Does your relationship exhaust you?
Maybe you’re exhausted because your partner is a bottomless pit of need. They constantly need attention, approval, and validation from you.
If you ignore them, they try to make you feel guilty, or accuse you of not caring. Then you’re compelled to reassure them that you do, in fact, love and care about them.
They’re always talking about themselves, too—what happened to them that day, what they’re upset about, how irked they are at some perceived insult. You get worn out listening to them.
When you try to talk about things YOU care about, they often get a distant look on their face or seem impatient. It’s as if they’re just biding their time until they can talk again. Or, they interrupt you constantly, interjecting their opinion and advice.
You find yourself ignoring your own needs and feelings, doing whatever you can to keep the peace and make them happy.
It never seems to be enough!
You may love your partner, but you’re starting to feel as if you’re losing yourself in this relationship.
It’s as if you don’t matter, and what they think and feel are ALL that matters.
You often feel angry, resentful, unloved, unseen, and misunderstood…
If you relate to the dynamic I illustrated above, then you may be in love with a taker.
Takers are people who tend to have an excessive need for attention and admiration.
The taker uses overt forms of control such as guilt, anger, or blame to get the love, attention, and approval from others they so desperately need. They won’t self-reflect or admit any wrong-doing on their own part. If they’re not getting what they need, it’s YOUR fault.
Takers will say things like:
“If only you had answered your phone this afternoon, you would have known why I’m so upset right now.”
“I wouldn’t have been flirting with that person if you had made more of an effort to look attractive for me.”
In a relationship, takers operate from the belief that, “You are responsible for my feelings of pain and joy. It is your job to make sure that I am okay.”
They are good at using emotional drama to get attention, too. They’ll start fights or explode with rage when they sense you’re being critical of them.
If your partner displays these tendencies, you may admit—your relationship can be rocky at times. But when things are going well, your partner is loving and happy and you feel needed and wanted. You like that.
You consider yourself a nice, loving person who is usually very good at tuning into people’s moods and giving them what they need. You’re the opposite of selfish. In fact, one of your hidden fears is being thought of as selfish. Therefore, you’ll often sacrifice your own wellbeing in order to make your partner happy.
You’re a caretaker.
And if that’s the case, it’s no accident that you’ve fallen for a taker. Caretakers and takers often end up in a relationship with each other.
They form what I call a “relationship system.”More About Relationship Systems
That means that regardless of the particular problems in your relationship, both of you are creating the problem AND keeping it alive. Each of you are playing a part in a finely orchestrated dance, as dysfunctional (or exhausting) as it may feel.
But why exactly is it so dysfunctional? Why are you often so resentful, angry, unappreciated, and misunderstood?
It’s because of the one main similarity between takers and caretakers.
Here’s an interesting observation you can make: whenever you start to feel resentful or unappreciated in a relationship, it is because you are expecting the other person to give you what you are not giving yourself.
You expect your taker partner to understand you and value you, but you’re not understanding or valuing yourself.
You expect them to “see” you and acknowledge your feelings, but you’re not acknowledging your feelings so much of the time.
You complain that they don’t give you want you need, but you’re not giving YOURSELF what you need.
This is the caretaker-taker relationship system. You are both upset at each other when you treat each other the way you treat yourselves.
In other words, takers and caretakers are two sides of the same coin—both are “abandoning” themselves. That’s how they’re similar. They are not acknowledging their needs nor giving themselves the love, attention, and appreciation they want.
Why do they abandon themselves? Because both takers and caretakers have a core belief of, “I’m not good enough.”
Due to our early childhood experiences, each of us at some point concluded that we are not good enough, that we have no intrinsic worth, that we are flawed, defective, and unimportant.
Once we drew this subconscious conclusion, then we also decided, again subconsciously, how we were going to go about feeling worthy. Those of us who became caretakers decided that, “If I put myself aside and take care of others and others see me as good, then I’m okay.”
Those of us who became takers decided that, “If I can get others to love me, attend to me, approve of me, and see me as special and important to them, then I’m okay.”
Both takers and caretakers become addicted to others defining their worth, they just do it differently. caretakers often see themselves as loving because they are trying to get defined as good and worthy by being “nice”—by giving themselves up and caring about others to the exclusion of themselves.
Takers tend to see themselves as entitled to get what they want from others. They tend to have a “what about me” attitude and can even get violent when they don’t get what they want or what they think they deserve.
Both takers and caretakers come from fear rather than love. Both are out of balance. Both end up feeling like victims when they don’t get what they want.
Caretakers and takers set up a codependent system where the caretaker gives the taker what the taker seemingly wants. As long as the caretaker does it “right,” things may seem okay, unless the taker has periodic episodes of rage.
But at some point, caretakers may feel drained and unhappy because they are not getting back the hoped-for love and validation. At this point caretakers might feel angry, betrayed, and trapped. “Look at all I’ve given to you and this is what I get!”
Maybe you’re at the point now that you may realize that this relationship system isn’t serving you or your needs. It’s possible your partner feels the same way.
Unless you both can trust your inner guidance regarding the truth about your goodness and worth, and stop subconsciously looking for it from outside yourself, you’ll get stuck in the taker-caretaker dynamic again and again.
That means that you’ll either continue to feel exhausted in this relationship, or you’ll split up and then subconsciously attract the same sort of relationship in the future, unless you can find a way to heal from the inside out and find the endless source of love—within yourself.
Whether the relationship is a friendship, or a partnership, caretakers and takers come together because both have much to learn with each other.
What is it that you’re expecting from your partner that you’re not giving yourself?
But more importantly, how can you give yourself the consideration, care, and understanding that you so long for from your partner?
That’s what you’ll learn to do in my 30-day program, Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love.
In this program, you’ll learn all about my Inner Bonding process, which will show you how to value yourself and acknowledge your feelings, stay centered, remain reliably loving with yourself and others, not lose yourself in relationship, and how to be immune to criticism and judgment.
This is a process that is most helpful when BOTH takers and caretakers engage, because of the special dynamic in this dysfunctional relationship system. When a taker learns how to tap into their higher power, and therefore, have endless access to an inner well of validation and love, they can begin to be more outwardly-focused and empathic.
Without this shift from the outer (you) to the inner (themselves), a taker is less likely to ever change. The Inner Bonding process within my 30-day program can help them with this shift.
You’ll also learn more about the taker-caretaker dynamic on day 9 of the program, including:
You can start the Inner Bonding process right away, along with day 1 of the 30-day program here:Start the Process
Difficult relationships can stimulate self-reflection and growth more intensely and quickly than relationships that don’t have as many challenges. In that sense, you can look at your relationship as less of an adversity, and more of a great gift that can help you see yourself clearer.
And that insight can open up all sort of possibilities for you.
P.S. Are you in a codependent relationship? Here are two signs: you often feel responsible for your partner’s feelings, and you need your partner’s love and approval in order to feel a sense of overall well-being and worth.
If your codependent relationship causes you distress you have to know that nothing will change unless you can learn to take responsibility for your own feelings. My 30-day program will help you do that, starting with my powerful Inner Bonding process. Learn all about it here:End Codependence