Do you think it’s your job to save everyone and their mother? Are you constantly keeping tabs on others to make sure they’re okay? Have you found yourself wanting to tell people to take care of themselves? Learn about releasing the martyr complex and how to stop being a martyr!

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Julie Coraccio 0:02
Today on Clear Your Clutter inside now, we’re talking about being a martyr. Do you think it’s your job to save everyone and their mother? Are you constantly keeping tabs on others to make sure they’re okay? Have you found yourself wanting to tell people to take care of themselves? Learn about releasing the martyr complex as we wrap up our month focusing on social relationship clutter? Do you control your clutter? Or does your clutter control you? Unclear your clutter inside now, we’ll teach you awareness as well as action steps to create change in your life. Come on, let’s get started. Today’s episode was inspired. Because I used to feel it was my job to make sure everything and everyone was happy, and take care and taken care of and smooth things over. And I’m not that bad anymore. I have my moments. But I have largely released feeling that I A that I have to do this. And more importantly, that it was part of my feeling good about myself that I had to sacrifice myself and wanted to give you a definition. So you understand. So a martyr complex is a pattern of behavior in which a person habitually seek suffering or persecution as a way to feel good about themselves, and know how to feel good about myself. And so this was one of the ways that I did it. They will sacrifice their needs and desires to do things for others. And what it means is you’re not helping because of caring, but out of obligation or guilt. What I’m going through right now in life is a good example, we move back, I am helping take care of my mom. Now, we’re very fortunate because we have people that help we have caregivers, we have people from hospice. And so I’m really fortunate that we do not all have that we have that help. And I do not understand how families who do not have that support, do it. It would be if I had a martyr complex, then I would say, Oh, I’m sacrificing to take care of my mother. And it’s not our obligation. It’s because I love her. And it’s just I just feel it’s just part of what I agree to, truthfully, when I came on this lifetime said I’m gonna go out, leave, explore the world and come back where I first grew up, and I’m happy to do it doesn’t feel I’m not doing it out of obligation. And I’m healthy enough. So for instance, after I record this, my dad said, Hey, can you be around for an hour and a half? Because if they come from hospice to give her a shower, like absolutely with planning, I can do everything. I got really annoyed. She was having a difficult day. And I left. I had a caregiver, Tony and I went for a walk. And so that is about me being healthy. It’s not about sacrificing my sanity and staying here. No, no, I can’t leave and can’t take a walk. So I’ve been doing a really good job of balancing that. So that’s kind of a little example. And you can see how someone, oh, I sacrifice everything for you. And I’ll give you a couple examples later with that’s just one example from my life. So why do people get a martyr complex has to do with self worth, I didn’t used to be a doormat, I hardly had any self esteem. Pay attention if you can’t give or receive affection. That was an aha moment. As I was preparing this episode for me, I did not correlate that to self worth. Look at your body image I used to I still struggle with body image and especially since I’ve gained weight since I was married and started to lose weight and I’m hell off the 10 pounds, but I really need to go a lot healthier and I struggle with body image. If you are moody or judgmental, then that can be a signal self worth. So check in with your self esteem and your self worth. You might have the martyr complex if you’re depressed.

Make sense? If you’re not feeling good about yourself and you can’t get your needs met, well I just sacrifice right and you can kind of get that blended when feeling depressed. You were abused. You can completely understand how that might be manifests itself into the martyr complex. And you create that role for you to take on. When you have a martyr complex, it allows you to avoid guilt and shame. It’s a distraction. I know for me, gosh, I had a lot of shame, a lot of shame and guilt. And I know that that stems from some some stuff that happened. And when I was in, martyr think I’m saving the world, I’m doing this and I’m such a snowball good person. It allowed me to not feel those feelings. I talked about emotional eating, and I’ve gotten a lot better. But for me that the same thing and distraction, don’t want to feel what I’m feeling. When you have the martyr complex, you don’t have to own your life. Right? You don’t take responsibility. You blame it on everyone else, you avoid personal growth. If you’re here listening to podcast, or watching on YouTube, it’s because you want to grow, you want to have personal growth and be a better person. And I mentioned the word distraction. It can also be a coping method, right? How many of us, I mean, I’m in my early 50s. And we didn’t have any of this growing up, we weren’t taught healthy ways to cope, I can’t think of anyone. In my childhood, you know, again, the self help movement hadn’t started, you know, maybe there are people who were super wealthy that thought really enlightened. Therapists, but it just when I was growing up, it just wasn’t even there. So we cope, we do the best we can. And that’s why you have to have compassion for yourself, because you’re doing the best you can. So don’t beat yourself up. So awareness plus action equals change. She might be wondering, Am I a martyr. So here are some signs to look out for. You’re about the quid pro quo. You say, Oh, I’m so selfless. But that’s really not the case. You need someone to be valued by you, and you’re looking for that praise. So if you are going to make a sacrifice, in your mind what you view as a sacrifice, then you want something in return. It’s I mentioned a moment ago, I’m happy to help care for my mother, I don’t do it out of obligation or guilt because I love her. And she’s done so much throughout my life for me that I’m like, hey, now it’s my turn. You’re always saying yes. If you’re always saying yes to everyone, that means you’re most likely saying no to yourself. And so you’re making huge sacrifices, right? You put the needs of other people ahead of your own. So check in for a moment. What are you saying yes to? Where would you like to say no, what boundary do need to be set? If it’s never your fault, you will talk about oh, how you suffered people and right. And that’s kind of sneaking back into the victim stuff that we talked about earlier, or you have difficulty accepting responsibility. You blame others, and it’s hard to get over your setback. You know, I talked about the horrible year in 2018. First year was really tough. But I got over it, man. Do I saw pain? Absolutely. But it didn’t prevent me from living my life. So I have setbacks, I’ll regroup How am I able to move forward. But I keep moving forward. I keep taking action doesn’t mean I don’t rush in and pause. But it’s not something I think of someone who was in a bitter divorce and was bitter about it for years. And finally, I want to say it took 30 or 40 years, and it was awesome. They finally were able to get over that and found love again. And I remember she was in her probably 50s or 60s and she’s like I’m a Blushing Bride and it was so awesome. To see her so happy and so excited. She finally was able to get out of that martyr complex. Oh, I had to take care of all these kids. So that was pretty groovy to see. Are you complaining and let’s say, oh, you know, this sucks. Oh, but it’s okay. Oh, I’m exhausted. All I do is take care of people. All I do is make sacrifices. Oh, I don’t mind. And you kind of convince kvetch complain, Oh, I don’t mind. It’s okay. So pay attention to that when you’re complaining. Do you then qualify it?

You refuse it? assistance. That might be another sign that you’re martyr. You want to do everything on your own. If you receive help, then kind of what’s going on in the mind of a martyr is that they can be replaced right and that’s the last thing that’s scary. Someone who has that martyr complex. Oh my gosh, what will happen if I’m replaced? Because that’s our identity. That’s who they are. What happens if you take that away? You will share the importance of what you did. Oh, it’s all because of me, I will joke I joke often about my younger brother, who is a successful marketer. And like, because of all that I did for him. Eight years old or something, oh, that I did from his childhood. Yeah, his success. I’m a huge part of his success. And I joke about that, that someone who wasn’t joking, say, oh, you know, my child, that’s a good example, my child is, you know, went off to get their PhD. And it’s because all the sacrifices and everything I did for them, not only a child, but you know, it can do laundry when they’re in grad school, you know, that kind of thing? Like, I don’t have they would have managed without me. Right? And so you’re taking a larger role in someone else’s success? How do you describe yourself? Are you describing yourself as a saint, a caretaker, natum. If you on that one, the hero, a nice guy and nice gal, I am a caretaker because that’s literally describing what I’m doing. But if you were to ask me about myself, I would not use the word caretaker to describe myself, I’d probably say I’m supporting my mom. One of the things you know, life’s a little crazy right now. And my mom’s a priority. So be very aware of how you describe yourself. You know, are you a drama queen? When it comes or king? When it comes to your level of suffering, you’re like, oh, woe is me. And you just exaggerated. And so the hangnail becomes an arm that doesn’t work it you managed to do the laundry? Sorry, guys, I’ve got a load in going right now. So my mind is kind of on that. So are you exaggerating your level of suffering? Another sign is an obsessive need to be right. You’re always right. You have to be right, because what happens if you’re wrong? Again, then it’s like we’re gonna see through that mask that you put on. And maybe you won’t be valued as much. If you’re not right, then people won’t need you anymore. And if people don’t need you, where does that leave you? Because you put your whole identity into taking care of others. Earlier I just mentioned, are you saying yes, all the time? So kind of the other side of that? Do you have a hard time saying no? Do you have boundaries? Because if you’re clear on your boundaries, then you are putting yourself first you aren’t putting others first. And again, boundaries in life need to be fluid. But look at it as a whole. The here’s one and I did this when I was younger, assume people can read your mind. I’ll never forget. I got angry. I was dating this guy when I lived in Vermont. And I got super angry at him. And he’s like, What do you It’s not like I can read your mind. And that was an aha moment for me because I was like, Oops, I thought that he could read my mind. I thought it was so obvious that what I was saying just anyone can read it. And it wasn’t the case at all. It is a form of emotional manipulation. When you’re like, Ah, I’m the noble suffer. You’re doing that to manipulate people. I’ve talked about it. I’ve been manipulative when I haven’t known how to get what my need because I was taught you know, you can’t express what you need. That’s, I think societal with a bunch of stuff going on there. Like, you know, just shut up and, and don’t ask for what you want. I think especially as women, we’re taught that with all my stuff, because kind of these things like victim and martyr like all these things, to me have some intersectionality I would this would be a way that I could emotionally manipulate someone because I just didn’t know what was healthy.

And if you are stagnant. You don’t take the initiative to solve problems. Now you’re ready to kvetch about it and you’re always finding something that’s wrong, but then you never take any action. And you just complain about I had a client once and I was first starting out coaching, super excited coach, and I kept coming up with different solutions. Say, Well, this isn’t working. I’m like, Okay, try this. And then finally it dawned on me. She doesn’t want to do anything she doesn’t want to and that’s okay. It was her choice. But there was nothing I could do to force her to take action. She just wanted to stay stuck and complain and that was absolutely her choice. So contemplate those for a moment. What is rang true to you? Where do you see yourself and remember? I was definitely more extreme when I was younger. So but it doesn’t mean to be 24/7 You might be a martyr at work or you might be a martyr at home or you might be a martyr in your friendship, there just might be an aspect of your life. But you know, I want to clear that clutter. And allow you to be the best you can be. feel stuck, but have no clue what you need to do to move forward. Would you like to feel energized and excited every day? Are you ready to create the life you desire? Julie Coraccio supports you in finding the answers within and then taking action to make changes happen. Visit reawaken your brilliance calm to learn how Julie can support you with life coaching. So here are some examples. A mother who has made her kids her life as they get older, then it’s gonna be a challenge for her because her worth and identity are tied up in the kids. And so as they grow into adults and become more independent, and she might view her worth is diminishing. And so sometimes what will happen is they, the mom would become passive aggressive, to have her kids value and need her and guilt them. For Oh, but you know, I did this for I made all these sacrifices you so you could be happy. Someone who thinks they can change their partner raising hand raising hand, Tony is probably the first guy, maybe one other that I thought, oh, I can change their partner, it was my job to change their partner. No, it was on that aha moment of I create my life. And if I want to be happy, I have to do it myself. At work, maybe it’s someone who’s always working overtime without being asked, right? They just stay and they get it all done. And then maybe they get passed over for promotion. And they complain about how much they sacrifice and they get nothing in return. Or maybe you’re on a group creative project and your attitude were like, Hey, man, just go have a break. And you say, oh, but the project will fall apart without me. So those are a few examples of being the martyr than any of those rang true for you? What would be an example in your life? Now how do you deal with someone? Before we get how to stop it? How do you deal with someone if you have a martyr in your life boundaries? And that saying no. That means don’t rely on them for everything. If you got to do your own laundry, do your own laundry, if they are someone that gives you a lot of gifts, and it’s excessive, then you say no. You have those boundaries, you take care of yourself. It doesn’t mean you can’t accept things. But you need to be really aware of your boundaries and how much you’re accepting. You can acknowledge but not get sucked into a pity party, or sympathizing with them because you’re adding energy to that, oh, I stayed up all night, baking a cake for you. They chose to do that. You didn’t say hey, I need a birthday cake. They chose to do that.

She can respond, oh my gosh, I bet it’ll taste great. Instead of Oh, what a sacrifice, you must be so tired, right? You don’t want to engage in that negative behavior. And when you you’re juicing them up, and they’re martyrdom when you do that, you again, you acknowledge that you don’t get sucked into the pity party. The other thing that you can do is just be honest. I mean, I think it just amazes me how we and I mean people in general, can view honesty, as I think especially women, if you’re direct and honest women, I think a lot of women don’t know how to handle that. But that being honest, is viewed as being mean. I’m gonna do something down the road. And I thought you know what, I’m just gonna be really honest. And I could be a lot. I could be cruel. And I’m consciously choosing not to be cruel, but I’m calling out and I’ve tried to call in and that hasn’t worked. So you can consider making a choice to be honest and call them in. You know what, Julie, I’ve noticed this about you. It’s like my brother saying to me, you see yourself as a victim all the time and that was calling me in. He wasn’t a jerk about it. It was mainly neutral, mainly informative, tinged with a little bit of annoyance, but I was able to hear it. The be honest with someone you know what I’m really uncomfortable that you give me all these gifts. Let’s have a conversation about that. Now, if you’re like me, and needed to switch off the martyrdom, how do you stop? First thing I’m going to suggest is shoring up your self esteem. Just work on loving yourself, feeling that you’re good enough, you’re worthy and you’re loved. There are different things that you can do to that do for that. Maybe it’s talking to your therapist or coach and coming up with a game plan. Maybe it’s doing some journaling. Maybe it’s writing down all the awesome qualities you love about yourself. And thinking, Well, why do I believe that maybe someone put a false belief in you as a kid? I was told I didn’t have any art talent. And that’s not true. And that’s something when I’m settled, I’m looking more forward to exploring. Find a new role. If you’re martyr, you have been self sacrificing. You’re the nurturer. I consider myself a very nurturing person. But there’s it depends on how you handle it. Like I’m happy. Like, I’m very kind of old school. Like, as soon as I’m done with this, Tony had to work late last night, I’m gonna go make him breakfast. I’m happy to do that. 99% of the time. I don’t feel like it’s a sacrifice. It’s just one of the ways that I express love and want to take care of them. But if you’re being the martyr, you’re a self sacrificing nurturer. So what can your new role be? Let’s have some fun with this confident, plain old friend. Ask yourself if it’s a healthy role, is there a quality in the relationship because when you’re the martyr, there isn’t an quality and some people trust me with would love to take advantage of that. And that’s not what you want. So maybe you become the jokester, you become really great at it, you’re quick witted, and always have a funny line to say, maybe you are the organizer, you’re super organized. And that can get away of using your skills and talents and, and beef up your self esteem. But say, Hey, can you help you’re so good at organizing help us and you’re happy to do it. And it’s not an obligation on your life, know what you can change that is you. The only thing you can change, stop blaming others, you’re responsible for your choices, you are responsible for your life. When you do that, even if it’s hard, it’s kind of like the opposite of the doughnut. It’ll feel better in the long run.

Practice self growth, if you’re tuned in and listening right now you’re watching you are doing it. You’re here because you want to learn and grow. And that’s amazing. I have many faults. But one of the things that I have committed to is personal growth. And it’s been about 20 years, maybe longer, I’d have to think about that. Maybe 25. Not always easy. Not always fun. But again, I’m looking at it as a marathon and long term. I know when I do the hard stuff, I feel better. It supports me, I’m able to move forward, I’m happier. And I can see that in my own life like relationship finding Tony, I had to work on myself, to be a better woman to attract a better man. And I couldn’t have asked for anyone better, I couldn’t have been happier. Had I not done the self growth. Maybe I’d be single, maybe I’d be in an unhappy marriage, who knows that the benefits to growing and understanding yourself and healing, can’t put a price tag on that. Now caution, you need to have a heads up, that someone might not be okay with this role. You know, we get into these, I’m at this euro that and we get into kind of these routines and so on, you say hey, I’m not going to give you gifts, or I’m gonna say no or you set boundaries, right? And that’s another thing you want to begin to do is set boundaries, not say yes to everyone say yes to yourself. Put yourself first, how can you do that? So just be prepared that you’re going to get some pushback. So what I would say is, again, this is because I’m have always done this, especially when I was a doormat and first setting boundaries. And it was hard and you know, I’m going through something now like, Oh, it’s a big thing to say, You know what, no, this is what we settled on. This is not okay. You know, you agree to these terms. I still sometimes get that little flutter in my stomach. So what can you do if someone respond? What you can’t do that why you always do blah, blah? Well, you know what, I’m working on myself and I need to have time to contemplate to journal to see my therapist, whatever it is. I always like to come up with a couple pat answers that I can refer to easily respond so it takes less of the pressure off because when I’m put on the spot, I don’t think very well and so just helps me to have some things written down. So if you’re like me, maybe prepare A couple lines are thing and you don’t. The bottom line is you don’t know owe anyone an explanation. So please remember that. But that is something just to have a heads up for. Take actions from today’s podcast. Recognize what we may be driving you to feel the need to save others. Be aware of the signs you’re monitoring the understanding of someone who’s trying to save you. Create a plan to deal with the martyr in your life. shore up your self esteem. Find a new role. Practice self growth set boundaries and be prepared for pushback. Next month, we’re talking about what people want to know about clutter. Go out Clear Your Clutter to create the life you choose deserve and desire. When you clear your clutter, you can share your gifts with the world. Sign up for our free newsletter at reawaken your brilliance calm. Even enjoy Clear Your Clutter inside now. Please rate review and share us

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