In his press conference statement, Tiger Woods extended many apologies, but never answered the one question that the worldwide public wants to know. “Why?”
The revelations about Tiger Woods’ serial cheating was a devastating disappointment to the fans of the golf superstar, and Tiger’s first public appearance probably disappointed quite a few people too. When Tiger emerged for his first public appearance since both his car and his sports superhero image crashed on Thanksgiving weekend, 2009 he did so in a very controlled environment, and in a very censored and calculated way. The worldwide public has been waiting for Tiger to come out of hiding, but what Tiger is really hiding probably wasn’t revealed in his ten-minute statement.
Disillusioned Tiger fans just want to know “Why?” Beyond the obligatory apologies, though, Tiger did not answer that “why” question to the satisfaction of onlookers because he may not know the answer himself.
Just as Tiger had to deceive his wife and his sexual partners in order to successfully orchestrate his serial infidelity, he also had to deceive himself, according to a new book, “The Tiger Woods Syndrome.” In hiding the truth from so many people, it would be quite understandable that Tiger, somewhere along the way, lost touch with the truth about himself as well.
Tiger Woods seems to be a classic example of a “mirage man,” according to the first published book relating to his multiple sexual affairs. “The mirage man leaves his true self to conform to his mate with little regret. He becomes committed to living a lie, and he rationalizes his behavior as the necessary cost of gaining sweet affection,” says the authors of “The Tiger Woods Syndrome.” If this is actually what happened with Tiger, then it is doubtful that years of living a lie are suddenly going to transform into a rigorously honest disclosure to the international press.
In the absence of a self-aware explanation from Tiger that rings truthful, the dissatisfied public will continue to speculate and the press will continue to stalk him. Reportedly, the stalkarazzi followed Tiger all the way to Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where it was speculated that he was undergoing treatment for sexual addiction. Since the tradition of addiction recovery is based on anonymity, however, Tiger rightfully should feel no obligation to discuss that with anyone. At his press conference he eluded to treatment and therapy, but did not disclose the nature of either.
If Tiger has identified himself to be a sex addict, though, he is one of an estimated 16 million Americans who are as well. Despite its emerging prominence in the field of addiction treatment, sex addiction is still not formally recognized by the medical system in the U.S. In the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) released in February, 2010, gambling and binge-eating are recognized as “official” addictive disorders, but sex addiction is not.
According to the authors of “The Tiger Woods Syndrome,” whether or not Tiger Woods is a sex addict, and whether or not his alleged sex addiction treatment was part of a plan to repair his professional image is not really the important issue. What is important is that “Tiger aptly exemplifies the behaviors, motivations, and destructive patterns of many American men,” the book says.
“Like Tiger Woods, many American men seek superficial values, hide their true feelings, and conform to win their dream girls. Commercials, television shows, movies, and even music drum into men’s brains that conformity and deception are part of the dating and mating scene,” according to authors Dr. J. R. Bruns and Dr. R. A. Richards II.
Continuing the lies and deception after marriage is also seemingly sanctified when successful high profile men like Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Michael Jordan, John Edwards, and Rudy Guiliani publicly revealed multiple infidelities, and seemingly suffered no consequences. While men and women around the world are busy questioning whether Elin Nordegren should divorce Tiger Woods and why the wives of serial cheaters stick around, the real question should be why so many marriages in America are a sham in the first place.
The divorce rate in the U.S. has been at an epidemic level for years, at 50% for first marriages, 67% for second marriages, and 74% for third marriages, according to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. The authors of “The Tiger Woods Syndrome” believe that the root cause of the American marriage crisis is “the artificial way men and women relate to one another as they try to find a common life together.”
“Artificial intimacy actually involves both a physical attraction to each other and a type of approval seeking,” according to Bruns and Richards. “This involves a submersion of the man’s true self so he can easily conform to the woman’s tastes and thus heighten the sense of commonality between them.” This fabricated commonality is used by both the man and the woman as justification for the tremendous sexual attraction between them.
So, according to “The Tiger Woods Syndrome,” there is a growing tendency for both men and women to come together based on sexual attraction, hide their true selves in order to win the prize of the “perfect” marriage partner, and then continue the lies about their false identity as they look outside of the marriage for more artificial intimacy.
This seems to be the paradigm that the Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren marriage crisis has revealed to the world. And it is the universal truth found in this marriage deception and serial cheating story that has struck a troubling chord with men and women who are living a lie in their own relationships, and are looking for Tiger and Elin for easy answers and a tidy conclusion.
Millions of people wanted Tiger Woods to say just the right words in his staged press conference so that he could be plausibly forgiven and regain his superhero status. But it is in the best interest of couples everywhere that he left the “Why?” question unanswered, forcing everyone to redirect that question to their own broken marriages and deceptive relationship patterns instead. It doesn’t matter why Tiger Woods was hiding out in his double life as much as it matters why there are millions of other Americans who are consciously, or unconsciously, participating in marriage deception and double lives themselves.
More about “The Tiger Woods Syndrome”