Friday, January 10, 2014

Not falling into the martyr trap

The other day I came across a phrase on social media that caught my eye, Martyr Moms. What a great phrase I knew what it meant straight away. My own mother use to joke that she was the last on the list and first took off when it came to getting new things.

My mother rarely bought new clothes or got her hair done.  She didn't go out with friends or had any hobbies outside the home. She cared for us, but made us feel guilty. I am not ungrateful to my mothers sacrifices, but I think it resulted in me finding it difficult to see a married woman or mother as anything else but a drudge.

My mothers behaviour taught me that I didn't deserve anything nice. Motherhood is a noble sacrifice. Mothers are expected to put an 100% effort in, and be happy with a 7% return effort. We shouldn't mention what we want, we should stand silently in the corner and expect our loved ones to read our minds. Then we become bitter when we don't get what we want.

Now I'm not saying that we should be selfish. I have strong Christian beliefs, we should try to be generous and loving. But why shouldn't that rule apply to us to. If someone in the family is sick, we help, we nurture. But when we are sick we fall into a martyrs role, carry on, and resent the hell out of it. Resentment grows inside us, destroying any hope of happiness. 

Not one person in my family have complained once if I haven't finished the housework. They don't mind if I go to the hairdresser - they don't notice - but you know what I mean. Once again it is a matter of having self control over your thoughts and trying to stay positive.

Janathon has taught me that it is so easy to dismiss exercise claiming we don't have time. To maintain a high level of fitness you need the strength to make time for yourself. But the benefits of being fit to myself and my family surely would be a positive thing in the long run.

What changes I have made?

I have learnt to say no - unfortunately this hasn't been well received by some people, but I can't change what others think.

Instead of silently letting resentment burn, I speak up. I put effort into doing something for you - expect the same amount of effort back.

I'm learning to be my own best friend. Rather than waiting to be rescued, I am capable helping myself. The problem was that in the past I didn't feel like I deserved it.

When I'm tired I rest.

I exercise.

I try to do things I like and enjoy.

When things are bad I speak up and admit I need help.

It's not easy making changes to the way you think. What I needed to remember is that it wasn't my family that pushed me into a martyrs role I did it myself. 

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