Fundamentally, when dealing with the human psyche there are three groups that present themselves. Givers
: people who work intensely hard and support their fellow man, have a very strong ethical philosophy, and morality, and are willing to do everything for their fellow human being. Takers
: individuals who have a very parasitic lifestyle. People who take, to meet their own needs and ambitions and they are completely amoral. These self-serving individuals will leave nothing but destruction in their wake, especially when they get what they want. These individuals love givers, because they will find them, and just keep taking, more and more time, effort, money, emotion and physical energy. I suppose the first two are very common in life, as they quite readily identify through personal experiences, workplaces, and general interactions that you may have with friends and family. The co-operators
: this group is a fine balance between the two, primarily, they are people who are willing to help, but they will ask for a fair trade in return. These individuals work well with givers and will thrive when placed in a situation where there is mutual benefit. Co-operators, however, do not work well with takers. A co-operator will always presume someone is a giver, however, when a taker has been identified the reaction is one of adversity. A co-operator will completely shut down any interaction with the taker, thereby ensuring that they are protected from parasitic interactions. The difficulty with a co-operator, from the perspective of the giver, is in a particular mind, there is a striking similarity between the co-operators and the takers. This is usually because when a taker is attempting to get what they want, they may be aggressive, direct, and bullying in their quest for power and control. A co-operator will sometimes use similar direct language, and other takers-like behaviours to communicate the fact that they will not take any form of shenanigans when dealing with any individual. This can often be perceived as aggression, or some other undesirable behaviour by the giver and therefore they find it difficult to interact with people who present similar characteristics to individuals who found them in the past.
How to spot the difference between a co-operator and a taker? The Co-operator
will present with the following characteristics: direct, firm, fair, have their own perspective which is not clouded by self-interest, is a person that will take no shenanigans from no one, will assist you when you need and will encourage an equal sharing of give-and-take in the relationship. The Taker
: This individual will be very charming from the outset, very strong and intense in both positive and negative emotion towards you, will constantly make them the focus of your attention, and likely to play mind games and other forms of emotional control such as exploiting guilt, feigning weakness and other empathetic natures of givers, a one-way relationship: everything good goes their way, their ambitions and self-interest are paramount. Alas, I cannot assist takers. I do empathise with them, in the sense that they have only been made into takers by example from another taker, abuse both physical and mental, domestic violence, or some other tragedy within their lives where these individuals saw the only way to get out of it was to fight their way out of it. It does not, however, mean we should fall victim to predatory behaviour, after all, as well as Carpe Diem (seize the day) the Romans also came up with the phrase quid pro quo (something for something). Perhaps we should start exploring the latter alongside Carpe Diem for a more balanced and fair society that promotes good mental health. When we examine this in terms of addiction it is an addiction which changes our state of mind. If you imagine a giver who was then exposed to something like alcohol, video game, drug or any form of addiction, the addiction starts doing the talking
. This is when a giver will change behaviour into a taker, because of the simple fact the addiction of choice sustains the individual’s needs, and even though these emotional needs may be a comfort or something which is beneficial to the individual, the way of securing those means is very taker like. This makes people feel insecure because it turns what may have been a very honest individual into someone who might now be turning into a frequent flyer, displaying a disregard for other pupils in relationships such as wives, children's other families etc. This can be very painful to watch, and even more painful to experience for all parties concerned. What therapy aims to do in whatever form you decide to take it up is to re-address the balance. It takes us from a state of being a temporary taker, presents those unacceptable forms of behaviour, addresses them, and reminds us of our giver-like tendencies. The idea is that the individual in therapy will become more balanced in terms of their emotional state, be ever more reflective upon their own behaviour, taking other perspectives to allow them to see the best course of action for them. There is no guarantee in any form of therapy that you will gain the results that you are after. However, if you are committed, if you are really 100% dedicated to shedding the addictive personality, and breaking free from the taker-like traits you can find your own personal renaissance. This enlightenment will not come easily, and there will be tears, there will be struggles as you begin to face yourself, but they will also be joy, liberation, and reconnection, and that can be just as strong as any high that you can gain from any addiction. I wish you the best of luck in finding your own personal renaissance in your quest for better mental health. Brian Turner