Basically you can boil down the book to one thing: Hormones made me do it.
And while I pretty much agree that estrogen, testosterone, oxytocin and progesterone run our lives, it's always disappointing to read. For instance, as far as midlife goes, Brizendine lays it down. Women, who were wired to nurture, love, put their families ahead of themselves, who avoid conflict for the sake of familial harmony as young women (20's-early 40's), "flip" to a "me first" mentality around perimenopause partly due to the change in hormone levels!
... it is all down to Mother Nature unplugging the "mummy part" of the female brain which she does by reducing the supply of hormones which promote maternal, caring, peace-promoting instincts. ... this change comes about with the menopause - the last big hormonal change - after which the brain is no longer subjected to the surges and fluctuating hormones which came with the menstrual cycle and resulting in moodiness, depression and even the ability to see insults when they were not intended.She added that 65% of the divorces occurring in midlife (aged 40 or older) are initiated by the wives!
... throughout the child-bearing years, the female brain is marinated in oestrogen - a hormone which effects the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, the emotional processor and emotional assessment and judgement area of her brain. The effect of this heightens a woman's communication and emotional circuits, giving rise to those maternal instincts which tend, care and do the best they can to avoid conflict to give the family unit the best possible chance of survival.
The menopause ... puts an end to the fluctuating hormone levels and with it comes a much more stable brain and a less maternal woman. A woman who, says Brizendine, is "less worried about pleasing others and now wants to please herself" and that may mean taking on new challenges or a new job and leaving the old life, including her husband, behind.
This sudden need to find ourselves, to get out of the kitchen and into the world, our impatience with dependency of children, the intolerance for our husband's narcissistic habits might be tied as much to hormones (maybe more) than just co-dependency and dysfunctional childhoods, forgetting to go to the gym and not running businesses or cultivating hobbies.
It also hit me that if hormones have that much power, is it important to not make big decisions while in the throes of hormonal flux and assault? Or does it matter? What do you think?