“When you give to others to the degree that you sacrifice yourself, you make the other person a thief.”
~ Iyanla Vanzant, paraphrasing A Course in Miracles
Learning the transcendent nature of service to oneself or a cause.
Addiction to self pity.
The Martyr archetype is well known in two arenas: as a classic political or religious figure, and in the self-help world of contemporary psychology.
In the social and political world, the martyr is often highly respected for having the courage of conviction to represent a cause, even if it requires dying for that cause for the sake of others.
Suffering so that others might be redeemed, whether that redemption take a spiritual or political form, is among the most sacred of human acts.
The Shadow Aspect
Within the self-help field, the shadow Martyr is viewed as a person who has learned to utilize a combination of service and suffering for others as the primary means of controlling and manipulating her environment and an addiction to self pity.
While people recognize this archetype in others, particularly when they are directly influenced by the individual sporting this pattern, they often cannot see it in themselves.
Look for a pattern of giving yourself to causes for the betterment of others, regardless of the consequences.
Movies with Martyrs
Watching movies related to one of your core archetypes, especially when going through the process of healing your shadow aspect is a powerful tool to help you understand yourself (your motivations, your passions, your fears – why you behave the way you do).
Healing the Negative Aspect or Shadow Side of the Martyr
Shadow Martyrs tend to be run down, sick, bitter and miserable before they wake up and realize that their life isn’t working for them.
It is probably working for everyone else around them though!
On a spiritual level the answer lies in choosing life and happiness, rather than choosing suffering and unhappiness.
Lessons in self love – taking care of your own needs first, in order to give and to be of benefit to someone else.
Selflessness vs. Selfishness
Assertiveness – learning to say no to others in order to say yes to yourself
Consider counselling or talk therapy to overcome issues:
Forgoing your own needs leads to ill health, victimization, blaming others, bitterness and resentment.
People do not respect those who do not take care of themselves first no matter how kind and loving they are.
Issues to Address
Your fears regarding creating a happy life for yourself – devoid of endless suffering
Learning to take care of yourself: emotionally, physically and spiritually
Being responsible for your own well being
Learning healthy narcissism
Addressing childhood and/or past life issues regarding martyrdom.
Learning how to set firm boundaries with people.
Removing the takers and selfish people from your life.
Developing the courage to take the action required to create your own happy life, free of pain, suffering and resentment.
Ask yourself this question when you choose to ‘help others’ or give to others especially when you yourself are stressed, run down or overtired.
Is this good for me?
“What do I need?”
and also remember…
those that love you, want you to be happy and free of stress
…not miserable because you give endlessly until you are burnt out and exhausted.
That is not called love – that is called martyrdom.