The incident with Tiger Woods this past week is yet another example of “power failure.” “Power failure” is the recurring theme of successful people who engage in destructive behaviors. What was he thinking? Why do powerful people who seemingly have it all, ultimately fail in their relationships? The same characteristics that enable a person to be successful in their career (e.g. competitive, driven, and intense) can also destroy their relationships. People in position of power, status, and control often find themselves seeking another conquest or challenge since they’ve achieved most everything in life. These individuals get bored with life and seek stimulation that creates risk and danger. Many haven’t matured emotionally and lack the ability to be connected intimately to others. Typically their connections are limited and superficial, which makes it easier to detach and compartmentalize their feelings. Many of the individuals in my practice are intellectually overdeveloped and emotionally underdeveloped. The “power failure” pattern I see in marriages begins with frustration which leads to anger, followed by resentment. Over time, the resentment results in detachment and in some cases, the detachment leads to self-destructive behaviors. I see this story unfold every day in my private practice as a psychologist. This destructive cycle is so common in my practice that I’ve been writing a book addressing these issues. The Power Failure syndrome occurs at all levels of society, but is best illustrated with highly successful and powerful men. My hope in writing this book is to make people aware of this syndrome before their relationships crumble and offer strategies to change.
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