What It Is Wednesday: Givers and Takers



It’s my nature to be a Giver.  I can’t change that. I’ve tried–short spats of disillusioned refusal to give one more inch, in an effort to draw boundaries and protect myself from giving too much.

I’m a recovering co-dependent, and that’s the best I can hope for:  to find positive ways to channel that early personality trait ingrained in me from toddlerhood in an effort to please Daddy enough that he didn’t pick up a stick and break it on my tiny legs.   A big part of my identity is in helping other people, giving and supporting them, nurturing them, helping them to reach a happy and harmonious outcome.

There is a sometimes disconcerting level of enjoyment that comes with giving, as if there’s something wrong with me for being willing to sacrifice for others.  But I contend that the only way anyone of our species can overcome the natural instinct for personal survival is to find great psychological benefit in being a Giver rather than a Taker.

As a Giver, I tend to attract Takers into my life.  Seems to be plenty of those.  It’s hard to be with a Taker.  They usually don’t recognize the sacrifice of a Giver, let alone acknowledge it and certainly not appreciate it.  They trample all over boundaries and, too often, a Giver has to end a relationship rather than keep erecting boundaries and enforcing them on a daily basis.

But you know what’s harder than being a Giver paired up in a relationship with a Taker–whether it is a romantic relationship, platonic, familial, or business?  It’s a Giver paired up with another Giver.

We don’t know what to do, so we do our usual.  We give, just as we do with Takers.

Givers have a hard time being given to.   We’re not used to it.  We don’t expect it.  And often we cannot accept it.  We have an even harder time asking for help or support.  It’s so much easier being the one doing the giving.   And though Givers who are recipients may appreciate the gift with the truest understanding of the sacrifice, to the point of tears, a Giver will still have a hard time accepting their due.

For the Giver who is giving to another Giver, the rejection of the gift or the inability of the other to accept it is almost hurtful.  Being able to give is such a joy and being able to take is sometimes such a hardship.

We are so often preached to, a race of Takers that we tend to be, that we should be more charitable.  But this is not something that needs to be taught to the Giver.  In fact, a  Giver needs to be told the opposite.  Instead of “Give!  Give!  Give!” a Giver needs to be told to set boundaries, don’t give yourself away until there’s nothing left.

We’re preached to from childhood that it is more blessed to give than to receive, something every Giver-soul already knows.

But who will teach us to be Takers?

Who will look at us for what we are and not urge us to give more but rather tell us who so seldom do that it’s okay to take, to accept, to allow the few Givers we attract into our lives the joy of giving to us?


Back in January 2005, I started blogging regularly at a LiveJournal site called SuperGirl@40 as part of my personal therapy to work through healing from a failed marriage…and then suddenly working through all the other crap in my life from  childhood.  It was a significant part of my healing journey and I shared raw emotions and “dauntless reality” with others in a small circle of new friends who were also dealing with healing from long ago  and recent traumas.   It was a fairly private blog–well, that privacy  lasted until one of my kids mentioned it to an ex-inlaw and then I took a deep breath and watched it go public very quickly.  I still write in that raw and profound way I’m known for but having healed so many of my early and frequent wounds, I don’t really write the heavy, raw, vulnerabilities like I used to.  I’m committing here to bringing that back, in case you wonder if it ever really left.  That means committing to putting the big, scary stuff out there.

The above  post is my contribution to this week’s edition of a blog hop started by Kelley Harrell of Soul Intent Arts called “What It Is Wednesday,” which gives bloggers a chance to dauntlessly tell it like it is. You can view the inaugural post to learn more about joining in or just to read other blogs in the hop.