The best way to understand the interviewer (Kathy Gilsinan) is to see her picture:
Strauss: That’s exactly it. And I’ll go one deeper. To me, the biggest shock of my life, was how, myself who wrote The Game, Robert Greene who wrote The Art of Seduction, Tucker Max, who, well, is Tucker Max—what do we all have in common?
Strauss: We all have narcissistic mothers. So what happened? What happens when you grow up with your identity being squashed by this mother who never sees you but only sees herself, is you grow up with a fear of being overpowered by the feminine again.
Strauss: Right? And so at that level you realize The Game was about being in this power relationship—ok, you’re safe because you’re in control, you’re not being vulnerable. Even the relationships you get in are maybe with people you feel safe with because you’re in control. There’s no way you can have intimacy from that. So when I would do seminars [about The Game], I would say, let me ask you, how many people here were raised with a narcissistic or dominant mother figure? Every time it was about 80 percent of the room. And then when you start to realize, ok, this has nothing to do with the world, it’s just me, I’ve got to get over it—that’s when everything kind of changes.
Gilsinan: How did you come to that realization? Was that a product of therapy?
Strauss: Yeah. I’ll never forget the moment. I met a great woman and we were in a great relationship. And I cheated on her. I got caught. And I felt so bad. I thought I was a nice guy, I really did, you know? And I thought, how can I break the heart of, how could I hurt somebody who loves me and be so selfish? So I checked into sex addiction rehab. And that’s what The Truth is about. Even when I was there, I was cynical about it. Of course there was a dominant therapist to quote unquote emasculate me, so of course it was rough for me. And then there was a moment where I told her the story of my childhood. And she said, “Well no wonder you can’t be in a relationship.” And I said, “Why?” And she goes, “Because you’re in a relationship with your mother.” When she said that a whole wind blew over me. It was like a movie. All of a sudden your whole past story just snaps into line and I saw who I was. Before that I really thought I was healthy, I had parents who loved me, they were never divorced, I had a good childhood, and all of a sudden she saw the story I didn’t. And that was the moment everything changed.