Are You Being Drained By One-Sided Relationships?

Yana Bostongirl

According to the CDC, a parasite is “ An organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. Parasites can cause disease in humans.”

An emotional parasite is someone who uses you to feed their emotional needs without any consideration for the emotional consequences that their demands make on you. They can leave you feeling drained and used.

According to Exploringyourmind, there are 2 types of emotional parasites: Dependent and Aggressive.

I’ve had experience with both.

Do you know someone whose sole purpose in life is to vent? I once knew a person who began and ended their day with a never-ending litany of complaints. Part of it consisted of real and imagined aches and pains — nothing serious or life-threatening.

People who do this are mostly seeking emotional validation and are not necessarily harmful. But on the other hand, hearing this on a constant basis can wear down the patience of a saint, not to mention the drain on the listener.

You can provide validation and sympathy till you turn blue in the face but they will still remain a bottomless pit. I decided one day that I was done dealing with all this negative energy because I was beginning to harbor feelings of frustration and resentment towards this person. I knew it was heading for a confrontation which was something I wanted to avoid.

3 strategies that can help stop it

Strategy # 1: I followed Patrick Allan’s advice from his article in lifehack.org in which he outlines how you can disagree with a chronic complainer and avoid conflict by asking them a simple question Do you want my opinion? Once they have given you permission to go ahead, you can tell them how you feel about the situation.

In my experience, this strategy worked and the whiner grudgingly moved on to feed in newer and greener pastures when they realized that I had closed shop.

The aggressive parasites who I like to call malicious parasites are the ones who want their needs met at the cost of ours. There is a complete absence of emotional reciprocity from them. They vigorously feed off your attention, sympathy, and compassion leaving you completely depleted and a husk of your former self.

When it feels like you are living just to cater to the needs of your parasite (which are never satisfied), it can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and shredded self-esteem.

Strategy # 2: Recognize what is happening and take responsibility for yourself. STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR POWER BY BEING A SUPPLY TO YOUR PARASITE. You are not responsible for their emotions so there is no need to feel guilty for doing that.

Stand up for yourself and lay down firm boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being from people who are out to emotionally drain you dry. It is not an act of selfishness but an act of self-care that is perhaps the best gift you can give yourself.

Strategy # 3: Remove yourself from the situation. If you can, take some time away from people who drain you in order to emotionally detoxify and replenish. Taking time for yourself and doing things that you like can work wonders in restoring emotional equilibrium.

This article was originally published on Medium.

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Boston, MA
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