World’s former ‘number one PICK-UP artist’ Neil Strauss lays bare the ’emotional INCEST’ he says he endured at the hands of his mother – claiming her obsession with him sparked his decades-long battle with infidelity and sex addiction
- Neil rose to fame in 2005 after he wrote a book on how he mastered seduction
- He has now opened up about his unhealthy relationship with his mom
- The author, 54, said her ’emotional incest’ lead to him being unfaithful later in life
The man who was once branded as the world’s ‘number one pick-up artist’ has opened up about the ’emotional incest’ he endured as a teen with his mother – and has claimed that her obsession with him lead to him being unfaithful later in life, and stopped him from finding love.
Neil Strauss, 54, originally from Chicago, Illinois, rose to fame back in 2005 after he wrote a best-selling book on how he mastered the art of seduction called The Game: Penetrating The Secret Society Of Pickup Artists.
The tome chronicled his journey from a man with a fiercely low self esteem and an inability to find a partner to a confident stud who could get with practically any woman he wanted.
The man who was once branded as the world’s ‘number one pick-up artist’ has opened up about the ’emotional incest’ he endured as a teen with his mother
Neil Strauss, 54, originally from Chicago , Illinois, rose to fame back in 2005 after he wrote a best-selling book on how he mastered the art of seduction called The Game
Now, the author has opened up about why he believes his unhealthy relationship with his mom during his childhood contributed to his outlook on romance later in life.
While chatting with Steven Bartlett on his The Diary Of A CEO podcast this week, Neil explained that he and his mother were extremely close when he was a kid.
The tome chronicled his journey from a man with a fiercely low self esteem and an inability to find a partner to a confident stud who could get with practically any woman he wanted
He said she would often vent to him about how ‘horrible his dad was’ to her, and would tell him he was ‘the only one who understood her.’
He also recalled ‘massaging’ her hands while they would watch TV together late at night.
When he started dating as a teen, he explained that she ‘didn’t approve’ of any of his ‘relationships’ and would ‘ground him’ for being with women.
And when he went to live with his first girlfriend when he was 20, he said his mom ‘cut him off.’
‘It was insane. It was f**king creepy,’ he said.
Neil added that he didn’t realize that it had affected his outlook on women until years later, when he was in seeking treatment for his sex addiction.
Now, the author has opened up about why he believes his unhealthy relationship with his mom during his childhood contributed to his outlook on romance later in life. He’s seen in 2020
While chatting with Steven Bartlett on his The Diary Of A CEO podcast this week, Neil explained that he and his mother were extremely close when he was a kid
When he started dating as a teen, he explained that she ‘didn’t approve’ of any of his ‘relationships’ and would ‘ground him’ for being with women. He’s seen with his now ex-wife
‘The therapist goes, “You know the reason you haven’t been in a healthy relationship? Because your mother wants to be in a relationship with you,”‘ he recalled.
‘She told me it was called “emotional incest.” I was like, “What the f**k is that?” But I felt this cold wind blow through my entire soul, my body recognized the truth, that she was right.’
Neil said he later learned that his mother used an ‘enmeshment parenting style,’ which is when it’s the child’s ‘job to take care of the parents’ needs’ instead of the other way around.
‘Instead of the parent making choices about what’s best for you, you’re making choices about what’s best for them,’ he explained.
‘It’s like, when you see people who are adults and they call their mom every single day and they’re always there for the problem their parents are having and feel guilty if they’re not.
‘Or if a parent is really anxious and they need to be home and close by and do all these things. If you grew up feeling sorry for a parent, that’s enmeshment.’
Neil believes that growing up ‘enmeshed with his mom’ led to him feeling ‘trapped’ in his relationships later in life, and contributed to him being unable to be with someone long-term.
‘That trapped [feeling] reminds you of your parent or your childhood, and it makes you want to escape,’ he continued.
‘Having that outlet of cheating or fantasy or drugs or whatever is, that helps us escape and not feel trapped.
‘It’s scary, we feel all this terror. When my girlfriend would hug me, it was like my skin would crawl. She was just doing it cause she loved me but I would just want to escape.’
When he was in treatment for sex addiction as an adult, he said the therapist told him the reason he hadn’t had a healthy relationship was because he suffered from ’emotional incest’
Following the success of the book, Neil spent a decade enjoying a slew of parties, orgies, and sexual endeavors – before he entered into rehab for sex addiction. He’s seen in 2005
Neil previously discussed his relationship with his mother during an essay for Vice magazine, and he explained that growing up, he was completely unaware that her behavior was inappropriate, despite her being ’emotionally dependent’ on him and having ‘intimate discussions with him’ about her ‘sex life.’
‘I grew up in what I thought was a completely normal home, with a boring, middle-class mom and dad who never divorced,’ he wrote.
‘They may not have exactly loved each other, but they seemed to always love and support my brother and me. And they were never physically or sexually abusive.’
But looking back, he said what his mother did had an immense impact on the way that he treated women.
‘The result is that when the child grows up, a close relationship with a partner of the same sex as the emotionally needy parent feels not like intimacy but like smothering,’ he said.
‘Often, these relationships disintegrate into ambivalence or resentment, typically climaxing in an affair – which serves as a psychological release valve from the emotional pressure.’
He added that finding out he had been embroiled in ’emotional incest’ with his mom was the key moment that lead to him being able to turn his life around.
‘The diagnosis would turn out to be the open window leading to a life I never thought possible for a reputed commitment-phobe like me,’ he continued.
‘Fast forward a few years in time and deep therapy. I am better. Life is better.’
Back in 2004, Neil started to gain attention after he wrote an article for The New York Times in which he described how his dissatisfaction with his appearance had led to him joining the pick-up artist community.
After the article took off, he began working on his book, The Game, which came out a year later.
In it, he described his roster of techniques that he used to counteract his self-proclaimed unattractiveness and pick-up women – including a move calling ‘negging,’ which involves using backhanded compliments to lower a woman’s self-esteem and deter male competition.
He eventually settled down with a model named Ingrid De La O. But it was revealed that they were getting a divorce in 2018 after five years together
He said that even now, he had to remind himself whenever he started dating, ‘Hey, she’s not your mom. You can relax. She loves you and cares about you, so you can relax’
While it drew fierce criticism from women’s groups, who slammed the notion of tricking girls into bed, the book sat on The New York Times’ bestsellers list for two months and launched him into mega stardom.
Afterwards, he landed his own TV series on VH1 – and the hit movie Hitch, starring Will Smith, is based on his observations.
Thanks to his newfound celebrity status, Neil enjoyed a wild few years filled with parties and orgies, and was often seen mingling with top porn stars and Hollywood A-listers.
But in 2013, he shocked the world when he revealed he had settled down and was giving monogamy a try after completing rehab for sex addiction.
He and Ingrid tied the knot that year, and they welcomed a baby boy together in 2015. But they divorced in 2018 after five years together.
During his appearance on Steven’s podcast, Neil admitted that he felt like a lot of people get married just to ‘tick a box’ and that he now believed humans weren’t meant to be together for more than seven years.
He quoted research conducted by evolutionary biologist Helen Fisher, who previously claimed in her book, Anatomy of Love: The Natural History Of Monogamy, Adultery And Divorce, that she conducted a study that found people were most likely to cheat after the seven-year mark of their relationship.
He also said that he was still doing ‘ongoing maintenance’ to ensure the damage done by his mom didn’t creep back into his life.
Neil said that even now, he had to remind himself whenever he started dating: ‘Hey, she’s not your mom. You can relax. She loves you and cares about you, so you can relax.’
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