The discussion we've been having about men midlife crises reminded me of a lesson that I learned early.
I had a terrible, vicious ex when I was a teenager. He was older and did despicable things. When we broke up, I went through several years of profound depression and mourning. He, meanwhile, went back to school, got straight A's and was Mr. High Achiever. About 5 years after we ended our relationship, he tracked me down and called me to tell me that he had recently had a breakdown and had attempted suicide*. I remember thinking, "Why NOW?" I simply couldn't believe that he was just then reacting to all of the things that had happened.
It was an important lesson to me. Painful though it is, it's better to pay your emotional dues at the time. Men, who don't tend to do this, seem to suffer for it later down the road.
The other lesson is that the psychological abusers -- the ones who are deliberately cruel -- ALWAYS come back to explain their behavior. They will give you a detailed explanation of their emotions at the time, but those explanations will not end up making you feel any better, because people who are capable of great cruelty are simply not capable of changing or becoming self-aware. If you have someone like that in your life, and they haven't come back yet, I would recommend not giving them an audience when they return, no matter how much you are dying of curiosity or wanting closure.
*Please note that if it seems like I'm giving very little attention to the suicide attempt, it's because I don't believe it happened.