(Writer’s Note: The circumstances described in this article were based on the actual encounter of the writer with a sociopath. Her name has been intentionally changed to respect her privacy and maintain anonymity.)
WITH impeccable credentials, Deliza Marie, a repatriate in her early 30’s, was the perfect applicant for a midwifery instructor in a local government-run community college. Her inexperience in clinical teaching was well compensated by her hospital experiences.
After all, she had spent two years of clinical practice in a prestigious hospital in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And before that she had worked in a private hospital under the critical care department, an area where only the finest nurses could endure.
Although she was not a registered nurse-midwife, she had obtained a master’s degree in nursing with units in maternal and childcare that bolster her eligibility for the applied position. On top of that, she had earned all her academic degrees from a reputable university, a center of excellence in nursing, making her graduate degree recognizable in USA as certified by the American Nurses Association. Enchanting, she really was.
Wittingly charming, she always had a way with flattering others for personal gain or favor and liking her was never difficult. Her candid innocent face leaves no trace of what goes on inside her distorted mind. A friend to all, her congenial personality masks her true color and eclipses her wickedness.
Her sweet tongue is flawlessly convincing that nobody dares to entertain the thought of her being an expert back-stabber. Her lip service simply does its magic tricks.
A lady that would never run out of cheap and grotesque jokes, she was a clown anyone would appreciate but at the expense of another person’s integrity. In fact, for a time she had openly cracked a joke in her class comparing the vice-president for academic affairs of the school to a Tamaraw. How disrespectful can that be?
Emotions and family troubles are the kinds of matters she fondly shared like an open book probably to earn sympathy of her cruel disappointments in life.
She had shared topics that ranged from how bitter her childhood had been in terms of material deprivation to her heroic deeds of being the breadwinner to her immediate family and the family of her brother that was fallen out of grace.
Looking back, when her mother died of a complicated heart disease, all her colleagues took turns in substituting for her teaching load for a month and a half as she was on leave. As policy applied for job-order employees as she was one, her basic pay was supposedly divided equally among those who substituted for them. Yet, out of charitable hearts, all those who substituted gave her 100 percent of the worth of the rendered services but only to betray them in the end.
And lastly, using religion as her ultimate weapon, Deliza Marie has earned a charismatic reputation equitable to an infallible nun. But mind you, she has been into this theatrical charade that she has seriously profaned Christianity by over-quoting passages lifted from the bible to fuel her masquerade.
Like a key in a lock, these descriptions fit typically among persons who are called “sociopaths” or sometimes “psychopaths”. And these kinds of people are very insidious as they readily walk amongst us.
Culling its origin from psychology, a sociopath is actually a person with a mental disorder classified under “antisocial personality disorders” in the book Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- IV (DSM), which indexes all forms of mental illnesses that is being used by mental health professionals.
According to Videbeck’s Psychiatric Mental-Health Nursing, a respected reference in psychiatric nursing, this disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others with the central characteristics of deceit and manipulation.
And these were all Deliza Marie’s tricks- deceit and manipulation.
Furthermore, literatures share that sociopaths have the following symptoms: violation of rights of others; lack of remorse for behavior; shallow emotions; lying; rationalizing behaviors; impulsivity; lack of insight; thrill-seeking behaviors; exploitation of people in relationships; and poor work history.
These are highly descriptive of Deliza Marie.
Speaking of work history, Deliza Marie had never really lasted long in any work setting. Take for example her Saudi experience: she always sang of praises of how well she had been making as a nurse in Saudi, yet she chose to go back in the Philippines. Secondly, she had always spoken ill of all her previous employers and colleagues making her audience believe that she had been a victim of social injustice. How morbid can that be?
She also does not seem to care much about her work; only the amount she could make at the end of the day.
Thrill-seeking, lack of insight and impulsivity were manifested many times when she violated the professional teachers’ ethics as she was caught many times drinking with her students sometimes in their white uniforms.
I remember, the first time I met her I was in a deep awe. Who would not be? An attractive and intelligent lady like her was worth the wonder and applause.
As moments passed by, topsy-turvy issues seem to mushroom from nowhere that somehow made her the heroine all the time.
Persuasive to the point of hypnotizing, she secretly spearheaded student picketing making them believe that they had been violated that called for upheavals to start faulty reforms. Later on, her evil scheme was discovered as students confessed that they had been brainwashed by Delia Marie.
Perhaps, the worst that she had done was to advise the students to write directly to the municipal mayor to destroy the integrity of her colleague and immediate superior out of malicious hearsay. She succeeded, nevertheless, all the way and it was later revealed that she thirsted for the position of deanship for herself. Stepping on someone to get ahead in life is a doing of a sociopath. After all, she was a breadwinner and she is in dire need of money to pay the medical bills of her ailing father and to sustain the needs of her brother’s children as the latter is locked behind bars.
In fact, she is preparing to take the licensure examinations for midwives this year to make her eligible to become the dean.
Literatures summarize the following red flags of recognizing sociopaths:
(1) they are charming; (2) are more spontaneous and intense compared to other people; (3) invents outrageous lies about their experiences; (4) seek to dominate others and win at all cost; (5) tend to be highly intelligent; (6) self-centered at the expense of others; (7) never apologizes; (8) delusional; (9) tend to have followers, who seem them as guru or religious figure.
Again, all these red flags apply to Deliza Marie.
So we must be very wary and vigilant of sociopaths. Not all mentally disturbed perpetuates the stereotypes of a lunatic. Most are insidious and Deliza Marie is a reality that may walk amongst or even sit beside us.