Parasite: “An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on, or in a different organism, while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.” – answers.com

It has been said that the inverted narcissist leads a parasitic lifestyle, but what does that really mean? While the above definition holds true for many organisms, when we apply it to human beings we can modify it a little and define it as:

A deliberately, manipulative and exploitative financial and emotional dependence of one person on another. Where one person, consistently takes advantage of the kindness and resources of another, without any desire to reciprocate, or contribute in any meaningful way. This exploitation is fueled by a sense of entitlement, a lack of responsibility, motivation and self-control.

I had a reader discuss her frustration with having to deal with the parasitic behavior of her former Narcissist, she writes,

“There are many, many aspects of narcissists and their behavior that are just mind boggling and literally insane. What kills me the most about my Narcissist, all Narcissists, really, is how he CANNOT possibly understand, or care, that I do NOT want to hear from him. These people have selective amnesia about what they’ve done. They seem to NOT be able to grasp this very basic concept: That the people they’ve hurt DO NOT want to hear from them! When someone says “DON’T contact me, ever again,” DON’T!”

and another reader states,

“I was in great shape financially before I met her. In less than two years she blew through all of my savings. After she moved in, she barley worked a day. I was responsible for everything. I’m 53 and by the time she took off I had nothing left, not even my 401Ks for retirement.  I was highly in debt and I even had to sell my house. She ruined me and walked away like it was just another day at the ballpark.” 

The Parasitic Mindset

A friend of mine took a trip to India a few years ago. She had sent me an email while she was away, and told me that she went on a little boat tour of the Ganges. On her way there, she walked through a wooded area. Hours later, when she was back at her hotel room, she undressed and prepared to take a shower. In her armpit she was horrified to see that a leech had attached to her, and was now feeding off of her blood.

This particular brand of leech sits and waits on leaves, and when someone passes by, it latches onto them and slowly and methodically moves along its host, until it finds the right area of skin and it attaches itself and begins to feed.

Leeches do not concern themselves with the fact that you don’t want a leech attached to you. They don’t care that you find the entire idea abhorrent. They don’t care if you become, sick, weak, or even die because of their feeding. When you can no longer give them what they want, they will just move on and find another host.

When we try to understand how and why Narcissists do the things they do – it’s because this is their mindset.  To a Narcissist, you are not a beautiful person, with a sparkling personality and a shining soul, that they have a deep connection to – you are a resource to be exploited – nothing more. When you get this, their attempts to manipulate your emotions will no longer have the same affect on you.

We know they don’t form normal healthy attachment bonds to people.  We know they don’t feel love the way the rest of us do. We know they can walk away without any feelings of guilt or remorse.  People are only able to do this when they view others as objects to be used and discarded at their whim.

Why They Really Keep Coming Back

I’ve had many relationships with boomerang Narcissists and I always told myself that they kept coming back to me because, underneath it all, they must really love me.  A few times I probably even thought they kept coming back to me, because they’d had a epiphany and  realized that I was the one.

The truth was, that my Narcissist wasn’t coming back, because he couldn’t live without me, he was coming back, because he had run out of options. There were no immediate people to feast off of and he knew he could always count on me for a good feed. As soon as he had his fill, off he went again, in search of a new host, and on and on this behavior continued.

There are givers and there are takers, with most of the population falling somewhere in between. But in the case of the Narcissist and the co-dependent, you need just the right kind of dance partner. If you are someone that exploits the kindness and resources of others, then you need to find someone, who has assets and who likes to share, luckily for the parasites of this world, co-dependents love to give and share everything they have. They over give, sometimes even to the point of financial ruin.

Unfortunately, for the co-dependent, as soon as the resources run out, so too does their Narcissist.

“You’re better at doing things you don’t want to do, than me.”

Some people lack the ability to take care of themselves. They lack the self-discipline to wake up every morning and hold down a job. They believe that they are too good for, or too important for menial work, or they just don’t have the capacity to be responsible and in control of themselves, or their lives. They know they like having a nice house, nice things, good food to eat, and nice cars to drive, but they don’t care to work for it themselves. They want it handed to them and seem to live by the motto, “Why work when someone else will do it for you.”

I’ve never been a user, so it’s hard for me to get into that headspace, but I do know that when you think you deserve something and you believe that you are entitled to it, it’s remarkable what you tell yourself, to justify your own horrific behavior. Human parasites use manipulation techniques, to keep their host right where they want them, under their control, confused, and in denial. But when one has managed to get away and they do receive a feeble attempt at contact months, or years later – the meaning behind it isn’t – you’re on my mind, I miss you, I’ve been thinking about you, or I need to atone for what I’ve done. The absolute truth behind their attempt to reconnect is – I’m in between hosts and I need a feed. They don’t care what they’ve done, how you feel, what you want, or how their coming back will affect you, all they care about, is having someone to exploit. They’ve used you in the past, so it’s worth a shot to try again. Going back to an old host is a heck of a lot easier than trying to establish a new one.  If you do bite, they will reel you in, just long enough to feed off of you and they’ll be gone, just as soon as a new host waltzes by.

A long time ago, my long-term Narcissist said to me, “You’re better at doing things you don’t want to do, than I am,” and with that explanation, he quit his job and lived off of me and his mother for a while.

What he didn’t understand was that I wasn’t better at it than him, it was that I was responsible and mature enough to know, that I had to stand on my own two feet. He didn’t care that the weight of him on my shoulders was crushing me. He didn’t care that I was having panic attacks and was suffering from severe anxiety at the time – he didn’t care about me at all, as soon as he found another viable host, he left me in an instant and was on her like white on rice.

If you find yourself acting as the host to someone else’s life of leisure, seriously ask yourself what you are getting out of it. These people are perpetual teenagers and when you take them and their problems on, it will drain you of your very essence and give you nothing in return but problems and an empty bank account.

If you really don’t know if you’re with a human parasite ask yourself – did their life get better by hooking up with you and did yours get worse in the process.

When you get out from underneath the burden of having to carry someone else, your whole world opens up. To be or not to be with a parasite – this choice is an easy one – if you’re carrying the load for someone who just can’t get their sh@t together, show them the door – of the house that you are paying for.

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Written by Savannah Grey

Savannah Grey is a Freelance Writer, a Hypnotherapist, Consultant, Sports Fanatic, and Philosopher and has a degree in Psychology. She is the founder of www.esteemology.com, a website dedicated to educating and healing survivors of abusive relationships.