5 Things You Can Do To Avoid A Midlife Crisis

Top 5 tips on how to avoid or recover from a midlife crisis

Men's midlife crisis

Men’s midlife cris

A midlife crisis has multi dimensional causes and this blog is going to deal with one of the big ones. It is in my humble opinion that a midlife crisis occurs to men who have neglected their own needs for too long. As men we are conditioned to forgo our own needs and service the needs of our tribe/family. Men have literally been taught for thousands of years that their lives aren’t as important as women’s and children’s. How many times have we seen or heard a headline like this?

  • 50 people died including 10 women and 3 children

The sad and unfortunate truth is that “we’d rather think of saving whales than saving males”. This was all fine thousands of years ago when men were expected to risk their lives for health of the tribe by going into battle and also hunting. We had to condition our men like this in order to survive.

The problems occur when you put these kinds of restrictions on multi dimensional creatures such as human beings. We all have our own needs which need to be fulfilled and if we suppress them for long enough eventually they will come out in one way or another.

It’s important to give voice to our own needs. It’s important that we take care of our families needs and at this point in time as consciously evolved men we need to look beyond our own nest and begin to take care of the worlds need.

That’s a heck of a lot of needs to meet right? It is and if we grew up in a healthy way we should have learnt to take care of our own needs first followed by our partners then our kids and so on and so forth.

Problem is that lots of us live in an intimate relationship that is co-dependent. This is where trade our own needs and authenticity for the health of the relationship. Only problem is that over time we become hurt, fed up and resentful for not getting our own needs met time and time again. A relationship that’s based in this dynamic will eventually result in separation or living as roommates (co habiting but little or no intimacy).

So how do we break this cycle and avoid the men’s midlife crisis?

  1. Get some space – Not easy I know when you have everyone else’s needs to take care of but even if you can manage 5 mins a day for a couple of weeks this will be useful. No TV , no phone, no nothing, just you and your own thoughts and feeling. The idea of gaining this space is to allow your self to resurface. You remember, the guy who used to like fishing or playing sport or some other hobby from decades ago. Once you allow time for this your authenticity will begin to reappear and bingo along with it your own needs.
  2. Learn to set boundaries – This one should have come first because without the ability to set boundaries there will be no space. We’ll generally exercise 3 different types of boundaries but we’ll have a centre of gravity with regards to which one we’ll favour. The boundaries are Rigid, Porous and Dynamic. We should aim to exercise dynamic boundaries which basically means we aim for a win/win with the person we are setting a boundary with e.g. Son comes in when we are trying to get some space (see No 1) and he wants to play. So we can either say ok let’s go and play for 5mins but then Daddy needs to have some down time after that or you could say give me 5 mins and when I’m done I’ll come straight out and play with you. Here you are meeting everyone’s needs although having to make a little compromise in the middle. All part of being an integrated man.
  3. Learn to communicate your needs – Once we’ve sat still for a while our needs will arise. Once our needs arise we then need to learn how to get our needs met. This will often involve asking others to assist us in getting our needs met. I’m feeling tired and overwhelmed and I have a need to feel energized and awake for my presentation tomorrow, would you be willing to help me need this need by turning down the music? Bang, Non Violent Communication. How much more likely are you to be with getting your needs met if you communicate like this rather than “Turn the dam music down can’t you see how tired I am? State your feeling, then your needs and ask for assistance in getting them met.
  4. Be willing to sit with discomfort – If you’re anything like me then setting boundaries doesn’t come easily or naturally. The discomfort that follows asking to get my needs met is immense especially if it involves potentially upsetting someone close to you. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a need to be on my own. Not single but just some time alone. Whether it’s a bath or a walk, it just helps me ground and centre myself. Asking to get this need met when you’re fresh into a new relationship can be seen as a real slap in the face from your partner. It has the potential to trigger all sorts of stuff in them which then in turn triggers all sorts of stuff in you. In the past I would rather avoid this discomfort and go without my alone time. This would then show up in all sorts of ways like the more covert approach of passive aggressiveness, or exploding at them when I felt smothered or claustrophobic.
  5. Watch out for covert contracts – Covert contracts are our way of trying to get our needs met without directly asking for them to be met. Let me give you an example. I was at an aquatic park with a friend and my son which had a sauna. I had a need for some alone time so I thought that would be a great way to get it. So rather than asking straight out I said to my friend “If you fancy having a sauna then just let me know”. I was hoping that they would turn around and say no I’m ok but you can go if you want. When we are growing up our needs are endless and there’s no way that our parents could possible meet them all. Over time, when some of them don’t get met we start to believe that our needs aren’t important. Problem is that our needs don’t go away so we try to get them met in covert ways. This can become your trigger for consciously and maturely getting your needs met in the future.

So there you have it. Get some space, find your needs and begin to meet them in ways that honour you and everyone in your life. This might just help you avoid a midlife crisis.

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