Tiger Woods needs a really good psychotherapist.  I know this probably sounds like a pretty bad attempt at one-liner, given his Memorial Day arrest for Driving Under the Influence and his admitted sexual addiction, but I’m not kidding around. Because something keeps dragging Tiger Woods down from the heights of billionaire sports icon and businessman, to the depths of disaster.

The fact that Mr. Woods now has a 3 a.m. mug shot to juxtapose with images of him winning 14 major golf championships means this: He hasn’t yet decided, deep inside himself, which sort of photo better defines him. He hasn’t decided, for real, in his soul, whether he is worthy of adulation or derision. He hasn’t firmly settled on whether he is really worthy of being loved—by others, yes, but, especially, by himself.

When a man is on record as resorting to overusing sex and overusing mind-altering prescription medication to kill emotional pain, he has yet to face some critical source of it, inside himself.

Take it from the late, great F. Scott Fitzgerald, “In a really dark night of the soul, it is always 3 o’clock in the morning.”

When a man is on record as resorting to overusing sex and overusing mind-altering prescription medication to kill emotional pain, he has yet to face some critical source of it, inside himself.

I don’t know Tiger Woods and haven’t treated him, but I have treated other professional athletes and politicians and CEOs who finally went looking for their own reservoirs of psychological pain, once they tired of all the trouble they encountered from repeatedly anesthetizing themselves.

And what did these men and women find filling these reservoirs of pain?  They found early pages of their own life stories—pages of loss, of trauma, of disappointment, of feeling afraid or unlucky or unloved. 

Just ask Prince Harry. Once he finally realized it was time to get serious about psychotherapy, he figured out he had limited his life, for decades, by trying not to think about the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana.

See, we human beings are exquisitely sensitive. Being bullied or losing a parent or moving from place-to-place too frequently, too early in life, is enough to shut a child down and set the stage for unresolved pain to upend his or her life, again and again.

Here’s your headline (pun, intended):  Everything in life comes down to whether you try to keep running from your pain—which means you will trip and fall, again and again—or whether you turn around and face it. Because, then, you are greater than it is, by definition.

Eventually, Tiger Woods will have to decide which it will be, for him.  Every one of us should only wish him well. Because every one of us is on the same human journey and faces the same critical choice.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. 



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