Breaking out of Martyr / Rescuer Syndrome

I am a reforming perfectionistic people pleaser.

I was raised to believe other people’s needs were more important than my own.

Thinking about my own needs was “selfish,” and, especially as a woman, at best, what I wanted and needed came in second, or maybe even not at all.

I was also raised to add into that martyr syndrome a bit of the rescuer as well – cemented in with Mormon/Christian beliefs that there were many who were lost and it was up to me to “save them.”

I basically felt like I had to be a female Jesus without any sort of human needs or desires who could never make a mistake or let anyone down, like some sort of very beige superheroine, putting out the fires, rescuing the weak, and leaping tall expectations in a single bound.

It was a very toxic and seemingly inescapable program.

As I got older and consciously let go of those roles, I still had so much of it programmed into my survival patterns, that I found myself balancing out the depletion of my martyr/rescuer by becoming resentful and swinging to the other side of self-righteous and resentful “me time,” which left partners feeling attacked.

As I’ve done my inner work, I am coming into a balance that allows me to honor my time, my whole life, as a sacred gift, no less valuable than anyone else’s. I give myself permission to really listen to what my inner Wisdom is guiding me to do.

I now know that I am a kind, loving, generous human who doesn’t need to be preoccupied with the needs and expectations of others to be loved or even safe in the world.

As the layers come off, I’ve been amazed at how many thoughts per day are still programmed to anticipate the needs and expectations of others. But now, instead of feeling compelled to act on them and then resent the person I’m “taking care of,” I am taking a moment to pause, breathe, and go deeper to listen to what I REALLY want.

At times it feels so indulgent, so decadent, but I am finding that honoring what I really want, leads me to decisions that open doors to relationships, resources, and opportunities that truly serve my purpose work and nourish my soul. My business thrives, my health thrives, my relationships flourish.

I’m curious . . . how many of you resonate with this journey. What’s your relationship like with self-care vs. taking care of others? 





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