Halloween has slithered by and National Geographic gave us an article in its November, 2014 issue that is creepier than finding a worm in your gummy worms. “Real Zombies” provides a look into the world of organisms that inhabit other living things and take over their behavior, making the host into a living zombie. Believe me this is not good bedtime reading.
The Plasmodium is the organism that causes Malaria in humans. This little guy needs to develop in the body of a mosquito where it lives until it grows up. During this time, it doesn’t want the mosquito to take too many risks so it makes the mosquito blood shy. This is not good for the mosquito but reduces the likelihood of the insect being killed.
Once the Plasmodium is mature, it wants a human host. It makes the mosquito so hungry that it gets foolhardy in the way it goes after food, increasing the chance that Plasmodium will end up in a human.
Does Plasmodium remind you of anyone you know?
There are people that manipulate others into meeting their needs without regard to the other’s welfare. These people are often charming, charismatic, likable. Yet after an encounter with them, you feel drained, like you have been used or conned; something doesn’t feel right.
Some of the ways such people use others are:
• Being nice as long as you do what they want
• Doing one favor for you and getting three in return
• Giving you a sense that it’s a privilege to have them as a friend, lover, business associate.
• Making their problems appear more important than yours
• Peddling guilt
Whenever they are called out for these behaviors, they protest that they are misunderstood.
Some studies suggest that such self-centered behavior is becoming increasingly common in our culture. Vampires in classic literature are seen as demons that prey on the living. Today we have glamorized them into a misunderstood minority that just wants to be loved for who they are.
Are you one of those people that allow yourself to be taken advantage of only to end up feeling like a victim? Being willing to trust means we will get conned from time to time but none of us have to volunteer for it.
The mosquito probably has no awareness of what is happening to it. We do.
Less than Helpful Advice
If you believe you are in a one-sided relationship whether it’s a lover, friend, co-worker, try giving a little less and asking a little more. If the other person cares about you, they will take this in stride. If what you get it is push-back or distancing (they suddenly don’t have time for you), well, maybe you are better off.