Before America was hit by the onslaught of stomach-churning stories of widespread sexual misconduct across all facets of life from business to entertainment to politics to sports - all the way to the Presidency - I was just your typical physician in Nashville, Tennessee who was busy seeing patients, taking care of my family, and trying to make it through each chaotic day like everyone else. That was until my world was turned upside down by a sociopath - and yes, she was a sexopath as well - who embezzled over $700,000 from my medical practice bringing my business to the brink of bankruptcy. While I was busy seeing patients, she happily took the burden of dealing with the economic side of my business. Only later did I learn that doctors and dentists - dedicated to helping and serving people - are particularly susceptible to this type of criminal activity. But, we are not along. It is estimated that sociopaths' crime and deception cost American society over $2.3 trillion dollars annually - and no dollar amount can be placed on the emotional and psychological toll of these manipulative con artists.
If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Even the most respected researchers in this field like Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. who know the in's and out's of this disorder can be fooled by these chameleons' charm and deception. If you don't know they exist, however, the battle is already lost. The first step in self-protection is recognition which is only possible if you are armed with the knowledge of their traits and characteristics. Let me use my story to begin the conversation.
Several years ago, I had a respectable medical practice with several employees including an intelligent, friendly, ever-so-helpful nurse. She was incredibly charming and fun to be around. We became friends.
At least that's what I thought.
I found this nurse's boldness quite admirable. Her optimism and invigorated spirit were intoxicating to be around. My life was more exciting because I knew her. When she told me she could do anything, she said it with such conviction, I believed her. In many ways, she was almost like those well-spoken preachers who roam the country where I live and convince people to empty their wallets with just a few choice words.
As we got to know each other at work, the nurse claimed the billing company we used was a total rip-off. When I looked at the numbers, she had a point. She claimed she could create better results at a much lower cost. When I hesitated, she insisted. She promised huge financial rewards if she did my billing. When I expressed my concerns, she had ready-made answers. I was so busy with the day-to-day demands of my medical practice, I finally allowed her to handle my billing. With that commitment, I gave her my full trust.
This new-found bond brought us closer together. As we began to spend time together outside of work, we became close enough to share details about our personal lives. She told me about her husband and her popular teenage years as I opened up about my love life and awkward childhood. It was great to heave someone so close to me with such a different perspective.
When she told me she recently signed up for an online cheating website, at first, I was shocked. I knew she was more adventurous than I was, but this seemed a step too far. As she began to share the dirty details of her trysts with her new "puppies" (what she called the men who served her), I was transfixed by her sultry stories. They were hot, wild, and extremely titillating. In the face of her charm and outrageous attitude, I dismissed my red flags about her behavior. I have always believed that it is not my job to judge other people, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and hoped she would come to her senses.
She never did. I suffered a devastating financial blow to my medical practice as a result of her theft and discovered I was simply a pawn in her ever-changing game. The nurse was that special type of person who could sell ice to Eskimos. She could bring a tear to a glass eye. I had been manipulated and conned.
When her online cheating escapades began to spill-over and destroy everything in their path, I found my practice in financial ruin. She'd always told me the bloodsucking billing companies left so much on the table, it turned out she was the one who lapped it up. She stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and used it to finance her wild network of extra-marital affairs. She stole my money. She betrayed my trust. I was devastated by the whole experience. I felt a line had been crossed.
First, I did as any sane person would - I fired her. Then I gathered my case together and sued. My underestimation of her mastermind continued, however, as she was already several steps ahead. During the lawsuit, the nurse made a fool of me. My lawyer warned me she would have spent any of the remaining money she stole before we made it to the end of the trial - which could take several years. Even with a winning settlement, she would simply declare bankruptcy. The banks would get their delinquent funds first, while I would be left with a hollow victory and a six-figure legal bill. As for her going to jail, with her manipulative skills, it was highly unlikely.
Having given up on the lawsuit, I decided to analyze what type of person could so successfully manipulate and control me. After revisiting multiple medical manuals and numerous recent research articles, I came to the frightening conclusion that the friendly, fun nurse was a conniving sociopathic sex addict - a sexopath.