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Midlife Crisis in Women: 5 Signs Your Life is in Transition, 2

May 13th, 2014 · No Comments · midlife crisis women

In my last post, I focused on what midlife transition and midlife crisis in women look like, and I’d like to continue that here.

midlife crisis women

Woman with a Chignon – Paul Gauguin

A woman’s journey through midlife and the second half of life differs from a man’s, both because of her feminine identity and because of her unique individual being.  Last time, we looked at 3 signs of that journey; here we look at 2 more.

4.  Consciousness of Suffering

One of the signs of midlife in a woman can often be awareness of the kind and amount of the pain in her life.  Of course, the same is true of men, but this can be a singular experience of extraordinary and life-changing depth for many women. Psychologist and Jungian analyst Cara Barker writes of the experience of the type of woman whom she calls World Weary Woman in this manner:

Historically, [she] answers her difficulties with attempts to be perfect, and to be perfectly good.  She is not inclined to look for interior solutions until she encounters a form of suffering so profound it stops her in her tracks, and her usual coping strategy does not work.  She can no longer defend herself against her pain.

Barker tells us the pain will not be eased until the woman in question finally acknowledges it, and receives its wisdom.  There is need to listen to the deepest self, and its most fundamental wounding and yearnings.  Especially its deepest yearnings! This can be very difficult for many women, who even in 21st century culture are continuously given the message that their being is for other people — spouse, parents, children, or the broader community.  Yet it is in listening to her own being that the deepest healing occurs.

midlife crisis women

Self Portrait, 1980 – Mavis Blackburn

5.  Liminality: The Threshold

An important sign of midlife transition or midlife crisis in women is the sense of liminality, of transitioning from one life or way or being, to another.  A woman often experiences an inability to continue living as she has throughout all of her earlier adult life.  A woman may not know where she is going, or what is trying to open up in her life.  She may only know, I can’t do it anymore.

midlife crisis women

For many women, it may boil down to “Will I stay other directed, or does my own commitment to myself and my reality, matter? As Jungian analyst Murray Stein puts it:

When the soul awakens at midlife and presents its gifts, life is permanently marked by the inclusion of them.  Taken in, they become the hallmark of your life, the core of your uniqueness.  Refused, they can haunt your days, and may undermine all your toiling.

Depth psychotherapy can be essential to living out the gifts of soul in the time of midlife transition or midlife crisis for women.

PHOTO:  Attribution Share Alike  © freeparking 😐  ; Steve Snodgrass
© 2014 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)