Neuropsychology-Why a mid-life crisis is confusing

Two separate systems are working within you.

According to Cognitive Principle Therapy there are two separate systems operating within you, but are working towards one goal. The two systems are:

System 1- Driven by the nervous system, whose purpose is for safety, using the three defense systems, namely:

  • Sympathetic-Fight or flight
  • Parasympathetic-Dorsal vagus nerve-Freeze or avoid
  • Parasympathetic-Engagement nerve [safety in numbers]

If there are unresolved issues from the past then the Default Mode Network operating in the subconscious mind will make comparisons and predictions based on external triggers or internal subconscious thoughts called "Day dreaming". Research has shown that we are in a daydreaming state 45% of the time.

System1 does not use time as the principal driver, it uses events and operates using its own comparative-predictive mind.

NOTE: While emotional years normally coincide with physical years, this is often not the case. Eg. A child who was badly traumatized, could go straight to a "midlife crisis" emotional state and by controlled  [trying to keep them safe] by system 1 for their whole life.

System 2 uses the comparative predictive mind based on logic, commonsense and higher level goals [Maslow's hierarchy], after safety goals are meet. System 1 is an animal based nervous system and its highest goal is safety.

System 2 is aware that as a generalization the 7 levels of attachment are experienced as:

  • Child-0-13 years. Mainly uses the predictive mind [playing games, fantasizing] in the present time, while System 1 keeps the child safe in the present
  • Youth-14-25 years & 25-35 years. Detaches from parent and then attaches to a partner. Predictive mind focuses primarily on the future, that is, study, job, partner, log term goals, while system 1 is picking or has picked a partner to help it resolve its unresolved issues related to engagement [attachment] principles of trust, respect, acceptance or commitment. It subconsciously picks a partner with the same weakness, but opposite behavior. [eg.Both lack acceptance, one overly logical, the other overly emotional]. Cognitive Principle Therapy has identified 16 dysfunctional [present when resilience is lost, that is, when the vagal brake is in off mode] personality types to choose from.
  • Adult in Mid-life crisis-35-45 years. If there are major unresolved issues within a person then system 1 takes control, which creates a mid-life crisis, because System 2 may not understand or not consciously aware of what is happening. Evolutionary, a mid-life crisis occurs at this time of life, because the focus goes off raising children and back on to ones-self. As a generalization both systems are doing negative comparisons, going over the past.
  • Adult-45-60 years. If issues are resolved after the mid-life crisis, then both system 1 and system 2 will work together. System 1 will maintain safety [emotional, physical, mental and spiritual], and System 2 will move past its human nature needs based of fear and greed and strive for higher spiritual or transcendence needs. Both systems will be focused on the present.
  • Adult-60+ years. Both systems will operate at higher levels of attachment than in the past and live in the present time. "Oneness" represents the highest level of both safety [system 1] and transcendence  [system 2]. It is achieved through conscious awareness. The more awareness, then the  higher levels of consciousness and  "oneness" exist. It is a never ending loop.
  • "oneness" is the common goal of both system 1  and system 2.

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