90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Sandra Tsing Loh On The Mess Of A Midlife Crisis

Writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh on raging hormones and her new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo.”

Writer, actor and performer Sandra Tsing Loh. (Courtesy Sandra Tsing Loh / W.W. Norton)

Writer, actor and performer Sandra Tsing Loh. (Courtesy Sandra Tsing Loh / W.W. Norton)

When writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh blew up her life in the thick of her life, she did it with all guns blazing.  Midlife crisis, a big extra-marital affair and menopause – all in one spectacular meltdown.  Nothing halfway.  Her blow-up eventually singed and battered everybody – her ex, her kids, her lover, herself.  It sent her on a painful exploration of  hormones and dreams, love and marriage, passion and parenting.  It made her, she writes, a pirate in her own life, pillaging and staggering.  Now she’s out the other side.  This hour On Point:  Sandra Tsing Loh and her story – “The Madwoman in the Volvo.”

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sandra Tsing Loh, writer and performer. Author of the new book, “The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones.” Contributing editor at The Atlantic. Host of The Loh Down On Science. Also author of “Mother on Fire.” (@SandraTsingLoh)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: The Monogamy Trap – “Having blown up my own long-term marriage via an extramarital affair, followed by a traumatic divorce, I tend to think of love as less a gently glowing hearth than a set of flaming train tracks you strap yourself onto. My library specializes in wild and messy opuses by bad girls, like Cristina Nehring’s ‘A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First Century’, Laura Kipnis’s ‘Against Love: A Polemic’, and let’s not forget Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones installment, ‘Mad About the Boy’, which has our heroine at age 51, undaunted by embarrassing hair-coloring incidents and dropped reading glasses, shagging a 29-year-old.”

New York Times: ‘The M Word,’ About Menopause and Money — “The battle between women and their hormones is only one skirmish in a plot powered by the standoff between money — the other “M” word — and creativity. In one corner are the employees of a limping television station in Los Angeles; in the other are the New York suits (led by Michael Imperioli) charged with balancing the books. The creatives, however, have a secret weapon: The appropriately named Moxie (Mr. Jaglom’s frequent leading lady, Tanna Frederick), the star of a children’s show and the would-be director of a documentary about the change of life.”

The New Yorker: Books to Watch Out For — “Loh’s experiences with hormonal upheaval and life changes in her late forties, including an affair followed by a messy divorce and her efforts to keep her eccentric elderly father out of trouble. She also explores the various ways in which women, past and present, have dealt with menopause. As she puts it: ‘The bad news … is: We are not allowed to have gothic moods in menopause, any more than we were allowed to have cigarettes and martinis during pregnancy….’”

Read An Excerpt From “The Madwoman In The Volvo” by Sandra Tsing Loh

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Matt MC

    This book is just a hot flash in the pan…

  • andrewgarrett

    I love Sandra’s writing, and to be honest have a bit of a crush on her. My wife and I subscribe to the Atlantic, but if there’s nothing by her that month I’m not even interested in reading it.

  • Jacob Clark

    I just turned 30. I feels like a crisis. I hope it’s not my mid-life crisis!

    • Shag_Wevera

      30 was the worst. $0 was no prob.

    • katznkatz

      Your a Baby!!!!! Enjoy

    • AnneDH

      30? No, not mid-life crisis- you’ve got quite a ways to go. Maybe your crisis will be covered in a future show.

  • geraldfnord

    Does having been one of the few women at ‘Tech still routinely inform her outlook on the behaviours of the sexes to any noticeable extent…or is it just responsible for a small but violent twitch at random intervals? An old Scurve I know wants to know.

    (I didn’ t mean to overhear that Page girl at the Caltech ‘Y’ moan to the reverend ‘I just realised that I’ve been _cheerleader_ for four years!’ but it expanded my mind to the fact that there were probably many more ways life at the school messed with women’s heads than the obvious ones such as scarcity’s leading to high valuation leading to power, resentment, and being the target of an aspie’s notion of courtship….)

    Or perhaps she’s got beyond it better than I have…though ‘The Loh Down on Science’, I’ve noticed, is strongly connected to ‘Tech via its funder….

  • Shag_Wevera

    Here is a mid-life crisis: I am entering middle age (43). My greatest aspiration is peace. I have 3 children that I love dearly, but they are the antithesis of peace. I will not abandon the commitment I made when I procreated, but I will suffer many years without the peace I crave. Here my friends, is the dilemma of middle age. What I want versus what I must do.

    • geraldfnord

      You are less likely to be able to continue from a course which gives you little pleasure or none; you might give it up in disgust, or let mental or physical illness supervene your feelings of obligation.

      Having done some of that, I’d suggest not doing it—you will at some remove stop viscerally remembering how badly fulfilling your obligations felt, and be left mostly with the pain of not having lived up to them…the Kindly Ones are good at finding you.

      I’d suggest trying to get more pleasure from being a parent to unpeaceful children: notice their good sides more often and more fully, or appreciate the point of their bad sides (without veering into pollyanaïsm). For example, wildness in youths is often inseparable from a level of natural energy that might serve them well later on (Steve Wozniak’s acid excursions were of a piece with his technical genius, Reagan slept around for years before he set on the course of seducing a nation, Einstein practically tramped around northern Italy before settling down to work on his Latin so he would be allowed back into schooling)…I can’t shake the feeling that we old coves partially hate youthful wildness out of envy of the energy it represents.

      Or ‘just’ (it’s easy, suuuure) learn how to get more satisfaction from living up to your obligations, for example by noting that you could do otherwise but choose and will that you don’t. It doesn’t make you a ‘hero’, which word is thrown around far too readily, but it means that you are not (at least in this) a victim.

      Pro-tip: stop seeing your children’s faults as your own…for one thing they, being two or more persons, will collectively have more of them than you even if they’re no worse than you. Warning: this might degrade your ability to enjoy their good qualities as reflexions of your own innate wonderfulness and good parenting…but it usually doesn’t.

  • geraldfnord

    This is dicey, and I wouldn’t want her to address it publicly if she’d rather not, but:

    What would be her opinion of the notion I have formed that often married people have out-of-character affairs precisely because they feel at some level their marriage needs to end but need a definite reason, or don’t want to make the first move to end it…_not_ as a conscious decision but as real as, at one point, my having mindlessly tolerated doing shoddy work for a job I didn’t have the guts to quit until I didn’t have to quit it any more.

    (I plead {Great Depression} -minted parents who couldn’t even _conceive_ of quitting any job that paid the bills, including those for the liquor that made it tolerable—if I ‘drank’ I might still be there, I believe some large fraction of people there did—and they had similar views on leaving a marriage unless it had first burned down, fell over, and sunk into the swamp.)

    • Shag_Wevera

      Dude, everything you said is alive and well today!!!!

  • OrangeGina

    a navel gazing view into a normal part of a woman’s life that gives employers and society another “reason” to avoid older female workers. Not all of us are melting down, wrecking our marriages and going out of our heads.
    >_<

    • geraldfnord

      Fair enough, and I’ll add that it’s ill-graced to whinge about men’s being too much as you wished them to be, as she and Ms Flanagan were doing at one point.

      But aren’t you and she both human, and female, and live in something like the same society, and so her life and opinions are not fully alien to you, and potentially enlightening to the extent you can improve your understanding of other people, and even potentially profitable to the extent you have to deal with them?

      (I claim no virtue in making this my default stance, because it is for me a necessity: most people live their lives in ways which make no visceral sense to me, but to survive I’d best assume that their actions make a sort of sense to them, and though it be an alien [that is, to say non-autistic] sort of ‘sense’, it is not a _fully_ alien sort of sense, but one amenable to my investigation an at least intellectual sort of understanding and the benefits attendant thereto.

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    It’s like how the bad kids – like the ‘fast’ kids – in school always try to get other kids to do the same bad things they do so they don’t seem as such outliers!

    Al least she’s honest about It, but she seems to be trying to normalize her own behavior by gender-standardizing it in regards to all women!

  • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

    SOOOO…Does anyone else find it ironic at best that WBUR is yelling at us every other minute to buy Winston’s Flowers for our ?wonderful moms” who “always listen” etc. etc., before and, I assume, during, a show highlighting a woman who “blew up” her family with affairs, etc.? Yikes, folks. Yikes.

    PS menopause is not an excuse for … well, anything. And yes, I would know.

    • J__o__h__n

      Maybe no one bought her Winston Flowers. Perhaps Bob Oakes and Jay Clayton can drone on and on and on about how if you don’t buy your mother Winston’s Flowers she will look to escape her marriage. This could work for the Valentines Winston Flowers fundraiser too.

      • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

        you made me laugh out loud for the first time today!

    • ThirdWayForward

      The irony of it, which you point out, is somewhat delicious.

    • LinRP

      Oh the flower fundraiser…my head, my head. Make it stop.

      • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

        It has a desperate sound to it, doesn’t it? Mother’s Day, Valentine’s…the only times I turn to WGBH.

        • J__o__h__n

          I’d try to stir up the right wing “why does NPR hate fathers” crowd but I don’t want to listen to “show your father how much you care by sending him Winston Flowers” for a week in June so I won’t.

          • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

            J_o_h_n is the champion laughter guru of my day!

        • olderworker

          Yes, I used to be able to listen to WFNX during these stupid fundraising times, but they’re off the air now.

  • katznkatz

    Seriously!?! Men blow up marriages, children, jobs and wreak havoc in their “middle years”?!?!? Why are women held to a higher standard? We need to STOP STOP STOP this crippling double standard. So what she went off the rails……and lived to write another day. Get over it……middle aged crazies are an equal opportunity condition. Men do it EVERY DAY……She is human. WOW!!!!!!! No Superwoman complex here. You landed and lived to fight another day Ms. Loh.

    • JS

      Men..AND Woman, do it every day. Where’s the double standard?

      I agree, “SO what she went off the rails”, who really cares about this one selfish woman. No on is forcing her to talk about this or be on On Point

      • Roberto1194

        A.: All of us who have suffered from the selfish and afflicted care.
        We care first for them, for ourselves, our families…for our children; and the defeat of reason, compassion, and love.

      • olderworker

        Well, she has to sell copies of her book! That’s why she’s on On Point.

    • Roberto1194

      Men and women are both complex and sometimes confused and unreliable creatures. Especially in a culture dominated by ego striving, anxiety, and materialism. However, women have an additional metabolic complex that is too often overlooked, misunderstood, and denied.
      All causes of affliction and suffering in oneself and others should be openly and compassionately investigated and discussed together to help each other be our best selves.
      We need to promote better awareness of this and other common sub-conscious ‘shadows’ in our thinking, feelings, and actions -for the benefit of ourselves and our children. -and theirs.

    • myblusky

      I completely agree. She is talking about what happened to her and what happens to SOME women. She also talked about how men aren’t given a real platform to discuss their feelings and the sometimes devastating consequences of it. Progress can’t be made when people are so freaking judgmental.

  • Leonard Bast

    I just turned 50 in March, and here I stand, no destroyed family, no meltdown, no crisis, no stormy feelings, no raging anything. In fact, I feel nothing but relief that expectations that I be cool or hip are no longer aimed at me. I find great peace in my dull domestic existence, my family, my work. And I’m looking forward to being a mildly crotchety older gentleman.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Female midlife crisis.

    Not unexpected that it happens to women as well as men, and not unexpected that the collateral damage can just as great.

    In both male and female midlife crises, it’s all hormones talking, and hormones determine reality.

    Shouldn’t it be “The Madwoman in the Miata /Mustang/pickup truck” (choose one)?

    • JS

      It’s the person talking,m using the hormones as an excuse.

      • ThirdWayForward

        I’m not suggesting it’s an excuse. I think we are all responsible for our actions, both deeds and misdeeds, no matter what.

        But having said that, hormones dramatically alter how we experience everything, whether we are happy or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, contented or restless, novelty-seeking or avoiding. They can overwhelm the better angels of our intellects, and propel us into ill-advised situations and actions.

        Those in the midst of hormonal changes are living a radically different reality from their former, normal selves.

        There are ways of pursuing these passions and feelings that erupt, some of them are more destructive and irresponsible, and some are less so. Would that we learn to take the latter path when hormones strike.

      • olderworker

        Can I say here that now that I’m 62, (and female)I NEVER experienced any hormonal issues? Perhaps because I was too busy earning a living, trying to support myself, and had no marriage to break up?

    • katznkatz

      HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! I’ll take the Mustang Convertible!!!!

    • Icepick

      “…it’s all hormones talking…” Were I to ask a woman if what I was hearing was just hormones talking, would I be considered empathetic? insightful? foolish? a jerk?

      • ThirdWayForward

        It’s probably a topic best avoided, a lose-lose situation. You cannot argue with powerful hormone-induced feelings, whether you are dealing with a man or a woman in one of these midlife crises.

        Even if hormones are a major underlying factor, it’s almost useless to tell someone that you think this is the reason for his or her behavior — they won’t listen, and they will think you’re a jerk for saying so (whether you are a man saying this to a woman or a woman saying this to a man).

  • Coastghost

    In other words: feminism succeeds insofar as it tends women towards individualism: “the sisterhood” is totally an ideological fabrication, as empowered women raid other empowered women’s lives, husbands, partners, children, careers.
    Women oppressing women, in the name of their hormones. Sounds like progress.

    • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

      Without making too much of sweeping generalization, I can attest that the only times in my life I experienced gender and/or age discrimination was from other women. And that was often from women the same age as myself. I honestly prefer men as colleagues.

  • spirit17of76

    Hmm. A bit off topic but this all makes me think: So why should women who are no longer reproductive have love or marriage ever again? Shouldn’t they just retire into a maternal and care-taking, no-sex role? According to the “gay marriage destroys straight marriage” platform the only thing that matters is reproduction. Personal love and personal development are not good enough reasons for marriage and commitment or building a life together – or just having a life actually. This kind of logic wreaks havoc not just with gay lives, but with having a life in general.

    • katznkatz

      It sure does!!! Thanks for that Spirit

  • InActionMan

    There are million of women doing good in the world: building businesses, curing disease, helping the poor and On Point devotes an hour to this narcissistic sociopath and her celebration of her destructive behavior?

    Shame on you Tom and On Point.

    • JS

      Amen

    • LinRP

      Amen x2

    • Alchemical Reaction

      Amen!

    • Roberto1194

      Ugly stuff, but not to be denied…
      Those good women (and men) -assuming they haven’t done so while causing suffering in other ways…
      are tainted by those like these.
      We do really need to allow and promote the discussion and awareness of these darker ‘forces’ in us all.

  • Jo Bleaux

    OK, so I’m not a doctor, and am not qualified to diagnose anything. But, as someone who has survived perimenopause without major damage, I suspect something else is afoot here. I have read that bipolar disorder tends to flare up with the hormonal changes. And that it’s notorious for taking a long time to diagnose.

    Just a thought.

    • geraldfnord

      I knew a woman who started ending her marriage (with a bout of spur-of-the-moment travel across the country) within a couple of months of discontinuing her hormone replacement therapy.

      I don’t mean to blame menopause for her marriage’s ending. Likely it needed ending, but her alternate excursions into feelings of triumph and self-abnegation likely ensured that it would end very badly….

  • Joady

    I have to vote with the “she’s selfish” crowd. Her writing is really funny, but just because she is such a train wreck, and it probably isn’t very funny to her destroyed family. It seems like I remember her sister dying years ago, after which she had to adopt her niece or nieces. Abandoning one’s own kids is bad enough, but abandoning a kid who has already lost a parent is inexcusable. Please, please folks, don’t have kids if you are unable to commit for at least 20 years! Her husband was really a gem, too (probably still is, and I hope with a more appreciative mate).

    I need to believe that I can make the right choices, not choices due to hormones, or choices based on life being All About Me. When I exist outside my comfort zone, I learn and grow.

    • JS

      She’s kinda making me sick: I left my kids, Ha ha, I left my husband, Ha ha, I left a disaster behind, Ha ha

    • AnneDH

      Well stated. I actually did not experience any menopause symptoms (believe it or not there are women who don’t!). Lost opportunity to make $ for me.

  • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

    Narcissism is the besetting sin of our society. I just tried to watch a Frontline show about the “Like Generation” and was so horrified I couldn’t finish. This show is going off now….and I am going to walk out into the lovely springtime sunshine without anything else to listen to but the birds. ( OF COURSE….Even my posting this is narcissistic, isn’t it? Why should you care what I am doing? Grin. Sorry….)

    • jefe68

      Is Sandra Tsing Loh not part of the “me” generation?
      Which gave us the “like” generation.

      • http://singingstring.org/ asongbird

        I don’t hold with any of those supposed categories. The “Like” epidemic is about all of us providing corporations with copious amounts of free info and unpaid work for their r&d and marketing and brand promotion…. but in the process the whole shift in society is feeding the apparently frenzied need in people…mostly kids, judging from the story…but I find this in all age groups…to be notorious and the endless center of attention, however gained, and however superficial. The truly horrifying part came with a segment on a very young kid who is literally doing YouTube shows of pornographic exploitation.

        This is the essence of my horrified reaction.

        The cynical attitudes emanating from the screen made me give up on the whole thing. I feel there’s rampant mental illness incipient in our entire societal shift.

        And of course, by my writing here, I am providing NPR with info. But at least it’s info I want out there, and I don’t care about any gain from it.

  • camphappi

    I joined a group of women most of us with small vintage trailers called “Sisters on the Fly” who camp and meet to drink wine and do aadventures together. Most are post menopause of working toward it. One of our mottos is “turning women into girls.” Primary rule for rallies is: no dogs, no men and no children. Occasionally there are “Mister Sister: events but not usually. I am post menopause 56 years old and last year I towed my 13ft. Vintage trailer on a 2300 mile trip alone. I take smaller trips with other sisters too. My tailer is named Little Bitty but its real name is escape pod. My youngest graduates from college Saturday and I am more than ready to hit the road!

  • Coastghost

    How about a definitive question for your guest, Tom Ashbrook: women are in charge of their lives along and along, or women are ever prone to victimization by their hormones and physiology and chronology? (oh, and by men, how could I forget?)

  • Topana

    I am so glad that on her selfish path she decided to have a teenager Expirience of being infatuated, rather than grabbing a gun and start shooting people because she didn’t like the color of their shirt or because they look like her mother.

  • katznkatz

    The “Double Standard” is ALIVE and well. So why can’t she write about it??? MEN DO!!!! Get where I am going with this JS??

    • notafeminista

      Let’s assume that women are better than that, shall we?

      • katznkatz

        We are ALL different. I am in no position to judge, are you???

        • notafeminista

          Am I in a position to judge? To be discerning? To recognize self-destructive behavior when I see it? Of course, as are you.

          • katznkatz

            And????????????

          • notafeminista

            And nothing. I answered the question you posed.

  • John Roberts

    Oh please! If we accept Miss Tsing Loh’s rationalization, then every woman gets a get-out-of-jail-for-free card during PMS, PMD, menopause, or any time she gets drunk. What does this say for all the people that have the will, strength & commitment to resist temptation, exercise ‘adult’ judgement, and honor the commitments they’ve made to partner & family — rather than take the easy, selfish path? What a great way to justify weakness in character: mess-up, then capitalize on it by writing & selling a book. Congratulations!

    • Isernia

      Agree, John…blame the hormones, “the devil made me do it”…rationalizations for her selfish acts, or lack of will to overcome base desires ( as traditional religions defined sinful behavior). To flaunt her free-style life choices as being endocrine / hormone base is laughable. though also diliterious as it opens up that pre-feminine liberation conversation about why women would make bad pilots, CEO’s …of course because of moodiness, crankiness, abandonment of clear mindedness, poor judgment, etc. Save us from irresponsible, narcissistic Baby Boomer women driving Volvos .

  • Coastghost

    Facile self-justification by the quarter hour . . . . so hip, so cool, so entertaining, so untethered.

  • SjMills

    I think I’m hearing an explanation for this crash & burn, not a justification – and especially not a ‘serving suggestion’. Sandra, please clarify.

  • RDTurner

    Did she ever feel the passion with her husband that she says she found with the co-worker?

    • SjMills

      Good question…I’d like to know that answer also.

    • Coastghost

      As modernity teaches, passion is fully foundational of marital (whoops! “relationship”) commitment.

      • JS

        How about: Passion is fully foundational of commitment.

        Married or not is irrelevant.

  • debhulbh

    ‘Madwoman’, ‘Women who run with the wolves’ women who” Howl at the moon”…divining woman, we are called many things
    Having raised (an ungrateful/selfish..son (30 plus years!), now raising his son.. for 5 years now) caring for children, the family, the house, having given up my work (but having worked for 20 yrs plus), having given up on my dreams (up to now) and feel unappreciated not loved, not cared for going thru menopause (I feel like I am about to explode).
    As for my husband…!!!..(of course he doesn’t get me…why would he….)
    All I want to do is to run away, I want to get on a plane and start a new life, I want to get in the car and just keep on driving.
    I want my own life, I want A LIFE for me, I want my own life back and I am getting ready to reclaim it….(I am sick looking after everyone else)
    as a relatively young woman…(many say I am in early 40′s which I am happy about I must say).
    But my body feels stressed to breaking point and it is hell!!!
    Long term marriage has been a source of pride for me ….but the human heart, my human heart has been through so much, and human hearts can break….
    I feel my heart breaking every moment of every day….until I can forge ahead and gain back MY LIFE.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    I could have a field day with this hour of on point. *facepalm*.
    So much ignorance. LOL. “Menopausal woman president”.

    I was considering voting for Hillary until I heard this. Now there is NO WAY I will vote for her! I would rather have Rand Paul anyway. Let the Libertarians have a chance.

    • Jo Bleaux

      Hilary Clinton is far past menopause.

  • AnneDH

    What she just said about exercise is right. Pair this with acceptance of the next stage of your life.

    • brettearle

      Sorry, I never got back to you, last week.

      • AnneDH

        Absolutely no problem! Thanks

  • skelly74

    Let the women have their fun too if they are unsatisfied and in a mid-life revaluation.

    Some younger men enjoy the company of older, wiser, and predominantly self assured women…who know what they want, not societies expectations.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      I feel sorry for those young men.

    • JS

      Sure, and let their young children just deal with it, no biggie.

      • skelly74

        What about women who never had children? Do you judge them as well?

        • Alchemical Reaction

          I only judge people who are both arrogant and ignorant. I don’t mind arrogant by itself or ignorant by itself.

          • skelly74

            Yes. I usually get all uptight when someone arrogantly ignores my perceptions and expectations.

            Because my opinion is all that counts in my life…hahaha. Too bad.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Your opinion means more to you than the immutable truth?

            How tragic.

          • skelly74

            Hahaha…please tell me the immutable truth.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Or… You could answer my question, since it was first in the queue…

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I realize you may feel self-righteous and flirtatious.

            But I assure you, my question was sincere.

            Does your opinion matter more to you than the immutable truth? I’m only asking because I sincerely would like to know.

          • skelly74

            How can you judge at all if we are unable to understand the immutable truth?

            You ask me to measure my opinions against something that you claim is unexplainable and impossible to understand? Laughable.

            And then you have the nerve to cast judgment on others, based on conditions that are totally just personal opinions based on your own perceptions.

            You obviously have a guiding “truth” that gives you this authority, but you argue against your ability to comprehend it.

            Good day to you.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I think you may have skimmed my message instead of actually reading it, or else you are completely insane.

            I stated quite clearly I believe we ARE able to understand immutable truth.

            You may think we are unable to understand the immutable truth. I never said that, nor do I believe that.

          • brettearle

            Your `have a nice day’ is quite common with you.

            You often need–it does show, quite glaringly–to have the Last Word.

            Which, indeed, can be often be quite symptomatic of a Narcissist.

            No wonder you can see it so well in others.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            This is a very astute and wise observation Brett! You are correct. For many years I WAS a narcissist – through and through.

            It took years of meditation and study of psychology to overcome my narcissism and respect people in their own right, regardless of the role they may or may not play in my life. So, yes, I find it is often easy to see it in others.

          • skelly74

            Your opinion is your perception. This is your immutable truth. Take a look in the mirror. I only judge you when you step on my toes…you seem to judge how everyone else walks.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            You obviously didn’t READ my comment below.

            I clearly explain the difference between immutable or ultimate truth, and relative truth. The two are NOT the same.
            Opinions are NOT truth. Truth, if it exists at all, is an absolute. You can dismiss thousands of years of philosophy if you want, or choose not to answer my question. That is your choice. But don’t tell me the sky is pink when it is clearly blue.

          • brettearle

            I have a hard time believing that your opinion is all that counts in your life–if I understand you correctly.

            But maybe I don’t understand what you are actually saying.

            Are you suggesting that your opinion can’t be changed–based on what others say; what others say to you; or what other kinds, and sorts, of information might be available or accessible to you?

          • skelly74

            This is rhetorical reply to those who judge others. But to be honest, we all live according to our own opinions and perceptions, but some are more cautious judging others based solely on their own opinions.

            Others will think their opinion is equated with truth…I assume, hence, the need to judge.

          • brettearle

            So, then which choice, or decision, is yours?

            Opinion equated with Truth?

            Or Opinion tempered by it?

            Certainly, you’re under no obligation to answer my question.

            But somehow–without further information–some of us might be left with the notion that your opinion could be rock-solid, unbending, unyielding, inflexible, and self-righteous.

            If only for your own Pride, I can’t imagine how you would want us to be left with that sort of dangling impression….

          • skelly74

            I don’t claim to be basing anything on a “truth”

            I do base my opinions on my perception that was forged by experience and psychological imprints, and in many instances, just plain common sense.

            If you want to discuss truth, ask AR, who introduced it in this discussion.

          • brettearle

            Arrogance is often a destructive impulsive.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            “destructive impulsive”?

        • JS

          I don’t judge them for having fun. I have absolutely no problem with people seeking what ever makes them happy, I just feel it shouldn’t be done at the expense of someone else.

          • skelly74

            What expense are you actually referring to?

          • JS

            My comments are generally directed at the type of situation similar to Sandra Tsing Loh’s. She herself admitted to leaving destruction behind due to her affairs.

            I believe if you are in a committed relationship both partners deserve respect. So, the “expense” would be the hurt and pain caused when one partner cheats. Yes, hurt and pain would also be involved in an honest splitting up, but I think that the damage potentially caused by cheating being exposed is far greater.

          • skelly74

            Ok, so you have conditions about disappointment. Life is full of disappointments in some form or another.

            Recognize disappointments and move on with your life.

            Also, insight and foresight will go a long way in life.

          • brettearle

            But, is it not true that many men and women–when they have hurt others–do not admit, concede, or reconcile what they have done wrong?

            This character defect–and I do consider it a character defect–is quite prevalent in human nature.

            Indeed, I would argue that it’s getting worse.

          • skelly74

            I assume the amicable separation is never actually amicable equally. Someone undoubtedly gets hurt when a partnership ends.

            So are we forever bound to our actions? The answer is yes to some extent, be it mentally, financially, and even physically.

            As a society, we have decided to loosen these binds that have historically encompassed all of the above.

            Isn’t choice and remedy a good thing?

          • JS

            Choice and remedy are excellent and necessary things, but without empathy they can be callous things

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Huge assumption. I personally know couples who ended their relationship mutually and remained friends, and no one got hurt.

          • JS

            I have conditions about commitment. I agree that women, and men, should have their fun. And if they are if they unsatisfied and in a mid-life revaluation they should be honest about that to those to whom they have made a commitment.

            And I have no problem with younger men enjoying the company of older, wiser, and predominantly self assured women who know what they want.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Even if you did have a problem with it, what does your opinion matter about another’s life?

          • JS

            Why does my opinion on what my opinion matters to another’s life matter to you?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Your grammar is incorrect, but I get your point. I always question ego, both my own and others’.

          • JS

            Should I have said,
            “Why does my opinion on whether my opinion about another’s life matters matter to you?”?

            And I was originally responding to the original post, letting the original poster know that I agreed with them on that point. I was not inserting my opinion due to ego.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            That is flawless grammar!

            I would not presume to tell you whether or not your actions were due to ego or motivated by ego.

            I was simply questioning your ego, regardless.

          • JS

            Read Eckhart much?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Who is that?

          • JS

            Eckhart Tolle, an author who writes about abandoning the Ego to reach a new level of consciousness.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I studied in India. Various branches of Sanatana Dharma have been saying this for ten thousand years. I don’t subscribe to fads. They annoy me.

          • brettearle

            All of us seem so obsessed with adultery–including myself to some degree.

            But do we not forget to count all the other ways that human beings, in personal relationships–whether it be partners, family, or friends–can, and do, hurt each other?

            Some of these ways are subtler, some more overt, but there are a number of them–aside from adultery.

          • JS

            I don’t consider merely talking about something being obsessed with it. I’m glad you see that it might just be your perspective. And yes, there are many ways to hurt people.

          • brettearle

            First, I could have qualified the word, `obsession’.

            I was exaggerating to make a point.

            I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel, as I do:

            that we hear a great deal more about adultery–with regard to human interaction–than we do about other forms of betrayal and hurtful actions.

            By comparison, therefore, I would almost call it an obsession.

            Secondly, I wasn’t addressing you, exactly.

            I was addressing you and everyone else.

            [And I thought that based on what I said
            --and therefore, by implication--even though I commented on your comment, that it was reasonably clear that I was referring to people, in general.]

          • JS

            I understand you were referring to people in general, and I tend to agree: sex sells. Take a quick look at the supermarket magazine rack and thats all you see. It’s quite sickening actually, i mean all those tabloids, celeb mags, and sensationalization in general.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Speak for yourself. To the best of my knowledge I’m in no way obsessed with adultery.

          • Coastghost

            But JS: according to the tenor of our times, ALL “commitment” (marital or no) is ONLY provisional, tentative, conditional.

          • JS

            Sorry, but no. It’s only your warped viewpoint of the “tenor of our times”.

            It has always been the case (not for every one) that commitment (marital or no) has been provisional, tentative, and conditional, otherwise there would have never been anything called divorce, which has been around since probably less than a year after the first marriage.

            And if more recent generations acknowledge these realities and truths, it is merely a reflection of what has always been., or a “tenor of all times”

          • Coastghost

            You have your own astigmatism to compensate for: or proceed to explain just why over two-thirds of divorces in the US are initiated by women. Women have with a historic unicity underwritten by medical science and elitist practice become arch-mistresses of “grass-is-greener” thinking, without any respect for social cohesion or cultural continuity.
            You treat divorce glibly as if it enjoys (or has enjoyed, or should enjoy) the institutional status of marriage itself: highly doubtful.

          • JS

            I treat divorce honestly, not glibly.

            I do not think marriage an expendable institution, nor did I suggest any such thing, and I didn’t advocate for divorce.

            So lets move on:

            You mention that women initiate 2/3′s of divorces in the US, and then postulate it’s due to the “grass-is-always-greener” attitude of women, and blame women for a disrespect of social cohesion or cultural continuity.

            Did you ever stop to think that maybe a portion of these women are initiating these divorces’ due to the action of the man? Should women stay in a marriage no matter what, and the men have no responsibility for their actions, as long as they don’t initiate the divorce?

          • Coastghost

            A portion: yes. But all 66%+??? No.
            I’m no advocate of “marriage preservation at all costs”: but the “divorce realism” you were advocating (or merely describing) earlier hardly entails any sound understanding of what marriage or marital responsibility consists of, whether contemporaneously or historically.
            Let me not fail to concede that men operate commonly with their own “green grass” preferences: but the gender-specific individualism fomented by feminism is not one bit less injurious to childrearing and family cohesion.

          • JS

            Why even mention all 66%, when no one has suggested it was all 66%?

            I was merely describing marriage and divorce, I wasn’t advocating for either.

            Marriage responsibility and marriage reality are two very different things, whether contemporaneously or historically.

          • JS

            Gender-specific individualism fomented by feminism is not one bit injurious to childrearing and family cohesion at all.

            It is the selfish pursuit of such individualism that can be injurious to childrearing and family cohesion.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Vote for Rand Paul!

    • JS

      Why would I want to do that?

      • J__o__h__n

        Maybe if your hormones are screwed up. I can’t think of another reason.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          Because he’s clearly the most viable candidate.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Women want to be MORE equal than men…

    Are women responsible for their actions or not???

  • Alchemical Reaction

    This woman is a narcissist. I’m nauseated by her.

    • Roberto1194

      Probably.
      -as she offers few apologies in this conversation.
      That underlying trait combined with social and hormonal complexes is very toxic stuff.
      It’s all too common…
      and causes much suffering for all.

      • katznkatz

        Thank you Roberto!!!!!

        • Alchemical Reaction

          Why are you thanking him for agreeing with me? You skimmed his message and assumed he was defending her? He wasn’t.

  • Coastghost

    On today’s testimony the apotheosis of feminism will occur as soon as “the Mildred Pierce prophecy” comes to pass: id est, as soon as empowered teens and twenty-somethings begin luring and stealing beaus, boyfriends, and step-fathers away from their hormone-addled and youth-obsessed mothers.

  • Icepick

    Hormones are not license. Gender is not license. Knowledge of the hormonal processes does not seem to have served this woman at all. Her husband is lucky to be rid of her.

    • Coastghost

      This show would not have been marred by the extensive contributions of an informed endocrinologist.

      • ThirdWayForward

        and/or a psychiatrist or neuropsychologist — not sure how much endocrinologists are apt to know about the psychological or behavioral manifestations of hormonal changes.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    I wish someone would have brought up how hormones affect cognition, and possibly, neurochemistry.

    • JS

      Interesting philosophical question.
      Who can know an immutable, ultimate truth with any certainty? Wouldn’t someones idea of what such immutable, ultimate truth actually is be shaped, and even formed, based on their opinions: each persons different than the next?

      And its the rare person who doesn’t think their opinion is the truth, otherwise why would they have such an opinion. (Who would say, “Here’s what I think, but I don’t believe it.”?). Of course thats every-day truth, not some immutable, ultimate, and ultimately unknowable truth.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        My opinion is – it is possible to know the ultimate truth, but it requires questioning one’s own mind, beliefs, ego tirelessly and vigilantly, while also seeking to know ultimate truth. it is NOT EASY. As Lao Tse said, “The spoken or written Tao is not the true Tao. Tao can only be experienced.”

        The perfect is only the enemy of the good when it comes to politics. True enlightenment must be earned.

        • JS

          But that would only be truth as you experience it. You would have no way of knowing if it was ultimate truth, unless the individual ultimate truth is the ultimate truth which you are seeking.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            The whole premise of transcending ego to find enlightenment means YOU are no longer YOU. The part of you that is separate from ultimate truth is wiped away. All that is left IS truth, at least in terms of Eastern thought.

            So, from that perspective, it only seems that ego would get in the way because you have never experienced anything else, so its difficult to imagine.

            Is this not the problem with the behavior of particles and waves in quantum physics. These particles and waves behave differently when they are being observed.
            This is because of the ego of the scientists.

            It is fully possible to behold ultimate truth, and to transcend the relative ego.

        • brettearle

          To even comment, here–such as what you and I are doing–I would argue, likely takes us away from the Truth.

          Disputations.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Yes, but the discernment in this thread is quite happy!

  • Miss_Lilianna

    Menopause and this whole “reverting back to your child self” new age BS is no excuse to abandon your family and children. My own menopausal mother told me “you’re on your own” unexpectedly when I was 17 and still in high school I will never forget being abandoned and even though we have since reconciled.

    I have little sympathy for any of most of these selfish menopausal women on this show. Clearly narcissism and menopause don’t mix well.

    • brettearle

      American culture and the prevalence of selfishness don’t mix well.

  • Miss_Lilianna

    Calling estrogen “the June Cleaver hormone”….this just smacks of cognitive dissonance.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      Smacks?

  • brettearle

    Gee….and, here, all this time…..

    I thought the one with the most Toys wins.

    Gee….My goodness gracious me.

  • Miss Ms

    Arggg. The reactionary thrust of some of the comments here is so disappointing. We don’t need “license” or anyone’s “sympathy” to be able to discuss life as it is. Thankfully there are people like Sandra Tsing Loh and Tom Ashbrook.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      No, you don’t. But don’t expect some of us to care or want to hear about a life of insecurity and narcissism. To have that on the air is pollution.

      • Miss Ms

        I found it very helpful. And I certainly do not think she is glorifying her life. People are highly imperfect is part of her premise. She is describing how a changing society in which women no longer are as dependent as in the past means they experience things like mid-life and menopause differently than in the past. I, for one, find her candor very helpful and I was glad Ashbrook put her on. I also think her description of how women are on a different time path than men was very insightful. I wont be reading the book because I have many other things to read, so that made the program worthwhile to me.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          It was garbage.

  • eat_swim_read

    Thanks Tom – love Sandra’s work and appreciate her candor. Not a path I followed but can easily relate to a lot of this….

  • http://www.danfoley.net/ Mr Dan

    Ha! I can definitely relate. I am however male. I hit my early/mid 30ies, went to Burning Man, felt a total eruption of needing to do more with my life. I returned to Denver, went through the process of aquiring a European citizenship, sold all of my worldly possessions, shut down my relationship, left big paying job, moved to Barcelona, met a Spanish girl, had a baby, moved back to the US temporarily, now back in small town Spain with the intent to remain in Europe indefinitely.

  • Michele Briere

    Why on Earth should women apologize for something they have very little control over? It’s the brain that produces the hormones, just as it does at puberty and throughout one’s life. Men go through this, too, when they decide, at 45-55, that they are still young and vital, get themselves a sports car, whether the household can afford it or not, and try to be the big he-men they seemed to think they were in their 20′s. At least women are being honest with their needs. If she is unhappy in her marriage, the smartest thing she can do is to release both herself and her husband to find happiness elsewhere. Those people on this thread who are calling it all BS clearly don’t know how the brain and human body works. And if the men are married, have daughters, mothers, and they cannot support their women during this time, he’s the failure.

    • notafeminista

      I don’t know why on earth women would want to behave like men – or celebrate men’s behavior by emulating it.

    • brettearle

      People do not always `need’ to be a captive to hormonal response.

      Some responses, true, can be overwhelming.

      But, by and large, Restraint–via a corresponding attitude that exercises restraint–is more often possible than you are suggesting, above.

      Men and women have the right to do what they want or need to.

      But your comment is primarily a cop-out–as if human beings can’t moderate their behavior, even with the stress overload of hormones?

      Pleeasse….

    • Alchemical Reaction

      You’re pathetic. Either do what you want guilt-free, or use self-control.

      Stop second guessing and over-thinking everything.

      • Michele Briere

        This is true. No one is saying a woman is out of control of herself. Not all women have extreme reactions with hormones. Some women fly right through her ‘change of life’, others wig out. And there are times when hormones do become so out of control that there needs to be either medical intervention. There are emergency hormonal imbalances, also, which occur for other reasons, such as an ovarian cyst, and 911 needs to be called. When the imbalance dips low, even sexual urges can disappear. The mind is much clearer without hormones disrupting things, and when the fog lifts, other needs set in. Decisions can now be made without the interference of hormones. Right or wrong doesn’t enter into this decision, since she is making that decision for herself.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          That’s like saying men who have elevated testosterone and are rough and coercive toward women shouldn’t blame themselves because their hormones are out of whack!

          • Michele Briere

            What does male abuse have to do with women and their changing hormones? If her hormones are causing her to be angry and abusive, then she needs to do something about it. You make no sense and you clearly have no understanding of human behavior. I’m not talking to you anymore.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            It doesn’t have anything to do with it. Apparently you’ve never heard of an analogy.

            Are we only talking about physical abuse, or are emotional abuse and verbal abuse also on the table here?

            Yeah, I’ve only been studying human behavior for the last ten years, I probly don’t know anything.

            I am one of the few people on this forum whose comments make perfect sense.

  • dale_dale

    You’re asking me to listen to Sandra Tsing Loh for an hour? She was insufferable long before any of this happened, sorry I just can’t do it.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      Bump!

  • Alchemical Reaction

    What is narcissistic about it is that it took so long to get to that place when it ought to be square one.

    Waiting so long leads to resentment.

  • Michele Briere

    No one is saying a woman is out of control of herself. Not all women have extreme reactions with hormones. Some women fly right through her ‘change of life’, others wig out. And there are times when hormones do become so out of control that there needs to be either medical intervention. There are emergency hormonal imbalances, also, which occur for other reasons, such as an ovarian cyst, and 911 needs to be called. When the imbalance dips low, even sexual urges can disappear. The mind is much clearer without hormones disrupting things, and when the fog lifts, other needs set in. Decisions can now be made without the interference of hormones.

    Right or wrong doesn’t enter into this decision, since she is making that decision for herself. Should she stay locked into a marriage when she is unhappy? Does being married mean a life sentence? If you think it does, then you stay married, and unhappy, but don’t tell others they need to live by your rules. You are not walking in their shoes.

    Some of the responses here, such as what is ‘proper’ behavior for women, are so misogynistic it’s terrible. A PERSON is who she -OR HE- is, not who YOU want them to be. I would like YOU to be more kind, so I insist that YOU change for ME. Don’t like the attitude? We don’t like yours, either.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      I have no problem with people being true to themselves and living their lives as they choose. That is, I believe, their right.

      What I DO have a problem with is when people sensationalize and glorify their own lifestyle as if it is the BEST or ONLY way to be, (how could this be motivated by anything other than insecurity?) implying others should be that way too, instead of allowing everyone the same freedom to be true to themselves.

      For some insidious reason, sexual freedom is still viewed as a reaction or backlash to puritanism. I for one, wish people were smart, wise, mature and diligent enough to consider things for themselves instead of doing what the crowd is doing.

      Sexual freedom implies being liberated from sexual slavery. But wouldn’t abstinence ALSO be a form of sexual freedom?

      • Michele Briere

        If abstinence is right for you, that is certainly your choice. That’s all it is -a choice.

        But the topic at hand is aging women and hormones, not to have sex or not to have sex.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          I’m not sure what you mean when you say, “That’s all it is – a choice.”

          What else COULD it be besides a choice? Why do you feel the need to emphasize that it’s a choice?

          “Not to have sex or not to have sex” What???

    • skercher

      “Right or wrong doesn’t enter into this decision, since she is making that decision for herself.” She was not making a decision for herself. She was making a decision that effected many lives. Destroying a family with long term damaging consequences is a right or wrong decision. This relativism is a cancer. It’s why many university students do not believe that the Nazis were wrong. “What is right and wrong depends on differences in individual values and cultural diversity.” Bill Donohue, Newsmax

      • Michele Briere

        I understand what you are saying. What I think people here are not understanding is the impact hormones have on a person’s life. Does it hurt a family? Yes, it can. But in the long run it is better to find an inner peace than to sacrifice oneself to a life of unhappiness. The damage doesn’t need to be longterm; it all depends on how it is handled. If keeping the family together, happy or not, was the ‘right’ thing to do, there would be no divorce. Teach kids how to be happy, not be a martyr.

        • skercher

          Heroine addicts are happier on heroine, at least during the high. You seem to forget about the wellbeing of the other individuals involved? Since when is happiness the highest and only true calling in one’s life (this is an American fallacy)? What about putting others first? True happiness and joy comes from honoring others, honoring our commitments, and being true to our vows. I feel very sorry for all the individuals involved including Ms. Loh. How is it that running away from responsibility is deemed an honorable and noble thing in our society? My wife and I could have destroyed our family a long time ago if we based our marriage on mere momentary happiness or hormonal or chemical imbalances. But we found true joy and happiness by sticking it out, even through personal circumstances that would have destroyed most families. Since then we added 3 more wonderful children who have become a source of happiness to many. And we will teach them to put others first and honor their commitments and vows. Then they will find true and lasting happiness and joy.

          • Michele Briere

            These people plaguing my thread seem to be men who feel women should be martyrs and sacrifice their emotions and mental well-being for kiff and kin til death do them part. How is being unhappy good for the family as a whole? If a woman is going through hell at that stage of her life, is it really a good thing to put everyone through that when taking some time off, getting her act together, would clarify her mind and soul? There is a time and place for everything, including putting aside one’s own needs for others. When does one put aside time for one’s mental, emotional, and physical health?

            We can take up this discussion in about 30 years when your wife begins her journey into emotional hell. You don’t have experience in this, therefore you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about in all that white light bliss fantasy world you’re in.

          • skercher

            Michele, you have no idea what we’ve been through and the emotional agony we have already dealt with. Thankfully there is a lot of help for those who choose to reach out when things go south. My wife will be in her mid 70s in 30 years. When does this emotional hell start that you are referring to?

          • Michele Briere

            Congratulations on staying together. Truly. But this isn’t about you, it’s about others who don’t share your shoes. Talk about your way through the storm all you like, encourage people, but you don’t walk in their shoes. And since you don’t know what I’ve been through, you all can quit judging me for what my body had in store for me. You don’t know my story or my life. Not all women have a relatively easy way through their menopause. For some, it’s a living nightmare.

  • skercher

    So very thankful my mother had the sense and will to honor others and herself by staying, when I am certain she felt like running away many times. If you want to find yourself, honor your commitments. Honor the ones you love and who love you, particularly when feelings are fleeting. If you make a vow, keep it.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

 
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Comment
 
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment