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Friday, September 13, 2013

Givers, Takers, and Other Kinds of People

FOR MY WAY of thinking, there are four kinds of people in this world: of two forms, the giver and the taker, there are two forms of each: the emotionally healthy and the emotionally hurt. So, that means, broadly speaking there are these four kinds of people:
1.       the Emotionally Healthy Giver
2.      the Emotionally Healthy Taker
3.      the Emotionally Hurt Giver
4.      the Emotionally Hurt Taker
Giver: someone who is characterised by a natural desire to give their time, effort, and resources.
Taker: someone who is characterised by a natural desire to receive from others in favour of giving.
Let’s contrast these four kinds of people to determine what’s most desirable.
1.      the Emotionally Healthy Giver
It’s obvious that this is the most desirable person to be, as well as being the best (safest) person to interact with. They give with absolutely no strings attached. They don’t need kudos, but they see where it’s due and ensure they give plenty of feedback and praise; they encourage others. Their giving is done with proper motive, imaginatively, and without hesitation or regret. To be characterised as an emotionally healthy giver is probably the greatest relational compliment. A designation from attachment theory would suggest this person is securely adjusted to his/her world.
2.     the Emotionally Healthy Taker
These people are fun to be around when it’s all smooth sailing, but when the winds of adversity beat on bow of the boat – and there’s something unsavoury to deal with – they may quickly go off in search for something more positive. They sow into relationships, but only to a point, because there’s a selfish motive underpinning their method. Of all people who should be wary of the emotionally healthy taker it’s the next category of person – the emotionally hurt giver. The attachment pattern represented, here, is avoidant.
3.     the Emotionally Hurt Giver
The emotionally hurt giver is hurt, again, when their giving is not appreciated – and the taker is the past-master of taking without gratitude or even taking whilst criticising. These two are on a collision course and conflict is only a stretch of time away. If they get too damaged, emotionally hurt givers can become emotionally hurt takers, having given up on the worth and use of giving when they continually stand to be hurt. But this person wants to give; they just also need to be appreciated for their giving. They fit suitably in the mould ambivalent/resistant or have an anxious pattern of attachment.
4.     the Emotionally Hurt Taker
This person is so easily maligned. They are damaged goods. They may love you one minute, despise you the next. So far as attachment theory is concerned, this person behaves consistently with the disorganised pattern. If we are an emotionally hurt taker, we have learned that hardly anyone can be trusted; the world is a dark and dangerous place. It seems obvious that those who have been abused and neglected as children may battle to overcome this pattern, for those they had to trust continually violated them.
Giving is better than taking and emotional health is better than emotional hurt. So the emotionally healthy giver – who gives without hesitation or regret – and keeps on giving – is blessed. It’s best that people who are natural givers learn that there are many takers – yes, even in the Christian world – and, in resetting their expectations, they will simply understand it’s just more blessed to give than receive.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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