We are all familiar with the term ‘having a tiger by the tail’ and notwithstanding that those words may enjoy other meanings when presented in another order and context, I take the risk and talk about sex addiction.
Now that Tiger has gone public, admitting his addiction and begging forgiveness, one hopes he is also receiving treatment for his addiction. The fact that he has (for now) promised to stop straying from whatever path he promised to take, leaves him with his addiction (presumably) intact and a danger to his mental health. In that state, his and the security and happiness of those close to him are still endangered.
Sex addiction, as I understand it, means that the sufferer has a very flawed concept of the acceptability of his/her own sexuality and seeks constant approval and frequent expression of that acceptability. That does not mean that the sex addict is a danger to anyone else in the physical sense. On the contrary, it is my understanding that sex addiction develops in a childhood where sexual expression is forbidden and then continues to be suppressed into adult life except when permission is given Most sex addicts are ‘beggars in the bedroom’.
Significant adults, in many cases unable to speak frankly about sexual matters themselves, find it easier to suppress children’s curiosity and frighten them into silence by angry responses that have everything to do with their own problems. They angrily state that such talk and feelings are dirty, even ‘sinful’ in the eyes of their god in an attempt to frighten children into apparent compliance!
Such denial of the need for children to be assured their sexual feelings are natural and then to deny them strategies to manage their sexuality, leaves them as open to exploitation by other co-dependants, as they are likely to be the one who exploits, in their adult sexual lives. Co-dependants recognise the aching need in their opposite number to have his/her sexuality recognised as normal. That aching need for acceptance is the Achilles heel of the needy side of the co-dependency. When that need is recognised and welcomed, the temptation to experience that acceptance can be so strong that the addict finds it extremely difficult to refuse.
The addictive personality is prepared to run terrible risks to satisfy his/her need. Tiger ran the risk with well publicised results. Unfortunately, no matter how many times or how often assurances are offered, the addict needs more. So, I now I hope he can be convinced he is loved in every way, so he can get on with leading a balanced human life and again delight us all with his sporting prowess instead of just a few of his ‘fans’ with his reported prowess in other places! Can of worms? Get out the can opener!