Thursday, October 25, 2007

True Confessions of a Self-Made Martyr

I am a Self-Made Martyr.

I didn't always know this. In fact, it was only this last weekend that the truth of it hit me square in the brain. I confronted Brandon:

"I know what my problem is."
"Umm...okay..."
"No, seriously, I have this problem. I finally figured out what it is! I'm always going on and on and on about how I want you to be romantic and sweet --you know, plan dates and all that. But then when you do, I sabotage it --I find something to be upset about, and I get cranky about it or I just get mad that you did it. What is up with that? But it just doesn't apply to romance --I do the same thing when it comes to cleaning the house. I mean, when I came home from church today and saw that you did the dishes, was I thinking 'wow! Thanks, Brandon!'? No, I was thinking 'how come he didn't wipe off the counters?!!?' See! You see my problem?"
Brandon then just smiled at me and shrugged.
"I have just realized that I have this need to be a martyr. I seem to have this desire to complain about everything. But here's my question, though. How come you never told me, huh? How long have I been like this? And why didn't you tell me?!"
Brandon laughed and said "You've always been like this --it's part of your personality. I'm used to it. "
"Well, I don't like it! I've gotta change it!"

After speaking with some friends earlier this week, I have found that I'm not the only self-made martyr out there. I think sometimes we, as women, thrive on what we don't have. Janelle, who graciously opens her doors to us for Scripture Study each week, had a great point when she talked about the need some people (us, maybe? Or you, maybe?) have to profess their sacrifices. "Hey, look at me! I gave up all of this!" or "See these trials? Yep, they are hard. Let me tell you all about them and then you can see how humble I am to suffer through them so well." I think we're all guilty of that one. As mothers, we compare our adventures in parenting. "My kid is harder than your kid" and "I have another bake sale to get ready for", and "Oh, man, I can't remember what sleep is like", etc. tends to fill our conversations.

But what I discovered, is that when things do go my way (your way?), I can't stand it. How can I complain, compare, and pity myself when I'm actually happy? How can I say "look at how great I am, enduring this pain" when there is no pain? If women are that they might have joy, then why do I insist on not having it?

P.S. I'm glad I'm getting older. I keep learning so much about myself all the time. Who knew?

10 comments:

Ann said...

I'm laughing because I know what you mean. And to answer your last question, our mothers knew. I've realized since becoming a mother that my mother knew a lot more than I ever gave her credit for. And she let me be who I am (for better or for worse). So I think it's funny that as we go through these "self-discovery" adventures, it's all stuff our mothers already knew about us. (And they love us anyway!) YAY for moms!

Cristy said...

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO True!!!
I mean, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO True!!!
I mean, SOOOOOOOOOOOOO true for most woman, not just you!!! I was watching Oprah last night and they had Seal and Heidi Klum on and they just seemed so happy with each-other, and she was all looking at him with adoration, and I was like "Why don't I look at JIm like that?" I should! But instead I look at him and think "Did you unload the dishwasher? Why don't you plan a date? Why don't you think of ME first!" Blah blah.. so bored of myself! In our defense though, we don't have nannies and millions of dollars to spend flying in rose petals on top of mountains...

Summer said...

This is so funny because I do the exact same thing over the same exact same place in the house (and others). Tom never wipes the counters, though he's told me he's cleaned the kitchen and I'm like, the kitchen isn't clean if the counters aren't wiped. Lol!

Melissa said...

Oh My Heck! This made me laugh! It is SO true...I think you are onto something! Here is your book topic ;)

Amanda said...

Interesting. I am like that with some things but not with others. I am right with you on the dishes and the counter thing. Drives me crazy that when Bryan does the dishes he doesn't wipe the counter. I should be grateful he does the dishes! Thanks for this. I'm going to have to think on this some more.

brenbot said...

seriously, what is it about men not wiping the counter top?

Kelly A. said...

Off Martyr topic:

Cheryl, do you know about this? http://www.nanowrimo.org/

It made me think of you.

Jamie J said...

I totally know what you are talking about. I am grateful that DH does the dishes, but can't get over the fact that he doesn't wipe the counters too! Lately he's been doing it though and it makes me so happy! It's not just the kitchen or DH though--there are so many things I do this with. I have to constantly try to focus on the positive instead of nit-picking the little negative thing.

Ethan said...

Well, you certainly aren't alone...I'm pretty sure my sister is one too. This would be a prime example: http://bremsfamily.blogspot.com/2007/02/lobster-valentine.html

Cheryl said...

Ethan-
That was a funny story! But no, your sister isn't a martyr. She just loves all living things; she can't stand to see helpless things in pain. I rather like that sister of yours! :)

My problem is that I can't let myself be happy over ANYTHING. I have to sabataoge all the good things that happen to me so I can complain about it later. At least that was kind of what I was trying to say in this post.