I’d like to see pop psychology focus less upon narcissism and more on other topics. It’s not that people don’t experience a lot of serious problems around the issue of narcissism–we do. My quibble with how it is addressed in popular culture is that there are so many self-appointed experts about it on the Internet these days. The most helpful experts regarding such disorders as narcissism are licensed professionals such as counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
There is some initial value to hearing about the experiences of amateur specialists in narcissism and psychopathy; however, it is too easy for their listeners and readers to remain stuck in the feelings of victim-hood. There is a lot of finger-pointing, blowing off of steam, demonizing, and sanctimony going on. There seems to be a lot of victim-hood and negativity expressed, especially in the comments sections of so many videos.
I do not mean to minimize the anguish and pain that victims of narcissists suffer. What bothers me is how many seem to be stuck in their self-diagnosed status as victims of narcissists and psychopaths. This bothers me because I also went down that rabbit hole and got stuck there far too long. I finally got unstuck after discovering videos and articles authored by licensed mental health professionals. These individuals turbocharged my understanding of narcissists and those of us who become their “supply” or victims.
The insightful discussion about the victim’s role in harmful relationships has been a boon to my recovery from years of narcissistic abuse. This is why I wish more amateur experts would focus on another topic for awhile–the martyr complex. In my opinion, such discussions would add more insight and honesty surrounding problematic interpersonal topics such as “narcissistic abuse”.
The issues regarding such conditions as codependency, psychological abuse, narcissistic disorders are serious and complex. I’ve been on the receiving end of harmful relationships more times than I care to count, so concise, accurate information and advise mean a lot to me.
Looking back, I now understand that there were times when I nurtured my own martyr complex. It colored my interactions with people in general and caused me to be more judgmental towards others. That’s one reason why I’d like to see a shift in focus towards helping people who develop martyr complexes.
More attention to this condition would be helpful to those of us who portray ourselves as the nice person who is righteous and self-sacrificing. We, who are reluctant to accept personal responsibility for the decisions that cause us pain and suffering. We may have remained in dysfunctional relationships and friendships despite knowing that this caused us a lot of grief. Enduring such suffering can lead to self-identifying as some sort of heroic saint, or martyr.
I’ll stop here because I’m not a licensed professional nor even a skilled armchair psychologist. I just want these words to go out to people who have experienced similar scenarios to mine. Perhaps these words will also strike a chord to any mental health professionals who happen upon today’s blog post.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders an idea from Florence Nightingale. “The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower.”