I learned at a very young age that there are takers in this world. I call them Serial Takists. I also learned that Takists are a lot like rapists in that their victims are always left feeling violated, taken advantage of and angry. The effects from a Takist attack stay with you and reverberate long after the attack is over. I survived a Takist attack and I want to share with you how to spot, deal with (or avoid all together) a Takist attack yourself.
How They Operate
Takists are not kleptomaniacs; they do not take for the sake of taking. But like kleptomaniacs, their behaviors are compulsive. It is their compulsion to try and manipulate everyone and everything around them to gain something, anything. If a Takist is talking to you, they want something. Takists will always appear pleasant at first but will turn on you the moment they see that their manipulative tactics aren't working. Failure to bend to their will results in angry, dismissive behavior. I will touch on that a little more in a second. There are Takists from every walk of life, men and women. They are not a respecter of persons and start young. A Takist cannot interact with anyone (I mean ANYONE) without working an angle to position themselves for "the take".
How Do People Become Takists?
I believe that Takists are born of a deep feeling of inadequacy. Through giving too much or not giving enough, a young Takist is not taught the basic fundamentals of interpersonal interaction. Either through severe abuse or through severe spoiling, the person was programmed to believe they could not provide for themselves and taught to loathe themselves and others for what they personally lack or for what others have. They learned to manipulate to get what someone else created. Usually from their upbringing they feel like they do not have control and manipulation for "the take" is the only way for them to feel in control. To simply receive a gift is not good enough for them, the control of being manipulated to give is what they are after.
What To Look For
While a Takist always appears very comfortable, they never seem to really be listening to you. They don't ever give you focused eye contact. This behavior is often dismissed as simple distraction but its not simple at all.
Who is in their circle? Because a Takist spends their whole life caring only about "the take", they never establish permanent or real relationships. Work relationships, family, friends are sources for "the take" and what they have to gain. When the source has been tapped, the Takist moves on to the next victim. This is also a manipulation tactic. If a Takist cannot manipulate you, they will shut you out hoping to make you wonder what YOU did to make them angry and when you go to them to try and mend the rift, they will use guilt to take from you again. Usually this cycle will continue until the victim wises up and finally leaves for good. The Takist is an expert in this vicious cycle and was already working on the next "take" before you ever decided to stop being their victim. Fortunately, over time, the victim pool significantly decreases as a Takist is revealed for who they are. You will usually see older Takists living sad, lonely lives.
The Takist is often irritated about something. I haven't figured out if this is the only way a Takist can relate to other human beings, or if this is what a Takist uses to gauge their victims before their attack. Either way, a Takist is rarely happy about anything, and complains A LOT!
Takists are usually confrontational. They understand that most people shy away from conflict and will use this for manipulation. As a matter of a fact, this is usually the first type of manipulation they will use. Failure to get whatever they are after from you results in anger and/or violence. If over time they learn that this does not work for you, they will move on to other tactics and/or other victims. I believe they learn this behavior very young. I have often wondered when holding their breath stopped being a tactic for them.
How To Deal With A Takist
1. Stay calm! Anger is just a manipulative device the Takist uses to force "the take". The calmer you stay, the less effect the tactic has on you.
2. Know yourself. Know what you are willing to give to someone and why you are giving. If you are giving to keep someone from being angry with you, then you are giving for the wrong reasons and MAY be a Takist's victim.
3. Know Them. Know that a Takist cannot help themselves and truly doesn't believe that they are doing anything wrong. This behavior was learned quite young and lived out their whole lives. It is a compulsion. Understand that they are not capable of caring about you, what they've taken or what you've lost for their gain. A Takist will leave you destitute and then wonder why you don't want to be around them.
4. Stop Immediately. If you are dealing with a Takist, stop! Do not give. If they immediately cut you off, count your blessings. The sooner you sever ties with a Takist the safer you will be.
5. Finally, do not get angry. It's hard when you've been victimized by a Takist not to get angry, but understanding that a Takist cannot help themselves should help to relieve that anger.
My sincere hope is that this blog post protects everyone from Serial Takists. I am currently working on an article about Emotional Vampires. Stay tuned for that. I want to be sure to cover that because I have found that most Serial Takists are also Emotional Vampires, but not all Emotional Vampires are Takists... it's interesting... stay tuned! :)