“I have studied so hard, I stayed up late to get good grades cuz I knew it would make you happy, but now when I ask for a small plaything, you refuse to buy it” screams your youngster, tears flowing like river Amazon, You as a parent are sent on an instant, all paid guilt trip.
Or consider this situation; X and Y are married for more than a decade. When X asks his wife to restart her hobby, Y quickly declines, citing that the children need all her time and since nobody are there, she has to attend to their every needs (the said children are adolescents). These words quickly send X on a tailspin while righteous, victimized glow sparkles from Y’s countenance.
What is this righteous sacrificial behavior known as?
It is called ‘Martyr Syndrome.’ Wikipedia defines Martyr’s complex as, a “person who has a ‘martyr complex’ desires the feeling of being a martyr for its own sake, seeking out suffering or persecution because it feeds a psychological need.”
One of the most destructive behaviors, a person with martyr complex has this incessant need to be the victim. They are happiest when they are miserable. For them, it is a way of life that corrupts their bearings, leaving them with a skewed perception of the world.
Characteristics of Martyr Complex
1 :: They find a million excuses to avoid fixing a complaint.
2 :: If a solution is found to a problem and if the solution is different from the one proposed by the MC person. Then the problem exists! (for the MC).
3 :: Even if the problem is sorted out as per the wishes of the Martyr Complex, they will find a new problem to nag others.
4 :: If a miracle does solve a problem solved, then it’s due to their help and guidance!
5 :: They twist facts or even lie to suit their purposes.
6 :: They develop short-term amnesia or selectively avoid those facts that contradict their point.
7 :: The do not accept responsibility for their choices or decisions (especially if it caused them pain and suffering).
8 :: They consider themselves as the righteous angels who are persecuted for no fault of theirs.
9 :: They blame others for their unhappiness.
10 :: They are great emotional manipulators.
11 :: They are incapable of setting personal boundaries.
12 :: They are the “drama queens”. They crave attention, recognition and appreciation for their actions.
How Does Martyr Complex develops in people?
1 :: Childhood conditioning plays a major role in Martyr complex. They would have watched their parents enacting similarly. Since we model our behavior from the stronger one’s, we imprint the behavior of our parents whom we consider the strongest in the world.
2 :: Social and cultural conditionings are another way of developing Martyr complex.
3 :: Low self-esteem can lead to the development of Martyr complex.
Fight the Martyr’s Complex
1 :: Learn to say NO: When you value yourself, you will have the courage to say ‘No’ to those who may intentionally or unintentionally hurt you. Thus, you allow yourself to lead a contented life away from the shadows of pain and resentment.
3 :: Be honest: Being honest to yourself is not an easy thing for a person with a martyr complex. But try hard, once you begin to examine your feelings honestly. You will feel the power surging through you. A power that has the confidence to take on the life in all its glory.
3 :: Accept responsibility: Accept responsibility for your feelings and actions. This will help you in recognising what you can and cannot do preventing dissatisfaction and resentment of life.