In an article in the International Herald Tribune, psychology professor Richard A. Friedman questions conventional wisdom about the midlife crisis. In regard to one story that he shares, he comments:
It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to see that [this woman’s] husband wanted to turn back the clock and start over. But this hardly deserves the dignity of a label like “midlife crisis.” It sounds more like a search for novelty and thrill than for self-knowledge.
In fact, the more I learned about her husband, it became clear that he had always been a self-centered guy who fretted about his lost vigor and was acutely sensitive to disappointment. This was a garden-variety case of a middle-aged narcissist grappling with the biggest insult he had ever faced: getting older.
But you have to admit that “I’m having a midlife crisis” sounds a lot better than “I’m a narcissistic jerk having a meltdown.”
Midlife is a drag, but that’s just the way it is. People sometimes look at my with mild disbelief when I say that my wants are secondary to those of my family and that my primary role at this point in my life is to provide for them (not just financially). But Dr. Friedman also cites a survey in which only a small percentage of middle aged people reported having or having had a midlife crisis.
(via Follow Me Here)