LBS' perceptions, the Ml'er is saying I can point out your uselessness.
C. Accusing and blaming: By blaming the LBS, the Ml'er is saying the LBS is to blame for their pain no matter what they do to you so they don't have to stop or be accountable.
D. Judging and criticizing: By judging the LBS, the Ml'er is saying to the LBS that 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 ML'er to have control over the LBS to imply that they will take away something valuable to them, such as family life, financial stability, home, etc....
F. Name Calling: By calling names, the Ml'er is saying to the LBS that they are worthless and don't exist.
G. Denial: By denying what they are doing to you, the Ml'er can keep everything like it is and not take any responsibility for their behavior.
H. Abusive anger: By being extremely angry and raging, the Ml'er 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 Ml'er avoids his feelings of insecurity and powerlessness by controlling the LBS. If the Ml'er does not have anyone to have power over, they don't have any power. They often connect with someone who is easier to control and won't resist their need to dominate. It is in debate if a Ml'er does these behaviors intentionally. I think it can vary with the Ml'er. Some do not seem to have awareness that they are hurting others. Most Ml'ers seem to be totally out of character and are labeled "aliens" by their standers. The thing that is very confusing to the stander is that often ML'ers can control these behaviors in front of others, but seem to let loose when alone with the stander.
Depression sign #18: ML'ERS 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 the ML'ers depression only causing them more pain and problems. Misery loves company and many times the ML'er will choose to associate with people who also resort to alcohol and drug abuse.
Depression sign #19: ML'ERS CAN EXPERIENCE SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of menopause in woman (irregular periods, decreased fertility, etc...). Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of andropause in men (decrease bone density, hair loss, etc...). Hormonal changes in both men and woman can cause emotional problems such as depression.
Most people know that woman go through menopause. Men can go through what is called andropause - a male menopause so to speak. Andropause is characterized by a loss of testosterone. This affects some men more than others. Woman experience a loss of estrogen. This affects some woman 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. Mid life crisis involves ones hormonal, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual and spiritual components.
Depression sign #20: SOME MLERS EXHIBIT JEALOUSY
Ml'ers exhibit jealousy as a method of control. Many have fears of abandonment and loss. ML'ers show jealousy because of their feelings of emptiness. Deep down they are terrified of losing their loved ones but feel it may be inevitable. ML'ers sense that they will no longer feel needy if they can only control their LBS.
Depression sign #21: ML'ERS ARE FULL OF SELF-PITY
Ml'ers really hate themselves. They may or may not show this to their LBS, but that is what is brewing underneath all their horrible behavior. Often, childhood issues come to the surface and feelings of rejection and abandonment prevail. Because of their self-hate and low self esteem, they have difficulty accepting that their LBS cares for them. Some ML'ers 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..... They are so involved with their pity party that nothing else matters to them.
Depression Sign #22: ML'ERS DON'T WANT ANY RESPONSIBILITY
Before their crisis, most Ml'ers were very responsible, productive members of their home and work environment. Not anymore. Life is a party and they want to have fun. Many Ml'ers lose their jobs, stop working around the house, ignore their children, don't pay their bills, spend foolishly, etc... the list goes on and on. They actually feel that this is the time for them to get everything THEY want out of life and other people need to take care of THEIR responsibilities. Chemical imbalances cause them to lose focus and control of themselves. The LBS is forced to take on all the ML'ers responsibilities as well as their own. This is usually not acknowledged by the Ml'er or appreciated. In fact, they will use this as an opportunity to criticize or cut down the LBS' way of handling things. This gives them the opportunity to disconnect even more from the LBS and their family. It is only when their world starts falling apart do they realize how irresponsible they have been in their work and home environment. Guilty feelings will then set in and eventually processed by the Ml'er in later stages.
Depression sign #23: ML'ERS ARE VERY SENSITIVE TO CRITICISM
Ml'ers have this intense need to be respected and admired. They are overly sensitive to any suggestions, comments, helpful remarks and criticisms. Any comments even remotely critical are perceived as attacks on their already low self-esteem. Ml'ers will take these "perceived attacks" and deflect them by finding fault in their LBS. Usually these acts of finding fault are either non-existent or exaggerated remarks or incidents.
Depression sign #24: ML'ERS 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.
Depression sign #25: ML'ERS CREATE CONFLICT/ARGUMENTS WITH LOVED ONES
Ml'ers create conflict/arguments with their LBS in order to have them respond in a NEGATIVE way. When the LBS responds in a negative way, i.e. anger, crying, panic, criticism, rejection, etc.... this enables the Ml'er to attach blame to LBS' normal defensive reactions. This also enables the Ml'er to justify their horrible behavior to themselves 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 of 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".
Depression sign #26: ML'ERS 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 Ml'ers are feeling badly, they will often associate these painful feelings with their LBS instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. Getting rid of their LBS seems to be for them the only way of escape. Denial can become increasingly worse as the Ml'er continues on his journey. Their list of bad behavior and deeds becomes so long that there is no better place to be than the world of denial. The Ml'er becomes unrecognizable to their loved ones until various circumstances force the ml'er to examine the hell they have created. These circumstances may involve excessive debt, unwanted pregnancy, loss of job, fractured family, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, loss of friends, homelessness, etc…
Depression sign #27: ML'ERS BECOME VERY COMPETITIVE WITH LOVED ONES
When a spouse is in mid life crisis, their LBS as well as other close family members become the enemy. Ml'ers are constantly comparing their loved ones with themselves. Many times they fall short and this leads to further insecurity and self-doubt. During their journey, they are out to prove that they are important and admired and become very competitive. They will withhold compliments/achievements toward important family members at this time. They begin to choose people in their lives that will make them feel good about themselves. Usually this means choosing people who are less accomplished and lower in character in order to make themselves feel better about themselves.
Depression sign #28: ML'ERS HAVE MAJOR MOOD SWINGS
This is a very obvious sign of depression but worth writing about. 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. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personalities. They begin to feel like they are walking on egg-shells. 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 therefore leaves the LBS feeling responsible for the mood swings and their world begins to fill with self-doubt.
Depression sign #29: ML'ERS 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. Mid-lifers manipulate loved ones in believing their reality, which at times can be very distorted due to chemical imbalances in the brain, guilt, shame, denial, self-centeredness, etc... Examples of mid-lifers being manipulative can involve twisting words around, creating confusion, drama, rewriting of history, lying, etc... Unfortunately the mid-lifers use of manipulation usually ends up pushing people away from them.
Depression sign #30: ML'ERS HAVE WITHDRAWING/ABANDONING BEHAVIORS
Another very painful characteristic of the mid life journey is when they abandon/withdraw from loved ones. This varies with each mid-lifer changing with each stage. It can range from emotionally withdrawing to physically abandoning their 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 in shock and confusion. Mid-lifers are oblivious to the pain and suffering they cause. Many LBS' lose their homes, self-esteem, children, etc... due to the abandonment.
Thank you so much for writing that and bringing it back to the boards!
Almost 1.5 years Post Bomb, I can truly attest that every single word of that is TRUE.
It's actually hard to believe that a person we were loving and living life with is CAPABLE OF SUCH THINGS.
But it's true. Aside from becoming completely exasperated with these MLCer's, I feel so very sad for them. I really do. I can't fathom what that must be like. And to think as much pain as we've endured through being an LBS, I don't think I can even grasp the concept of what it actually feels like to be an MLCer.
Really folks, in our times when we're calm, detatched and feel objective, we must PRAY for these MLCers.
Pray that with the help of some Divine intervention they make it through this tunnel, and pray they can survive the reality of their choices and actions when they start to recall and accept them.
I'm learning to accept my H where he is and trying to relate to him there.
For example, I figured out that the reason he doesn't like me to ask him questions about his activities is because he feels he has to lie to me and that makes him feel bad about himself and I'm the bad guy. I'm learning.
There are many things about these depression signs that ring true for my H and I also can see him moving along the tunnel. Some ways that he was 6 months ago are not the way he is now. It gives me hope for the future.
Me54/H47 '08 H is "done" March '12 H moved out Brink of D, December '12 2014 totally reconciled! ...... "I firmly believe in the...absolute possibility of marriage renewal." Jim Conway