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 Sugar Daddy 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.
- Another Monster delves deeper into Tenma and Eva's relationship, when Eva realizes that, despite her being the taker, Tenma was always the stronger one that she depended on for a sense of worth and confidence.
- In Spirited Away, we have a case of the second variant with No Face as the Giver and Chihiro as the Taker. In the beginning, No Face helped Chihiro out and Chihiro gratefully accepted his help. But once Chihiro refused to accept one of his gifts after seeing how the other bath patrons were greedily accepting his gifts of gold without question, No Face went a little crazy, ate some people and demanded that Chihiro be brought to him so she could accept his gifts.
- Then there's Yubaba and her gigantic baby Boh. She coddles him incessantly and he's spoiled rotten. It takes a Baleful Polymorph into a tiny animal for him to learn manners and "grow up". He gets better.
- Prétear: Takako, when she first started out as the Pretear, was the Taker, with Hayate as the Giver. However, when she realized that he didn't return her affections, she became the Princess of Disaster.
- Code Geass has Lelouch masterfully manipulating Rolo into being a Giver. Poor Rolo thought someone actually liked him. Of course, being both a fake replacement sibling and an assassin ordered to kill Lelouch if he was shown to have his memories regained did not endear him. Also, Rolo had become the manipulative type of Giver, to the point he wanted Lelouch as his brother to the point where he would forget Nunnally. And once Rolo killed Shirley in cold blood, Lelouch pretty much tried to get rid of him as payback. Until, ironically enough, Rolo saved his life at the cost of his own.
- This was the root of Seiko and Ruruka's falling out in Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School. Ruruka frequently made use of Seiko's skill as a Mad Scientist for various medicines and performance enhancers over the years and felt frustrated that Seiko's illness made her unable to return the favor using her sweets. The mutual lack of communication as well as Nagito inadvertently getting the two, as well as Ruruka's boyfriend Izayoi, expelled from Hope's Peak(which led the two to blame each other for the incident) led to them hating each other as adults.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! plays with this. Yugi solves the Millennium Puzzle and gains a spirit for an alter ego. The spirit then protects Yugi from bullies and wins games of all kinds on his behalf, including tournaments, whilst letting Yugi take credit. Initially, Yugi refuses to entertain the idea of helping the spirit get his freedom, but he later admits his dependency and resolves to become stronger. Zigzagged in that most of the reason the pair entered tournaments in the first place was people targeting the Puzzle and Yugi's loved ones, rather than Yugi using the spirit intentionally for personal glory. The final arc partially focuses on Yugi asserting his own strength and learning to live up to the reputation the spirit gave him, netting a big victory against one of the final villain's forms and challenging the spirit to a final duel after the day has been saved.
- Unsui and Agon of Eyeshield 21 have this undertone to their relationship. Unsui tends to act like a surrogate parent to his brother (it's implied their real parents spoil him), puts his brother's needs before his own, and constantly apologizes for his brother's actions. This is due to Unsui's need to have a purpose after the painful realization that he'll always be a mediocre person without his brother.
- This is what Big Bad Ajimu of Medaka Box says is the true nature of Medaka and Zenkichi's relationship. Even after Zenkichi's unfailing devotion to her, all out of his love for her, she takes it for granted. Ajimu bluntly states he was not born to serve Medaka. This ultimately proves to have some truth to it when Medaka berates and attacks Zenkichi for not being able to pass the first part of her test given to her possible successors. When Zenkichi confronts her to prove his point, she beats the tar out of him and berates him further to solidify him becoming her enemy just so she wasn't wrong in her assumptions can continue to see value in him.
- This also makes her seem even more of a Jerkass since when Akune decides to join Zenkichi against Medaka she praises him instead of giving him the same treatment.
- Partway through Welcome to the N.H.K., Satou begins to fear/hallucinate that Misaki may be trying to trick him into a relationship. She is.
- A relationship becomes the motive for murder in Detective Conan. The "Taker" discovered that the "Giver" was ruining her life so she'd stay dependent forever, and thus murdered the "Giver".
- At the beginning of Princess Tutu, Rue and Mytho have a strange relationship where they're both content but they both "give" things that the other person finds meaningless and "take" something else that's unimportant to the other; Rue might be considered the Taker just because she gets something out of Mytho that he intentionally gives, even if it's not what she really wants. Mytho follows Rue's every whim, but only because he likes being ordered around and "nobody else tells [him] what to do". Rue keeps him around because she wants to be loved, but he's completely incapable of reciprocating, so she just makes him tell her "I love you" and pretends that it's real.
- In Death Note, Smug Snake Light Yagami and his girlfriend/co-conspirator Misa are like this; Light is a manipulative Consummate Liar who takes advantage of Misa's mental instability and desperation for support to make her both his most dangerous pawn and his lover - in his defense, though, it wasn't as if she gave him much of a choice. This results in a relationship where Light plays with her life, like everyone else's, while she is gradually consumed by her obsession with him, despite his total lack of affection toward her. It culminates in her death.
- The relationship between siblings Umaru and Taihei in Himouto! Umaru-chan. Umaru is a Lazy Bum who expects Taihei to wait on her hand and foot while Taihei, for all his attempts to get his sister to straighten up, mostly does exactly that.
- This is why the titular character of Aggretsuko broke up with Resasuke: he wasn't a bad person, but his Ambiguous Disorder meant that he couldn't really provide what Retsuko wanted, while her commitment to their relationship ended up being stressful.
- Donald Duck is often the Giver in his relationships with both his girlfriend Daisy and his uncle/employer Scrooge. Even Don Rosa, not generally into flanderization, portrays this pointedly in his "The Magnificent Seven (Minus Four) Caballeros" to contrast it with his relationship with his old friends Panchito Pistoles and José Carioca.
- 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.
- A Crown of Stars: After the events of the prior fic Asuka and Shinji were so burned-out that they were afraid of having a real relationship. Asuka had proposed to Shinji an agreement where he would give her everything and she would not have to give anything back. She did not expect him taking him, but Shinji did, muttering it was better than nothing. In the first chapter, they meet their future selves — who have undergone so many changes they are considerably happier, more balanced, and have a real, healthy, balanced relationship — and the older Asuka -and several more characters later- denounces that "agreement" was a hollow shell of a relationship.
- Ace Attorney fanfic Dirty Sympathy has Kristoph and Apollo in a variant two relationship. Kristoph is an abusive Giver, controlling every aspect of Apollo's life by providing him with employment, transportation, and shelter which Apollo as the Taker can't afford to refuse.
- The One I Love Is...: One of the reasons that Shinji chose Asuka and not Rei was he knew their relationship would become this: she would make him the only goal of her existence, she would make anything for him without asking for anything in return and he would take everything. And it would not be fair to Rei.
- The Very Secret Diary: Tom and Ginny's relationship is this, portrayed in the most disturbing manner in possible. Tom is the Taker, taking all of Ginny's life force and draining her of any free will and almost all sense of self, and Ginny, desperate for a friend, gives and gives and gives, not realizing Tom's true nature until it's too late. Tom, however, paints himself as the selfless Giver who patiently listens to all of Ginny's problems and is always there for her, making Ginny feel like the selfish, abusive Taker who takes advantage of his kindness, further manipulating her.
- In Nukume Dori, surprisingly, Subaru becomes a taker. After establishing their relationship, Subaru demands that Seishirou show sincere affection and attention to him, but Subaru is either too embarrassed, scared or absorbed into other people's problems to do the same in return. He gets better.
- Her Inner Demons: Sadly this was Sci-Twilight's relationship with Crystal Prep in a nutshell. She was the Giver, using her smarts to help Crystal Prep win countless academic contests, but the student body played the taker and gave her nothing but ridicule and scorn, instead of praise and recognition she never got at her old school. Abacus Cinch initially averted this by giving Sci-Twilight some privileges, but then played it straight by blackmailing her star student into joining the Friendship Games. During the Friendship Games, she still got no recognition from her fellow Shadowbolts. So it is a small wonder she grew angry and resentful enough to become Midnight Sparkle once she unleashed the magic.
Sci-Twilight:I won one city academic contest after another, Crystal Prep became more prestigious than ever, and not a single smile or a slap on the back or even a "Good job, Twilight" followed.
- In the RWBY fanfiction Recovery, this is how Weiss feels about the relationship between Yang and Blake, with Yang as the "Giver" and Blake the "Taker". She understands that Yang loves Blake and the feeling may indeed be mutual, but her problem lies with how despite Yang giving Blake so much affection and care, in the end, Blake still threw it away to run off after Beacon's fall. The fact she has her own feelings for Yang that she tried to bury for their sakes does play a bit into it, but Yang herself comes to realize it after a bit of soul-searching and also decides that while she still loves Blake, she would rather be with Weiss, the person who's been trying to help her all this time.
Weiss: When has she ever been here, Yang?! Where does she always go when you need her? Ive watched it happen time and again. She chose Sun over you, she didnt believe you about Mercury, and she left you after you risked your life for her at Beacon. Do you honestly think so little of me that you believe I would stand in the way if you two were actually good for each other? You might not believe me when I say how I feel about you, but how on Remnant could I let someone I love keep getting hurt and say nothing. I know that you cant buy someone's love Yang, just as much as I know that loving someone who keeps wounding you isnt healthy.
- In Conversations with a Cryptid Hisashi Midoriya is the Giver, being Inko's absent and rich husband who gives Inko and their son Izuku as much money as they need. Unfortunately for Inko as the Taker since she quit her job to marry him and have Izuku, she has no way of reprisal. Since she is dependent on him for income and for Izuku's tuition, she can't divorce him for disappearing on her for 8 years. Inko can't refuse his help because it would be difficult to get a job since she has been out of the workforce so long and she has no family for support.
- In Total Drama fanfic series Unbreakable Red Silken Thread Duncans relationship with Gwen has an unsettling amount of this. In all of their scenes together, Gwen is always helping Duncan out, while he hasnt helped her out once.
- Three Can Keep a Secret: The relationship between the Pines Twins is strongly interpreted as one of these, with Mabel as a habitual Taker who simply expects Dipper to act as a Giver and most commonly leans on his low self-esteem to get what she wants, but things change for both of them as a result of Dipper deciding to accept Stanford's apprenticeship.
- In A Father's Faith, Team Arrow enlist Back Siren's help to resurrect Laurel. She asks them why would Laurel want to return, given that they all took everything from her and never gave anything back. Everyone is uncomfortably affected by this, but ironically, the person we see a first person P.O.V. reaction to this (Thea), is probably the one person who has the least to worry about.note . Then turned on its head when Quentin replies that is exactly why Laurel would want to return, to help people, even if they took her for granted.
- Fixed to a Star : From Lorata's We Must be Killers: Tales from District 2 series features recent victor Claudius voicing his disillusionment with the Capitol to Lyme, his mentor, in a call-forward to their joining the Rebellion in the aftermath of the 3rd Quarter Quell.
Claudius: One day it will be too much. They ask, we give, and they take, that's the way it goes. But they just keep asking and just keep taking, and one day, they'll take something you don't want to give. Something so bad, it's worse than marching your kids to their deaths every year. One day you're going to walk away. Take me with you.
- In The Stalking Zuko Series, Aang's status as a Taker is one reason why the author believes a relationship between him and Katara would never work out. Aang would have to put the restoration of the Air Nomads above all else, and Katara wouldn't want to constantly have to make concessions for that goal.
- In Dominoes, Ran's interactions with her boyfriend Shinichi revolve almost entirely around what she needs from him with little to no reciprocation. This makes their relationship an interesting variation on this trope, as Ran is secretly a superhero and is very altruistic to everyone else, but the strain of this means that she's increasingly inflexible and ungiving in her relationship with her boyfriend—constantly expecting him to be understanding without being open with him so he can understand, shaming him for taking liberties she herself does, offering little to no emotional support or availability yet mourning his increasing unwillingness to be open with her, and in general expecting Shinichi to let their relationship work entirely on her terms without any consideration or respect for what Shinichi needs or wants from it. Evidently this is not how their relationship used to be, but once Ran became the superhero Angel, the health of their relationship was one of the first things to be put on the chopping block and she became, despite her selfless dedication to her desire to help others, ironically a very selfish girlfriend unable to provide what her boyfriend needed from their relationship but unwilling to let him go because she still wanted him.
- 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.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Veruca Salt and her father in this relationship.
- Succinctly diagnosed in Citizen Kane when Kane's estrange 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
dolldaughter. 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 the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, 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 hell just soak her love up like a sponge and not understand how much he owes her until shes 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 FaceHeel 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Sheldon Cooper is a Taker with his 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 has 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.
- 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 "They're Coming To Take Me Away" claims to be a sympathetic Giver.
- The narrator of "Let Me Be Your Armor" by Assemblage 23 is a very possessive Giver.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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
- "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
- Rob Thomas has You take and take and take and take and in "Give Me The Meltdown."
- 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 undressI'll be unclean, I'll be obscene, you'll be the restAnd if you leave me, rest assured it would kill me
- Dolly Parton describes working '9 to 5' as this.
- "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.
- "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 giveAnd he ain't put back nothing, whoa-ohhhhh...
- 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?
- 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.
- 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."
- "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.
- 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).
- ⁷, concocted a strategy of doing every little thing for him, thus training him to be (even more) incapable of doing anything for himself.
- 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.
- Bendy and the Ink Machine: Henry describes Joey Drew this way. It's implied that Bertrum knows of this part of his nature as well, thus why he wants all the credit.
- In the .hack//G.U. trilogy, Sakaki is revealed to be the "controlling giver" type towards Atoli when he crosses the Moral Event Horizon. He even delivers the classic line of accusing his victim of being "all take" and twists the knife in her low self-worth to convince her to only rely on him for emotional support. To put this in perspective, he got his hooks into the poor girl when he met her on a suicide website! What a creep!
- In Its You A Breakup Story, the main character's boyfriend Josh is the epitome of this. He calls you at midnight after you've had a long shift as a nurse and will not stop talking about himself until you initiate the titular breakup.
- In Silent Hill 2, Mary, James' wife, was quite demanding and her mood swings only made her even more demanding. Mary dying from a terminal illness understandably made her become all take and no give towards James, which also took a toll on his emotional being. In her final moments, Mary writes a letter to James and confesses that she had been incredibly selfish and wished she had been more supportive of him during her final days.
- Mr. Eaten in Fallen London is not generous. Seeking the Name will take everything from you, and there isn't a whole lot Mr. Eaten will give back.
- This trope is invoked verbatim by Lancaster in Front Mission 4 . He is trying to get Latona to open up about the secret she has uncovered about Wagner, but she's too aggressive in their negotiation.
- Bad groups in MMORPGS tend to work like this: one or two players do all the work while everyone else does nothing and just soaks up the XP, often times going AFK for the whole time.
- Ensemble Stars!:
- Tori deliberately tries to situate himself as the Taker, referring to all others (aside from his beloved Eichi) as his 'slaves' and bossing them around depending on his whims. However, the most obvious example - his eternally devoted butler Yuzuru - is actually a variation, in that Yuzuru is actually very clingy and is capable of being outright dangerous when his beloved Bocchama does something he doesn't like.
- Souma, on the other hand, is so dedicated, loyal, hard-working, and naive that it's very easy for him to end up on the Giver side. The previous year, Keito essentially took advantage of his by bringing him into Akatsuki's shady business despite knowing how upset he'd be to hurt Kanata and without offering any real mentoring as Akatsuki was never intended to conduct any idol activities; thanks to Souma's influence he gets better and comes to actually worry a lot about how much Souma subordinates himself out of respect for him and Kuro. Meanwhile, Kanata (who Souma also feels Undying Loyalty towards) often asks him to cook for him but is deliberately kind of cruel to him, which Souma is totally okay with as he understands it as 'tough love' (though Shinobu at least finds it concerning). It probably doesn't help that Kanata was raised to believe that he was a Physical God and didn't realise until he was fifteen that all people have their own names, and still seems to struggle with empathy at times.
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: The second variant is used, with Penelope wanting to control Bentley for her world domination ploy. She's initially generous and helpful with his designs, but when he's not looking, she sells them to villains. When Bentley caught on, Penelope lied that she betrayed his friends out of her love for him. He wasn't fooled, and dumped her on the spot.
- Bravely Default: Airy the Cryst-Fairy is loyal to Ouroboros to the bitter end, spending centuries linking together the countless versions of Luxendarc in a process that seems akin to an endless cycle. And we only see about a fraction of it. How is she repaid for her efforts? By being devoured by her master, seen as only a means to an end.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, physical gifts if they bother to pay back at all.
- In South Park, this is the relationship Eric Cartman and his mother have. And it works both ways, according to "Tsst!" - Cartman gets spoiled rotten, while his mother has a ready-made companion to do stuff she enjoys. A fact that Cartman twists to his advantage at every opportunity.
- This is also the case with Cartman's romantic relationship with Heidi Turner in Season 21. Heidi's desire for an honest, open, and equal relationship is hardly unreasonable, but Cartman believes she's demanding too much of him because he's such a selfish sociopath - he wants to be cared for without caring back in return. After dithering on it some as well as briefly becoming exactly like him, Heidi finally wises up at the end of the season and permanently breaks up with Cartman.
- Bloo in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is not above taking extreme advantage of Wilt's generosity. The episode Where There's a Wilt, There's a Way is all about Bloo, as well as countless others, taking advantage of Wilt and Wilt's inability to say no.
- One line from a song in Donkey Kong Country pretty much says it all.
King K.Rool: It's great to be a king. I seem to have a knack for taking everything I want and giving nothing back!
- Mr. Burns is like this to Smithers on The Simpsons, much of the time. On the other hand, Smithers doesn't seem to mind, since he has an almost pathological need to serve Burns. When his boss fired him, he quickly became a drunken wreck, spending his days drinking cheap Scotch and watching Comedy Central. When Homer accidentally crippled Burns by pushing him out of a third-story window, forcing him to be waited on hand and foot by Smithers, Smithers sent the Simpsons a very large basket of fruit as thanks.
- Dodie Bishop is this in As Told by Ginger. She's meant to be Ginger's best friend, but she constantly demonstrates she will stomp all over Ginger's feelings in her quest for popularity, a boy she likes or getting to go to a party. Yet when Ginger's plans don't suit her, she throws an overdramatic fit and complains about what a bad friend she is.
- Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants does this concerning stealing SpongeBob's money and the toy he paid for. When SpongeBob tries to protest, Patrick just says meanly "Have you learning nothing from sharing?" His remark meant that he believed sharing meant that SpongeBob pays for everything and Patrick takes everything.
- Batman: The Animated Series: Any relationship with Harley Quinn, where she will be The Giver. She invokes this trope being the lover of The Joker and Poison Ivy's friend. Justified because those two are sociopaths and can only be The Takers. The truly disturbing thing about Harley is that she looks for this type of relationship (The Joker and Poison Ivy maybe could like Harley, but as sociopaths they cannot truly care about her). Even in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker we see that Harley has this type of relationship with her granddaughters, the twins, when Harley bails them out of jail and they only act with indifference and annoying to her screams and recriminations.
- Justice League: Simon Stagg is The Giver to his daughter, Sapphire. When she falls in love with someone and plans to move to Chicago, Stagg uses her lover in an experiment that leaves him horribly disfigured so she'll have only her daddy to turn to.
- In Gravity Falls, Bill manages to talk Dipper into a deal by pointing out that he constantly sacrifices for Mabel and she never extends the same courtesy to him. Indeed, even after Bill steals Dipper's body, Mabel's still more concerned about putting on her puppet show then helping him. Fortunately, Bill wasn't expecting Mabel to move past this. Then again, she has slipped back into this a few times, the final time resulting in allowing Bill to finally take control of Gravity Falls.
- In Amphibia, this was Anne's dynamic with her friend Sasha. Anna would constantly give her things whenever asked, with one of these incidents being the cause of them all ending up in Amphibia. For her part, Sasha does truly see Anne as her closest friend. Her manipulative tendencies simply extend to everyone, and she views her regular coercing of her best friends Anne and Marcy as being for her childhood friends' benefit. Mind you, she is aware of how controlling she can be, and does come to acknowledge how that harms their friendship... but still feels no reason to change, since she fully believes that behavior helps push her friends to greater success.
- This is discussed in King of the Hill when Bill joins a chorus group. When Bill tries to argue that they are his friends and need him, Hank brings up how they have only been asking him to give (to the point where they made him use up his sick and vacation days at work) and talks about how friendship is a two-way street.
- In American Dad! despite Stan being a Jerkass, he is very much The Giver to Francine, who obsessively spoils their kids while placing all the responsibility of disciplining them on him. The only time she sees anything wrong with this is when Stan tries to spend time for himself, forcing her to deal with the consequences of her actions. She has also shown many instances of Moral Myopia; shes unwilling to spend time with his mother, yet expects him to be okay with her parents, she can look at other men, but he cant look at other women. Even their sex life is this, as it's fundamentally him meticulously mastering everything she told him she enjoys and her being disappointed that he doesnt do things that she didnt tell him she wanted him to do. Finally, Stan has repeatedly given up things for Francine his time, money, even his life, and most recently his immortal soul.
- OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: For as much as Lord Boxman likes to claim his robots are his family, he constantly exploits them and treats them like servants, only openly reciprocating their love when they accomplish his goals. The effect this has had on their mental states is about what youd expect:
Raymond: [Shannon] just doesn't seem to realize that love must only be granted when certain expectations are met.Darrell: Right? It's like she learned nothing from daddy!
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
- Shadow Weaver tends to fall into the "controlling Giver" camp with her parenting and mentorship. She had no problem lavishing her wards (except for Catra) with praise and power, laden with manipulation and psychological abuse.
- Catra's relationship with Adora prior to Adora's defection had strong undertones of this, with Catra as the Taker. However, with Scorpia, it evolved from under-, to over-, to totally-enveloping-tones. Scorpia was endlessly loyal, self-sacrificing and kind to Catra, and in return Catra offered her tiny scraps of affection mixed with resentment and hostility. Catra has similarly one-sided relationships with other people in her orbit, such as Lonnie and her squad, but Scorpia is the one who deals with the brunt of the exploitation. Eventually, Scorpia realises that Catra is a bad friend and straight-up leaves. This causes Catra immense grief, with Double Trouble later calling her out for expecting anyone to stay with her when she does nothing but exploit them.
- Hordak rewards underlings who please him with a tenuous position in his favour that can be lost in moments. He offers little else. And Horde Prime is even worse; Hordak struggles for decades to conquer Etheria for him and make contact with him, and Horde Prime calls him defective and casually Mind Rapes him. Fittingly, his forces work on similar protocols; at one point, Scorpia summarises the deal her family made with the Horde as consisting of her people giving up their land, their runestone and their princess, and getting, um, well, she's not sure what but she's sure there was something.
- This is the relationship between Chloé and Sabrina in Miraculous Ladybug. Sabrina does Chloé's schoolwork for her, carries out the grunt work in Chloé's petty schemes, and generally waits on her "best friend" hand and foot. Chloé offers rather little in return outside of the occasional Pet the Dog moment.