- May 5, 2020
Male Midlife Crisis
Humanbeings go through different stages of development where every phaseis characterized by various types of crises. However, the type ofcrisis that individuals experience depends on their age and gender.For example, men experience different types of crises compared towomen during their midlife. The types of challenges that menexperience during this age are cumulatively referred to as themidlife crisis. The term “midlife crisis” refers to challenges(such as frustrations, resentments, and depression) that peopleexperience after reflecting on their past achievements and theirrespective future plans (Diller, 2016). This paper will address theissue of midlife crisis, with a focus on how it affects men and theeffectiveness of the available therapeutic procedures.
Causesof Midlife Crisis in Men
Theoccurrence of the midlife crisis in male can be attributed to manyfactors, but they can be grouped into psychological, biological, andphysical causes. The psychological causes are triggered by a feelingof dissatisfaction with the way one’s life has turned out (Moe,2015). These feelings are heightened by the sense of one’smortality. However, they may be attributed to some specific triggers,such as divorce. Studies have also shown that men who live incommunities where women and youths are more valued are at higher riskof suffering from the midlife crisis. For example, a community thatdevelops the affirmative action that target the youths and womenleaves men out, thus subjecting them to the fear of being isolated asthey grow older. A trend in which men are sidelined by the societylimits their ability to transition smoothly into their midlife years.
Theperception about the change of roles, coupled with uncertaintiesabout one’s future increase the risk of psychological distress andthe development of the symptoms of the midlife crisis. For example,the midlife age is characterized by the loss of masculinity and asignificant decline in the sexual functioning of the male subjects(Moe, 2015). These changes lead to serious frustrations among theaffected men. In addition, many men achieve their long-term goalsbefore or during the midlife age. The confusion about the new goalsand the direction that they should take leads to psychologicaldistress and the midlife crisis.
Disruptedsleep patterns also increase the risk of the occurrence of themidlife crisis. The research findings reported by Moe (2015)indicated that men aged 30-40 years sleep slightly and patchilycompared to their younger years. Most of them are unable to findsleep by the age of 45 years, which make them grow fat and physicallyunfit. Their bodies fail to generate the growth hormones, whichworsens their psychological well-being and the midlife crisis.
Physicaland Biological Causes of Midlife Crisis
Somescholars argue that some symptoms of midlife crisis are psychologicalin nature, but they result from the physical changes that men gothrough. The physical changes are associated with “male menopause”,which is a biological process that involves the alteration of thenormal production of male hormones (Moe, 2015). This phase isassociated with psychological, physical, and hormonal changes thataffect men at the age of about 40-50 years. Most importantly, thedecline in the ability of the body to produce testosterone, which isthe main hormone that facilitates the development of secondaryfeatures in male, leads to the loss of facial hair and musclestrength.
Thephysical changes make the male subjects feel useless since they startlosing the ability to engage in activities that require a lot ofstrength. The physical changes also make them feel that they aregradually losing the physical and sexual characteristics that havealways defined them as men. These physical changes result inpsychological distress that culminates in the midlife crisis.Similarly, a qualitative study conducted by Mennatt, Tuskor &Anten (2014) indicated that more than half of all men aged at least50 years suffer from the fear of losing their agility, youthfulappearance, and the physical strength. This data confirms that thephysical risk factors play a critical role in the occurrence of themidlife crisis.
Effectsof Midlife Crisis in Men
Oneof the key effects of midlife crisis is a feeling of hopelessness.Men have many responsibilities (including taking care of their agedparents and families), but the limited ability to carry out theirobligations make them feel helpless (Margolies, 2016). A persistentfeeling of hopelessness makes men feel constrained in a lifestyle oran identity that is strange to them. They start leading a life thatis inauthentic and empty. The emptiness is attributed to the lack ofability to establish the balance between the responsibilities andself-exploration. Moreover, the affected men develop the tendency torecall the unaccomplished goals. This tendency is confirmed by thefact that men are fully aware of their unexpressed needs (Margolies,2016). They interpret their internal cues as the signs of some fatalflaws that took place in their lives, which lead to the developmentof an impulse to flee.
Thesudden change in behavior and the psychological wellbeing can lead todivorce. Although it is generally perceived that the midlife crisisleads to destruction, some studies have shown that it can result ingrowth and a positive change in behavior. For example, a perceptionthat the affected men are at the risk of losing partners forces themto change and manage their emotions as well as the life experiences(Margolies, 2016). They adopt the thinking patterns that can assistthem to rebuild stronger relationships and assume theirresponsibilities, in spite of the challenges associated with theaging process.
Additionally,the midlife crisis affects the decision making process of men. Theytend to make impetuous decisions regarding their career and money.Their decisions tend to indicate that they are trying to live life tothe fullest (Margolies, 2016). This suggests that they try to recoverwhat they let slip during their youth.
Thetherapeutic processes aim to help the affected men change theirattitudes towards life and their day-to-day experiences (Setiya,2014). Effective therapy helps men transition from one stage of lifeto the next one safely. According to Moe (2015) men who work with thepsychotherapists during their midlife are able to enter their nextphases of human development with greater self-compassion andawareness. The objective of the therapists is to assist their clientsin the midlife to explore their fears and desires without reactingirrationally. The ability to recognize one’s individual strengthsand make sense of the contributions that they have made in life helpsthem to make peace with their aging process.
Themidlife crisis affects men and women, but they are impacted indifferent ways. Major symptoms in men are seen during the latethirties and early forties. Although the crisis can affect all men,those who failed to achieve their goals by the time they reachforties are at a higher risk compared to the general population. Inaddition, the physical as well as the biological changes that occurin human body affect men in different ways. Some men are unable tocome to terms with these changes, which subject them to the risk ofsuffering from major midlife crises. Working with an effectivetherapist can help men enter their different phases of developmentwith negative reactions to changes that take place in their lives.
Diller,V. (2016). Midlife crisis. GoodTherapy Organization.Retrieved November 18, 2016, fromhttp://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/midlife-crisis
Margolies,L. (2016). Midlife crises affecting men and families. PsychologyCentral.Retrieved November 18, 2016, fromhttp://psychcentral.com/lib/midlife-crises-affecting-men-and-families/
Mennatt,R., Tuskor, M. & Anten, J. (2014). Midlifecrises of men at age 50.Philadelphia, PA: Franklin Health Center.
Moe,M. (2015). ASN presidential address 2014: Moving past nephrology’smidlife crisis. Journalof American Society of Nephrology,26, 791-795.
Setiya,K. (2014). The midlife crisis. Philosophers’Imprint,14 (31), 1-18.