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When Men Feel Trapped: A Practical Guide

by Dr. Lynn Margolies

Published, PsychCentral, 2016

 

Male midlife crisis is a term used to describe a male identity crisis that occurs at around midlife. Men in a midlife crisis feel trapped in an identity or lifestyle that feels constraining and they want to break out. There is a shift in their awareness of time and themselves. With a sense of only a finite amount of time left, men are grasping at a last chance for a feeling of vitality and pleasure. This is a time where fantasy and what men thought they could have had or be seems far better than reality. They may have done all the right things, and now question how it is they find themselves to have morphed into the conventional middle aged guy they see living their life. Maybe their values have changed or they are rebelling against values they’ve held that constrained them.

Life is ripe for a midlife crisis when men feel there’s no room for growth, change - when they somehow have created an image, lifestyle which they question whether they belong in or fit in that feels empty or inauthentic.

When men act out or are on the precipice of acting out - that’s when the normal developmental conflict and reevaluation that occurs at midlife morphs from a stage of life into a midlife crisis. They have an affair, leave their family, drink more, become irresponsible, take obvious and foolish risks. A psychological state becomes a midlife crisis once men act on their impulses. The crisis forces change when it seems there is no way out. Crises like this can lead to growth or destruction.

What are some signs a man is facing a midlife crisis?

A telltale sign you may be in a midlife crisis is if you are feeling trapped and very tempted to act out in ways that will blow up your life. Usually men realize they are in a midlife crisis once they are busted and hit with reality.

Other signs of a midlife crisis:

• Increased self-absorption, a teen-age like rebellion
• Increased focus on appearance, excitement, fantasy, thrill-seeking
• Increased flirting and heading towards an affair
• Feeling your life does not fit you anymore - combined with temptation to act out

Here are some tips for getting through a midlife crisis intact (or even improved).

What NOT to do:

• Refrain from doing things that will blow up your life - see yourself as a teen that may need limits
• Don’t take feelings literally - they are not facts - the feeling of needing to break-out doesn’t always mean this is what you need to do but may be a sign that something is wrong
• Don’t get lost in fantasy - it will put you at risk to act out and get in the way of truly finding vitality in your life

What TO do:

• Think things through with someone
• Realize that you may not need to blow up your life to be happy but if it needs to be dismantled then doing so thoughtfully will be less destructive
• Accept and grieve lost opportunity that can’t be recaptured and understand what led to making those decisions
• Think about what you appreciate and are grateful for, what you have to lose
• Review what were priorities in the past and what is priority now and what changes are realistic within the context of your existing life

https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/08/17/when-men-feel-trapped-a-practical-guide/

 

To see other similar articles, click on the following links: MenMidlife

 
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