It’s no exaggeration to say that a man in midlife crisis experiences a Dr. Jekyll / Mr Hyde transformation. We are all familiar with the characters from the 19th Century novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The character’s names have found their way into common language , often being used to describe someone displaying split personality characteristics. I wonder if many like myself had not read the story for some time though are familiar with the title.
The story is basically about a London doctor, Henry Jekyll, who invents a potion that enables him to transform into a different character free of conscience. He eventually reaches the stage where the transformation gets out of control and he ends up morphing completely into Mr. Hyde with out the aid of the potion and eventually kills himself.
The similarities to mid life crisis are remarkable. Let me state for the record that I don’t believe every man in a mid life crisis becomes as evil as Edward Hyde. But it is interesting to note that when Jekyll transforms into Hyde, he is able to operate in a fashion free of moral constraint, engaging in harmful behaviours without any guilt or remorse. In the letter written by Hyde before his death, he declares that though Edward Hyde’s character was despicable, he felt more genuine in that persona, younger and more energetic. Sound familiar?
It’s no wonder that many women experience such anxiety, anger and confusion when their husband goes through a mid life crisis. There seems no rhyme or reason to it! I think the well know “Serenity” prayer is applicable here,
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
When you can’t change the way someone is, it’s time to look at how to accept and cope with it, and perhaps use it as a catalyst for change in your own life. Though a daunting and unwanted experience, your partners’s midlife crisis may be the start to a new you! So don’t count on ever getting your Dr. Jekyll back, you may one day, though if you spend your life working on it and obsessing with it, you may find yourself looking back at a lot of wasted energy and time! Being married to a Mr. Hyde doesn’t have to make you Mrs Hyde!
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