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Does anyone have any information or opinions on this? Here is a definition I've found:

Wikipedia
In psychology, a person who has a martyr complex, sometimes associated with the term victim complex, desires the feeling of being a martyr for its own sake, seeking out suffering or persecution because it feeds a psychological need.
Persnickety Piss Artist's avatar

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Well, someone who feels the need to be punished.
FaonFleur's avatar

Friendly Gawker

A person with the martyr complex will put themselves intentionally in, sometimes made up or exaggerated, situations. They will place themselves as the victim in their own mind with an aggressor(s) controlling them. Sometimes this is done in order to get attention or justify their own actions. Here's an example:

A worker doesn't get the promotion they want, they may or may not deserve it. Instead of saying to themselves: "Gee, I should work harder," or: "I should talk to my boss/supervisor," it turns into: "I work so much and nobody notices anything thing I do," or: "My boss/supervisor is a tyrannic beast: they care nothing for the works."

Most people do this, but not to the extent that someone with a martyr complex does. With the complex, there's always a problem. The person feels a need to constantly complain about something. This problem doesn't even have to affect them directly or be about them at all. It could be their second cousin's dog who just had puppies the other day. The "martyr" would complain about the puppies not having a home, and maybe taking one, blah, blah, none of their business. Fixed problems result from their complaining, in their mind. Often good acts go unnoticed or complained about more.

In my opinion, it's overlooked. Generally it's just called "nagging too much," but martyr complex is more common than you'd think and more people should learn how to deal with it. This goes for suffers and the poor fools around them.
MettalSane
A person with the martyr complex will put themselves intentionally in, sometimes made up or exaggerated, situations. They will place themselves as the victim in their own mind with an aggressor(s) controlling them. Sometimes this is done in order to get attention or justify their own actions. Here's an example:

A worker doesn't get the promotion they want, they may or may not deserve it. Instead of saying to themselves: "Gee, I should work harder," or: "I should talk to my boss/supervisor," it turns into: "I work so much and nobody notices anything thing I do," or: "My boss/supervisor is a tyrannic beast: they care nothing for the works."

Most people do this, but not to the extent that someone with a martyr complex does. With the complex, there's always a problem. The person feels a need to constantly complain about something. This problem doesn't even have to affect them directly or be about them at all. It could be their second cousin's dog who just had puppies the other day. The "martyr" would complain about the puppies not having a home, and maybe taking one, blah, blah, none of their business. Fixed problems result from their complaining, in their mind. Often good acts go unnoticed or complained about more.

In my opinion, it's overlooked. Generally it's just called "nagging too much," but martyr complex is more common than you'd think and more people should learn how to deal with it. This goes for suffers and the poor fools around them.


This is good information! Thanks for the input =-)

I think it's very interesting that most people seem to applaud martyrdom, instead of see it as a psychological problem.
FaonFleur's avatar

Friendly Gawker

There seems to be some confusion... Being a martyr is different than the martyr complex.

A martyr sacrifices themselves in someway, usually their life, for a principle or good of another. In the book A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton sacrifices his life in order to save his friend from dying (and the husband of the woman he loves). A true martyr would not play themselves to get pity. They would hold themselves strong and willingly take the punishment.

The martyr complex is like imagining oneself as a martyr, but not really being one. The person would not really be suffering, not any extreme suffering anyway. (We all suffer, welcome to the human condition). But they would complain and not really do anything.

A martyr is action, martyr complex is inaction (talking and complaining). True martyrdom should be recognized and applauded. The martyr complex should be recognized and treated with therapy.
I like your definition, MettalSane. I personally feel like many people suffer from a martyr complex. It's so much easier to be the victim than the bad guy or the angsty hero. I would much rather act like Lois Lane than Superman or Lex Luther. Both Clark Kent and Lex Luther have much heavier hearts and responsibilites. Lois Lane just has to sit around, look pretty, and be the damsel in distress.

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