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Tiger Woods, Sex and Schizophrenia

What do Tiger Woods, sex and schizophrenia have in common?

According to the Wall St. Journal, it appears that Tiger Woods has put his golf career on hold to focus on his family.

This entire Tiger Woods/sex scandal issue reminded me of something I hadn't thought about in more than 35 years.

In 1973 I was clerking as a medical student at the Topeka State Hospital.  One of the psychiatrists there told me that he felt it was a pity to have to seclude any of the schizophrenics who were having sex with other patients.

When I asked him why he said, "Nearly all day long these very troubled people are completely out of touch with the world and with their fellow human beings.  When they are engaged in sex with another person, it is one of the only times they are in touch with their human side.  And just when they are getting in touch with being human, we go and lock them up in seclusion."

I'm not saying Tiger is schizophrenic, however the analogy for him and other incredibly successful, goal minded to a fault, ambitious people is this.  When they are in pursuit of their goals and when Tiger has the "eye of a tiger" as he attacks a golf course, they are different than other mere mortals who are all too human when they play golf and see their games fall apart under pressure.

That difference causes them to be out of touch with their humanness.  They are more like a machine, a "robogolfer" if you will. And when the pendulum of their minds and being swings too far to that end, it may be that when it comes back it needs to engage in something that is much more human.

Now you may say, why not express that humanness with a gorgeous wife such as Elin? Perhaps one of the reasons for that is that the intensity, adrenaline rush seeking part of Tiger's personality doesn't leave him whether he is on the golfer side of his pendulum or the sexual excitement seeking side.

Just as you can take someone out of the country, but you can't take the country out of that someone; perhaps you can take someone out of their adrenaline addiction, but you can't take the adrenaline addiction out of that someone.

Perhaps the new focus of Tiger's adrenaline addiction will be to repair his marriage, his public reputation (especially in someone so private) and his character flaws.  That would be a comeback worthy of a true champion.

And if Tiger wants to take up that challenge, a good place to start would be going from a Power Hitter to giving a Power Apology.

 

Mark Goulston, M.D., is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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