With age the way we behave, our emotions, knowledge, and the way we see the world mature. It is a commonly held view that the mid-life crisis is caused by the realization that ones life is half over. It is typically an emotional state of doubt and anxiety. Typically lasting between 3 and 10 years, it occurs between the ages of 35 and 50. This paper will offer an alternate view of the “crisis”, suggesting it is a time for growth and new possibilities instead of crisis and loss.
Midlife Crisis: You’re Only Jung Once
It is generally accepted that the major psychological changes take place in childhood. Freud’s view that the three stages of psychosexual development occur during early childhood suggests that “any crisis occurring in middle life is caused by the ‘disorders of ego’ related to developmental experiences of childhood” (Weaver, 1990 p.69). Freud saw people above the age of fifty lacking the elasticity of the mental process on which treatment depends – old people are no longer educable (Jacoby & Oppenheimer, 2008). Interestingly enough, when Freud wrote that in 1907, he was 51, and according to Cohen produced some of his best work after the age of 65. In Erik Ericson’s 200 page “Identity and the Life Cycle” the subject of later life has only two pages devoted to it. Even Jean Piaget believed that with the development of abstract thought in young adulthood, cognitive development stopped. Carl Jung, however, saw midlife as an important period of maturation and growth instead of a period of crisis. Interestingly enough, it was Elliot Jaques, not any of the grand theorists, who coined the term “midlife crisis” in his 1965 paper “Death and the middle life crisis” (Junkers, 2006). It is a commonly held view that the mid-life crisis is caused by the realization that ones life is half over. It is typically an emotional state of doubt and anxiety. This transitional time seems to affect both men and women at roughly the same age, and...
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