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Stage Obsession

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

Most Standers become obsessed with the stages, wanting to know where their MLCer is on the MLC Map. I've said and will say it again that it is not important because it means you are focusing on your MLCer instead of yourself. But I'll still answer the question because I've been there and I understand the obsession. Though there are a few stages, what is more noticeable are the characteristics often labeled as stages.

Most of you will recognize only two of the described stages or characteristics, the first is the characteristic Replay which is the third within Separation, and the next you may recognize is the stage of Liminality. If you only recognize one of these, it will be Replay. If your Bomb Drop was recent, your MLCer is in Replay. If your Bomb Drop was a year ago, your MLCer is in Replay. If your Bomb Drop was 18 months ago, your MLCer is likely still in Replay. If your bomb Drop was 24 months ago, he may still be in Replay, he may be transitioning to Liminality or he may be in Liminality. I will say that Replay averages 18-24 months and may extend over several years, but that is merely an educated guess from observation and by no means a tested fact. I find it common for Replay to last longer, but milder MLCers bring the range down. If your MLCer is in Monster, he's in Escape & Avoid. I can usually tell you where your MLCer is because Escape & Avoid is so long and overt. Look back to the symptoms and descriptive lists of MLCer behaviors.

  • Preoccupation or fear of aging or death
  • Vanity: Obsession with appearance
  • Dissatisfaction with previous goals
  • Life of Accommodation has left him feeling trapped
  • Impulsive or Compulsive Behavior
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Substance abuse

Fear of aging and dissatisfaction with goals are emotion or feelings, not behaviors, these concerns lead to the behaviors seen in MLC. Vanity, impulsive and compulsiveness, restlessness and substance abuse are all standard Replay behaviors. Irritability is common for any of the stages or characteristics, as is the sense of feeling trapped. But all of those that are behaviors are part of Replay. The list describes Replay!

If your MLCer seems depressed it does not mean they are finally going to hit rock bottom and be in Liminal Depression. They could be a Low-Energy Wallower, but Replay is resilient and like all of MLC it includes cycling moods and behaviors. If you want to understand MLC, start with Replay because that is most likely the behavior you are going to be dealing with.

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