Why Are You Driving Me Crazy? is a couples’ self-help guide written by Jana Edwards, a licensed clinical social worker who has specialized in treating couples for over 30 years.
Edwards hypothesizes about why opposites attract and how this can be a positive force in relationships. She also explains the biological mechanisms that lead to seeking partners in reciprocal roles and how this can be both “crazy-making” and healing.
Throughout, Edwards utilizes case studies from her practice to demonstrate how relationship dynamics play out. Her clients, she notes, often get stuck in “recycling dramas” that they have been enacting since childhood. For example, Brad and Carolyn, a couple attempting to recover from Brad’s affair, discover that their marital dramas continually caused them to relive emotions rooted in their upbringings: Brad a feeling of shame and Carolyn the sense of being unloved.
Edwards walks readers through how couples can, instead, create a “repairing drama.” Chapters include topics such as: assuring safety, taking responsibility, tolerating pain and “metabolizing” emotion. By utilizing such strategies, she posits, couples can potentially “live a life truly free of their old unfinished business.”
The book is well organized, clearly written and structured, and readers will easily relate to Edwards’ numerous, succinct case studies. She also includes helpful diagrams about couple dynamics and provides citations from reputable, peer-reviewed source material.
Readers will learn much from the case studies, but some may wish for a more step-by-step approach to solving their marital issues. The bulk of Edwards’ text is spent describing the problems themselves and exploring how representative couples healed, rather than in a directed manner readers can easily implement for themselves; some may feel the need to seek therapy to get real results.
Nonetheless, Edwards’ insights are valuable, and readers locked in frustrating relationships with their partners will find much that’s likely to resonate in these pages.
Also available as an ebook.