Rarely do people with the martyr complex behave as they do for purely selfless reasons. Even those who die for religion, do so to earn their place in heaven, don’t they? So, what is it that we gain when we behave as a martyr? We get the privilege of being better than others, and subconsciously believe we deserve being liked.
What are signs of a martyr complex?
1. You are often upset by the reaction of others when you do things for them. Often, we do things for people thinking we do them just to be nice. After we do them, we are disappointed at their reaction. There is a level of gratitude those with the martyr complex expect.
They wholeheartedly do it just to be nice, but unconsciously, they hope something will come from it. They expect either adoration, people to think they are nice, or know all that they sacrificed to help them out. Those who have the martyr complex act like it is no big deal but are then shocked when those they help aren’t overly thankful.
2. You say yes when you would rather say no. A martyr complexer says yes even when they want to say no. They constantly put others before themselves. What that creates is a chaotic, unsettled, and stressful life.
Although thinking they help others out, they always put themselves in a position that makes them behave hurried, stressed out, and upset. To others, they appear to be aloof and perpetually short tempered, which is the exact opposite of the way that they want others to see them.
3. You make friends with people that others can’t get along with. Those with the martyr complex constantly seek acceptance. They go out of their way not just for those they love, but for anyone they attempt to engage. When someone doesn’t pay attention to them or acknowledge them, they work extra hard to win them over. That includes finding those people with the toughest personalities to appease.
Finding a diamond in the rough, they always go for the most distant, withdrawn, and difficult person in the crowd.
4. You say yes even when you don’t intend to follow through, then make excuses. A person who is a martyr often says yes with no intention of following through. Saying no is such a difficult thing that they say yes at any cost. A self-fulfilling prophecy, they can’t possibly be in two places at one time.
Instead of being the sacrificing person they want to be, what they become is someone unreliable or uncaring. Feeling like your heart was in the right place, you don’t take responsibility for letting someone down or not following through. Those who think they always must sacrifice themselves usually end up being viewed less favorably than if they had just said they couldn’t or didn’t want to do something.
5. If you say no, you worry someone won’t like you. You think people like you not for who you are, but for what you do for them. If you do things simply to get people to like you, then you sacrifice yourself without reason. People should like you not because you put them in front of yourself, but because you have value and bring something to the table. That means you don’t do anything for anyone that you don’t want to or put everyone’s needs in front of your own.