Martyr complex, that’s the proper term. It means that you give up on something and neglect your own needs for the sake of someone else’s benefit. I know about it from experience as I grew up with a mother with a victim complex.
I’ll leave it to psychologists to explain it in detail, but I’ll share my story with you. Honestly, I don’t know where to start. There’s a lump in my throat as I’m writing this. Who the hell knows why…
Growing up with a mother with a victim complex was not easy. I always felt like I asked for too much. I actually thought that she hated me in some moments. Whenever she’d speak with me, it sounded like I asked to be born, to be educated. And I didn’t.
This probably sounds harsh, but if you chose to have a kid, you accepted all the obligations that come with it the moment you found out you were pregnant, right? How can you then say to the one you gave birth to, that she’s responsible because your life changed?
How can you as a parent blame your kids for not fulfilling your goals and dreams? You shouldn’t, let me tell you that. Your kids are not responsible because you failed to protect yourself, or because you wanted to follow the timeline society said is “proper.”
As you can see, growing up with a mother with a victim complex taught me a couple of things, the first one being that I don’t want to be like that for my babies in the future. But she also taught me more…
I feel bad when I do something for myself…
Yes ma, I feel bad when I do something for myself. You wonder why? Every time I’d buy something from my savings, you complained about how I was not supposed to do that. There are more important things than buying a T-shirt with my favorite cartoon character, you’d say.
You never bought something for yourself or went out on a date on your own because you needed to provide for us. And then, you’d “blame” the family and household for not being able to do so. Now, I constantly feel like I shouldn’t treat myself because there’s something smarter to do with the money.
I can handle everything on my own
Thank you for this one, mom. Seriously. I’m truly grateful that I learned how strong I am and how I can endure a lot on my own. I don’t need someone to fill in the void inside me, I’m capable enough to deal with my problems alone. And I don’t need you anymore either…
You know, the worst thing about this is that my man doesn’t get the opportunity to help me. It’s true that I’m a strong, independent woman and I can handle everything on my own. But sometimes when I’m falling apart, I need someone to hold me.
There are times when I desperately crave a gentle touch – to hold my broken pieces together and encourage me to do things my way. I’m finally not afraid to say it out loud. But because you taught me this, I know what I deserve in a relationship.
I feel bad if I don’t follow the “normal life” timeline
Finish your education, get married, have kids. Live a happy life, full of expectations, and leave the earth knowing that you weren’t happy. Don’t get me wrong, many women are satisfied with this timeline and it comes naturally. But, that’s not my story.
I’ve never followed some irrational social norms, especially if I don’t agree with them completely, and I love that. Yet, there are moments when I feel bad if I don’t live according to the set of behavioral rules and principles society has forced us to accept.
I need constant reassurance (that I’m good enough)
No matter how hard I try… seems to be one of those sentences my mom repeated often. She was always the one who gave everything she had, yet I was the ungrateful child who didn’t know how to appreciate her. Am I guilty as charged?
I guess it stayed with me as well because I sometimes need reassurance that I’m good enough. It has a lot to do with my family saying that I could do better, but that’s another story. A toxic parent will mark you for life, that’s for sure.
I’m her whole world…
How can I even think of leaving her? Yes, there are still times when I think about this. How can I leave her after everything she’s done for me? This is my constant thought, even though I’m an adult now and I’m supposed to have my own life.
Whenever I’d mention moving out of our family home, she’d say something like “You’re my whole world, I don’t know what I’d do without you,” or “Don’t leave me right now, wait a bit longer…” What am I waiting for?
I always thought it was normal
Yes, I did. I never considered my mother the abusive parent I read articles about. She never hit me and she never let my dad be too strict. But as I grew up, I realized that the way she behaves is far from normal.
I did everything to make her feel good, loved, and valued, only for her to say how unappreciative I am for all she does for me. Tell me, how would you feel in a case like this? My little heart couldn’t take it – I’d even feel guilty for my existence.
Because, if I wouldn’t be here, maybe my mom would be happy… Maybe, just maybe, she’d have the life she always dreamed of.
Thank you for teaching me some essential things, Mom. Even though it was the wrong teaching method, I’d say. No child deserves to be abused, and I sure as hell didn’t deserve to be treated as I was.
But I don’t want to continue this vicious circle of martyrdom, so I’m ending it here. I’m grateful for everything that happened because it made me the person I am today. I know what I don’t want to be like – because I truly want to be happy.