On a recent episode of Influencers Radio with Jack Mize, Clinical Psychologist and Life Transition Expert Dr. Natalie Marr discussed how she is helping women who are struggling with the midlife transition to love their lives again so they can make midlife their best life.
Midlife Crisis – The middle-aged guy who is trying to hang on to his youth with sports cars, a ridiculous wardrobe, and a new tattoo. That seems to be the common stereotype. But men certainly don’t have the market cornered when it comes to dealing with this milestone in life.
While the midlife struggles men face can often manifest themselves externally, the struggle can be much more private for women.
During the interview, Dr. Natalie explains what she calls the deep dark secret that many women deal with during midlife, saying, “Men in midlife tend to externalize their transitioning, and women tend to internalize it. That’s really where the heart of this idea of the deep dark secret comes from. Women find midlife dissatisfying; they get to this point where they’ve done all the right things, poured themselves into family, careers, and community, yet on the inside, really do not like their lives, and they’re keeping this secret. They hold some shame about it. They think maybe they’re the only one. That maybe everybody else does have this right and it’s just them. There aren’t really a lot of easily accessible outlets for talking about the fact that women hit this point in life. They really don’t like their lives and don’t know how to transition or pivot out of that… When women hit midlife, they hold less social currency externally, when their bodies quit. They don’t get to look handsome as long as men do. There is about a 10-year gap in what women versus men can push as attractive and having an attractive social currency in America. So I think that it hits them harder and faster. Because as the wrinkles set in and the body settles, they transition into perimenopause and menopause. There isn’t such a stark difference for the men on that side of things. And so they’re struggling with that physicality piece of it much sooner, and that too gets held inside. I think that women are taught at a very young age what their body should look like. Societal norms are pretty strong and not necessarily healthy. Women just take that and internalize it. They’re not talking about it, just like they weren’t talking about it as a teenager, with the girls in the locker room and they weren’t talking about it in their 20s and were discreetly hiding things like eating disorders if it gets to that extreme. Here they are again, their bodies don’t have any social currency left, but they don’t want to talk about it with anybody. They have some embarrassment and are a bit shy about that.”