Professionals in the Helping Industries and Their Personal Pathological Relationships

Are you a doctor, nurse, therapist, social worker,female clergy, medical personnel, paramedic, teacher, psychiatrist, Certified Nursing Assistant, day care worker, guidance counselor, speech therapist, missionary, physical therapist, psychology grad student, art therapist, writer, artist, musician, work in parole or probation, or work with at-risk kids? Welcome aboard to the group of people MOST LIKELY to end up in a relationship with a pathological narcissist, sociopath or psychopath. Can your career be a risk factor for finding/staying with a narcissist or psychopath? Unfortunately, YES!

Look at that list again…all the ‘hearts of gold’ kind of people–the salt of the earth women–the ‘Mother Teresas’ of the world–AT RISK for attracting and staying with dangerous, dark, and pathological men. Seems unfair doesn’t it? Normally, narcissists and psychopaths don’t migrate to their own kind and in the rare occasions when they do, you end up with a sensationalized case of a new Bonnie & Clyde. Yet in most cases, they migrate to you!

During a recent media interview I said, “I think understanding this represents one of the largest breakthroughs in our understanding of dangerous intimate relationship dynamics. For so long we understood him but we didn’t really understand her. She was wrongly labeled codependent but codependency treatment didn’t help her. She was wrongly labeled a relationship or even sex addict and addiction treatment didn’t help her. She was wrongly labeled as mutually pathological and yet she was never diagnosed with her own personality disorder. Nothing fit and nothing explained her until we found the missing key…her ‘off-the-richtor-scale traits’ that put it all in perspective. Once we can understand her, we can help her.

What we do understand is that by the nature of your own tender and helpful personality traits you migrated to a career in which you could use your abundant traits of empathy, helpfulness, compassion, resourcefulness, cooperation, and tolerance. Where best do these great humanitarian traits get used? In helping professions like social work, ministry, nursing, other medical professions, psychology, teaching, child workers…all people with big hearts trying to give out of their own abundance of empathy and helpfulness. By virtue that you even ENDED up in one of these professions means you are probably more at-risk for these types of relationships than others. In almost ALL circumstances, the women from these relationships are either IN these types of professions or are trying to get in to them (they are in school or trying to move out of their job into a more giving field like these fields).

Many of the women who are in these types of professions ended up with the narcissist or psychopath during the course of their actual jobs. Nurses hooked up with patients, doctors married someone they met in the field, psychologists dated mentally ill men, missionaries dated someone from one of the street missions, prison workers hooked up with inmates, psych nurses dated psych patients. Every once in a while we got stories from very left-brained women like CPA’s but even then, she’s not usually a typical left-brainer. She’s still got a lot of the abundant humanitarian traits or she hates what she’s doing for a job and wants to leave and go into a care giving field.

This has HUGE implications for intervention…don’t you think? If by nature we know that women with SKY HIGH temperament traits of too much empathy, too much tolerance, too much cooperation end up in jobs in which empathy/tolerance/cooperation is the #1 skill, then we also know THESE are the women most likely to go on to empathize, tolerate and cooperate with severe pathology. Knowing that women in these professions are more likely to have the high risk personality traits means education can begin within these professions. Women need to know that sometimes even their career selection is indicative of what their relationship selection might be as well. I doubt any colleges are going to put in their Academic Handbooks “**Caution, This Profession May Be Hazardous to Your Relationship Health” !! Yet, it’s the beginning of how to think about ‘WHO’ needs this education BEFORE they end up in pathological love relationships.

Once we know ‘who’ this is, the next question is how best to reach these identified groups of women. Who BEST to reach out to their own field than the nurses, teachers, therapists, social workers, etc. who ARE the women who have been touched by these destructive relationships? Why? In the research, almost all the women indicated career and financial harm by the pathological. NO ONE gets out unscathed!

This is a career risk for women. Many women are demoted or lose their jobs because of their inability to concentrate or he sabotages her work situation. Others have lost their entire life savings putting them in financial ruin. Some have lost their licenses–an incredible amount of college work down the tubes. Doctors that are so fraught with PTSD have stepped down to nursing. Attorneys have stepped down to paralegals. Teachers down to teaching assistants. Professors work in book stores. This is why teaching YOUR industry about what these men can do to their productivity, their futures, and their careers is important.

My hope is that someone from every field we have identified as a potential source will become an educational voice in their industry. Are you an Alumni from somewhere? There’s your market…educate your own. Protect YOUR FIELD by peer education–by writing or speaking about these issues because you are NOT the only one in your field that this has happened to OR will happen to. Your field is an identified ‘at risk field’ that needs what you know!