Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Martyr Syndrome

This post may be a bit of a vent, but hopefully some of you can sympathize and/or back me up on this.

Do you have friends, family, coworkers, or whoevers that just LOVE to be the ones that are put out? They'll stand because someone might possibly want that empty chair; they'll ask for something and then complain when they finally get it; their favorite phrase seems to be "No, really, I'm fine. It's not that bad."

I have a friend like this. She's the friend that ended up in our "group," and she never quite got completely eased out. Her life is so rough, as demonstrated by the following email excerpt:

We're getting married in the fall. I'm actually finishing up save-the-dates,now. It's both nice having him here, and irritating at times. As excited as I was, for the first time in several years I've got no personal space or "alone time" which will take some adjustment.  He's selling cars in a nearby town, which causes me a lot of stress too.  However, it's a job and all I told him was find a job so he did just that.

Let us examine this statement. Her fiance moved across five states to be with her, but now she doesn't have enough personal time. She TOLD him to get a job, but doesn't like his job. She has everything she's asked for - nay, demanded - but it's never enough. Evident in this is the total control of the martyr. Their ability to complain is based on the fact that they control so much in their lives.


How does one handle this? Laying down the law doesn't seem to help - it just fuels their "woe is me" fire. One can try to prevent indulging their whims, but that's usually easier said than done.

Have you dealt with someone like this? How did you deal?