THE AGONY OF IT ALL: The Drive for Drama and Excitement in Women's Lives by Joy Davidson

THE AGONY OF IT ALL: The Drive for Drama and Excitement in Women's Lives

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A psychotherapist explains why many women turn their lives into chaotic melodramas or soap operas and how they can rid themselves of this self-defeating, compulsive behavior. It is natural, says Davidson, for humans to seek challenge and excitement. The ""adrenaline high"" we experience when we have solved a problem, achieved a promotion, learned a new skill is life-enhancing and leads to further growth. Men, traditionally society's movers and shakers, have always found outlets for excitement. Women, whose traditional role has been caring for husbands and children, until recently had little access to adventure--unless they created melodramas to juice up their restricted lives. Even today, says Davidson, many ""liberated"" women, reared as they were by traditional mothers, tend to create one melodramatic situation after another: domestic squabbles, inappropriate and often destructive sexual adventures, tantrums, minor domestic or job problems--all leading to possible exhaustion and depression. She pigeonholes women ""fighters,"" ""challengers,"" ""rebels"" according to the melodramas they create, drawing on her Beverly Hills practice for case histories that demonstrate each type. In the book's final section, she describes her quite complicated techniques for helping patients change compulsive, melodramatic behavior into positive, goal-oriented life-styles. These involve tapping into a ""higher self"" via visualization (she describes the process), keeping a daily journal as ""an aid to self-discovery,"" evasive action when tempted to melodramatic behavior (going for a walk instead of fighting with your husband) and so on. Although many will find the self-help section hard to follow, Davidson's analysis of the melodramatic sensation-seeking behavior that derails so many women is a genuine contribution to the growing library on women's studies.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1988
Publisher: Tarcher--dist. by St. Martin's