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Signs That You Are in a Parasitic Relationship

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Illustration by eHealer

Illustration by eHealer

In science, much like human relationships, a parasitic relationship benefits one partner and hurts the host. In nature, the tick attaches itself to the wolf and lives on it as a parasite; possibly hurting the animal by injecting it with a virus or bacteria at some point in time. Although the wolf goes on with his day, he is usually unaware that he has been infected. The tick has learned over centuries how to successfully live off animals without being detected.

Human Parasites Exist in Modern Society

The human equivalent to nature's tick would be a person who lives off their partner in several ways that becomes harmful to them. In other words, eventually the host dreads spending time with the object of their "infection." As the parasite continues to go on about how the world effects them, remarks incessantly how much people are jealous of and love them, ultimately, the host notices they are being drained of energy, patience, and blood. If your not getting anything out of a relationship, and are being negatively affected by your partner, you just might be in a parasitic relationship. Here are the signs that this may be true.

Love Is What You Do for Each Other

People who love each other give more than they take. As a relationship is formed or continued, both individuals gain more trust, reliability and insight into each others needs. Although no one can meet every need the other may have, they do their best to be considerate, understanding and helpful. In nature, this is defined by science as a symbiotic relationship, it is mutually beneficial to both partners.

Illustration by eHealer

Illustration by eHealer

Signs of a Parasitic Relationship

  • Your girlfriend used your car and was supposed to pick you up after work and "forgot" about it. When you get home and exit the taxi, she has a perfectly good explanation, she stated that she, "lost track of time while shopping at the mall."
  • After listening all night to your spouse about how badly they feel because they can't find a job, you go to work half-asleep as they stay in bed and sleep all day.
  • After moving in together as a couple for several months, you haven't seen one dime contributed to the rent of the apartment. As you argue about the deal that was agreed upon, you somehow give in to your boyfriend and agree that he should only have to pay the cable bill.
  • You have a problem that is worrying you and want to discuss it with your girlfriend. After a few minutes of speaking, she says she is "too tired to keep talking and needs to go to bed."
  • You partner is frequently bored with you and needs money to "do something exciting."
  • Most of your conversations revolve around the needs of your spouse or partner.
Illustration by eHealer

Illustration by eHealer

How do Parasitic People Develop?

People who grow up with no family responsibilities or parental direction may develop into an immature adult that has never gained a conscious awareness of the needs of others. In addition, a parent may have dismissed the person's individuality and treated them as an incidental member of the family. This behavior promotes a lack of empathy in the adult and they may believe that people are sources of resources rather than emotional beings that deserve time, love and support. The parasite usually has evolved overtime to be an expert at using people around them, and then discarding them when they're usefulness has been depleted.

The Host Catches on to the Parasite

Eventually, the host notices the parasite has been slowly draining them dry, and they begin to lose the early fascination that once distorted their perception of their partner. It is always painful to end a relationship, but the unevenness of give and take eventually ends in the refusal of the host to support the parasite any longer. At this point, the parasite may go into survival mode, and threaten you with anger and betrayal if you don't continue to support them with your life's blood.

Time to Pry Off the Parasite

Finally, when you cannot stand another day of feeding the parasite, you end the relationship despite the painful emotional ambiguity you may experience. This is a good time to take a break from relationships and take personal inventory. If you find yourself attracting parasites, you may want to look at yourself and see why you keep becoming infected. Know that you are not alone, and many people find themselves in these relationships everyday. It is a lesson to be learned, but not a reason to swear off any future relationships that provide a strong, loving and symbiotic union that you will appreciate more in the long run.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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Alana on January 26, 2018:

So glad I found this article. It reaffirmed exactly what I thought was going on in my life. I walked away from him today and I feel like a load has been lifted off of me and I can breath again...I feel alive

Gree123 on July 13, 2016:

Nice Mr.Scott, I couldn't agree more with this great new hub... Very well put...

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LJ Scott from Phoenix, Az. on July 13, 2016:

Such a great hub and so real to my life right now!!!!

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on March 22, 2013:

ehealer, I'm glad I stopped by to see what you have been up to in your hubs. This is such a horrible circumstance to be in. I have known a few people who were, and they ended up marrying. Of course they all ended up divorcing when they reached the point of becoming aware that they were in a parasitic relationship. These are very insightful and helpful words. I'm sharing with my friends on my fb page dedicated to freelance writers.

JCatherine on March 05, 2013:

Repel is great for mosquitoes and tick insects but does not repel human parasites--trust me, I tried it. :-)

Derrick Bennett on March 03, 2013:

This is very useful and its true that we find ourselves in this type of relationship.

Derrick Bennett on March 03, 2013:

This is very useful and its true that we find ourselves in this type of relationship.

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on February 25, 2013:

This is another excellent hub! Voted up, useful and FB shared.

Grace on February 19, 2013:

How horrible to have known or be frens with people who suck your blood and leaving you dried up and emotionally damaged! Such ppl are really evil so do stay away/steer clear of them!

Narcissistic personality disorder, sociopaths/anti-social personality disorders belong to the parasitic group! Once you realized you have become the host, make a quick and wise decision to terminate the r/s!

Staci Stathos from Charleston, SC on February 17, 2013:

I had this problem with a roommate. I finally realized she was making me feel drained and terrible. I moved out. A couple of years later, I ran into her and made the mistake of letting her back into my life (we didn't share a house, though). The same pattern started again shortly after. I quit calling her or taking her calls, and although she probably thinks I'm a jerk, I feel great!

Adventurer on February 06, 2013:

I agree with much of this article until it comes to various disabilities as a cause for this type of behavior. Tempering the fear at the roots is challenging sometimes balancing between the need of care, the fear of aloness, even though surrounding by others, held tightly with that dibiliation. It is those who seek personal gain without giving I believe this ariticle shares. Sometimes what is given back may be ghostly when not aware.

I enjoyed this article and see it applies personally more with the workplace than within social settings. Very well notated and maybe will be left in the lunch room. Who Knowsl.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 06, 2013:

Interesting information of parasitic people and how they develop into such kind of people

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on January 08, 2013:

thanks Silva, I believe most people have their share of parasites during their lifetime!

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on January 06, 2013:

More common than people realize! Voted Up and Interesting.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 31, 2012:

Exactly Misjo, they think that relationships are difficult and hard to endure, if it is, it's not a good relationship. Thanks for your support and sharing your insight with me. See you soon!

mizjo from New York City, NY on December 31, 2012:

How very insightful! Many people go through life attached to a parasite and think it is normal, even when they are sucked dry. Some others put up with the parasite because of fear of hurting the children of the union. It can be difficult to break the tie until the children are grown and independent.

Voting this Up and Useful.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 24, 2012:

Thanks LoveDoctor, it's always great to see you! Have a great holiday and thanks for your support!

lovedoctor926 on December 23, 2012:

This is very good information. voting up interesting!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 23, 2012:

thanks Gags, and very nice to meet you!

GAGANPREET SINGH BHATIA from Kanpur, India on December 23, 2012:

Really Interesting hub

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 23, 2012:

Hello Tsmog, where you been? I appreciate your comments and insight!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 23, 2012:

Hello Bret, thanks for the support. It is a little funny, but also serious. Thanks for the pinning! Always nice to see you!

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on December 23, 2012:

Interesting. Provocative. Unusual.

Brett C from Asia on December 23, 2012:

Both useful and kinda funny. What an unusual comparison, but you are right, there are so many relationships that are like this!

Shared, up, useful, funny, pinned and tweeted.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 21, 2012:

Thanks FullOfLoveSites, I appreciate your comments!

FullOfLoveSites from United States on December 21, 2012:

So far I haven't encountered a parasitic relationship.... God forbid. Thanks for the examples you illustrated in your hub . Voted up.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 15, 2012:

You Go Tips! Pry off those parasites! As we get better at recognizing them, we get better at running away from them! Here's to freedom from the parasitics. Thanks for you support tips, I appreciate it very much!

tipstoretireearly from New York on December 15, 2012:

This reminds me of people who talk about their problems ad infinitum. Its OK to hear about occasional problems, but getting barraged by problems virtually every day is emotionally draining. That's especially true when the discussions are almost always in one direction. I'm a good listener, but I've gotten out of a few relationships for this very reason. Now I have a label to attach to them: parasitic!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 04, 2012:

Hey Relationshipc, I'm so glad you like my illustrations! It would be great to see people as they really are, too bad they don't carry a folder with references and comments of past loves or friends in it, now that would be good too! Thanks for your kind comments! See you soon at the hubs!~

Kari on December 04, 2012:

First off, love the illustrations and the analogy. Too bad we can't see parasitic people as they look in the pictures as that would save a lot of us some heartbreak and pain.

I have had my share of parasitic relationships, both romantic and non-romantic, and I can testify that it feels so good to pry them off forever.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on December 01, 2012:

Hey ActionBronson, Welcome to the hubs and thanks for your kind comments! I look forward to reading your work as well. See you soon!

actionbronson on November 30, 2012:

eHealer, I love your articles! Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I look forward to reading more of your hubs!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 29, 2012:

Thanks written up, I appreciate your feedback very much!

Written Up from Oklahoma City, OK on November 28, 2012:

Just the right amount of humor, but still honest and sincere. great work.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 28, 2012:

Hey Jackie, haven't we all! I had a neighbor that I dated a few times, more like friends, when I came home from work one evening, he had crawled in my window, took a shower, and ate the leftover pot roast I had saved for my dinner. Sitting in my recliner and licking his fingers, he said "I hope you don't mind, I got evicted from my apartment, can I hang here for a few days?" I kindly asked him to leave (well... maybe not kindly... exactly) and offered to call the police to help him "Move" out of my apartment. He left, but showed up a few times at my job and called me non-stop for weeks. Finally, he disappeared! Paraslites!!1

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 28, 2012:

I have known a parasite or two and plan to know no more. Great write.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 28, 2012:

Thanks Jan, always great to see you! Have a great day!

MJC from UK on November 28, 2012:

A very wise and helpful article. Thank you for writing it. Voted up.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 28, 2012:

Thanks Eddy, you have a wonderful day too! Lol, food for thought, I get it!

Eiddwen from Wales on November 28, 2012:

Brilliant what a great topic which leaves much food for thought.

Have a wonderful day.


Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 23, 2012:

Thanks Caroline, I appreciate your support! Sometimes people think they are the only ones that experience these bad relationships!

Caroline Marie on November 23, 2012:

Amazing hub! It is so informative. Thank you for sharing this. I think I have known a few parasites in my life. LOL. I am sharing this on facebook. :)

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 23, 2012:

Hi Jellygator, yes, unfortuately, many parents treat their children as "part of the furniture." These children don't learn that they have an obligation to treat others with respect and that they themselves have the power to produce their own needs and monetary possessions. Thanks Jelly!

jellygator from USA on November 23, 2012:

I like your statement about parents treating a person as in "incidental" member of the family. It seems this is all around us everywhere! I think you're right that it can contribute to the parasitic mentality, too.

Voted well. Thank you!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 22, 2012:

Thanks Rajan! It's so nice to see you! So many relationships have this potential, so "shrug them off " is Right! See you soon!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 21, 2012:

Wonderful hub Deborah! One needs to shrug off the parasites as quickly as possible to stop them draining ourselves totally. It's better to bear the hurt once than be bearing it each moment of one's life.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 20, 2012:

Thanks Epigramman, that means a lot to me, I am one of your greatest fans! I so appreciate your warm wishes and supportive comments. Enjoy your coffee and Baroque music, while I send warm wishes right back at you!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 20, 2012:

Hey LoveDoctor! I am finding your hubs fascinating, you definitely have an insight, a well... love doctor! Thanks for stopping buy and see you soon!

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 20, 2012:

Hello ICMN91 and welcome to hubpages! Thanks for your comments and I appreciate your feedback. Blastocystis infection may come and go, it's very difficult to find out where the infection is coming. I hope your mum feels better in the future.

icmn91 from Australia on November 20, 2012:

My mum has had a hard time with the blastocystis hominid parasite and getting rid of it. Some believe in the hygiene hypothesis but I don't buy it. She now has fructose malabsorption (which experts say is due to an untreated blastocystis infection). Thankfully she *appears* to be rid of it now but is still suffering the effects of its injury. Thanks for the insight.

epigramman on November 18, 2012:

....To the greatest healer in the world and certainly one of the Hub's best writers - I always learn from you in so many different ways.

You inspire me so much on so many different topics and subjects.

Thank you for being who you are and of course your support of my writing is much appreciated and coming from someone as special as you - well that really means a lot to me - lake erie time 8:38am I have watched the sun come up over the lake in the last hour with my coffee and baroque music and here I sit sending you warm wishes as always

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 17, 2012:

Hey, Sue, thanks for stopping by and I am so glad you got rid of the parasite!

Sueswan on November 17, 2012:

Hi eHeal

I had this kind of relationship many years ago.

Promises never kept, always made excuses and it was always someone elses fault.

Voted up and awesome

Take care:-)

lovedoctor926 on November 16, 2012:

This is very good information. I wasn't aware.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 16, 2012:

Hello DenmarkGuy, Yeah, you are so right, many people don't realize they are in a bad relationship, and find the situation almost normal. Excellent comment, and thanks for your support!

Peter Messerschmidt from Port Townsend on November 16, 2012:

Excellent article! Real love is about reciprocity, but sadly many (a majority, even?) of relationships lack authentic giving and taking. In many ways, what you're describing here also applies to narcissists.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 16, 2012:

Hey b.Malin, so true, some people stay forever, no matter what! That is my next hub, codependent relationships! thanks for commenting, I appreciate your support so very much.

b. Malin on November 16, 2012:

There is a LOT of give and take in a Relationship, in order for it to Survive. Your Hub is Quite Educational as well as Wise. The Sad part is, some people stay... No Matter What.

Thanks for Sharing your Views on a Timely Topic, e-Healer.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 14, 2012:

Thanks ESP, I appreciate your supportive feedback! Hub buddy!

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on November 14, 2012:

Very good hub, eHealer! This is great information on a very common problem.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 14, 2012:

Thanks SunsetSky, I'll trade you for your poetry talents! I appreciate the support and see you soon at the hubs!

SunsetSky from USA on November 14, 2012:

Great article! I love your illustrations. You seem to have many talents and it's nice to see you sharing them here.

Deborah (author) from Las Vegas on November 14, 2012:

Thanks Laurinzo, I had fun doing this one and added a "touch" of appropriate humor. They are soooooo annoying. Write on!

Laurinzo Scott on November 14, 2012:

Incredible hub e-healer... this is one to keep, and definitely makes one think... usually such people never find love, because they are so terribly annoying. Very well done!!!

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