Every time I hear the term parasite, the therapist in me can’t help comparing it to relationships, particularly marriages. A parasite lives off a host and exploits it for important resources required for its survival and gives nothing in return. Similarly, a parasitic relationship will drain your emotional strength, composure, time and money. It’s easy to identify these kinds of relationships, but if not quickly spotted, it can spell trouble in the long run. A few pointers to watch out for in a relationship, if you haven’t so far.
Depleting energy levels – spending time with one’s partner should be about renewed and refreshed energy. If you feel drained mentally and physically by the time you have spent substantial time with your partner, your relationship is red flagged.
Unreasonable dependence – all relationships are about give and take. But if you feel that yours is lopsided with only one partner granting all the favours, it’s time to rethink.
One sided needs fullfilment – if your partner is feeding his/her needs without any regard for yours, it’s very unhealthy.
Emotional imbalance – the way a person handles his or her emotions says a lot about them. Frequent temper tantrums, uncontrolled anger, over sensitivity, mood swings are all tell-tale signs of a parasite.
Full of oneself – If you are reduced to only being a listener all the time, while majority of talking is done by your partner, you are in trouble. With hardly any words of appreciation for you, your feelings always take a backseat.
Constant need for love, approval and recognition – the scales are never even here. They only want and need you to reiterate and profess your love for them all the time.
With these pointers, hopefully you wouldn’t fall prey to a parasite. It’s crucial to recognise them sooner rather than later.
Parasites have characteristics which are very distinct yet similar to normal people. One needs to learn the art of getting an insight into their behaviour.
First and foremost, they are very much into you and at times with some obsessive streaks. Once they receive what they want, they would temporarily withdraw. Guilt is something which they can very well play around with. They don’t hold any guilt but are adept at inciting guilt in the partner. They can be quite melodramatic and can shrug responsibilities easily. Manipulation is their second nature and play the blame game all the time. Self-pity and sympathy are two very distinctive traits in them.
Negative past experiences – unpleasant upbringing, difficult past relationships, deep-seated hurt or even a faulty reinforcement pattern from early childhood can lead to low self-esteem, immaturity and inferiority complex. These are manifested in their parasitic behaviour. It’s one kind of coping or defence mechanism to deal with these troubled experiences at the conscious and subconscious levels.
Relationships are meant to be mutual. Both the partners get into a relationship with the hope of getting love, affection, attention, companionship, financial security and stability along with social and emotional benefits. When the pairing is not mutually beneficial, with only one partner delivering, it is time to rethink about the relationship. A parasite can destroy your identity and individuality. Timely professional intervention can certainly help mend your relationship. A stitch in time saves nine.