If you’re a martyr, you’re selfish and you’re not giving freely. You tell others you are, but you’re not. And because of this you’re suffering in silence… and causing it all yourself.
The motivation of a martyr is to sacrifice themselves for someone else or for a cause – in their relationship, family, friends, work, a cause, or any area of life. They give give give to feel like a good person. And they tell others they give freely.
They don’t give freely. They expect something in return and when they don’t get it in return they feel empty, tired and angry. And they don’t let out the anger – because they’re “giving freely” and shouldn’t expect anything in return, right? – So of course it comes out as passive aggression.
Does any of this sound uncomfortably familiar? I see it so often. And if you’re a little bit of a martyr (or maybe a lot) I’ve got some good news for you. You can turn the whole pattern round and let go of the disappointed expectations, anger, tiredness and passive aggression for good. Starting TODAY.
Here’s the key to getting over being a martyr. Remember, YOU chose that behaviour. YOU chose to ‘give’. YOU chose to sacrifice yourself. YOU chose it. No one else. And you forgot that you chose it, so now you’re upset when you get nothing in return.
The moment you realise that you chose to sacrifice yourself for someone else, or for a cause, or for your work then you can also choose to stop doing it and take your power back. And you can do it NOW.
Firstly, you have to accept that some beliefs you’ve been living with for years – perhaps your whole life – are just plain wrong. And that can be tough. For example:
Start analyzing exactly what you think to gain every time you sacrifice yourself for someone else. Do you hope to gain respect, a feeling of value, nobility? Or a return favour? Or does a sneaky feeling of unidentifiable guilt lie behind it? Or undeservedness?
Are you trying to prove yourself a good person to yourself, or your parents, or your concept of God? Remember, all the happiness and richness you can get out of life will not come from someone else, it will come from YOU, by going out and getting it.
If you’re in doubt of this, just think back to when you were young. How easy does a child find it to be happy – without suffering for others. Imagine a child sacrificing everything they want to other children just in the hope the other kids will pay them back and make them happy somehow one day. It’s ridiculous!
When someone gives a compliment spontaneously and sincerely they’re doing a lovely thing for the other person. When they give a compliment just because they’re fishing for one themselves, well that’s just unpleasant, needy and selfish, don’t you think?
It’s the same with any sacrifice where you secretly expect something in return. When you give something to someone purely 100% to help them in that moment it’s a lovely gesture for both parties. But when you want something in return, well, you should make sure you say that clearly, because:
No one can read your mind, and no one knows of these secret deals you’re setting up with them when you sacrifice yourself for them. No one knows of these unfulfilled obligations building up over time the more you “give give give.” And if they did know that everything you were “giving” came with a debt, they probably wouldn’t accept your sacrifice!
First, examine your beliefs. Be brutally honest with yourself. Start setting boundaries and enforcing them with a steel hand.
Don’t be afraid to change the way you act, and the way others will see you. When you start saying ‘No’ others will respect you more, trust me. And when your passive aggression towards them disappears, they’ll love it as much as you do.
Of course, take responsibility for everything in your life. You caused it all. When you accept this, it’s a wonderfully empowering feeling.
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With you in service
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3 thoughts on “Sick of Suffering for Others? Stop Being a Martyr!”
I agree with this Adele. I think some of this need to help and sacrifice comes from guilt. Also it might come from a place of fear. If we don’t do this or that, someone won’t accept or like us. It’s a mask. My first step to stopping this behavior was learning to say ‘no’ and stick with it. It’s a full sentence 🙂 Great piece!
Learning to say “no” is the first and most important step in any healing process. Glad you like it and thank you so much for reading and sharing it :-)!