Staged, yes. Awkward, yes. Authentic? Well that's the mystery that remains to be seen. Tiger Woods has owned up to having an "above it all" mentality that lies at the heart of his sex addiction. Stunned by the acknowledgment that he is under the influence of the narcissism we see in so many stars, journalists and golf fans are left wondering how much they can trust the words shared in Friday's speech.
Let's remember that Woods has an addiction and by the very nature of addiction, he is still very much disconnected from a deeper level of knowing himself. When we don't learn how to tolerate our emotional vulnerability, posturing as cool and "having it together" provides a disguise, often applauded by friends, family and certainly the public. Arrogance is a common strategy for males to cover up their insecure feelings. It effectively seals off real feelings and does such a great job over time, that even when one is ready to face their real self, that real self is buried deep within, not accessible to be faced.
By no means am I suggesting that Tiger is destined to a future limited by deception and avoidance. What I am saying is that it takes continuous work to chip away at the frozen tundra protecting against realness. Woods or any other sex addict is highly unlikely to be successful in that pursuit without the aid of psychotherapeutic supports to confront one's denial, shine a spotlight on misconceptions and question the logic that maintains self-harming behaviors.
So when the question is asked about whether or not Tiger is being authentic in his words and demeanor, the answer doesn't lie in a yes or a no. It lies in the question inquiring about the degree to which he may be more real than he has otherwise been. In recovery from any addictive pattern that has defended a person from knowing more of the truth about their feelings and themselves, it isn't possible to all of a sudden become real. Real is a foreign land that others visit, one that the person in recovery can't even imagine for a long, long time.
I give Tiger credit for going in to treatment and for walking the walk. He has a long road to travel and at this point, his fans and family members can only hope that his characteristics of perseverance and hard work will assist him in achieving growth on a new course, one he has yet to play and master.
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