larry bilotta

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What is a midlife crisis?

Has the love of your life suddenly become a different person you no longer recognize?

Has your spouse filed for divorce? 

Are you trying to make sense of the chaos that has turned your relationship upside down and did it overnight?

Regardless of what you might have heard from counselors, family or friends, today I’m going to help you understand what a midlife crisis REALLY is and reveal the driving force behind it. 

Hint – it’s NOT all your fault.

What Is a Midlife Crisis?

While some counselors, therapists, friends or family might dismiss it as just a phase or chalk it up to your partner just being a narcissist, I want you to know that a midlife crisis is very real.

Every day, my office takes calls from men and women across the world who are struggling with the same situation.

The details vary, but the pattern is the same.

Most common, we see midlife crisis in context with a married couple, but the same is true for couples who are dating in long-term relationships.

What Age is Middle Age Crisis?

A midlife crisis typically occurs between the ages of 35-45, but this can vary based on how difficult an upbringing they had along with other variables.

Childhood upbringing is a major factor.

What Triggers a Midlife Crisis?

Here is the typical scenario.

Your spouse comes from a troubled childhood. Your might have as well - or you could have come from a happy childhood home.

The two of you get married and travel down the steps to divorce.

Things are great – at first.

But eventually the relationship begins to deteriorate. You notice your partner is unhappy but dismiss it as depression or just a phase.

You make changes but eventually fall back into your old ways. Often times for women, this is when they begin planning their escape from the marriage.

Suddenly it all falls apart when a troubling event takes place.

It could be the loss of a parent, a terminally sick loved one or a big job change. Suddenly your partner snaps under the pressure!

What defines a midlife crisis is a dramatic change in personality. As if it happened overnight, you no longer recognize the love of your life.

Sound familiar? If so, tell me your story in the comments below!

The Tell-tale Signs of a Midlife Crisis

Red flag warning

Your partner starts acting out of character and becoming hostile toward you, blaming you for everything.  

What is Midlife Crisis for a Woman?

You'll find that women in midlife crisis do things that are AGAINST their moral beliefs. If she never drank before, suddenly you'll find her with a desire to hang out at bars at all hours of the night.

If she was frugal with money, now she can't spend it fast enough. Women often say phrases like "I need to find myself" when they enter midlife crisis.

What is Midlife Crisis for a Man?

Men also go against moral beliefs, but if you would consider yourself as strong willed, and your husband is more passive in nature, these men tend to hate conflict and they will try to avoid you at all costs.

The more you push, the more they pull away. You might think if you back off that he'll be out of your life forever, but it's just the opposite.

A better strategy is to give him space and avoid putting pressure on him.

The trouble is, if you're like most people, you're included to snap into ‘crisis mode’ and try to fix this.

This means you try everything and anything you can. Things like:

  • Begging
  • Pleading
  • Saying I love you
  • Gifts, cards, and letters of apology
  • Family or friend intervention
  • Rationalizing and convincing your partner to stay

Eventually, you find that your frantic plan BACKFIRES in a big way.

You suspect a midlife crisis, you start to do some research and here you are.

While the details of your situation might vary slightly, this is the typical midlife crisis scenario. How do I know this?

It’s because this is a predictable dependable pattern that men and women experience around the world.

It’s because a midlife crisis IS REAL.

Real or unreal

The Cause of Midlife Crisis

What does a midlife crisis feel like? What does it mean?

To get to source, we must look at the first 10 years of childhood where we find messages that were created by the people who raised your partner.

These messages are installed in our childhood mind and there, they remain for a lifetime.  

They are not just memories that fade.  They are messages with staying power that lay dormant for years until the circumstances are right and they explode into your intimate relationship. 

These messages make YOU the enemy.

It is these messages that ultimately decide how long your marriage will last and what kind of marriage it will be.

What type of messages you might wonder? Good question.

Painful Messages From the Past

You might get a message from your father like “you’re never enough”.

A message from your mother might sound like “you can’t make me happy”.

The pain of these messages have staying power and last long into your 30’s and 40’s. 

When the right life challenge comes along, that childhood message comes alive and governs your spouse’s personality and beliefs.  

What you are seeing in a midlife crisis is the pain of your partner’s abandonment, abuse and neglect.

What might have been acceptable selfishness as a child, is now being acted out as an adult. It’s as if this person is saying “I want my way now and I’m sick of waiting.”

The source of this pain is NOT you, but pain from your spouse’s childhood. 

Midlife crisis personality

The strangest part of a midlife crisis is that your spouse becomes two personalities.  

One is their original personality where they have conscience and a sense of regret, while the second personality is a completely childlike figure whose mission it is to take whatever feels good without conscience.

With this new personality I call the "Chaos Kid", five rules appear during the midlife crisis:

The 5 Rules of a Chaos Kid

  • Rule 1) Their needs are more important than your needs.
  • Rule 2) They sell themselves as somebody they’re not.
  • Rule 3) Any good thing you do they see as a threat.
  • Rule 4) They want what they can’t have, and what they have, they don’t want.
  • Rule 5) They say what they don’t mean, and what they mean, they don’t say.
Chaos to purpose scale

The emotional pain that drives the midlife crisis will take over a normal adult personality and subdue it.  

When that subduing takes place, a new personality arrives in your spouse.  This is the reason why husbands or wives enduring a midlife crisis often make this statement: "This is NOT the person I married."

Though many theories about midlife crisis point to general life events as the cause of the midlife crisis, these difficulties are merely the flint that sparks the fire.  

They are not the source of the midlife crisis.  If you want to know the source, look no further than your own partner’s childhood to get the whole story.  

If you want to learn more, download my free midlife crisis guide for more information.

It will help you get some calm and clarity in this new world of chaos.

Did this article help you fill in some missing pieces?  Let me know in the comments below what you're faced with and how this has helped you.


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