Psychiatry & Psychology--General/question ..


Good day
Is there a name for the following phenomenon in psychology. Have observed people following such behavior patterns and wanted to find out if there was a name for this type of phenomenon.
An individual in their younger years (ie. 20's to late 40's) live life to the fullest- often engaging in not so moral activities ie. partying, excessive spending, adultery and other immoral acts- particularly without regards to others.
Then in their early 50's they encounter some kind of midlife crisis. For example a divorce, death of a child or financial loss.
The impact of the crisis changes their entire personality- in that they become spiritual and become more isolated.
In many cases as they become spiritual claim to adopt some sense of being superior or of having achieved a higher state. The irony is that they still exhibit signs of their immoral past behaviors which show up occasionally (in that they seem to revert to their old ways) yet portray to the world that they are spiritual, changed and of a higher state. The irony is that these people claim to possess some kind of closeness to god / spiritual elevation yet they never acknowledge that their old ways are still within them and exhibited in their behaviors.
I have noticed this phenomenon particularly among many people and wanted to find out if there was a name for this type of behavior / condition in psychology.

Interesting question, Sam. But despite the details you provided, more would be needed, particularly to assess the motivation underlying the behavioural change, especially in terms of the occasional reversion to type, and of any predisposing events such as a major stressor.

For instance, the first that comes to mind is a condition termed manipulative personality. Or could be simple narcissism. Or, depending on the level of control, stability of the change, and self-understanding, perhaps it's what's called personality pattern (or trait) disturbance. And sometimes some of these are found in combination.  

Sorry it's hard to point more directly to an answer, but thanks for asking us.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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