Monkey Mind Symptom #8

  1. Being victim or martyr: When we’re in the victim and/or martyr energy, we believe that life is happening TO us, rather than BY us, or THROUGH us. We’re looking for someone to blame, rather than taking responsibility for our decisions and actions. Remember the old Flip Wilson bit, “The devil made me do it!”, the problem with not recognizing that we’re accountable for those decisions is that we miss the chance to learn from our mistakes. As long as we’re looking outside ourselves, for “who’s the matter with us”, we’re not looking inside for the real growth opportunity. Martyr has a similar, but subtly different, energy. When we’re in martyr, we’re playing the “I’ll just do it myself” card… the “I shouldn’t have to ask” card. Ironically, a martyr is self-imposed victimhood. It’s not someone outside of us that’s victimizing us, it’s actually us. We’re deciding to be a victim by making up stories about how unappreciated we are, or how nobody understands us, or how the “system” is against us. One of the definitions of martyr from Webster’s Dictionary is “A person who pretends to suffer or who exaggerates suffering in order to get praise or sympathy.” Is this really how we want to show up in life? Is this how a loving family member, or a financially successful person, or a respected professional, or an effective mentor or coach would show up? When we recognize that we’re in victim or martyr mode, we get to ask ourselves, “What is this getting me? Is there another way to have that need met? How can I be clear and ‘on my card’ in this conversation and relationship?” This reflection shifts us from victim to victor, from martyr to master, from monkey mind to conscious conduit… a powerful shift indeed.


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