Melbourne “The Age newspaper -Sunday life on 7th April, 2019”
“Is your husband having a midlife crisis?”
“It started about three years ago. Serena confided in female friends. They were pretty sure it was a midlife crisis and shared stories about despair, divorce and husbands who had rum off with nannies.” “The therapist helped him see that he had been living his life ticking boxes-good job, nice house, holidays twice a year- and he didn’t feel he was his true self.” “It's a significant milestone for many men and is a time when some become keenly aware of their own mortality.”
Cognitive Principle Therapy [using attachment theory] states that the general problem is more linked to comment made later in the same article, that is: “There were so many stories from women whose husbands suddenly became someone else. These men were all high achievers, had experienced childhood trauma and had an emotionally unavailable parent.”
In Cognitive Principle Therapy [CPT] unresolved attachment issues relate to trust, respect, acceptance and commitment. If any of these remain unresolved into adult life, then they will be acted out by picking a partner or other person with the same weakness, but opposite response. The opposite response balances the weakened principle, if the couple can successfully attach. If not they are likely to split up or remain in permanent conflict.
There are 7 layers of attachment in CPT as shown below
Why does a crisis happen in midlife?
Up until the last 40 years, most couples had children in the early twenties. By their mid-thirty's to forty's their children were settled at school. Likewise their careers were established around the same time. According to polyvagal theory your brain has been conditioned for over 200,000 years to "engage" or attach to others for safety and security. When there is a breakdown in the four principles which support engagement, then the sub-conscious mind will keep bring these back into consciousness, particularly when you are calm and settled and feel confident in dealing with them.
Cognitive Principle Matrix & “Imago therapy’s” theory of unresolved attachment issues:
“Why do you fall in love with particular people? According to Imago theory, you seek to recreate the conditions of your childhood so that you can use your adult competence to complete your developmental tasks and grow up — in other words, to finish your childhood. As Ben Hecht said, "Love is the magician that pulls a man out of his own hat."
Three things make you fall in love:
- You are driven to recreate the relational conditions of your childhood by bonding with someone who is sufficiently similar to your childhood carers — an "Imago match". You will tend to fall in love with someone who matches an unconscious profile made up of positive and negative characteristics of your childhood carers. This profile is the "imago" (Latin for image, in the sense of likeness or resemblance).
- You tend to fall in love with someone who has the same wound but a different defense — the fundamental need is the same, but one will openly acknowledge it while the other will deny it. Imago therapists often find couples who are in some significant way complementary — introversion and extroversion, blame and guilt, anger and sadness, control and submission, anxiety and stoicism, or logic and intuition.
- You tend to be attracted to partners who exhibit aspects of your lost selves, the innate aspects of your personality of which you are not conscious. If you have a partner who carries the lost parts of yourself, you are effectively reclaiming your lost parts by proxy.”