The Martyrdom Syndrome


Various schools of faith and philosophy teach that suffering, poverty, and even martyrdom, self sacrifice to the point of misery are all noble, wonderful, and what God wants from us, almost as if that proves to him we are truly his child.  Life does have ups and downs, curve balls, but the martyr, victim to suffer and sacrifice always and be in misery is noble mindset, well…, no.   There are also childhood experiences that can make one conditioned to think life only is about suffering, sacrifice etc…, even a lack of self esteem will bring a person to be in a position of victim and martyr mindset, unable to truly speak up for themselves, break free of situations that suffocate them, slowly take the life out of them. They may constantly blame destiny, or outside factors for decisions they made, view themselves as the hero, the sacrificial lamb of the family etc…, even when problems are solves, someone with a martyr complex etc.. will create or somehow find something to worry about, or a situation to put themselves in that keep them “martyred”.

 I meditate and pray daily, every day I breathe trough Fibromyalgia and all that it brings, yet see my glass as full.  I am an only child, my dad left us when I was young and I did put my life on hold.  She also put her entire life on hold, made me the focus of everything.  I have seen people just really have that martyrdom, victimization mindset and programming, really believing that suffering etc… were all noble, make for being a better person.  That makes no sense, and I don’t care how theologians etc… try to spin it, it does not.  There is a difference between understanding that life can throw curve balls and you have to figure out how to work with and through those situations, versus actually putting yourself in situations of pain etc.., or even staying in situations of utter misery, bitterness, slow internal death of the spirit, the soul because you think that you are obligated, if you do it makes you so noble.   It doesn’t make one noble, it makes one very unwise, and a lousy example for those around them.  I have to ask myself regularly a question.  What would God want, truly, holistically?  Responsible happiness and wise happiness, joy, prosperity etc… and yes he even wants us to be united with our true love, one that makes our heart etc… every day sing with joy.  How does one get to this point, and out of a negative pattern etc…?

Be honest with yourself about choices made etc… and be responsible for your feelings, actions all of it that you are.  Again there are external factors at times, such as natural disasters, curve balls, even the dying of a union long time in the making, this death of it, but you have a choice.  The choice is how you respond to what is going on, to the feelings, situation.  Value yourself enough to learn to trust yourself to make the hard choices, decision, to walk away when you have to walk away from people, situations.  Value yourself enough to make bold choices, decisions for your long term well being and happiness, finding a way to do so that is not cruel, but honors your needs, even if it causes discomfort, anger etc… in others in the short term, especially if everyone is currently miserable due to your martyr and victim mindset, unable to make choices, walk away etc…Boundaries are also important to set for yourself and others, again, some may be taken aback by your sudden end to being the doormat etc… tough for them, get used to it. Really examine where you get this notion that being a victim and martyr is a noble great thing to be rewarded for.  Then, snap out of it for goodness sake, it isn’t!!!  

Going from any kind of negative programming to positive programming and life changes is a journey and for some the journey is shorter, for others longer to get there, but if you can really take a look, hard look in the mirror, at your life, where your martyr, lack etc… beliefs come from, you can change that and your life.  You have to take a deep look, even if you don’t like what you see, to be able to change it.  When you do, you can set yourself and maybe even others free.  

Namaste, Shalom and Amen