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Question: Do you suffer from Martyr Victim Complex? (you may edit/update your vote)
33-40 - 4 (9.3%)
25-32 - 6 (14%)
17-24 - 10 (23.3%)
9-16 - 12 (27.9%)
3-8 - 7 (16.3%)
0 - 4 (9.3%)
Total Voters: 42

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Author Topic: SELF ASSESSMENT | Do you suffer from Martyr Victim Complex  (Read 16857 times)
DragonHeart
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« on: March 26, 2011, 10:12:18 AM »

How did you score?
The Martyr Victim Complex Described
Charles Shahar


The martyr is one who employs self-sacrifice and victimization as a way of avoiding to take responsibility for their life. They are prepared, however, to take responsibility for everyone else's life.  
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
True in more than 1 relationship
True in my last Relationship only
Not True

They are invariably unhappy and unfulfilled because they deny their own needs for the sake of others. They view life as a struggle, and themselves as a bastion of righteousness in an ungrateful world.
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
True in more than 1 relationship
True in my last Relationship only
Not True

They consider themselves a light to the world, a shining example of how a good and selfless person should behave. They honestly believe they are a model of virtue. They also believe that their goodness will eventually "rub off" on others. If they are abused and mistreated, they will suffer such indignities, because eventually their tormenter will see the error of their ways, and recognize what a special human being they are hurting.
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
True in more than 1 relationship
True in my last Relationship only
Not True

Martyrs are often attracted to difficult and abusive people. They have a compulsive need to change them, make these people good, and make them appreciate and respect them. They pick spouses who are brutal or intolerant, who lack a conscience, who deceive and manipulate them, and who resist the martyr’s efforts to reform them. It is interesting that they unconsciously choose to be around impossible people, and that their efforts to rehabilitate the latter are doomed to fail.
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
True in more than 1 relationship
True in my last Relationship only
Not True

The victim role is an important component of a martyr complex. It justifies in their mind that others are responsible for their pain. They engage in compulsive blaming to reinforce this conviction. The blaming functions to deflect the basic neurotic tendency of their behavior: They set themselves up to be victims. They do this to avoid taking responsibility for their life, but also to show that their own behavior is beyond criticism.
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
True in more than 1 relationship
True in my last Relationship only
Not True

Martyrs are caught in a neurotic struggle that began in childhood. Since such behavior is a complex phenomenon it is difficult to describe a particular parent-child interaction that may account for it. Martyrs often learn to be victims from a parent who assumed this role, usually the mother. She sacrificed herself for her family and reacted passively to a brutal and uncompromising husband. She kept her family intact, and often shielded the children from the more negative aspects of her husband's behavior, absorbing the blows herself.
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
Very true
Somewhat true
Not True

Since their own life was pretty miserable, such a parent often lived for and through their children. That is, their quest for happiness and fulfillment revolved around the experiences of these children. To please the parent, the child assumed the latter's aspirations, and their own needs became secondary. They learned that they must make sacrifices, repress their own desires, and behave passively toward authority. Whenever the child tried to contradict the parent by asserting their personality, the latter saw it as a sign of betrayal, and made the child feel guilty: "Is this what I deserve after all I have done for you?"
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
Very true
Somewhat true
Not True


The martyr personality was often burdened excessively with responsibilities in their younger years, perhaps looking after the household while the parent was absent. The father may have been absent for reasons other than work (drinking, idling with friends), and the mother may have worked full-time to support the family. The child was forced to sacrifice their fun and leisure by looking after siblings, and generally behaving like a responsible adult. This made them serious and resolute beyond their years. It also reinforced the conviction that they should live by serving and catering to the needs of others, while repressing their own.
Score      
5
3
0
If you answer is:            
Very true
Somewhat true
Not True

The characteristics of neurotic martyrdom in adulthood can be summarized as follows: The person cares for and helps others while sacrificing their own needs. They find people who they feel require their help the most, usually those who are selfish and intolerant. They help by showing others how to be good. They submit to abuse as an appeal to the conscience of the abuser. When this doesn't work, they resort to guilt-trips, nagging and other types of passive-aggressive strategies.

On a deeper level, martyrs are very needy for love. Unfortunately, they unconsciously believe that the only way they can get love is through suffering. The suffering makes them feel special and wanted, and it brings meaning to their life. Their suffering is tied to their ego. They are actually proud of it. Take away their suffering and they seem lost.

To have a normal and mature adult relationship is difficult for them. They will want to help you by listening to your problems, by offering their time and possessions, and by trying to make you dependent on them. In fact, if you don't ask them for assistance, behave strongly and confidently, and treat them as mature and self-sufficient people as well, they will sabotage such a situation and become like little children themselves.

And therein lies the great "martyr paradox". All their suffering is actually an attempt to get people to look after them! This is the secret code of the martyr. They are looking for support themselves. If you behave maturely with them, they will become like little children wanting help from you. It is the martyr who requires love and nurturing, not the other way around.

www.yourlifecheckup.com/article.php?artid=65
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WalrusGumboot
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 10:21:00 AM »

I think there are points in there where I would say, "yes, that's me", but most of it does not fit, especially the part about avoiding to take responsibility for their life. By the time I was 20, I was halfway across the country from my family and completely self-sufficient.
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 10:29:05 AM »

I think there are points in there where I would say, "yes, that's me", but most of it does not fit, especially the part about avoiding to take responsibility for their life. By the time I was 20, I was halfway across the country from my family and completely self-sufficient.

im the same way. some of it fits... .some of it doesn't
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 11:14:09 AM »

This is me for sure, i see how my childhood brought this upon me.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 12:01:31 PM »

I would have to say "no". I've had very healthy, well-balanced past rs. This one was the only one that had issues with BPD,NPD, bi-polar, drinking and addictions. Otherwise, it doesn't fit.
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2011, 03:37:38 PM »

In all fairness that describes me. Very accurately. My parents broke up and both of them were doctors, who worked a hell of a lot. I think I was about 10 years old when I first had to babysit my younger brothers and sisters... And it never really changed until we were all grown ups.
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011, 05:50:50 PM »

I know someone that fits this description quite well.
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2011, 09:05:06 PM »

I think there are points in there where I would say, "yes, that's me", but most of it does not fit, especially the part about avoiding to take responsibility for their life. By the time I was 20, I was halfway across the country from my family and completely self-sufficient.

Same for me too WG. I was married at 18 and had my son and moved 2000 miles away from my entire family at age 19, totally self-sufficient. I also had a pretty great childhood. I did have a mom that catered to my father and she would try to make it up to me or my sister if she thought he was to hard on us. 
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2011, 10:18:51 PM »

I think that's an extreme case of martyrism, but then again, that's also why most of us nons are co-dependents, rather than martyrs.  We sacrifice and find our responsible for only our loved ones, and don't have the strength to worry about the rest of the world, we only want to defend our pd's from it when their needs call for it.

My xBPDw's mother fits the bill, though.
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PotentiallyKevin
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2011, 03:16:52 PM »

I can honestly say to a point, yes, but I feel the same way about this as I do about the term codependent. I stuck with the borderline because I loved her and thought I could help her, but I wasn't subconsciously attracted to her because she was broken - the exact opposite. For the first two months of our relationship I thought I found a very independent, smart and mature girl who could rub off on me because at the time, I WAS the one who was immature, reckless and viewed life as a party. I wanted her because I thought she would give me a sense of stability and "cure" me - not the other way around. After the two month mark, when the lies began to unravel, I couldn't accept that I had been duped, and more importantly, I needed her to be the person that I thought she was - FOR ME, I didn't want to go back to my carefree, lazy lifestyle.

This is where my care-giver / hero personality took over so I could "save" her.

I dunno, I am sure many of the folks here on the board are codependent or "martyrs" I just hope you all don't come to this conclusion too fast. At first, when I started researching these boards and other info on BPD I was dead certain that I was codependent and a martyr. But thankfully, after some soulsearching and reflecting back on what exactly was the scenario, I no longer feel that I am, nor ever truly was codependent.

The nail in the coffin for me thinking so was actually witnessing some real-life codependents. One of my best-friends is one and so was my old boss. My boss was the best example of a martyr because he would go through abusive after abusive partners and instead of getting depressed or beatdown, it actually seemed as if he was subconsciously enjoying being the martyr. The real examples came from work though. He constantly tried to rescue the "troubled" employees. But when they rejected his "martyrdom" he would get really angry and hurt, and paranoid. He had no sense of boundaries, would sabatoge times of calms so he could play our his martyr fantasies, and was really really overbearing with his " I am only trying to help " attitude. Nobody was asking nor wanting his help in the first place - yet he always was trying to position himself as such... .to make matters worse, he was extremely narcissistic.

Not trying to offend, but in my opinion martyrs are almost as hard to deal with as borderlines... .

On another note, I am sure that the vast majority of the population could identify somewhat with that article, but if you look at the key phrases here like:

"

On a deeper level, martyrs are very needy for love. Unfortunately, they unconsciously believe that the only way they can get love is through suffering. The suffering makes them feel special and wanted, and it brings meaning to their life. Their suffering is tied to their ego. They are actually proud of it. Take away their suffering and they seem lost. "

or

"

To have a normal and mature adult relationship is difficult for them. They will want to help you by listening to your problems, by offering their time and possessions, and by trying to make you dependant on them. In fact, if you don't ask them for assistance, behave strongly and confidently, and treat them as mature and self-sufficient people as well, they will sabotage such a situation and become like little children themselves. "

I think these to paragraphs alone can separate the people who just a bit altruistic or care-givers from the compulsive martyrs... .

I do admit though, that martyrs and borderlines often hook up because they both play into each others compulsions and unresolved childhood issues.
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po·ten·tial  adj.
1. Capable of being but not yet in existence; latent: a potential greatness.
2. Having possibility, capability, or power.
3. The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being.
4. Something possessing the capacity for growth or development.
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2011, 04:20:40 PM »

Mobocracy brought up some excellent points! I am curious how many of you would classify Mother Theresa? A God fearing, selfless,giving,peaceful woman? A Martyr? I think many of us that believe in God may view "giving" differently than others. Giving in the sense of selfless,unconditional kindness to be more Christ like. Some may view this as being a doormat. I think if you are giving without expectations for anything back than that comes from your heart. When you are giving to keep tabs or cause someone to feel indebted to you then you are crossing into martyrdom. If as Mobocracy said, trying to force the situation so that you feel needed, then you have a problem. Some people have a servant's heart and that is a good thing, we just need to know when to draw the line before we sustain damage.
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And God help you if you are a Pheonix, and you dare rise up from the ash. A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just  flying past. Ani DeFranco
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2011, 11:45:30 PM »

IMHO, I don't think this line of thought is healthy for people that are/maybe actual victims.  Martyr complex types simply seek out the hardest roads possible w/out changing as they want to feel as they've worked the hardest and everything is about how unappreciated they are for their sacrifices, not being abused and taking that abuse unless they continue taking the abuse JUST TO SAY that they have taken the most a human could... .better than their neighbors/friends... .etc. etc.  Martyrdom is usually a NPD trait, as they usually dive into their work w/out joy just to have a job and to say that they are hard workers, albeit easily distracted inefficient ones... but at least they can pull more hours than you.  Having pain about being victimized isn't the problem... .having a long duration of that pain isn't the problem... .it is when you see that you are driving in the rain and speed up even if you know you will hydroplane so when you crash, can bemoan your bad luck.  It is being the intentional victim for bragging rights, even if you only brag to yourself... .but not having pride that you've lived through your worst, but can pick up the pieces yourself, cause in some cases you have to... .even if offered help.  With the case of BPD, that advice and help can be counterproductive for your situation.
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2011, 04:41:08 AM »

Terms like "taking responsibility for ones life" and "sacrificing one's own needs"" are so painfully vague and  and so lacking in any foundation from where one can even begin to make any sort of qualitative assessments like these, to say nothing of the impossibility of arriving at any sort of consensus as to how one would  apply a value to all the wildly varying behaviors that are included in determining if someone has this syndrome, without which one can not logically conclude that someone is doing too much of this and not enough of that,...

These are judgments, judgments obviously being made by someone with a firm distaste for people who exhibit these traits.

"They pick spouses who are either brutal or intolerant" Really now, do they? Thoughts of meeting that special brutalizer  dominate their day?
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2011, 12:14:04 PM »

I believe that martyrs do exist, and like samedeep pointed out, it is usually related to narcissism or other wounded childhood role playing. I think the article was well written, although like i said earlier, basically the whole general population could relate to this on at least some level - and here I think you are a bit right by pointing out how vague the author distinguishes between just being "good" or "altruistic" and being a compulsive martyr.

I applaud Dragonheart for finding this and doing some self-reflection to try and determine his role in all of this BPD chaos. If he relates to this in any way, and it is helping him deal with his issues, than that is his first step in recovery - and that is why we are all here, isn't it?

There is no shame in admitting our flaws. Hell, I am an inherently flawed person - and I mean FLAWED. Sure my BPDexgf was a mess, but so was I, and that is why the dysfunction continued for as long as it did. A healthy person would have never tolerated what I tolerated, nor BEHAVED the way I behaved.  I had a lot of forgiving to do for myself.

And yes... .I had some narcissistic, self-esteem, and other abhorrent behavioral issues that I had to acknowledge and face after the BPD relationship.

For example, a lot of the issues in this article were spot on. I had to learn to not be a control-freak, that other people were allowed to mess up and it wasn't my responsibility to clean up their messes. I also learned that I was more interested in focusing on other's issues because I was too afraid to confront my own... .More importantly, I subconsciously felt that I wasn't worthy of my own attention, that was how deep-rooted the self-loathing was - I didn't deserve my own attention, and therefore sought out others to help so I could feel good about myself. Now, there is nothing wrong with helping others, or even wanting or feeling good about helping others, but when it is so compulsive, and it is tied to my own self-worth and existence, than that is where it becomes a problem.

When I first started therapy, I would apologize to my therapist for everything. She caught on to this really quick and stopped me one time when I was apologizing for being less than perfect. She stopped me and said, "you know Kevin, no one is judging you here except yourself. You say you hate perfectionism (my father was a perfectionist, and a lot of my issues were from him always nitpicking and insulting me for every minor imperfection) yet here you are being a perfectionist. You have adopted your fathers critical voice as your own. But instead of judging others, you reserve all of those harsh judgments for yourself. "

She was right - I was my own worst enemy, beating myself for everything less than super-hero behavior. You see how detrimental this was? In my chaos, self-discipline and self-reflection were not good qualities to possess, because I was using them counter-productively. I had to be flawless, because if not, I didn't need to worry about others judging me for this, I would do all of the judging for them... .and to make matters worse, I would end up hating myself and others for seeing my flaws, because it made me feel so unworthy, so dirty... .

To be frank, I had a lot of issues. This is why I feel that I can relate a lot to even Borderline Personality Disorder, because I know how it feels to be broken, to think counter-intuitively, to act compulsively and not be able to control my abhorrent emotions and behaviors - like being on a dysfunctional auto-pilot, knowing I am going to crash into something and not being able to do anything about it...

I have come a long way since then. I learned that I am my own engineer. I have learned to put myself first, to accept my flaws, to look in the mirror and love the reflection looking back. I have learned to let go of my altruism, and see reality for reality and not as what "could" be. After accepting all of my flaws and tainted past, I learned to forgive myself and move forward - that I didn't have to be perfect, that the impending doom was not going to beset upon me if I am less than perfect... .

Anyways, swmd, is there a reason why you are so upset by this article? If it doesn't pertain to you, than it doesn't pertain to you. All nons are different, we each struggle with our own issues to why we chose to ride the BPD merry-go-round, and I guarantee, this "martyrdom" syndrome is very pertinent to many of us here on the forums. The only way for those of us who do struggle with these issues, is to admit them, and move forward to recovery.

Only by acknowledging that I was broken (and can you imagine how hard that was for a wounded narcissist like myself to admit that I was flawed?) was I able to confront my issues, and it was the sheer bluntness of some of these articles that helped me do so.

Dragonheart, I applaud you for finding this and not being afraid to acknowledge that this may be your issue. Recovery will soon follow if you chose to heal.


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po·ten·tial  adj.
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2. Having possibility, capability, or power.
3. The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being.
4. Something possessing the capacity for growth or development.
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2011, 07:40:59 PM »

I can't recognise myself in this subject (the initial post). I also am not sure where I fit with being co-dependent because when I read that, it doesn't feel like me either. So I have concluded I don't have a label!  ;p  I am unique
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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2011, 08:30:12 PM »

Staff only

I removed the potentially contentious content in one reply (as noted in the reply) and removed two posts.

It is OK to disagree with this authors work, we just ask that such disagreements be posted with respect for other members and with respect for the diversity of religious beliefs in thsi community.

Guidelines:

Potentially Contentious Content:
Discussions on contentious political, religious, moral issues (e.g., euthanasia, abortion), or social advocacy topics (feminism, anti-government, male dominance) are discouraged. There are other venues better suited for this. There are other places to debate politics, religion, etc. and these debates are better suited for an venue where community camaraderie and trust and credibility are not a highly held values. The nature of the discussions at bpdfamily are best without the undertone of political or religious alignments.
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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2012, 06:48:57 AM »

This is interesting. Some of it fits, and some of it doesn't.

e.g. I definitely don't think I'm a shining example of goodness, but I do feel a strong desire to be needed, and I love it when people confide their problems in me or come to me for help. Part of that I'm sure is 'normal' altruism but part of it is probably that it makes me feel worthwhile too. I'm sure it's what attracted me to my uBPD ex and I'm sure he played on that as well (perhaps not consciously) to appear as vulnerable as possible! He used to tell me a lot about how nobody liked him, and he'd been treated badly by people... .and this was very attractive to me.

The bit about behaving like a child when someone treats you as a mature and self-sufficient adult rang a little too true for me as well. There is a part of me that wants to be looked after, as well as looking after others.

Food for thought!

CB
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« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2012, 03:52:03 PM »

There are elements of this article I relate to, absolutely. Not all, but focusing on others as a distraction, yes, for sure. Rescuing, fixing.

I like to point out that phrases like "avoiding taking responsibility for self" is often interpreted as meaning being a irresponsible person or lacking independence. I never acted or felt dependent and was always very responsible even from a very young age. Here's the rub: there are different ways we abandon ourselves and fail to be responsible for ourselves. Being independent in the world, whilst being chronically unhappy or chronically involved in or invested in a long term fixer relationship where you are certain your a-okay, but your partner is nutz and just needs to "change"... .Is often a distraction, an avoidance of self, and as such a lack of self care. A person can be highly independent and responsible and still have childhood issues (unconscious/unresolved) that keep them distracted from self, and in

essence have not learned to be responsible for their own happiness and emotional well

being. That is what a victim- stance, martyrdomz, or codependence is about I'm my opinion; it has little to do with your general level of independence in the world, if anything, folks in this category, as the article made reference to, are often hyper capable because adulthood was foisted upon them at a very young age.

The article is certainly not perfect in that it tries it attempts to use simple language to highlight a complex issue ( as do hundreds of articles that discuss BPD is simple, sweeping terms)... .but for many on this site, including myself, this kind of article was thought provoking and frankly, much needed. And yes I can name 2-3 people in my like that I see as much bigger martyrs than me, but so what? My ability to see others quirks but not so much my own is one of my weaknesses, one I choose to not indulge in as much as I use to.
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2012, 07:06:23 PM »

Pls. Excuse the many typos above,  iPhone typing is not my forte.
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2012, 05:12:00 PM »

In agreement with the things MaybeSo said... .I scored a 38. That's a bit daunting, considering I felt I had a good and normal FOO, and while I knew that there was something wrong with how majorly codependent I am, this is sort of shocking.
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2012, 09:34:38 PM »

I think this is very interesting. I would definitely agree that I'm a fixer. I don't know that I would say I deliberately am attracted to people with issues. I *think* I look at people with the sense that you will never find someone that's perfect. Everyone has their own insecurities and we're all products of things that have happened to us.

I consider myself to be altruistic and I've explored the issue with my T. Because on some level we all experience satisfaction or an ego boost from doing something 'selfless' is it really selfless?

I'm considering doing something with my life that WILL hurt a lot of people - don't worry, nothing dangerous or anything like that. It is absolutely what I want to do with my life but I'm having trouble weighing up the pros and cons. It's a very difficult thing for me to hurt people (as it is for everyone).

My own mind is fascinating to me, and these boards give me good reflection :-)
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 03:18:44 PM »

Excerpt
I don't know that I would say I deliberately am attracted to people with issues.



I don't think anyone feels they deliberately set out to consciously and with full awarness or intent do any of the goofy or less productive things we as people tend to do   ... .rather, it's usually done with lack of awareness or lack of clarity based on old tapes that get played out, we do things or gravitate toward behaviors or circumstances that just feel 'normal' or 'familiar' often based on unconscious family of orgin stuff that might have been functional for a time while growing up, but isn't necessarily funtional anymore.  

In my family, I was subtly and not so subtly rewarded for being a fixer, a listener (not a speaker, no voice) and a "good sport"  and a rescuer... .it kept me safe, it gave me a certain acceptable identity that was 'ok' in my family... .other aspects of my 'self' were not seen or rewarded the way being a good sport and a fixer were rewarded.  So, you know, you go with what works. It actually was functional in my family as a child (served me well as a child) but it does not serve me as well as an adult in peer relations and is therefore not as 'functional' as or adaptive as it once was.  

Excerpt
Because on some level we all experience satisfaction or an ego boost from doing something 'selfless' is it really selfless?



Most repetitive behaviors serve some function that is rewarding in some way.  The question is not, I think, a concern over whether it's truly selfless if it is in some way rewarding, I don't think only behavior that 100% purely selfless is necessarily of value... .positive behaviors SHOULD be rewarding and stimulating,  otherwise what's the impetitus for ever doing anything positive ever?  

Isn't the real question about what works v. what doesn't work?  There would be nothing 'wrong' with being in a codependent r/s if it WORKED!... .but it doesn't work! that's the problem!

Mother Teresa is not 'dysfunctonal' if what she is doing 'works'... .whether she gains personal satisfaction from it or not, which I assume she does, is beside the point.  If what she was doing to feed starving orphans had the unintended consequence of acutally contributing to a system that faciliated the problem of starving rather than solving the problem of starving... .then her persistence in doing it would be 'dysfunctional' wether she felt good about it or not... .if what she is doing acutally helps solve the problem, it's productive and does work, than it is 'functional'.  The problem with codependence is ... .it doesn't work!  

Is it 'functional' eg., does it work well, does it actually solve problems and fit well and productively into our lives and the lives of others?  If the answer is yes, then it's working!

However, being in a r/s that makes us miserable or where we are feeling abused, and where our 'being there' doesn't really fix anything but we hope it will... .meanwhile we get sick and are likely enabeling or exacerbating the very thing we say we dislike and want to  fix or rescue (we become part of a sick system)... .to me, this not very functional.  

It's not working. It's dysfunctional.  Whatever degree of secondary gain we get, ... .doesn't make us bad people,  but it can set up a reward system that fools us into believing we are helping when we may not be helping at all. If you want to feel good about doing something for someone else, then at least do something that works... .we know rescuing and fixing of other adults in romantic r/s doesnt work... .no matter how it makes us feel to try.  It's not about being bad or selfish v. selfless... .it's about being unaware, and doing something repetiviely that may have  worked when we were kids  that isn't working NOW as adults.  

Self care for many is the missing link, self care is often seen as a totally alien or selfish act for many,  in that you are taking care of yourself emotionally and your own well being first, and this is often NOT rewarded in many families, whereas sacraficing yourself emotionally or sacraficing self IS often rewarded, if only in the sense that we pass better or get by better doing it this way in many families.   Many got the message in childhood that there is something wrong with taking care of yourself (emotinally) and that you are a good person only when you sacrafice your own emotional well being to presumably help someone elses emotinal well being or just to help others period.   The problem is... .we know THAT doesn't work!  Your well must be full before you have any extra to share! As a kid, it can help you get by in a family where these expecations are present, but it doens't work well in 1-1 adult relationships.  We know that.  If it doesn't work, then it's not 'functional' whether it makes you feel good about it or not.  

Keep the alturism and the good feeling that come with it,  but direct it toward places where it is actually functional, where it actually works or is productive. You don't have to read very long on these boards to see that the kind of 'altruism'  seen hee (I would stay in abusive r/s not matter what because I love him/her, that's just the kind of person I am) is nice, but does it work?  Is anyone actually getting better?  No. No one is getting better!  Why do you think the lessons on the Staying Board are so much about self care and a re-direct to a focus on yourself?  With codependeince, The giver is not getting better, the 'receiver' is not getting better,  and anyone else on the sidelines isn't getting better, either.

As an adult, it's our JOB to rescue ourselves FIRST. That's when things start to get better.  

If you hate being in a room where your lover is screaming at you, you can:

1) rescue the wounded person by staying no matter what so as to provide unconditional love in the hope that that love will eventually change the person who is screaming at you so eventually they don't scream anymore or... .

2) rescue yourself by leaving the room or leaving the r/s.  

#1 never works because it has the unfortunate but predictible side affect of teaching others it's okay to mistreat us,  so we end up NOT fixing anything but become part of a sick system no matter how we feel about it, no matter the secondary gain (even if we feel altruistic about it, even if it 'feels' unselfish, it isn't working!)

#2 works like a charm, every time, no matter how we feel about it. This stance might actually feel worse in the moment, but it's actually much more 'functional' and sustainable, eg, healthy,  than option #1.  Think McDonalds fast food v. organic vegitables.  How it makes us feel (how it tastes)  in the moment (selfish or unselfish) is kind of beside the point.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)   

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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2013, 08:27:56 PM »

I answered based on a few years ago - before I realized my relationship patterns/lack of relationship skills. 

Score = 40!

Growing up with an alcoholic BPD parent meant my need as a child were negated for his, my boundaries were no respected and I wasn’t taught to have boundaries – my role model – my father – was boundary-less – I was taught to be of value, ‘to do’, ‘to fix’, ‘to care take’ and most importantly to be silent.

In my adult life I chose men like my father – abusive, controlling, demanding – it was perfect for me because my sense of personal value was to serve rather than have needs. To have my own needs felt incredibly selfish and unfulfilling.

In choosing abusive men I bent backwards to help and fix at the expense of my own happiness. Around about the time my ex began to devalue – I became resentful – my efforts were not appreciated and didn’t understand at the time that I was indeed placing myself in the role of a victim. It was not my ex’s fault at all – I was using him to bolster my failing ego and when it didn’t work I blamed him.  I desperately tried to change who he was rather than accepting him for what he showed me.

My perception of him, me and the relationship are very different now. I have a balanced view of what went wrong…I don’t blame him at all.

So much has changed since a few years ago and no doubt I would score on the very lower end of that scale now. My worth is too important, my needs are too important to rescue anyone who doesn’t want to be rescued – my sense of value lies in other things than to fix.

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« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2013, 10:06:24 PM »

I scored a 29. A lot of it describes me. Stretches way back to my childhood with my needy/disabled possible BPD/NPD mother.
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« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2013, 10:21:10 PM »

Scored a 9

Excerpt
As an adult, it's our JOB to rescue ourselves FIRST. That's when things start to get better. 

If you hate being in a room where your lover is screaming at you, you can:

1) rescue the wounded person by staying no matter what so as to provide unconditional love in the hope that that love will eventually change the person who is screaming at you so eventually they don't scream anymore or... .

2) rescue yourself by leaving the room or leaving the r/s. 

#1 never works because it has the unfortunate but predictible side affect of teaching others it's okay to mistreat us,  so we end up NOT fixing anything but become part of a sick system no matter how we feel about it, no matter the secondary gain (even if we feel altruistic about it, even if it 'feels' unselfish, it isn't working!)

#2 works like a charm, every time, no matter how we feel about it. This stance might actually feel worse in the moment, but it's actually much more 'functional' and sustainable, eg, healthy,  than option #1.  Think McDonalds fast food v. organic vegitables.  How it makes us feel (how it tastes)  in the moment (selfish or unselfish) is kind of beside the point.

This is gold.
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« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2016, 09:30:31 PM »

This poll was personally quite difficult to go through and I started working at the items some time ago. But I really like it!

Their suffering is tied to their ego. They are actually proud of it. Take away their suffering and they seem lost.

Hem.
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2016, 01:26:56 PM »

i remember recognizing myself in the martyr complex identified in the archived articles, this more fully explains the mindset/dynamics. i answered in retrospect and scored about a thirty. thats very humbling.

i see it in all of my past romantic relationships, some friendships, i see it in the nature of how ive experienced rejection. i especially see it in my BPD relationship (i was aware i was being abused and i did equate my tolerance for it with love). it was a key dynamic and hook. it was behind most of my "breakups" (in fairness, i did want to leave, and i also "couldnt" and didnt know how, but the vast majority were efforts to get her to "see the light" and she mirrored this).

i like to think some of it was about not knowing better, most of my behavior and attitude was certainly not conscious or malicious. i lacked knowledge, better skills, greater maturity. embarrassing, but movies and music certainly influenced some of my beliefs and what i looked for in a relationship. i misapplied bible passages. i still have ideals, values, principles, religious beliefs, which include putting others first. i have a more informed view of what that means that includes better identifying what is healthy and unhealthy, realistic expectations, and (boundaries) recognizing where i begin and another person ends.
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     and I think it's gonna be all right; yeah; the worst is over now; the mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball…
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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2016, 10:50:20 AM »

Scored a 9


once removed I'm closer to your humbling part of the range   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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Every day is a gift. Live it fully


« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2016, 01:47:49 PM »

I got a 22 , however in the last 6 months I have put significant effort into moving from a victim to a survivor mindset. This poll discounts our ability to recover because it refers to our previous relationship or our FOO.

I think I have overcome a lot of victim traits such as isolation, numbness, hypervigilance, living in the past, serious all the time and shame.

Long may this progress continue. Thanks for the poll Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2019, 01:31:05 AM »

Today, this was assuring for me.

I've just done this again in 10/2019 and recorded 9–16.

It seems in 7/2016 I recorded 25–32.

I find it reassuring because I put 0 down for the first 5 questions. Those to me have more to do with current decision-making with current relationships.

The last 3 questions have more to do with past behaviours of the (1) parent and (2) child. Hence, they're historical and unavoidable despite behaving as a non-martyr 'after learning':
  • "[The parent] sacrificed [himself/herself]..."
  • "To please the parent, the child assumed..."
  • "The child was forced to sacrifice..."

Going forward I think that despite having these unchangeable childhood experiences, what can I do today, next month, next year, as an adult—to avoid tending toward a Martyr Victim Complex? What beliefs do I need to investigate to do this—what beliefs do I want to take on to counteract those 'given from' my unchangeable past?

I think Burns's suggestions in his book can be seen as direct remedies to underlying beliefs that cause 5 points in the first 5 questions.


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