Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Midlife crisis: this is the script!(115 Posts)
This is from the midlife forum! As my H followed this almost word for word, I thought you might find a chuckle of recognition, too. PS Women can also do this, so because English doesn't have a mutual gender word, substitute OW/OM etc as required.
MIDLIFE for Dummies
Welcome to the wonderful world of Mid Life Crisis!! You are about to embark on one of the most perilous journeys you have ever taken. A journey fraught with intrigue and guaranteed to turn you inside out! This book is designed to help you make sure you get the most emotional bang for your buck.
In these pages are the "how to" answers to the questions you have been asking yourself about damaging as many people as you can along the way. Come on and dig in, it's time to get this roller coaster rolling on down the tracks!!
Chapter 1 - Choosing the Correct Speech
There are 4 basic speeches for you to choose from. They are:
a) I love you but I don't know if I'm in love with you.
b) I've never loved you, and we should never have gotten married.
c) We got married too young. I never knew anything besides you.
d) You tricked me into marrying you, I would never have done it otherwise.
Once you have decided on which speech to give, you need to cause as much anxiety in your spouse as you can before you actually give it. Continue to the next chapter for Lessons in building anxiety.
Chapter 2 - Lessons in Building Anxiety
You will find these lessons to be helpful in causing anxiety in your spouse and others (depending on the level of pain and damage you want to cause), not just prior to giving the speech, but throughout your MLC.
Lesson 1 - Monstrification of Your Spouse
This is easy to accomplish. Simply think of only the "bad" things that your spouse has done throughout your entire relationship. Have one of those "angel" spouses? No problem, just remember how bad she always makes you feel. DO NOT under any circumstances remember fondly your spouse, or anything they have done for you. Remember, they are going to be the cause of all of your problems, so it is imperative that you convince your self of this first.
Lesson 2 - Emotional Detachment
This will be very easy to do after accomplishing lesson 1. All you have to do is start reminding yourself that you don't care about them, what they feel, what they want, or if they hurt. Simple! Every time you remind yourself of this, you will get further and further away from your relationship emotionally. Now, that wasn't too hard was it? On to lesson 3
Lesson 3 - Mass Confusion and Indecision
This lesson requires a little more thought and attention. You must constantly practice saying "I don't know" to ANY and ALL questions. That is imperative!! Your spouse (and others) must never know precisely what is going on in-side your head. Also, never let them know where you are going, where you have been, who you were with (this will go hand in hand with the lesson on the Other Person, or OP), or whether or not they can expect you to return home.
Lesson 4 - Lies and Deceit
To get the most damage, and cause the most pain, you must lie and decieve at every opportunity. And to really achieve hall of fame status, you should be very inept at it, so that everyone knows that you are lying, or suspects, but can't prove it initially. This works very well for the following chapters, OP and Cake Eating.
Chapter 3 - The Other Woman (or OW)
Now it is time for you to succumb to temptation. You KNOW all of those other women want you! They have been coming on to you for years!! It is time for you to give them their chance at having some of you. Make sure that you leave a very confusing trail for your spouse to follow. One that lets them suspect, but have to dig and sneak (to make them feel worse about themselves) to find the information they need to prove it. Hold out admitting the affair as long as you can, and don't admit it ever, if you can get away with it.
Chapter 4 - Cake Eating
This chapter is designed to string your spouse along in uncertainty as long as possible, because as long as they have hope, they won't be able to go out and find their own lives and be fulfilled. Why should they get to do that, while you are so miserable? They shouldn't!! So, make sure that you are affectionate occasionally (not too often, as this will raise anxiety levels), that you drag your feet about making a decision on the marriage, and that you leave and come back several times (as many as you can get away with).
Chapter 5 - History Revision
It is very important that you revise the life you have lead with your spouse. You must use words like: Always, Ever, Never and All of the Time. Always precede the statement with the terms: you, I, and we. As in "you always nag me" "I never ever (double bonus here) get to do what I want" and "We have to do what you want all of the time". This will help to make your spouse feel like the way you are behaving is all their fault, and can cause them to feel even worse about themselves than they already did!!
Chapter 6 - It's All About You!!
Remember this is all about you! What you want and need, RIGHT NOW! You shouldn't have to wait until you can afford something, just go on out and get it! You deserve a new haircut, new clothes, and some new toys. You've worked for it. You would probably look great in that new Convertible, or on that new Harley!! So don't hesitate! You live in the here and now! So why wait until tomorrow!!
Remember, the word is CRISIS and if you are in one, EVERYONE else should have to ride the Roller coaster with you! It's no fun taking a ride alone, and you know what they say about misery loving company! Go on out there and get started, so much pain and damage, and so little time!
Chapter 7 - Avoid, Ignore, and Run Away
This chapter is to help you deal with the problems that your spouse will try to cause. We don't want you to have to "deal" with anything, now do we? You shouldn't have to "think" about any "issues" right now, except those that concern you "feeling good". The best way to handle this, is to Avoid, Ignore, and Run Away. Any time someone tries to make you see a more "reasonable" stance on a subject, simply Avoid making a reply...stare out into space, as if you are thinking about something important, and they will become uncomfortable and leave you alone.
If there are responsibilities that need your attention, simply ignore them. You don't have to do anything you don't feel like doing. And the best for last is Run Away! This can be accomplished in many different ways. OP's can help you Run Away from all of these "problems" as well as Alcohol, Drugs, New Sports Cars....etc the list is endless. Of course, you can always just leave...but remember not to let them know where you are going, and if you'll be back!!
Chapter 8 - MC and Therapists
Your spouse may ask you to go to counseling with her. This is only useful to make them feel better. It cannot possibly have anything to you so there is no reason for you to follow-up with anything suggested--it doesn't matter to you. The only thing you should look for is more reasons (excuses) for avoiding, running and ignoring (see previous chapter).
Chapter 9 - I Don't Have To if I Don't Want To and You Can't Make Me!
Remember that this is about YOU, and what YOU want and how YOU feel!! No one else is important, so don't let them make you feel as if you have to listen to anything they say. Your spouse will try to help you of course, because they love you. Don't let them get away with giving you unwanted advice. Let them know in the teenage vernacular, that they can't make you do anything.
This is important, you must be as childish as possible!! Any truly adult behavior on your part will only convince them that you are listening to what they are saying, and you will have to start back at the beginning. Of course, this technique can be used knowingly to cause more confusion and chaos, just beware of the danger, you don't actually want to start acting like an adult!!
Chapter 10 - How To Threaten and/or How To Move Out
You threaten to move out for weeks or months but you don't. (*)You tell your spouse that you got too much on your plate right now to look for a flat but that you will do so in 2 weeks time. After 2 weeks, repeat from (*).
If your wife wants to come too close to you, like entering your bedroom to talk to you, tell her to stay away or you will move out. When she replies that you will move out anyway tell her that you will move out faster if she comes any closer
Chapter 11 - Art of Clinging
The Art of Clinging to the End of the Mattress without falling off the matrimonial bed while still sharing it with your spouse.
Chapter 12 - Advanced Lessons
This is usually reserved for those in more difficult situations, where the LBS has responded not by tossing you out, threatening to leave, or filing for divorce, but instead persists in not only OFFERING to cooperate, but actually MAKING THE CHANGES you said you needed.
"I am tired of living like this/I don't want to live like this anymore/I am not going to live my life like this?" often is coupled with another advanced tactic, "It's not you, it's me".
This line is most effective AFTER the LBS has jumped through hoops and bent over backwards. It basically confirms that no matter what changes the LBS is willing to make, the incompatibility lies within the MLCer, who has no intention of, or implied desire or ability to, compromise.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR SPOUSE THINK SHE IS CRAZY
1. When confronted by the evidence of an EA or PA, become very indignant. Stress that the LBS is obviously just a jealous sob/bi*ch, and you are entitled to "buddies" of the opposite sex.
2. Never, ever answer the question, "Are you okay? Is there something wrong?" with a direct answer that might actually lead to a discussion that might help the marriage. Continue to never talk to spouse, never give her/him a personal compliment or touch of affection and by all means work on the "cling to the edge of the mattress to avoid touching" manoeuvre that is so successful in making your spouse crazy.
3. Always bear in mind that your spouse will expect you to want to at least give them the chance to "fix" the marriage. Since you have already checked out emotionally (of course NEVER tell them that!), you are under no obligation to actually listen to anything they say or acknowledge anything they do. This tactic is also extremely beneficial when they employ the MLC diet. When they lose a massive amount of weight and you are in ear shot of someone who mentions to spouse about the weight loss, say "Are you losing weight? Why don't you ever tell me things?"
4. Of course one of the most successful ways to drive them crazy may only be used when you have earned the MLC Black Belt. Go to marriage counselling for months, let them pour out their soul to you and the counsellor and let them believe they are actually accomplishing something. Then arrange things so the spouse finds you in your own home with OW. This will accomplish two things: a. She will finally have to understand how lucky you are to have found your "soul mate" and b. She will be doubly betrayed because she thought you were actually working on the marriage.
DON'T LET YOUR SPOUSE GET TOO INDEPENDENT - STATEGIES FOR SUCKING YOUR SPOUSE BACK IN
1. Make negative comments about OW or the chances that the relationship with OW will succeed. HOWEVER, under no circumstances, make any commitment to end the relationship with OW.
2. Make veiled hints about suicide or excessive drinking or drug use. Be erratic and hard to contact.
3. Do random acts of kindness such as garden work or something. That will keep your spouse confused and hopeful.
4. Make vague comments hinting that things might work out between you and your spouse IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER, under no circumstances take any actions to work anything out.
CUSTODY - Using the Kids To Your Advantage
If you have children, they can be extremely useful for inducing fear and panic in your spouse. Recommended phrases include, "You're poisoning my kids against me", "You put that idea into their heads", and "You need to do [insert pertinent action here] for the sake of the kids'." Remember, your spouse, being a responsible and loving person, is not only trying to cope with his/her own feelings, but trying to protect the children, and you can use that to your advantage.
Don't forget to use the fact that if you spend any time with your kids, you should get Extra Credit Bonus Good Parent points from your spouse. It doesn't matter if you feed them ice cream for breakfast and have them watch "Hellboy" when they asked for "Veggie Tales", you Just Wanted To Make Them Happy, and since YOU are the best judge of Happiness, that makes you Super Parent.
You can use this opportunity to trash talk your spouse ("Isn't this more fun than what Mommy/Daddy would let you do?" "Mom/Dad doesn't know how to relax.") which of course, will be repeated back to your spouse so you get the benefit of destroying their self-esteem second hand.
Highly advanced MLCers may want to start casually using the word Custody, but be very, very careful. While useful for sending your spouse into a state of panic, you certainly do not want to be responsible for a bunch of kids who will seriously cut into your personal fun time. The word Custody should only be used in a casual tone of voice for the most devastating effect.
You (the mlcer) know a lot about your spouse. You know what pushes their buttons to get them both upset and/or happy. You have the power, you can do it! So using the kids to upset them is fair game (see section on how to use "custody" to upset them but not take on the "custody"). And if that ever stops working, find something else. Suggestions might include pets, valuables in the home, their appearance, family, career. Nothing is out of your reach since you have put in so many years getting to know your spouse--use what you know.
THE BLAME GAME
By now, you should be aware that all of this MUST be your spouse's fault, however, your spouse may not understand this completely yet, so you need to start planting the seeds.
There are several ingenious ways to put the blame on your spouse, and we will be exploring them all.
Method 1: The Non-Blame Statement
I'm trying not to blame YOU
This statement implies that you are "not putting the blame on them" but on closer look (which your spouse is guaranteed to be doing) The words actually put all of the blame on the spouse (where of course we know it belongs).
Method 2: The Passive Blame Statement
I don't think that I can live with you.
My opinion never mattered to you.
I can't live like this.
We rarely have fun anymore.
I don't want to live this way anymore.
These are passive statements that don't actually assign blame to your spouse, but your spouse will definitely get the idea if you use them. They can't help but see that it MUST be them that makes you feel this way.
Method 3: The Direct Blame Statement
You never listen to me.
You never put creases in my pants.
You use bagged salad.
You never keep the house clean.
You are going to do it your way.
All of these are direct statements of blame. You should mix actual faults with things that don't really matter to make it more confusing, and make your spouse feel as bad as possible about themselves.
Your spouse has probably already started doing the hard work to look inside his/herself (Yuck, what an awful thought!) and will take on all of the faults you list to try and correct them. This will keep them occupied for awhile, and you can avoid any serious relationship talks while they apologize for and try to fix all of their own faults.
Make sure that you don't actually accept the apology, that way you can continue to bring the fault up which will slow down their self improvement process. Remember, they are working on becoming better human beings, and you wouldn't want that to happen to fast, as that would interfere with your ability to string them along.
Note: NEVER ACTUALLY ADMIT TO ANY FAULTS OF YOUR OWN!!!! REMEMBER, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY! YOU ARE THE GOOD ONE, AND HAD THE RIGHT TO HAVE AN AFFAIR, LIE, SPEND MONEY, OR ANY OTHER THING, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE BAD!!!
Let's not forget "We're just incompatible - we always were."
Also, when the LBS starts to make changes, make SURE you find fault with these changes, or point out how it's "too little, too late", or wasn't what you meant AT ALL. If all else fails, put the LBS down for being so willing to change herself for your needs. Also, when the LBS starts to make changes, make SURE you find fault with these changes, or point out how it's "too little, too late", or wasn't what you meant AT ALL."
How to keep you spouse guessing...be mean one minute threatening divorce, etc then next day be kind and sweet almost the way your spouse remembers you..rinse repeat....
HOW TO CONTINUE THE CRAZINESS ONCE SEPARATION/DIVORCE IS AGREED UPON
1. Even though by now you, dear MLCer, have done everything human possibly to convince your spouse that you do not love him/her and want out, when the time comes to actually file, DON"T DO IT! This is the coup de gras of MLC. Absolutely DO NOT TAKE THE INITIATIVE. This is a most vital and awesome crazy-maker. Holding out will force your by now totally devastated spouse to finally throw up his/her hands and seek legal counsel.
2. Once the LBS has had enough and decides that divorce is in their best interest, you have won HUGE points here. Refusing to be the one to file now puts YOU in the role of victim, bringing you all the attention and pity necessary to allow you to again regain your image of the abused one in all this. Now you can, with absolutely NO guilt, tell everyone the divorce was your LBS's idea (which of COURSE it was!) and they will assume that:
a. the LBS lost all that weight and obviously has been involved in an affair, and
b. the marriage ended because your LBS spouse is going through a - YES! THE PINNACLE OF CRAZINESS! - Midlife Crisis!!
Copyright The Midlife Club
Sorry caramel, just repeated what you said.
Have been through it all, some of it line for line. Thanks for this as despite having had counselling I still doubt myself and my sanity at times. Needed this to remind me that I am not crazy and am not a terrible mother/wife/person in general!
Identified with every example, and Twunt thought he was being soooo original....am going to print that off and post it to him
Thanks OP for this, because sometimes I need reminding that it was all him, and not me, at fault.
I read this earlier today and didn't agree with the chronology of it, but have reflected for a while before posting.
In my experience and of other people I've known, if there's an affair involved the whole process starts with that and is the catalyst for everything that follows. That's why I often think it's a mistake to attribute affairs to a 'midlife crisis'. Rather, they are a result of extreme selfishness that probably pre-existed in some form or another for years beforehand and they can also happen at any time of life. While I agree that people are probably more vulnerable to say yes to an opportunity while they are struggling with the disappointments of middle-age, I do think that calling it a midlife crisis sometimes gets in the way of a person examining their pre-existing attitudes and behaviour - and of a spouse confronting what she has been putting up with for years.
So the chronology is more like this:
1) Identify an affair opportunity
2) Detach from spouse and create distance between you both.
3) Kid yourself that you won't let things get out of hand.
4) Sabotage your marriage to such an extent that you don't really have any good reasons not to continue (as long as you don't get found out)
5) Start the affair and then feel even more distanced from your spouse.
6) Lie to her when she asks you what's wrong and claim you're depressed about work or something outside the marriage.
Depending on how deeply involved you get with the OW, some of those other steps might follow.
I was also interested in the description of the partner's behaviour and could only relate to some of it. When my husband was just at the 'friendship stage' with his OW, I started to notice he'd stopped apologising for his fuck-ups that made my workload twice as hard. But I didn't turn this on myself at all. I knew he had fucked up and whose fault it was. I just couldn't work out why he wasn't more sorry each time.
Similarly, by the time he was actually having his affair and his behaviour had got even worse, although I got the 'stress at work' line, I was very explicit that he needed to sort it out as it was having such a terrible effect on family life and our marriage. I did cut him a bit of slack for a while, but soon ran out of patience and by the time I discovered his affair a couple of months later, I was ready to walk anyway.
In a roundabout way then, I do think that partners should look at their own behaviour and what they are prepared to tolerate. I wonder whether that's why my husband never once tried to throw any blame in my direction - before the affair, during it and after it - because he knew full well that I had too much self-esteem and assertiveness to take it. He also knew full well that I was capable of being on my own and had no huge fears about it.
lol apart from the kids bit (we didnt have any together) and the therapy bit this script was my ex completely just now know what a selfish, self centered twat he really is, dont some of you wish you could go back to when you first met them knowing what you know now barge poles and wouldnt touch comes to mind
I think his guilt moved him from along the spectrum from mid range narc to severe . OW had her agenda - late thirties , european family lamenting her failure in not producing babies, i know anecdotally that she really defamed my character and even told my SIL that I should just accept my Karma. She had met me on 3 occasions once in their office for a minute, and twice when she was a guest in my home. That gave her enough material to feel expert on me apparently. I think she capitalised on his inate need for adulation when he was having a crisis, and she pushed him along at top speed. He left on valentines day, they bought a house together in November and were married in April. He was crying his eyes out to his brother the night before saying 'what have I done?' and he looks shell shocked in his wedding video (posted on line no less!!) . They are much better suited to each other, they are both incredibly selfish and self obsessed, you wouldnt think it would work but apparently when they go out as a couple they just talk about 'we' and 'us' with no interest in anyone else- im not sure how they go when alone, i imagine them just talking mindlessly at each othet about what they are going to buy next. I am concerned for my kids now that she 's pregnant, but I'll just have to manage it as best I can and play the hand when it's dealt.
Sounds like you're handling it well Restart, must be difficult. They both sound equally dire, not spoiling another couple as they say. You are well rid, things will get better for you.
Interesting what you say about guilt, same with my exh the guilt of it all did seem to exacerbate the narc tendencies. He has changed
for the worse as a person IMO which is a shame to see actually.
OP when I read your post I was it was like someone had been lurking in our marriage it so described my exh's actions. Thanks for sharing it
I think it's a unique brand of Narc guilt and potentially dangerous. It was intense shame at having his true character exposed from behind the Narc mr nice guy mask. He spiralled out of control. He felt guilty towards his own self image/ constructed self not towards me is what i mean x thanks i am ok, working through what made me susceptable to him in the first place x
It is all such a cliche isn't it??
... and the stupid twats think they are so unique.
My STBXH says now that he made 'bad decisions' and he had 'been in a bad place'
He came back to reality with a bump when we got an offer on the house and now is 'full of remorse'
To what extent do you think MLCers are acting in a conscious manner, when they follow the script? Are they self-aware, or do they genuinely believe that they can't decide whether or not to end the relationship?
a.Looks like you could consider writing a book.
b.I have seen your name about from time to time.Hope you are getting all the help and support you need.
c.Have you considered putting your opening post on dadsnet.Would be very interesting to see what they have to say.And your replies.As you would be able to see through a lot of what they replied.
And a question.If a woman has a mid life crisis,does a woman follow some of the same script.
Panic, that is covered in chapter 4.
I am laughing, but it is so sad. I know that I have my faults mostly in the not so tidy and organised department. And I know I can bang on a bit...
But I am a good person, loyal and kind and I didn't deserve this. My sins were not so huge, and to think I was in an OK marriage and then being completely blindsided! That is the thing that hurt the most I think.
I know there is a script as such, but not all affairs follow it.
There are ones where the partners want different things, say one wants to emigrate but the other doesn't, one wants a child but the other doesn't etc. The frustrated partner is left with a dilemma, stay with the person they still love and want to be with but give up something really really important to them, or leave. I have seen this situation twice.
1. Where the woman felt frustrated she spoke calmly to her husband, agreed to a trial separation to allow them both to think, and then decided to divorce as it was the best option for them both.
2. Where the man felt frustrated he was too much of a coward to talk about it, so had an affair with a woman he thought could provide the future he wanted. This affair did not last as at the end of the day he realised working on problems in a marriage was a better option.
So maybe there is a 'mid-life crisis affair', and a 'different life goals' affair.
Just a thought.
Hi Million, could you do that for me? I am not very technical! This isn't mine, it is copyright midlife forum (make sure you put that in). Yes you see in the disclaimer that this can happen to both sexes, and to replace 'she' and 'OM' when required.
Thanks for your comments, I have been very hurt by this I admit.
This is my ex to a T! However he was only 27 too. So not a MLC I wouldn't have thought. I think it's a script for ALL men shagging about and seeking justification for it and NOT to be the guilty party. It's very good and would be so helpful to someone in the early stages.
Jesus Restart my ex Psycho Narc left me on Valentines day @ 5 months pregnant (wkend before scan). Now doing the most damaging dates to leave is in narc MLC Handbook I Guess! To cause the evilest hurt they can! My ex has gone opposite towards me though worse as time went on and 8 yrs of as much chaos he could cause! I thought I could beat the norm and not be intimidated but when the likes of Marth and Rob say RUN AWAY they are so right!
Abitwobbly I have heard other MNs say for years their must be a script! You have found the Holy Scriptures! Well done on finding them! A more useful tool for us to look for the behaviours! Most importantly for those MNs who are at present blaming themselves to gain insight it is not their fault! They have been conditioned with negative, extinction and alienation methods with sublingual self confidence destroying words!
I tend to side with Familyscapegoat. I think the addiction of the affair is the catalyst for the distancing etc.
Abitwobbly - I was blindsided too, thought marriage was fine, no problems and he walked saying he didn't love me any more. It's the shock that is so hard to come to terms with isn't it.
My counsellor is working hard to get me to realise that despite what he said to blame me for everything, it's really not my fault.
Abitwobbly now,I am not very technical either.
And not sure if I copied and pasted,whether all the comments on here so far would be copied and pasted as well?Not sure if you want that?
My ex must have had a damned early MLC at 35!
This script must have been based on my exH, word for word this is accurate
Check (to almost all)!
But I also agree with familyscapegoat too.
It is sort of both, isnt it? You have to be a certain person to have a MLC of this sort, and it did start earlier.
You have to be a certain person to blame yourself.
(Although that isnt black and white- I didnt blame myself but towards the end of the best part of 6 years of lying and infidelity which I could never prove, and associated behaviour, I did begin to question myself).
I think the problem alot of us have faced is not that we blamed ourselves, but that for a long time we thought that complaining and trying to reason with them would sort out the problem- especially if we were in the dark about infidelity and lying.
Oh gosh, this is such an eye opener for me. But not for myself, this was my father exactly. My poor mum!
Join the discussion
Please login first.