The Martyr Mask

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Humans have massive savior complexes – myself included.

Think about it – how often have you thought ‘I could have done more for them’


I haven’t done enough


I’ve failed them

Or… I could go on for days with these suggestions.

I think the martyr complex, probably goes back to learning about Jesus on the cross to save us, and is ingrained in many of us.

We wouldn’t get into the line of work we are in otherwise would we?

No one would want to be a therapist, or a PT, or a hairdresser, or (insert job that helps here)

It comes from a place of knowing some form of pain and wanting to help other people not experience it right?

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that.

We as humans tend to make it personal though. And when we make it personal, we make it about us, and it’s no longer about the other person and their experience.

Suicide is a huge one for this. For me in particular.

And my top 2 human needs are growth and contribution. So you could imagine how this plays out for me.

The idea that I didn’t do enough, I was self absorbed and didn’t see something was wrong, blah blah, the thoughts can be endless.

But when we do that we make it about ourselves instead of the person.

It becomes no longer about grief they are gone but grief for our own personal short comings, or perceived short comings.

And that can be a hard one to stomach. I know it has been for me when I’ve been in my loop.

Belief systems are what all of this comes down to. My coach reminded me of this.

What do we believe about ourself when we experience these things?

What do we make it mean?

Everything we experience is for ourselves to have an experience, yet we tend to end up using it to take away from other people’s experience.

Usually without having any clue that’s what we are doing.

This has been a huge learning lesson for me.

The martyr complex has run in my system big time.

I’ve found myself in the martyr loop often over the years.

And even admitting that can be a super scary thing to do.

It feels like it’s a short coming of me as a person.

Which is again another judgment of the human experience right?

None of us are here to be perfect humans. The more we try to be perfect the less perfect we become because we are perfect in our imperfectness.

Accepting everything about ourselves, embracing all of our humanness is what makes this life easier and more fun to experience, even in the times that aren’t so enjoyable.

We cannot take away the human part of our experience.

No matter how much we drink, sleep, eat, play, feel, love – we are human, there is no escaping it and these parts are the human.

Trying to run away and heal everything we believe is broken or not enough is not going to work.

Accepting and loving those thoughts, feelings or actions we are told we shouldn’t is what will actually create the change in our lives.

So “Hi I’m Shannii and I have a recovering martyr complex. “ To my martyr I say I love you, thank you for showing me how much I care and what can happen when I care. I accept you in my life and am grateful for the lessons you have blessed me with.”

What is something you have been trying to ignore or push away that you could give more love to today?

Xo S

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