A Deeper Look at the Exaggerated Superiority Personality and Awareness of Self.

Good ole’ USA Today; they even make the sports page interesting. Last week in a wire service report, there was a short article about both Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. Only five paragraphs about Tiger Woods. Only five paragraphs about Vijay Singh, too, but the lone picture accompanying the writing was of Vijay Singh. At one time, not too long ago, unlimited space would have been given to Woods, but that time has passed, at least for now.

Here’s the sum of the five paragraphs about Woods: in early December he will host the Chevron World Challenge Tournament in Thousand Oaks, California. But, if Woods doesn’t make the 50-person cut, he can’t play in his own tournament. Woods, who started the season at No. 2 in the world (he‘d spent quite a few years as No. 1), dropped this week to No. 38. The whole message made me sad for him.

Woods was born in 1975. By 1978 he had bested Bob Hope in a putting contest on television. Hope was a serious amateur golfer and Woods was not yet three years old. From then until now, he’s been in the spotlight with a heavy, heavy responsibility to perform. And, he has. But, even though he’s super-talented, he hasn’t lived anywhere close to a normal life.

It was in the winter of 2009 that over a dozen women revealed that they had had sexual affairs with Woods. Neither his personal life nor his golf game has been the same since. There are obvious reasons, of course: his multiple infidelities, his five-month leave from professional golf in an attempt to save his marriage, his subsequent divorce, numerous injuries and, just a couple of weeks ago, a painful parting with his caddy of 13 years.

But, I think the problems that surfaced in 2009 actually started when Tiger was two years old. Here’s what I mean.

A Deeper Look at Personality Formation.

Tiger Woods was born in December of 1975. Before the age of two, Woods’ father put a golf club in his hand. Clearly, Tiger was capable. Looking back he’s piled up an unbelievable record surpassed only by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. In the press he was often labeled a child prodigy.

And, according to various articles, some written by his father, Earl, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran, his father trained Tiger to rise to the top. From then until now, essentially the last 33 years, he’s been living an unbalanced life, clearly, one that was not in touch with the real world.

Tiger Woods is an exaggerated Superiority personality type. If we define that style as: an expert in his field, a heavy goal setter, intense, as well as, persistent and thorough, Woods certainly fits the description. He has all of those qualities. He did rise to the top: No. 1 athlete in the world.

But, along the way he lost his way as a person with values. It would shock me and probably everyone else if Tiger Woods didn’t believe down deep that (1) he was special. (It would be hard not to believe it with everybody in his universe telling him so.) And often, a child who is treated as a special child or has the kind of off-balance childhood that Tiger experienced, also believes deep down that (2) because he’s special, the normal rules of life don’t apply to him. Of course, these two beliefs are not only unhealthy but also incorrect.

1. About being special: Actually, we’re all special; we’re each a unique human being and because that’s so, we have value.
2. About doing life without respect for normal, healthier choices: It’s always a gamble. We can do life the way we want for a short time and that can feel really good, but in the long run, it’s usually devastating. As it was for Woods.

The thing I like about Woods, though, is that he actually, after a short time, “admitted that he had been unfaithful to his wife and that growing up he had come to believe that he was entitled to do whatever he wanted to do, and that, because of his success, normal rules did not apply to him.”

Going further, he apologized and offered an explanation: he’d strayed from Buddhism, his childhood faith, and stated that when he practiced Buddhism, it helped him to curb his impulsivity. And, he entered a therapy program for 45 days. What I like about all of this aftermath is his new seeming self-awareness. You know, sometimes, tragically, it takes a shock like Woods has had to take us to another level of insight about what we’re doing.

That was a year and a half ago and Woods still doesn’t have his footing. But, I believe that’s because Woods second very strong personality type is Pleasing. We know that he was an obedient kid and that his father was Controlling. That combination often turns out a Pleasing person.

The other big clue that he’s a Pleasing type is that Woods is so naïve.’ Can you imagine what it must be like to BELIEVE for 33 or so years that you can do exactly want you want and it’ll be fine? Then, you come crashing down and have to build entirely different, even opposite, beliefs. It’ll take Woods longer than a year and a half to get his footing back, probably in all the facets of his life. While this will take a lot of searching for answers as to how he really wants to live his life and what he values, there is a bright side. And, that is true for all of us.

If how we’ve been living our lives hasn’t measured up to the results we expected and wanted, we have the opportunity, at any time, to look inward and challenge ourselves to make a better life. When we become introspective and get to know ourselves better, we almost always come out of the exercise stronger, with increased personal power and better direction.

If any of this applies to your life, try it. Good luck and I hope you’ll let me know how it went.

Warm wishes,


(Image by Keith Allison)

Author's Bio: 

Joan Chamberlain is an author, therapist, and life coach with over 30 years of experience helping adults, couples, and teens. She has a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance, a Bachelor's in education, and a Masters in individuals, couples, and family counseling. Her book, Smart Relationships, has helped many people achieve the self-awareness needed to see themselves honestly. Its wisdom has helped them work toward improving their relationships with themselves, their friends, and their families.

To learn more about the ideas and concepts presented in her articles, please peruse her website: