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All Take and No Give

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"You're like a sponge! You take, take, take, and drain others of their love and emotion!"

In order for a relationship to work, each party must put effort into the relationship, and they must appreciate the results. Sometimes, one party has to put more effort in than the other, while in other situations, it's evenly spread. Of course, it can also become a very sick relationship when it's All Take And No Give. This trope comes in two flavors with a middle ground.

In the first variant, the Taker knows the Giver is insecure and wants to feel needed and wanted, so they manipulate and extort the Giver into giving them what they want in exchange for morsels of affection. These relationships are typically led by a domineering Bratty Half-Pint, a more sinister Fantasy-Forbidding Father, or Clingy Jealous Girl over an Extreme Doormat.

The other variant is a bit more disturbing. Rather than the Taker being in charge, it's the Giver who is in control. It's not that they're pathologically compelled to generosity, but a deep desire to control and even own the Taker... so they work to make them completely psychologically and physically dependent, and may, in fact, cripple their ability to do some (or all) things. This is the hallmark of My Beloved Smother, who may impair or delay their child's growth to keep them dependent. If romantic, the Giver may be a Stalker with a Crush or a Yandere who has managed to start a relationship with their target and then proceeded to demolish their self-esteem in the guise of "helping" them. Expect them to say "I did it all for you", and justify alienating the Taker from past friends because "They Were Holding You Back." If the Taker should realize this and work up the resolve to break the cycle, the Giver will not be pleased.

The middle ground is akin to The Masochism Tango, both the Giver and the Taker are in a deeply co-dependent relationship they can't break out of. Maybe they're a Meal Ticket and a shop-happy floozy, a parent who can't stand to say "no" and an emotionally needy Spoiled Brat, or an indulgent monarch raising a Royal Brat. In all variations, both participants will be unwilling or unable to leave, change or even identify the relationship.

While in many cases, one party taking advantage of the other is intentional, this sort of relationship, particularly the one in which the Giver is dominant, can happen by accident. In those cases, one party may not realize that their well-intentioned "gifts" are not good for the other, while the other may be uncomfortable with the arrangement but lack the courage to challenge the status quo.

Expect the Giver to say a variation of "I give and I give, and you take and you take" with one of two possible inflections, feigned suffering meant to guilt-trip the Taker, or resigned exasperation as they once again give in.

Compare Taking Advantage of Generosity (although that doesn't require a couple). Contrast Ignored Enamored Underling and Unrequited Love Tropes in general, which are akin to "All Give And No Take".


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    Comic Books 
  • Donald Duck is often the Giver in his relationships with both his girlfriend Daisy and his uncle/employer Scrooge. This is the inciting incident in the Don Rosa story "The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros", where Huey, Dewey, and Louie notice how this setup is negatively affecting their Uncle Donald, so they reconnect him with his old friends Panchito Pistoles and José Carioca, who actually appreciate and acknowledge his heroic actions, which helps him get through a recent funk.
  • Harley Quinn is like this to her beloved, The Joker. She helps him with all his plans, breaks him out of Arkham over and over again, and always comes back to him. Depending on the Writer, The Joker may give her nothing more in return than tolerance, or a bullet to the heart.
  • Daredevil descended into this at the end of his relationship with Heather Glenn. Still stricken by the death of his ex-lover Elektra, he deliberately let the company Heather had inherited be destroyed to make sure that she would have nothing in her life but him, and thus couldn't leave him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Coraline had the Other Mother as a giver, and the previous ghost children (and Coraline, for a bit) as takers. But then again, the relationship could switch around with the Other Mother as the taker, needing love and the souls from the children, who would give it to her unwillingly or unknowingly.
  • Tangled: Gothel does this to Rapunzel, both the Taker for the hair, and the Giver to keep her helpless and secure.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Veruca Salt and her father in this relationship.
  • Succinctly diagnosed in Citizen Kane when Kane's estranged friend Jed Leland explains why Charles Foster Kane died alone and friendless, both of his wives having left him. It's also alluded to in the end when Susan rejects Kane's appeal and leaves him for good after he says "You can't do this to me."
    Leland: That's all he ever wanted out of life...was love. That's the tragedy of Charles Foster Kane. You see, he just didn't have any to give.
  • Throughout the Meet the Parents trilogy, Jack Byrnes' Fatal Flaw (other than rampant paranoia, especially towards his son-in-law Greg) is that it's impossible for him to be open to his family, in either an emotional or a factual way, and yet he demands them to be completely open to him.
  • MirrorMask has the dark counterparts to Helena and her mom, the Princess and Queen of Shadows. The princess was all take, a needy and rebellious girl who ran away, stole the mirror mask and started destroying the paper world. The Queen was all give, controlling, smothering, and at one point even brainwashing Helena into acting like a doll daughter. Neil Gaiman may have a thing for this trope.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Rotti says this to Amber when she asks him for more surgery. He refuses at first, but one look at her botched face job has him change his mind.
  • Columbia to Frank in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In the end, though, she does finally call him out on his behavior and ultimately refuses to cooperate with him in the film's climax.
  • Lifetime Movies often portray marriage that way with a selfish, abusive and ungrateful husband and a loving, faithful, ever-suffering wife who just endures the selfishness and Jerkassery of her spouse.
  • In Don Jon, both leads are guilty of this in varying degrees. Jon gets better about it; Barbara doesn't.
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Queenie Goldstein discovers Newt Scamander's relationship with Leta Lestrange by reading his mind, and how it didn't work out.
    Queenie: She was a taker. You need a giver.
  • In Looper, Old Joe accuses his younger self of being this to his (their?) future wife, saying that he’ll just soak her love up like a sponge and not understand how much he owes her until she’s gone.

  • The Secret History provides a perfect example of the first variant, with Charles as the Taker and Francis as the Giver.
  • This is basically The Giving Tree in a nutshell, plus some Glurge. The titular tree gives a boy she loves her apples, branches, and even her trunk even as the boy grows up and abandons it. In the end, the tree is happy even though it's now a stump because the boy, now an old man, finally came back to it to ask to sit on it.
    • The Taking Tree, a parody of the above book, inverts the tree-boy relationship dynamic: the boy is a selfish jerk who takes everything he can from the hapless tree until the tree finally gets fed up and calls the cops on him. After the boy grows up, he comes back to cut down the tree in revenge only for the tree to fall on him and crush him to death.
  • In Stephen King's The Stand, his own mother calls Larry Underwood a "taker", which comes back to haunt him many times.
    • To put it in the words of his friend Wayne Stukey, there's "something in [Larry] that's like biting on tinfoil."
    • Nadine Cross, in contrast, is a Giver who, in her own words, needs to be needed. She has a breakdown when the nearly feral boy "Joe" she has been protecting suddenly regains his old identity "Leo Rockway" after meeting Mother Abigail. After Larry rejects Nadine in favor of his current love interest Lucy, Nadine does a Face–Heel Turn and goes to the one person she thinks still needs her: Randall Flagg. She realizes far too late that this is a huge mistake.
  • And another Stephen King example: In It, Eddie and his mother (in the past) and Eddie and his wife (in the book's present) both come off as the second variety, with the woman as the domineering Giver and Eddie as the Taker who is being controlled.
  • In Atlas Shrugged, Hank Rearden's idle family live off his success and insult him for it at the same time. An even more explicit version of the second type is railroad executive James Taggart's marriage to Cherryl Brooks; his lifting her out of her life as a dime-store worker left her as a Fish out of Water unable to cope in her husband's social circle and dependent on him for everything — and that's just what he wanted. Cherryl Goes Mad From The Revelation when she realizes this; James does the same when he can't hide from his motivation any longer.
  • In one lesser-known story by German author Janosch about a donkey falling in love with an owl. (With the donkey being the giver, and the owl being the taker.) Does he want to suggest that men in love should act like that?!
  • In Song of Solomon, both Hagar and Ruth would do anything for Milkman, needing him to keep on living. Milkman never cared for them apart from what they could give him. Also, Macon Jr. provided the family's income, keeping the family in luxury and completely dependent on him.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, there's the implication that Ginny's relationship with Tom Riddle was the second variant, obviously with Riddle as the manipulative Giver of his companionship and Ginny as the controlled Taker. Of course, it goes the other way as well. As Ginny eagerly poured out her heart and soul to Tom Riddle, he fed off of it to the point where he had sucked nearly all of the life out of her.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix a grieving Cho forces her friend Marietta to accompany her to the Hog's Head and later to D.A. meetings where she is obviously uncomfortable and is hinted to not completely believe Harry since she is concerned by things her Ministry working mother says and ultimately does not take a resistance movement organized to prepare them to fight Voldemort as seriously as her discomfort with breaking the rules.
  • C. S. Lewis used this trope a lot.
    • In The Four Loves, he cites Mrs. Fidget, whose endless housework on behalf of her family left them miserable, and how some women live their lives up to the verge of old age in endless service to a maternal vampire.
    • In The Great Divorce, one damned soul is a woman who wants to give everything to her son as long as he's under her control, and another damned soul is not happy as long as his wife could be happy without him.
    • In The Screwtape Letters, the last letter, after Wormwood's failure, is addressed in the most affectionate terms, looking forward to devouring him.
    • In Till We Have Faces, Orual wants Psyche to be happy — as long as Orual and only Orual is the one to make her happy. Otherwise, she must be made miserable. She ultimately realizes it by the end.
    • The Last Battle has Shift and Puzzle. The narrator sums it up at the very beginning of the book: "At least they both said they were friends, but from the way things went on you might have thought Puzzle was more like Shift's servant than his friend."
  • In Alma Katsu's The Taker, Lanny is the Giver and Jonathan is the Taker. A sort of mix between the two types: Lanny will do anything for Jonathan, no matter the cost or risk to herself - including a few things he would not have wanted her to do for him, had she bothered to ask him.
  • Most of Julia's relationships in The Mark of the Lion trilogy tend towards this, as Julia morphs from a sweet girl into a disillusioned, Love Hungry Rich Bitch.
  • Star Wars Legends reveals this to be the case for the H'nemthe species, as covered in passing in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. Due to the fact that there are 20 males for every female of the species, males literally give their females everything. Up to and including their lives: H'nemthe females have elongated, razor-sharp tongues that they use to eviscerate the males after sex, whereupon they devour the corpse. Virgin females are vegetarians up until they lose their virginity — whereupon they also lose their "vegetarian virginity" as well.
  • Jane Austen:
    • Lydia Bennet of Pride and Prejudice demands attention all the time, appropriates her sister Kitty's clothing at will, and never thinks that she should do anything for anyone else. Really, the scene where she tells Jane and Elizabeth "We're treating you to lunch, but you have to lend us the money because we've already spent ours" says it all.
    • Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park uses up so much of his dad's money that his dad is forced to give the church living he'd intended for his younger son to a different man so as to clear the debt. Tom is extremely annoyed at all the fuss being made over it. (He smartens up after a particularly wild night sends him into a nearly fatal illness for weeks, and all of his hundred or more "particular friends" ditch him.)
    • Mr. Elliot of Persuasion is quite a sinister version. He married his first wife for money, and though she loved him, he was callous and cold to her after the wedding and she died a very unhappy woman. He was as close as family to his good friends the Smiths — encouraging them to spend far past their means to keep him in style, and then abandoning them when they went broke. He doesn't so much as twitch a finger to help Mrs. Smith get an inheritance she's legally entitled to, not because he's claiming it but because he can't be bothered.
  • A major point in The Robots of Dawn. Gladia has been raised on Solaria, a Sex Is Evil planet. She never had an orgasm, because there was no Giver and no Taker. Later, she emigrated to Aurora, a Free-Love Future planet, but the problem persisted because, with the free attitude, there was once again neither Giver nor Taker. Then, she was given a Ridiculously Human Robot and did manage to have an orgasm, but she was only a Taker because a robot cannot Take. And then, she had sex with Baley when he was near-unconscious with exhaustion, to experience the role of a Giver. Considering she then married an Auroran and lived with him for over a century, it can be assumed all this gave her the proper perspective.
  • The poem Bitten by the Snake implies this sort of relationship, where the titular snake is the taker and the mouse was the giver, the latter realizing this fully upon being bitten. She's implied to turn out better for it.
  • Mostly Dead Things: Brynn treated Milo and Jessa this way and both suffered as a result.
  • Rabbit at Rest: Harry, or at least he's accused of this by Thelma's husband Ronnie. Harry and Thelma had an affair for years, and Ronnie says that what really bothers him was not that Harry was bonking his wife, but that Thelma loved Harry and he didn't really care about her outside of the sex. A defiant Harry says that Thelma was "a fantastic lay."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sheldon Cooper is a Taker with all his friends being the Givers, expecting others to succumb to his every whim, from what they eat each day to driving him around no matter how it might inconvenience others, and only does things for others when he literally has no other choice. On the other hand, he does have his Pet the Dog moments. note 
    • Because Leonard is a chronic enabler, he is the Giver in this sort of relationship with several characters, be it Sheldon, Penny or even his own mother Beverly.
  • The Boys (2019): Butcher's relationship with the rest of the team is this to a tee. While deep down he respects them (sort of), he leads the team with an iron fist and prioritizes his goals and wants over those of the others and expects them to be okay with it even to the point that he left the others to the mercy of Vought to go after Homelander in season one and immediately tried to sell Kimiko's brother out in season two. This comes to a head in season 3 when this exact behavior ruins his relationship with both Frenchie and Marvin.
    Kimiko (though text): "I'm not your fucking gun".
    Butcher: "That is exactly what you are. In case any of you have forgotten how this works, when I tell you to do something, you fucking do it".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike and Buffy's "relationship" in season 6, with Buffy as Taker and Spike as Giver. They seem caught between the two types - he puts up with truly ridiculous amounts of abuse from her due to obsessive love, yet is constantly trying to drag her into the darkness. This may be Laser-Guided Karma for Spike's earlier relationship with Harmony, whose final speech to him is roughly "I thought if I gave and gave and gave you'd come around. Maybe be a little nicer, instead of treating me like your dog. But then I realized you're the dog."
  • In Coronation Street, Mavis Riley and Derek Wilton's on-and-off relationship is like this, where Derek is the taker and Mavis is the giver. It seems to be a middle ground, where Derek is obliviously taking Mavis for granted and Mavis feels compelled to help him because she keeps fooling herself into thinking he'll change.
  • The Barone family are a seemingly dysfunctional example of this dynamic in Everybody Loves Raymond. Matriarch Marie Barone controls her adult family by seemingly eternal giving — of food, comforts, domestic help — which serves to keep her husband and sons as dependent man-children who are forever bound to her in a web of obligation. She also uses her giving streak to minimize and diminish her two daughters-in-law. But neither her husband nor her sons can resist taking.
  • Fans of Gossip Girl often complain about how Nate and Chuck's friendship is like this, ironically with Nate being the taker and Chuck the giver. Chuck will always bend over backwards to help Nate while Nate had to be forced by Blair to help get Chuck off the barstool and attend his father's funeral. And that's still one of Nate's best displays of friendship. Nate is also the Taker to Blair's Giver when they're together.
  • House and Wilson are a little unusual, since their relationship, while strange and disturbing, actually seems to work for both of them — House's selfishness has prevented him from having any other friends, and while Wilson keeps embracing vulnerable people and nursing them towards mental health and self-confidence, he invariably loses all interest in them once they no longer need him to take care of them. House, by contrast, is a bottomless pit of need; no matter how much Wilson (or anyone else) gives, it's never enough. The only person who could put up with the ultimate Giver in the long run is the ultimate Taker, and vice versa.
  • House of Anubis:
    • Many fans have accused Nina and Fabian's relationship to be like this, with Fabian putting in much more of the effort AND doing many dangerous things for Nina and sometimes not even getting so much of a thank you in return. Eventually averted, however, with Nina putting on the mask of Anubis, willing to go to the Egyptian afterlife to spare her friends and her Grandmother from being cursed any longer.
    • Amber and Alfie's relationship at the beginning of season 2 was also like this.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt's romantic relationship overwhelmingly takes place on Lestat's terms. Louis turns into a vampire for Lestat, losing his life and his ties with his family. He moves into Lestat's house. He disengages from his Catholic faith. He tries to be a vampire after Lestat's model despite having a private distaste for it. The closest thing to a counter-example is the decision to adopt Claudia — something Louis wanted and Lestat did not. But even then, the impetus for it to actually happen — Lestat doing the turning — happened per Lestat's decision. Lestat would claim that even with all of Louis' sacrifices, he still ultimately suffered more in the relationship because he loved Louis more than he was loved in return.
  • Al Bundy's family is like this on Married... with Children, doing very little to contribute to the household and whining whenever they don't get their way. Peggy is the worst one. Whereas the kids eventually get jobs and start paying their own way, what she contributes to the relationship is questionable, given that she refuses to get a job, cook or clean the house, and constantly spends Al's money on useless junk and Bon Bons. Peg justifies this by claiming that she does serve a function: boosting Al's ego as the sole breadwinner. How much Peg is right is up to debate, but an early episode did have Peg get a job. Al became almost as miserable as Peg was because he actually liked having her around and he enjoyed complaining about her freeloading.
  • The Office (US) has an unusual example with Andy and Angela's relationship. At first, Andy is an insensitive Dogged Nice Guy to her, continuing to pursue her long after she's made it obvious that she isn't interested. And then she agrees to go out with him. The relationship continues very much in this vein: Andy going out of his way to woo Angela and lavishing her with affection while she coldly portions out tiny morsels of affection in between terse scoldings. It's not even clear to onlookers why Angela agreed to date him at all as she really doesn't seem to like him, but depressingly, Andy seems entirely (or at the least selectively) oblivious to her complete lack of fond feelings for him and too much of an Extreme Doormat to ever question her rulings.
  • Ann and Andy's relationship in the first season of Parks and Recreation is this, with Ann being the giver and Andy the taker. Not helping was that Ann was a bit of an Extreme Doormat with a bad case of Florence Nightingale Effect and Weakness Turns Her On while Andy was a Lazy Bum Manchild whose laziness was implied to have been inadvertently enabled by Ann's coddling. It comes to a head when Andy breaks his legs after stumbling into an abandoned pit near their home, driving Ann to make a complaint to the city government, kicking off the main plot, and Ann discovers at the end of the season that Andy deliberately delayed getting his leg casts removed for two whole weeks just because he liked having her wait on him hand and foot. This drives her to finally break up with him. They both go on to find better and more equal relationships with other people.
  • On The Sarah Silverman Program, Sarah is The "Taker" to her sister, Laura. Sarah refuses to work. All her money and her apartment is provided to her by her sister, for which Laura receives zero gratitude.
  • Schitt's Creek: In the fifth season, Alexis Rose realizes this is true about her and her boyfriend, Kindly Vet Ted. Alexis realizes she must start to give back to him or risk losing him. This represents Character Development since when she dated Ted in the first season, she was completely oblivious to her bad treatment of him and even broke his heart twice. This is true to a lesser extent with Alexis's brother David and his boyfriend Patrick. Early in their relationship, Patrick seemed primarily interested in caring for fussy and emotional David, but by the fifth season, David is regularly seen going out of his way for Patrick.
  • Seinfeld:
    • In one episode, Jerry refers to himself as a Taker and another character as a Giver, and argues that a relationship between a Giver and Taker is the ideal.
    • Kramer and George are both all take and no give in most episodes.
  • The title character from Sherlock and John in the initial stages of their friendship. John is extremely tolerant of Sherlock, who makes no effort to be either easy to live with or particularly accommodating, despite John being willing to kill criminals and put his life on the line for Sherlock's sake. Ultimately averted, however, when Sherlock allows the world to believe he is "a fake genius" and stages his own suicide to safeguard John's and their other friends' lives. John himself doesn't seem to believe this of their relationship, as stated by him during his graveyard spiel following Sherlock's supposed death: "I was so alone, and I owe you so much." Understandable, as the very first episode hints that John sorely misses the thrill and danger of war, and that helping Sherlock with his cases gives him a sense of purpose and allows him to experience the excitement he craves.
  • Smallville:
    • Despite being best friends, Lana and Chloe's relationship is very one-sided. For eight years, Chloe has always been the giver and the best Lana did is to blame her when something goes wrong and/or break her heart with her relationship with Clark.
    • In season eight, Chloe and Davis Bloome, more or less, but this time it is Chloe who insists on giving.
  • Pretty much the relationship between the Winchesters and Castiel, from Supernatural, with the latter being the Giver. While Cas has done an endless list of things for Sam and Dean (usually at the cost of his own well-being), he has not asked something from the Winchesters in return more than twice. However, although he doesn't usually get as much as a "thanks" in return, what has really been irking some fans is that on the one time Cas actually needed the Winchesters to support him, they failed to do so. It's arguable that the whole Leviathan business could have been avoided if only Sam and Dean had listened to Cas, instead of turning on him for making a deal with a demon... something the Winchesters themselves do on a daily basis.
    • This is also the Winchesters' relationship with Kevin Tran, again with the latter as the Giver. They pretty much see him as a walking talking translation machine. In fact, Kevin was able to tell when demons were impersonating Sam and Dean because the demons were being nice to him.
  • This was one of the options in the Prize Fight, the final round of the game show Take It All. If one player chose Take It All to the opponent's Keep Mine, he/she wins his/her prizes and the opponent's. If both choose Take It All, neither wins anything. If both choose Keep Mine, they each win their respective prizes.
  • Inverted variant: On The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Johnny is reading list of things Burbank is noted for. Among them: "On average every hour, Burbank Airport has seventy-five departures and no arrivals."
  • In the second season of True Blood, the maenad Maryann functions as the giver to the alcoholic, emotionally fragile Tara. She invites Tara to live in her mansion where she's pampered around the clock, under the guise of trying to help the girl turn her life around. In reality, Maryann is trying to drive a wedge between Tara and her abusive mother so that she can control Tara's life herself, feeding off her anguish and rage.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Cat and Mouse", Andrea Moffat showers Guillaume de Marchaux with affection and gifts as she believes that she has finally found True Love after years of loneliness. However, Guillaume belittles her by calling her a "fool of a woman" and threatens to leave if she does not get him a decent blend of coffee as opposed to the "sewage water" that she was serving him. As soon as she leaves, he has sex with her supposed friend Elaine. He later tells Andrea to spare him the clichés when she says that she thought that he loved her.
  • On Veronica Mars, the title character often slips into this, particularly with respect to her friend Wallace. Veronica falls into this, as the "Taker", with Wallace being the "Giver." It gets to the point where she gets rightfully called out on it.
  • Although we never meet Rick's parents (who are explicitly stated to be upper-class conservatives) on The Young Ones, he is strongly implied to have this kind of relationship with them. At one point, Vyvyan describes Rick as "the classic example of an only child".

  • Burt Bacharach's theme Alfie from the film(s) of the same name has the lines "What's it all about, when you sort it out, Alfie? Are we meant to take more than we give?" Depending on how it is performed, the song can be from the perspective of a character who is a Giver to Alfie's Taker, or, if sung from a narrative perspective instead of a character perspective, can be a comment on Alfie's Taker personality in general.
  • The narrator of "Let Me Be Your Armor" by Assemblage 23 is a very possessive Giver.
  • "Manchild" by Eels is an interesting example: the Taker in question is clearly depressed about her life, and there's nothing the Giver can do to completely help her despite all attempts to do so - therefore, she's is the one who thinks about the Giver as a Taker.
    And every time you crave for me, I'm here.
    And anything you hunger for, I'll share.
    And I will be quietly standing by, while slowly I am dying inside.
    Hold me in your arms,
    And let me be the one who can feel,
    Like I am a child in love.
  • "Bills, Bills, Bills" by Destiny's Child is about a relationship like this, despite the common assumption that it's about the woman being a Gold Digger. The verses talk about how the woman's boyfriend keeps doing things like borrowing her car, using up all the gas, and not filling up afterwards. The chorus is a plea for the man to pay his fair share.
  • Played straight in Sammy Hagar's / Rick Springfield's hit single "I've Done Everything for You," where the narrator describes his relationship as being this.
    I've done everything for you. You've done nothing for me.
  • "Grenade" by Bruno Mars specifically mentions this trope:
    Easy come, easy go - that's just how you live
    Oh, take, take, take it all but you never give.
  • Matchbox Twenty has "I don't wanna be the crutch" about being a living emotional crutch and "Feel", which has a "I make YOU so tired" semi-sarcastically.
  • "Oleander" by Mother Mother from the Taker's point of view, singing about their relationship with their Living Emotional Crutch:
    I make a mess and you'll be there to help me undress
    I'll be unclean, I'll be obscene, you'll be the rest
    And if you leave me, rest assured it would kill me
  • The narrator of "They're Coming To Take Me Away" by Napoleon XIV claims to be a sympathetic Giver.
  • "Why Don't You Get a Job?" by The Offspring depicts this kind of relationship between a man and his Gold Digger girlfriend. The last verse reverses the genders.
  • Defied in the Oingo Boingo song "Not My Slave". The narrator tries to talk the girl he loves out of her submissive tendencies, insisting she's not his property and that he just wants her to be happy...and that just because she's free doesn't mean he's abandoning her.
  • Dolly Parton describes working "9 to 5" as this.
  • "Let Me Live" by Queen"
    All you do is take all I do is give
    Baby, why don't you give me a chance to live
  • Tears for Fears: In "The Conflict" (the B-Side of "Change"), the narrator observes that he and his partner switch roles between being the Taker and the Giver, and this unhealthy dynamic creates a vicious cycle in their relationship.
    When one of us is making
    The other is taking
    There's no end to end
    When one of us is trying
    The other is lying
    There's no end to end
  • Rob Thomas has the verse "You take and take and take and take and" in "Give Me The Meltdown".
  • "Everything She Wants" by Wham!. The whole song really, but especially:
    They told me marriage was a give and take
    Well, you've shown me you can take, you've got some givin' to do
  • Main character Pink, of Rock Opera The Wall, is like this to just about everybody he comes into contact with, in part because his Beloved Smother was like this to him.
    Mother: OF COURSE Momma's gonna help you build a wall!
    Pink: Mother, does it have to be so... high?
  • "In The Year 2525" by Zager and Evans paints man's relationship with the Earth this way (an opinion that's not entirely unfounded):
    He's taken everything this old Earth can give
    And he ain't put back nothing, whoa-ohhhhh...

     Music Videos 
  • Cat Hairballs: Ren and Stimpy's whole dynamic through the song and video is this. Stimpy is hwarfing up hairballs for Ren that are being used to make him things like a suit, and food but that's still not good enough for Ren he demands more like a bike, an Italian sports car, high heel shoes, a hat and matching underwear, all be made from the product that's being farmed solely from Stimpy. The video makes this more evident by showing Stimpy becoming more and more exhausted from the effort of trying to keep up with Ren's demands, eventually ending with Stimpy trying to give one last good hwarf, only to pass out on the conveyor belt which is immediately followed by Ren brutally smashing Stimpy's butt with a big rubber stamp so hard it leaves a butt brand.

  • Lit's Miserable has this as one of its main themes, both in the lyrics and in the video. The song mentions how the woman has used up all of (the man's) plans, then later she uses up his friends, but the man tells himself "who needs them" when "(she) means everything". In the video the Giant Woman lounges around while the band performs the song for her only for her to eventually start eating them alive for seemingly no reason than her own amusement. The men's unwillingness in becoming her snacks is apparent in the way they try to escape her and beg for their lives, but she ignores this and eats them anyway. In the end they gave her everything, including their lives, to satisfy her appetites, but she doesn't care.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Elly Patterson of For Better or for Worse is an interesting example. She considers herself to be the victim of the first variant, slaving away for an unappreciative family who never offers any help or support whatsoever to their poor, put-upon mother. However, it's just as easy to view her as a self-absorbed shrew with a martyr complex who wants to 'own the horses' by manipulating her children and raising them to remain hopelessly reliant on her or an Elly-approved spouse.
    • It doesn't help the writer's reboot makes the husband an over-the-top horrible man (who was based on her Real Life husband before that relationship went sour).
  • Roxanne of Candorville expects Lemont to bend entirely to her will, with no sense of compromise. There are indications that this is how she handles any relationship, sexual or otherwise.
  • The titular fat cat in Garfield, believes that his lot in life is to not be disturbed while he sleeps for as long as he pleases, and eat as much as he can stuff into his stomach, while Jon's place in the world to keep him fed and not complain about the humongous grocery bills or the mean spirited pranks Garfield plays on him or Odie.

    Visual Novels 
  • In a non-romantic take on this, the Danganronpa series has the relationship between Junko Enoshima and her older twin sister, Mukuro Ikusaba. The latter is the giver, having given up everything she ever loved in favor of Junko, who is the taker and never so much as even thanks her sister and even outright murders her just for the hell of it while Mukuro is posing as her.
  • In Highway Blossoms, Amber eventually realizes that she's a Giver and Marina's a Taker. Amber looks after Marina and caters to her needs, but doesn't let herself rely on Marina or see her as an equal. Despite that, after they reconcile, Amber wonders if maybe Marina has been the one helping her this entire time.
  • Sekai and Setsuna of School Days have this type of relationship, with Setsuna as the Giver and Sekai as the Taker. It isn't bad-intentioned on Sekai's part and she truly does see Setsuna as her best friend, but she also completely fails to consider Setsuna's feelings regarding her actions (like taking the guy she had a crush on). It's largely Setsuna's fault as well, though; her only concern in life seems to be Sekai's happiness, and she is willing to steamroll over anyone and anything she has to in order to achieve this. The best examples of this are the lengths she'll go to in order to keep Kotonoha away from Makoto even after learning that Sekai had lied to her about them previously breaking up, and when she offers Makoto the chance to have sex with her if he promises to stay faithful to Sekai afterwards.
  • Howard and Angelica's relationship functions as an all give and no take relationship in Shikkoku no Sharnoth. Angelica asks for things on a whim, and Howard goes to great lengths to fulfill them. They truly love each other, but all gestures of affection seem to flow in one direction.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, Momoko ends up on both ends of the trope. In most of her relationships with her classmates prior to meeting Kamen, Momo was a Giver whose kind and helpful nature was frequently abused, resulting in her developing trust issues, until she met and came to trust Kamen. When it came to Kamen, however, Momo gradually ended up becoming the Taker, with Kamen noting how Momoko always asked Kamen to do things for her.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Yusuke Kawata ends up in a relationship like this when he met "R". She always badgers him into buying presents for her despite him not being able to afford them. However, when Yusuke makes a reservation for an Italian restaurant as per R's wishes, she takes offense at the fact he booked the cheapest he could afford, leading R to leave him for a rich guy.

  • In Ménage à 3, this is what Gary and Yuki's relationship degenerated to: She demanded oral sex from Gary anytime and anywhere the mood strikes her. Reciprocation - not even a kiss - did not even occur to her; partly because she can't even think of Gary's penis without having a psychotic break, partly because Yuki is stunningly selfish. The one-sidedness of the situation does get spelled out for her eventually and she decides to break things off.
  • Fuzzy from Sam & Fuzzy is this on a platonic level, being incredibly demanding of everyone and practically only capable of giving back when a gun's held to his head. Sam is about the only person who can tolerate him for long and their Heterosexual Life-Partners outfit has been strained to the breaking point several times, often due to Fuzzy being unwilling to compromise.
  • Selkie: Jessie's relationship with her girlfriend Alexis casts her as the giver, and Alexis as the freeloading, irresponsible taker. This is most obvious financially, where Jessie is the only one who is actually employed, while Alexis is the one with the expensive shoe habit, but it's also true emotionally, where Jessie is supportive and considerate while Alexis is willing to pull a prank that might cost Jessie her job in order to amuse herself. That prank, and Alexis' lack of remorse, ends up being what ends the relationship.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Chick and Nella. Not even the latter dying and turning evil is enough to make the Chick learn her lesson about treating her better. Subverted in that The Chick actually pays Nella to put up with her.
  • Ask That Guy with the Glasses and his narrator. The narrator puts up with all of Ask That Guy's batshittery and evil with little complaint, and can't even get him to look him in the eyes during sex in return.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Church's selfishness and egotism results in his relationships falling into this. He obsessed over his girlfriend Tex and demands she stay with him at all times, but refuses to acknowledge any of her wants and constantly pursues her. With his friends, Church demands endless amounts of help and respect while never giving any in return. With Character Development, he eventually grows out of it.
  • Lampshaded in RWBY. One of the reasons Jaune refuses to ask for help from Pyrrha is because he feels that he can't repay her in any way. He fears becoming a 'Taker'- not without reason, as the power difference between them make it difficult to establish a healthy relationship.
    • Cinder Fall and Emerald Sustrai, on the other hand, are a clear-cut case of the trope. Cinder plucked Emerald off the streets and promised that she'd never be hungry again, which led to Emerald becoming a Love Martyr for her. Cinder kept her promise but alternates it with a lot of physical and emotional abuse, which slowly escalates over the series as Emerald grows increasingly terrified of the depths of Cinder's villainous behavior, the dangerous people she associates with, and her own moral conflict. In Volume 8, Emerald finally realizes that Cinder does not care about her, and leaves to join the heroes.
  • Syera of Springhole mentions this trope in their article about predatory people. These types of people are always expecting others to do emotional labor for them and think they can repay the favor with sex and physical gifts if they bother to pay back at all.