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.