Are you playing the martyr? As you go through your day, take a look at the things, circumstances and people that are no longer ‘working.’
Playing the martyr is a powerful passive-aggressive move. However, it’s a power-play that doesn’t serve you or anyone else for that matter. It may come from a loving desire at its root, but its surface intention is very different.
The intention driving the modern-day martyr is wanting to be valued for what they do, rather than who they are. But being valued for what you do, rather than who you are, requires a lot of doing! Therefore, the martyr acts from a self-defeating position that is largely based on the mechanism of control.
How do you know if you’re playing the martyr?
If you find you’re ruled primarily by duty, responsibility, and ought to have done, then generally, you’re playing the martyr.
Now don’t get me wrong we all have personal responsibilities. We have responsibilities to our dependents, our businesses, our employers, friends and families etc. However, when the needs of others usurp your needs, then it’s time to own your martyr and redress the balance.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you like to have people dependent on you for their needs?
Do you like to push yourself past your limits and then need constant praise for doing so?
Do you feel you have power over people when you give more than they do?
Do you often feel overwhelmed and taken advantage of?
Do you repeatedly over-give then resent others for the choices you made?
Do you often bottle up your anger or resentment because you want to appear ‘nice’ and reasonable?
Do you expect people to listen to your endless tales of woe, without changing anything about your circumstances?
Are you resistant to looking at your situation with new eyes?
Can you open up to exploring whether it’s YOU who set the situation up that way in the first place?
If you can relate to the above questions and answer them honestly, then you know it’s time for a change. What may have worked for you in the past, may no longer be working for you. If this is the case have the courage to change your old and outdated ways of doing things.
Have the courage to say: “I am the Master of my own destiny,” then own that there are changes you need to make.
If you slog through your days rushing from one ought and should to another, then it’s time to rethink. If you often end your day feeling exhausted, numb or emotional, it’s time to rethink. Look at your situation honestly and decide the one change you can make that will alleviate those feelings of burden.
If it feels like too much to move from taking care of everyone and everything else, to putting yourself first consistently, that’s another clue. But how about taking an hour for yourself a day? Two hours? Half a day? A week? (OK, I don’t want to scare you martyrs out there!)
The changes you make don’t have to be huge to impact your life. You’ll be amazed at how a little self-nurturing can begin to reap long-term results.
Once you see how taking time for yourself actually improves your relationships and lessens resentment, you’ll let go of martyrdom. It will also increase your sense of wellbeing, so you have more to genuinely give. Genuine giving is much easier to appreciate, so they’ll be less need to panic when you need ‘me’ time.
This in turn makes it easier to put yourself first in future, knowing you have shared the responsibilities with others. And this also empowers those others to feel more empowered. And guess what? Empowered people find it much easier to express their appreciation – so, win/win!
Trust me you’ll be much more likable, approachable and appreciated if you do this. Which is the very thing you wanted to achieve in the first place!
If you are ready to relinquish your martyr role and instead step into a place of true self-empowerment then please feel free to Connect. It would be a pleasure to support you.