Most people fall on one side or the other of the codependent system. Which side are you on?
When we are coming from our ego wounded self, we tend to be either a taker or a caretaker in relationships. While we can go back and forth between these two sides of the codependent system, most of us tend to be more one than the other.
We are being takers when we expect others to give themselves up for us to make us happy, fill our emptiness, validate us, pay attention to us, approve of us and take responsibility for our pain. When we are being a taker, handing responsibility for our feelings to another person. Sometimes takers appear to be giving, but along with the giving they are expecting the other person to take responsibility for their pain and joy.
We are being caretakers when we ignore our own feelings and instead take responsibility for another's pain and joy. Instead of taking responsibility for our own wellbeing, we ignore our own feelings and instead take care of the others feelings. Caretakers believe that if they are loving enough to the other person, the other person will be loving to him or her. Caretakers have a hard time spotting takers. They tend to think that others are like them and are often shocked and hurt when this is not true.
Takers and caretakers have a way of finding each other. Takers easily spot other takers and often don't like them. They like caretakers. Caretakers often enjoy other caretakers, but since takers are often charismatic people and pursue caretakers, the chemistry between takers and caretakers can be more intense than between two caretakers.
Takers and caretakers are two sides of the same coin — both are abandoning themselves. Neither is taking loving care of themselves around others. Caretakers generally take care of themselves when they are alone, but abandon themselves when with others who are takers. Takers abandon themselves both when alone and with others. They often have a hard time being alone, and may fill up with work, TV, food and other substance or process addictions when alone.
Both takers and caretakers have the same challenge — learning how to take loving care of themselves. Neither has a loving adult self when they are operating as a taker or caretaker.
Takers believe that others should be their source of love, happiness and fun, and that others not doing this is the cause of their pain. They believe that others can love them better than they can love themselves. They do not believe that receiving love from a spiritual source — the true Source of love — can ever fill them as much as another person's love. They don't realize that the source of their pain is their self-abandonment, and they don't want to accept that others ultimately don't want the responsibility for the taker's wellbeing.
Caretakers believe that they are selfish if they take care of themselves instead of care-take others. They believe that they do not deserve to take care of themselves — that they have to earn love. It's not that they don't know how to love themselves — it's that they don't believe that they have the right to love themselves unless they are alone and no one needs them.
Caretaker and takers come together because both have much to learn with each other.
Relationships between takers and caretakers have the necessary juice to stimulate growth in both, provided both people see this charged arena as a great gift. Often, takers see what caretakers are doing in their wounded selves, and caretakers see what takers are doing in their wounded selves, but neither sees themselves clearly. If takers and caretakers move into a devoted intent to learn about themselves with each other, they can discover the jewels that each has to offer the other. Whether the relationship is a friendship or a partnership, takers and caretakers have so much to learn from each other.
If your relationship with a friend or partner is volatile, consider that one of you may be a taker and the other a caretaker. Open to the possibility of learning about yourselves with each other. The rewards of this commitment to learning with each other are so great! Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity that life has offered you!
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.