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Question
Posted by: Moody Blues | 2012/07/20

Early Midlife Crisis?

Hi doc, my husband is going through an early midlife crisis, I think. He is only 29 years old. He works in retail, is desperate to get out as he hates his job and constantly complains, but doesn''t have the motivation to leave. He says he wants to suffer because he hates being alive. This is a song he''s been singing as long as I have known him (roughly 10 years). His parents put all their resources into his younger sister, kind of left him to fend for himself. His father helped get my husband''s cousin a job at his work after they all left school, but not my husband because he said he''d be an embarrassment. He wanted to go overseas when all his friends were going, his parents said he''ll embarrass the family name. It seems like they have been putting him down and not encouraging him since he was a small child, and that has caused him to grow up without really caring, not trying hard at school, etc. I don''t blame the way he feels about life because of his parents, but now, in his 20''s when he does have the chance, he doesn''t want to because he just doesn''t care about doing anything anymore. There are only five constant things he does in life- work, sleep, eat, play play-station and go out with his friends.

I don''t know what to do, because I feel I am already doing all I can. I do the cooking, the majority of the cleaning, feeding our pets. I''ve always told him that he''s going to show everyone wrong about him, he mustn''t think so negatively about himself, just because he views himself in a bad light doesn''t mean other people do, etc. I already try my best to make life easy for him, but what about me? This morning I snapped at him, I told him I can''t stroke his ego anymore and if he doesn''t want to change his damn life then he must just shut up, because I am doing everything already and I don''t have the time or energy to baby him as well.

It''s Friday now, he''ll probably go out tonight, something I don''t want to deny him because it''s one the few things he does that he really enjoys. I just don''t know how to handle this situation now. I have my problems too, but I can never address them with him because he always manages to flip it into a ego boosting session for him.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Well, let's call it a crisis ; its not compulsory to have one in midlife ! But anyone who says he wants to suffer because he hates being alive, is sinificantly, perhaps seriously, depressed. What you describe of his background suggests a cruel and frankly abusive family. They were training him to be a failure with low self-esteem.
If you hunt online, you may find revealing material about Learned Helplessness, a recognized condition in which in such situations people learn to give up, to assume they'll fail, and not try even when they are bound to succeed.
He was carefully trained to be self-scorning and irritatingly needy, but your fairly natural reactions to this may only worsen it.
He needs psychotherapy, and possibly also medication for depression, but certainly to see a psychologist for CBT to change those negative automatic assumptions and behaviours, to reduce the low self-image, and to lean how to become positive and effective. He is still young enough to achieve this.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/07/21

Well, let's call it a crisis ; its not compulsory to have one in midlife ! But anyone who says he wants to suffer because he hates being alive, is sinificantly, perhaps seriously, depressed. What you describe of his background suggests a cruel and frankly abusive family. They were training him to be a failure with low self-esteem.
If you hunt online, you may find revealing material about Learned Helplessness, a recognized condition in which in such situations people learn to give up, to assume they'll fail, and not try even when they are bound to succeed.
He was carefully trained to be self-scorning and irritatingly needy, but your fairly natural reactions to this may only worsen it.
He needs psychotherapy, and possibly also medication for depression, but certainly to see a psychologist for CBT to change those negative automatic assumptions and behaviours, to reduce the low self-image, and to lean how to become positive and effective. He is still young enough to achieve this.

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