Are you a martyr? Not in the Joan of Arc sense, but in the more modern, metaphoric sense. It can often be difficult to tell, especially when you’re hurt or offended. But if you’re unsure, here are a few quick and easy ways to figure out whether or not you suffer from martyr syndrome:
1. Do you volunteer to do something for others, then feel upset when they don’t show “enough” gratitude?
2. Do you often feel that your generosity is being taken for granted or that you are being taken advantage of?
3. Do you often blame others for your discontentment?
4. Do you feel that your obligation or commitment to others is hindering your personal or financial success?
5. Do you expect specific returns on emotional or financial investments? (For instance, when you give someone something, do you think it entitles you to more of their time or attention? If you buy someone a thoughtful gift, do you expect one back?)
6. Do you find yourself in multiple situations where you feel conspired against?
7. Do you remind people of the things you’ve done for them or use guilt to solicit a desired appreciative response?
Whew! That was a lot. But if you answered yes to more than three of those questions, chances are you’re in love with suffering. You expect it, you welcome it, you hold onto it, and, if necessary, you manufacture it. One definition of martyr syndrome is: “a term that describes people who use self-sacrifice and suffering to control or manipulate their environment.” It’s a pretty harsh condition to claim, but if anyone’s ever accused you of having it, it’s in your best interest to examine whether or not they may be right. And you’ve known others who fits the description, it’s worth finding out what should be done about it, so you can clue them in.