So you just heard from a trusted source that you are a parasite in someone's life. Not just anyone, but a close and trusted friend of yours. You can't believe it! The story goes, "You only go to them when you need something. You only call or text when you need their help."
How you may be taking advantage of someone without noticing
Sometimes we get too comfortable with ourselves and others. This can lead to dynamics in which we take advantage of people's kindness, resources, their disadvantages as well as our own to our benefit. Then the reality of our "friendships" starts to seep in through rumours...
An emotional storm brews in your gut, anger, embarrassment, disbelief, fantasies of cutting them off, giving them a piece of your mind.
But if you manage to see past your hurt and resentment, the picture might be a little different.
Why you may not notice
The truth is, some of us either bond over needing each other or not needing each other in certain relationships and friendships for various reasons not necessarily monetary. Neither is good. If you make it a point to not need other people, you might run into some issues, and if you bond over needing each other things can turn sour.
In fact, even when circumstances change, and you no longer "need" each other, when you come together you are going to bond over the same old things out of habit.
So what is a "normal bond" or a long-term friendship dynamic can suddenly appear different to involved parties.
How it begins
It's like receiving a diagnosis. You have not been feeling well lately and you go for a check-up which turns up that you have worms or malaria. Except in interpersonal relationships, it is easier to identify your problem without a doctor's help.
You notice that someone is "taking advantage" of you and your relationship with them. If you can't confront them about it, you turn to other friends to vent about it.
However, even though the one taking advantage might seem oblivious, the feeling is always there that something is "wrong". But not knowing what to do, each person stays in their role and the Hakuna Matata song plays on.
How it ends
The only way to know and let someone know that you feel like their taking advantage of you is to talk about it with them. If it is not true, then you can work on establishing boundaries and resolving any misunderstandings. If it is true, conflict may escalate as people hate to have their covers blown and then you can know for sure that they were using you.
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Break out of codependence one resource at a time. Maybe you need new friends, maybe you need to be more financially secure, confident, healthier, or resourceful, among others. Usually, when we take advantage of relationships and people, no matter how innocent, it undermines our independence.
End the relationship
Some friendships have to end because they fail to evolve. Moreover, by the time you notice these patterns and start venting about them to everyone else but the culprit, it means there is no real bond to communicate or save. Some things fester too long that the only thing you can do is learn from them and leave them behind.
Be more mindful in your next friendships. Parasitic bonds tend to form in silence, neglect and just going along with whatever is and whatever happens. While you cannot control what the other parties do or bring to the table, you have to make sure your end is secured on communication, shared values, and boundaries.
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