Twelve Tips To Identify Professional Parasites

“Stay away from lazy parasites, who perch on you just to satisfy their needs, they do not come to alleviate your burdens, hence, their mission is to distract, detract and extract, and make you live in abject poverty,” writes Nigerian author Michael Bassey Johnson (Goodreads Website)


Enablers are often in the helping professions—doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers and other careers that require an unselfish concern for others. But when cainists show up in these avocations, it’s like a blow to the back of the knees.

This winter I required in-home nursing care after three consecutive surgeries, an abdominal wound that took five months to heal (still 2 cm to go) and hospitalization on Christmas day due to congestive heart failure. In-home nursing care was arranged to pack and unpack the wound every other day and check vitals and my heart.

My first nurse, an Enabler, was warm, caring, and competent. She listened attentively, cared deeply for her patients, and I trusted her with my whole heart. Then…along came the cainist. From the start,  this second nurse lacked the comfy, caring touch expected from someone in the nursing profession. But because I didn’t anticipate a cainist in the nursing field, I was ill-prepared for the inattentive, negligent treatment I received. Plus I was recuperating with limited energy to fight battles. Unfortunately, when a cainist walks in, life burns with emotional poverty and upset.

The care I received lacked professional ethics most of the time. But then the entire life of a cainist lacks integrity. He is a phony parasite who takes but can’t give. Veiled and devious, cainistic behavior takes a long time to understand. To protect yourself, Enablers must watch for the following characteristics regardless of the profession:

  1. Cainists Are Crafty Manipulators.  While the competent nurse with 18 years experience drove over 900 miles one week to visit sick patients, the cainistic nurse somehow wrangled her hometown area shortly after she was hired…to sidestep all that driving. Unfortunately, I lived in her town, stuck with her. Cainists are expert manipulators who get what they want when they want it by any means possible. And they will step on anyone to get their desires. There is no such word as “fairness” in their vocabulary.
  2. Cainists are Lazy. They always look for the easy way. I asked the nurse to obtain a medical test from the hospital via her computer, but she hunched her shoulders, saying she couldn’t do it. Looked more like I don’t know how and don’t care to learn to me. Sure enough. Later, I learned that the hospital hook-up was available for all in-home nurses, but the cainist wasn’t interested in putting forth any extra effort to help a patient.  Additionally, checking my feet and legs for edema was the biggest joke of all. Initially, she removed my slippers to look at my feet, but eventually she waited for me to do it. Apparently, bending down was literally and figuratively beneath her. Generally speaking, cainists are too arrogant, too important, to do mundane work. Then she would weave an elaborate story, everything from relatives vacationing in another state to a medical story about another patient, as she poked the top of my foot with her finger over and over in the same spot while staring out the glass slider door. I thought:

How can she possibly assess whether I have edema in my feet and legs while looking outside? And how can she count pulse rate while she’s talking?

On many occasions she would say I had no edema when it was blatantly clear that my feet were swollen and my ankles were bulbous. It was confusing to live in Cain’s fantasy world until I realized that she wasn’t checking edema at all. She was using a sneaky tactic –talking about other things to divert my attention while totally ignoring my health problems. It was her perpetual scam as you will notice throughout this blog.

Additionally, it was vitally important to pack my wound correctly or it would close up, trapping blood, causing infection. The competent nurse packed the wound in less than a minute, quickly like they had done in the hospital. The cainistic nurse took five minutes or longer which was grueling as she poked and probed and stabbed the wound with a harsh, hard touch until the nerves in my abdomen exploded in pain, as well as triggering nausea. Yet, the packing kept falling out. One time I caught her using the wooden end of the Q-tip instead of the soft cotton end to push the packing into the wound. I believe she thought it would stay in better, never caring about the pain it caused me or the risk of infection. She was definitely not practicing within the scope of competence. How I dreaded those visits.

Nor did she care enough about her patient to ask for outside help from her supervisor or a doctor when I complained about the discomfort. When I was on my last nerve, I Goggled “how to pack a wound,” watched a video on YouTube, and through my subtle suggestions guided her on what to do  to reduce my pain. (This is another example of laziness and lack of empathy as I was the one who had to do the research because she was not motivated (lack of empathy) to make changes on her own).

When I started packing the wound myself, I asked the doctor to slash her visits to once a week. Apparently, that was an insult to her pretentious self because after that, she basically did nothing but take a blood pressure reading and measure the wound which she got wrong most of the time. One time she had used the inches side of the ruler instead of the centimeter side so the measurement was way off. She talked constantly about needing and shopping for reading glasses but never wore any. One time she said she found some cute ones, but I don’t think she bought them because she never wore them.

Nurses, like doctors, take a vow to do no harm but simply learning ethical codes does not make a cainistic nurse principled. Cainists are imposters going through the motions, hoping no one notices their hoax and scam. A nurse’s code of ethics also demands no exploitation. Yet, that is one of Cain’s strongest tools to get what he wants. And what better place to exploit than among the frail, ill and elderly. I was paying for services and getting very little except for a feeling that my caregiver cared more about her own power and needs than about my needs and care. 

In the last six weeks, she pared down my visits to a blood pressure check, watching me change my own abdominal wound and then using the rest of her time to finish her computer work while regaling me with stories about her day. It felt like passive-aggressive revenge on her part. It was as if she were non-verbally saying,  If you cut my services, I’ll cut yours. She was in control, regardless if it cheated her patient.

3. Cainists Talk Only About Themselves. If I had sciatica, she had it too. If arthritis bothered my hands, she woke up with her hands hurting that morning, too. If she didn’t have it, then one of her other patients had it, and I would hear about the problems of a client I didn’t know. I reached the point where I shared very little because in a typical cainistic bait-and-switch, the topic of conversation (and attention) always shifted to her.

For instance, one day I had hives all over my face from a reaction to a medication. She looked at my face, nodded and started talking about how she couldn’t find a certain flavored yogurt that she liked, that she would have to look at a different store…no, she had already looked for it at that store…blah blah, blah. After babbling on about yogurt, she changed the course of the conversation to avoid dealing with the hives. If problems didn’t exist, she didn’t have to do anything.

4. Cainists Are Pathological Liars Who Lack Empathy.  Author Barbara Oakley in her book Cold-Blooded Kindness,  points out that cainists have deficits in the right side of the brain–the side that allows for empathy (p 268).

“Psychopaths have a glib ability to lie that is somehow part and parcel of their strangely different neurological make-up,” writes Oakley.

If my blood pressure was high, the cainistic nurse would take it several times to try to get a lower reading for her records, no doubt, a self-protection game. If something happened to me, like a stroke or heart attack, she would be off the hook, referring to her screened documentation. One day all the BP readings she took were high, so she used lower numbers I had obtained in the morning from my wrist monitor. She did not care if the records were true or untrue. Cainists seek self-interest over substance.

5. Cainists Are Arrogant, Know-it-alls. When I asked her if anyone at the agency had ever shown her how to pack a wound, she informed me in a rather defensive, haughty tone that she had worked in a doctor’s office for ten years and saw many wounds packed. From experience I knew there was a gigantic difference between the first nurse who had wound experience and the cainistic nurse who had watched a wound being packed.

Later I found out that she was not a nurse, but an assistant, when she worked at the doctor’s office, and she had not worked there for almost a decade. A cainist has no curiosity to learn things on her own–they know it all. It would have capsized her illusions of grandiosity to ask for help. She was an RN. End of topic. I’ve often wondered if the nursing agency had ever checked her credentials to verify if she truly had a nursing degree. Whenever I would tell others about my experiences with her, the frequent question was, “Is she an RN?”

I always wondered why an agency would hire someone with no wound experience, then give her a patient who had a serious (8 cm down from 10 cm) abdominal wound?  I don’t know, but if she were a true cainist, she probably lied to the hiring board to nail the job, stating she had wound experience when she didn’t. And I was the unfortunate guinea pig.

6. Cainists Don’t Remember Because They Don’t Listen. We remember things that interest us, and Cain’s interest is in himself. Listening to others takes too much energy unless the topic of conversation is about him. He’s interested in himself. The nurse had a horrible memory, but no doubt it was because she didn’t listen. One day I told her I had had an agonizing gout attack on Tuesday morning of that week. When I quit talking, she said nothing about the gout, then asked if I had fallen recently?

When I said, “No, but I was afraid I might Tuesday,” she responded, “Why, what happened Tuesday?” Obviously, she had not listened to my story about waking up on Tuesday morning unable to walk due to a severe gout in my left foot. She made no further reference to the gout nor did she look at my foot that day which is 100% derelict. This also points to her deficit in empathy.

7. Cainists Light Up Like a Christmas Tree Gluttons for Attention.  Every time she visited, she acted deeply depressed. I was battling many health issues and spending time with a depressed nurse was demoralizing. In retrospect, I think it was just another strategy not to ask too much of her.

Then one day my former cleaning woman–who talked to much and worked too little– was at the house when the cainistic nurse visited. Cainists fake being wondrous, considerate, and helpful. She perked up brighter than a 500 watt bulb with a new audience. It was amazing to see her display energy and charisma, morphing into someone I had never seen before. I was dumbfounded over her  sudden magnetism. She kept drawing the cleaning woman into the conversation, which I found highly unprofessional, but like an addict with a fresh reservoir, she wanted to be viewed as friendly, supportive and outgoing while pulling out all the stops to garner brand new attention. Who was this masked woman, I wondered?

8. Cainists Think They’re Above the Law and Do What They Please. The competent nurse was the supervisor of the cainistic nurse. When the competent nurse resigned, my nurse acted like she didn’t have to do the routine vital checks. In fact, she didn’t have to do much of anything. The week I suffered a gout attack in my foot, she never looked at the foot. Another time I needed blood drawn. She cancelled two appointments due to personal reason, and when she returned to work, she pretended she didn’t remember that I needed a blood draw (even though we had previously scheduled it three times). When I realized she wasn’t waiting for a convenient time to do it but was trying to ignore and forget it, I reminded  her. Cainists think they can do whatever they want to do regardless of laws or ethics. She didn’t care that my doctor wanted a blood draw.

9. Cainists are Thieves.  They rarely have an original idea and because they are lazy, they steal ideas from others and pass them off as their own without giving credit where credit is due. The day I terminated, the cainistic nurse didn’t care enough to take the time to measure and check my wound one last time for her final report. She asked if I had changed the wound yet, and when I said no, she said, “We don’t have to if you don’t want to.” She made no attempt to do so. However, she kept asking me what the doctor had said at my last appointment, so I knew she planned to use his stats and comments for her documentation. She asked if he measured the width of the wound, and when I said “no,” she dropped the subject. I’m sure she filled in the width from her previous visit because she didn’t measure it for the termination visit.

10. Cainists Won’t Support You Because of  Their Jealousy. One of my cleaning women was steeped in passive-aggressive anger (see earlier post written about this), and eventually I got a new cleaning person who is excellent. She wants to please and takes great pride in her work. The cainistic nurse knew how much trouble I had had with the previous cleaning person so I shared my good news about my new, efficient one. It fell on deaf ears. She absolutely didn’t respond. Not one word. It was like she was deaf (something she did to me much of the time). That’s because cainists are jealous of other people’s good luck. They don’t want others to be happy. They want you to be as miserable as they are. Their jealousy (and exploitation) destroy almost every relationship eventually.

11. Cainists Push Emotional Buttons to Feel Powerful. The day I terminated, she suddenly asked me, “Do you have heart failure?” in a tone that acted as if she were interested. Mind you, she had stopped listening to my heart and lungs after her supervisor resigned weeks beforehand, nor did she do it for the last visit for the termination report. Yet, now she was interested?

When I answered affirmatively, she looked it up on her computer and with great amazement said, “Oh, yes, you have chronic systolic heart failure.” (I suspected she knew and precisely why she had quit listening to my heart and lungs for fear she would find a problem and, as usual, never wanted to deal with problems). Think about how corrupt that behavior is?

I knew I had a leaky mitrol valve called mitrol regurgitation, but wanted to know if systolic heart failure was something apart from the mitrol value problem? She said it was a problem with the systolic heart value. I had never heard of a systolic heart valve but must admit it instilled deep fear in me, thinking I had problems with two of my heart values. I wondered why I had not been informed of this by physicians.

Hours later, when I caught myself wallowing in fear, I thought: Wait a minute. Cainists always try to push your emotional buttons. They like to scare others which gives them power over people. I researched it, finding no such separate systolic heart value. What it means is that the left side of the heart does not pump blood efficiently due to various complications one of them being my condition of mitrol regurgitation.

I don’t know if she was trying to frighten me into keeping nursing services because I was the third patient who had terminated that day,  or if she was just too lazy to look it up and had no qualms about spewing the wrong information. I suspect the latter. Either way, cainists will always find a way to gain power over you, usually by pushing your emotional buttons to upset  you. I was terminating her sermons, so she was leaving me in fear. Who does that? Cainists do that.

12. Cainists Are Inconsistent. They are frauds with no real values. They say one thing and do another because they balance life with what’s best for them not what’s best for others. This nurse would say she’d call on a certain day or evening, then wouldn’t call. These set ups were frustrating to say the least and grew worse over time. It felt like a sneaky way to have me think about her constantly. The week before I terminated, she said she would call on the day of my doctor visit (Tuesday) to make sure he didn’t cancel. Then she would either see me Wed or Friday, but not Thursday because she had that day off. She didn’t call Tuesday. She didn’t call Wednesday. She called Thursday the day she said she would not call.

I terminated her care last week. I often wonder who is receiving her miserly self-absorbed (lack of) care now.

Cainists are everywhere in every profession. You don’t expect to find them in the helping professions, but there they are when you least need them. What’s so troubling is that your best interest will not be at heart because cainists are all about themselves. When you find them in the helping  professions–an area where you need empathy, consistency, and truth–you find the opposite.

Every nurse and every patient should be outraged by cainists who fail to promote the honorableness and integrity of their profession.  Cainists are incapable of being an ethical professional, and you must look out for yourself. Trust your intuition. Hopefully the above-mentioned characteristics will help you identify a parasitic cainist and avoid the harm they inflict–especially if you are ill.

If you have something to share about this post, please leave a message in the Comment section below. I love to hear from my readers. Thank you.








“She didn’t like to be alone. Even more, she didn’t like being with people.” ― Elizabeth Strout, from the novel Olive Kitteridge

Dependency is the cainist’s bugaboo. He lives in a fantasy world where he’s  special to a fault and the Enabler has no value. Yet, he’s dependent on the her to obtain admiration and attention, to pilfer her thoughts and ideas, and to use her as a model or prototype on how to act in public. A sympathetic Enabler has saved a haughty cainist from the gallows more than once. He knows this and loathes it.

His selfishness wears thin over time. One study showed that cainists became unpopular after 7 weeks or after approximately 2.5 hours of contact time. [i] However, that doesn’t stop him from exploiting, devaluing and discarding the Enabler when she is no further use to him.

A cainist will use an Enabler to put him through college, then ditch her when he lands a lucrative job. One cainist, who had trouble keeping a job, remains with an Enabler because she brings home the paycheck, then boasts to everyone that he only has to work part-time and loves it.

There’s little, if any, loyalty from him. Once he’s convinced that he’s too exceptional to remain with a minion, he quickly, and often abruptly, moves on. In romantic affairs, he usually lands someone new before he leaves the previous Enabler because he hates being alone. He’s like a vulture, picking at a carcass for the last remnants, then ditching it when there’s no meat left on the bones.

[1] Why Are Narcissists so Charming at First Sight? Decoding the

Narcissism–Popularity Link at Zero Acquaintance

Who Is This Masked Man?

The word personality is derived from Latin, meaning “a theatrical mask used by actors.” First and foremost, Cain is an actor. You might think you have found the most perfect person in the whole world because in the beginning he is overly attentive to your every word and need. But in reality you are looking at a mask that he wears in public. His attentiveness is manipulation designed to hook you so that you become the attentive one to his needs.

Everything Cain says or does is carefully orchestrated. He lives in a world of appearances; how it looks to others is far more important than the actual truth. He comes on as charming, witty, intelligent, helpful and caring. You fall in love with him easily. But behind the mask are excessive feelings of self importance and vanity mixed with deep feelings of rage, jealousy, and indifference. What you see is not what you get. He wears a mask to hide his dark side. It might be difficult to believe, but he cares about himself only.

In reality, he is on a hunt 24/7 to get adoration, attention, affirmation of which he needs a constant supply. He constantly fears losing this supply of adoration. IIn his disordered thinking, adoration and attention are love. Yet, he is badly equipped to love or return love.n fact, he is terrified of intimacy. Often when emotions become too intense for whatever reason, he brings about abandonment to “get it over with” and end the emotional discomfort. Of course, he ditched you, he didn’t do anything that made you want to leave. Cain takes responsibility for nothing.

His mask hides his dark side
His mask hides his dark side