Martyr Syndrome. It’s what I told friends my mother had. “You’re hurting Mommy’s feelings,” was a popular statement, meant to control me after all else failed. In the last year I’ve purposely studied couples and took mental notes on which seemed genuinely happy. None of the genuinely happy couples contained a martyr. They seemed to respect each other and openly trust the other. And this makes sense considering martyrs almost flaunt their manipulation in the face of their partner. Almost like saying, “I don’t care about you as much as I care about my immaturity. I’m about to control you with guilt, are you strong enough to call my bluff?”
When I was young, I didn’t have the capacity to call my mother’s bluff and tell her to cut the crap. The best I could do was return her favor with passive aggressive comments. Thankfully, years of therapy later gave me the strength to cut both her and toxic boyfriends out of my life. Thanks to her training I knew if the guy felt no guilt acting like a martyr while we dated, it certainly wouldn’t improve after marriage.