Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, April 27, 2020

Goodbye, Martyr Man

By Melinda H.

"This is an excerpt from a letter that I wrote (but never sent, because he doesn't need more of my attention) to a manipulative jerk who is no longer part of my life. I am sending it on to you, in the hope that my experience could help someone else gain the mental clarity needed to broom some manipulator ass to the curb."

Dear Martyr Man,

You will always be the victim, in every situation where someone tries to get close to you. You cannot relate to women as equals. You look for a strong-willed woman, latch on to her, but envy her strength and ability to express herself openly, so you attack her in vicious little ways. Ways so subtle that you can easily and convincingly deny any wrongdoing and make HER look like the crazy one for even suspecting that you are a passive-aggressive game player.

You played similar games with women before, and this was a chief motivator for their anger and "abuse" towards you. If they struck you physically, that was not right, but when you paint yourself as a martyr, you *always* fail to mention the emotional and psychological abuse you were inflicting on THEM.

That's right, Martyr. You are an abuser. You. Poor little cringing, eternally victimized you.

"But abusers scream, yell and hit, and I never do that!" you protest. "I'm not that way at all. I don't have the anger gene. I am completely incapable of anger."
What you are incapable of is the truth. But I am capable of the truth and here it is.

You ARE capable of anger. In fact, you are a very angry person, as your father before you must have also been - he is clearly the one upon whom you have modeled your behavior. Like him, you were too intimidated by other people to express your anger openly, so you nursed your rage in secret and struck out instead in subtle little ways. If you were asked to do something, you made sure you "forgot" repeatedly or did a poor job. You no doubt carry this behavior on in your work and it is the reason most of the other employees don't like you. People tend not to like someone who does not do his share of the work and is sullen and resistant to new ideas. They are probably tired of your constant subterfuge and backstabbing. No doubt you also play the divide-and-conquer game, playing people off against one another.

You haven't said much about your mother, but I'll make a few educated guesses. She was a strong-willed woman who dominated you and your father, and you both resented it, but neither of you ever told her so directly. Neither of you had the courage to assert yourselves openly. So you both "got even" with her by lying, false promises, "forgetting" or otherwise sabotaging things she asked you to do, and/or withholding your attention and love. Your casual remark about what you did with her books after her death was quite breathtaking in its heartlessness.

Your mother was a model for how you view women today. As I have previously said, you go after women with strong, assertive personalities, because they fit your mother's model and because you admire them for the qualities that you yourself lack. However, you also hate them because they are strong and you are weak. Because you cannot assert yourself openly, you play psychological games designed to break them down, subvert their will, and subtly - invisibly - assert YOUR control.

That's right, Martyr Man. You want control. You are not able to control yourself and so you are controlled by others - but you resent it. So you get a feeling of control by manipulating situations with a deft, invisible hand. You "forget" that a woman asked you to do something. You "forget" NOT to do something she finds hurtful or disrespectful.

You remember to do the things YOU enjoy and want to do, and your friends think you're a great guy - the kind of guy who would do anything for his friends! (Of course you would - your reputation depends on maintaining an appearance of kindness and willingness, and anyone who doesn't know you WELL would say what a nice guy you are - you would do anything to maintain that image). But when your partner asks you to do something, you suddenly lose your memory. You wander off and fail to return, leaving her to wonder where the hell you are, getting off on her discomfort and distress. If she does something you REALLY don't like, such as attempt to leave you, you hint around at suicide and disappear, leaving her to agonize for days over your fate. Really, you're off hanging out with your buddies and drinking and having fun, but she doesn't need to know that, does she?

No doubt she has noticed the fact that after your initial, highly romantic and complimentary approach, you do a complete about-face once she's "hooked" - like Jerkily and Hyde. Once she's in a relationship with you, the kind and gentle and loving courtship behavior ceases, and the passive-aggressive battle begins. First, you begin by slowly and subtly creating distance between you - by spending less time with her every day (always her fault, because of something SHE did...) withholding your attention and affection, making sure she gets the message that your friends, your other interests, EVERYTHING else are more important to you than the person you called the love of your life. When she challenges you about this behavior, you deny it, and make her out to be irrational and crazy for even suspecting it. After all, the success of a passive-aggressive campaign depends on secrecy and camouflage.

You lie easily, leaving out little details like a wife you haven't yet legally severed ties to, and children that you almost never see. You haven't got a divorce, and you won't, because even though you hate your wife, you feel chained to her. You are dependent on her. It's a parasitic relationship. No doubt she was angry with you because you provoked her, getting a charge out of her frustration and rage, and taking full opportunity to twist the situation around until you could make yourself out to be the victim. I haven't the faintest doubt you have cheated on her many times and lied to her many times, and that was the real cause of the attack that so wounded you emotionally. You brought it on yourself, but you won't admit that part. She's completely evil, in your little fairy tale, and you are the innocent little lamb, incapable of even the slightest twinge of anger.

Every human being on this planet feels anger. You yourself have expressed anger many times to me, not the least of which was your last letter. Yet, you still cling to this desperate delusion that you are incapable of anger.

That's a lie, Mr. Martyr. One of many.

Lies undermine the trust that is vital to all relationships. But you don't care about that as long as you can feel in control. Even when control comes at the expense of love, and that is sad.

Nobody can get close to you, Martyr Man. You'll let them within a certain distance, but then you are frightened by intimacy and of your will being sublimated to another's because deep down inside you know you are not strong enough to assert your own will openly and directly. No wonder you hate bluntness, straightforwardness, truth. Those things rob you of your defense mechanisms and make you feel naked and helpless. You cannot trust another person. Instead, you use passive-aggressive techniques to distance yourself from others and gain control over them. You wither under direct confrontation, but when you are able to operate undetected, you are a cruel and effective bully.

Games You Play:

1. The forgetting game:
You are asked to do something you don't want to do. Instead of saying no, you either "forget" about it or sabotage it so badly that the results are useless. You enjoy the frustration this causes others - this is your sneaky way of asserting yourself and controlling the situation from behind the scenes.

2. The withholding game:
Once in a relationship with someone, you begin to selectively withhold your time and affection. The other person senses this pulling away and asks about it. You deny it. But you let them know, indirectly, that many other things are more important to you than they are - your friends, your work, your opera DVDs. You let them know this by leaving their company to pursue these interests without telling them you are doing so. You enjoy the feeling of being in control, knowing you have falsely promised someone your attention later in the evening and knowing you have no intention of fulfilling that promise. You will "forget" to come back, and enjoy your evening alone knowing you are ruining someone else's.

When the person confronts you about this treatment, you will act put out at the suggestion that your actions should live up to your words. You just can't remember to keep your promises! But you always remember the score you needed to finish, the DVD you needed to watch, the book you needed to read, the friends who needed your help. You know full well that this will have the effect of making your partner feel small and insignificant, and that's just the way you like your partner to feel - that way she will be more dependent on you, desperate for your attention, and under your control.

3. The lying game:
Lies roll smoothly off your tongue whenever you are confronted about your behavior and/or something you failed to mention about your past, such as being currently married and the father of two children (now that is a big thing to "forget", even if you alienated them so badly that they don't want to spend any time with you any more). Lying by omission is lying, pure and simple. But you didn't lie on purpose, you claim. No, you just forgot, or your emotional pain was so great that you just couldn't bear to tell the truth!

4. The deflecting game:
Partner becoming suspicious of your lies? No matter, just deflect the attention! Change the subject, wander off, or start ruthlessly (and falsely) putting yourself down so that she won't have the heart to be "mean" enough to pursue the matter any further. If she persists, then you play:

5. The martyr game:
This is your favorite game of all. This game allows you to escape responsibility for anything and everything by invoking your status as the most misunderstood, mistreated, helpless and victimized martyr who ever walked the earth. Nobody understands you or your pain! Don't they see that being a victim completely justifies the way you turn around and become a victimizer at will? Nobody could ever suspect poor little abused, tormented you of torpedoing relationships.

Nobody could expect such an innocent little lamb of deliberately causing emotional and psychological damage to others. Why, look at the way he cries and curls up into a helpless little ball when confronted (and when the lying and deflecting games don't work)! He could never harm ANYONE. He's so broken up over all the deaths in his family, even though they occurred YEARS ago and EVERYONE has to deal with death at some point in their lives. Broken up over the death of his friend, so much that he can't be held responsible for any of his lying, manipulative behavior. Because no one else ever suffered the way he has suffered. The Martyr has no pity or compassion for anyone else, since he saves it all for himself.

6. The superior game:
Unlike all the other people on Earth, you're incapable of anger. You're a regular Gandhi, full of kindness and respect for all, and it's such a tragedy that other people feel the need to get angry at you. You'd never push someone's buttons until they responded in anger and then deny any wrongdoing, setting them up to look like the emotional, crazy one. You'd never get satisfaction out of a nasty little game like that, because you're too superior. You're also superior to the rest of the world culturally - nobody is as sensitive and artistic as you, and nobody appreciates your kind of music, or appreciates it at such a lofty level. You especially love to pull this routine after you've seriously pissed somebody off. You respond with calm politeness - calm of course, since you have got the angry/upset reaction you were aiming for - and double-whammy the person by showing them how YOU never get angry because you are too superior a person to be capable of anger. If someone shows any personality trait that could be considered a flaw, you pull this same routine and let them know that YOU are incapable of such personality flaws, because YOU are so much better than they are.

No wonder you're so angry at being unmasked publicly. Your games depend on your victim not knowing what's going on.

You are not interested in confronting your problems or getting any help for them. You'd rather just float through life like a spineless jellyfish, stinging anyone who ventures too near. Your behavior patterns are firmly entrenched and you are too old to change.

I have no doubt you will continue this behavior pattern with the next woman you meet, and you will continue it until you drive her away, too. You like to drive women away - like to get them so fed up that they leave. That feeds your sickness in a number of ways:

it takes the burden of decision-making off of YOU;

* it enables you to play the martyr over being left by this cruel, horrible woman;
* it gets you sympathy from your next prospect.

You like hurting other people and you have no intention of changing. And that's why I left you.

And don't bother with the "I'm a wonderful sensitive human being who would never cause anyone harm; you've misunderstood me". Oh no. I have not. I have understood you at last.

I understand now how you messed with my mind and made me even fear for my own sanity, how you exploited me emotionally, how you hurt me to the point where I actually felt suicidal. I notice the neat sidestepping from any responsibility by you, how you discredit my (real) pain as a fake attempt to manipulate you. No wonder you would think this. It's called PROJECTION. It's what YOU would do in such a situation, so you project your own screwed up motives onto others.

For someone who is so wounded, so sensitive, so compassionate, so victimized, so gentle - your letters bristle with anger, threats, and nastiness. I thought you were incapable of such things, Gandhi. And you sure are lacking in any compassion at all for the women you've tormented - you have none for your wife and you have none for me. And no doubt you'll have none for your next victim.

You chose your life, and you choose to be this way. You choose it every day. You could change, and learn to be a person of truth, strength and integrity, but you choose not to. It's easier to sit in your shit and cry about how you are victimized while you are busy victimizing others. This is the life you've chosen. You have chosen to be unhappy, and to inflict unhappiness on others.

And *I* have chosen to kick your ass to the curb. Goodbye, Martyr Man, and good riddance.

Melinda H.


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shared by Barbara at 12:09 AM



Except for the married part, I think you wrote to my ex. Really.

12:36 AM  

I am married to this guy now. Never has any other woman got it extactly right about what I am living and going through. I am so SO relieved to find this. I now know I want OUT. Thank you!

3:08 AM  

Melinda H.(author of this "rant"), it's a gift that you have to be able to put into words the truth about this man (this type of person). Thank you.

Now where are the mri stores that have two-for-one specials for Friday night (date night)? I do not want to date another loser who has the brain functioning of a psychopath. So let us just pop into the mri store and get checked out before setting my heart on a demon and destroying my brain with ptsd from all the mind games. What's that now? There are no such stores? Um, why not?

9:18 AM  

I just escaped this guy and boy oh boy every description fit him to the T. He is the victim now and saying that online but thankfully most people can see through it. It's very easy to see now. I'm so glad I was brave enough to escape this kind of relationship.

7:29 PM  

My now ex-fiance was this guy. He still is. The victim personality, the "I am the smartest, best person on earth" personality and the "You are a crazy woman" when he would drive me to that behavior by his extreme emotional abuse. I dumped him 3 months ago. He has been crying and writing and calling to get me back, but I did not take him back (unlike the other 2 million times that we broke up and I did).

He hit me once and managed to fool me into believing it was my fault, he left me everytime he did not like something or wanted to control me and then managed to come back and I was stupid enough to take him back.

This time, when he left because I would not do what he had asked me, to appologize to him when he had called me names and of course it was my fault(!!) I locked the door behind him and never took him back.

The funny part is, he started acting like a victim since the second week, wrote me that "My tears are seasonong my breakfast because I miss you so much", when I felt bad and called him to comfort him, he would get to the point soon that I dumped him for no reason and he has been so good to me and that we were so much in love and that I will never find anyone who loved me as much as he did and no man would put up with my crap, and that I will never be happy.

I am happy to tell you, that I have met a wonderful man now. He is kind, he is respectful, he does not accidentally "forget" what I say is important to me. He does not leave me in anticipation of whether he is going to call me or not, or what he will do next. He is thoughtful and although 9 years older than me, so much fun and just a joy to be with.

I am so greatful. So glad I found the courage to walk out.

I like to give all of you ladies a hug now and wish I could invite you all over and talk.

All the best.

3:54 PM  

How could we all have been with this same guy? Excellent article Melinda!

Escaped is right Jennifer! Narcissists play the most cruel game of cat stalking mouse.... tracks down the mouse, gleefully batters it around the room, then finally once its backed into a corner covered in drool he sits back and grins while he figures out how to torment the poor victimized mouse again, then he regails in his ability to make poor mouse shake in fear.

Wish we all had been taught how to identify these monsters when we were young!!

8:57 PM  

I have only discovered yesterday that I am a victim of a psychopath. Its all new to me but finally everything makes sense for the way I have been feeling for the last three days. I was told by a friend 2 years ago that he is a psychopath. It always stuck in my head and yesterday I finally decided to do some research and I was surprised. I am in a space unknown to me. I feel lost and dead inside. He ignored me for the last 5 days after leaving home to get back to university. I am in a foreign country, alone and feeling lost and I feel like I don't even know how to express myself anymore. Today he sent me a message because i stopped my ''crazy'' behaviour of sending a million messages crying out to him to stop tormenting me like this and I had stopped calling over 50 times and from one message today it all started again and he went silent again and in that moment I stopped because I realised that I am feeding his pleasure, which is my pain. I use to be so strong, confident, social. I am 26 years old. I met him when I was 24 years old and I feel like the life and youth has been sucked out of me. He tried to reverse the situation and make it like he is hurt by the things I said instead of acknowledging what he did to me. I am in a space of shock and disbelief. I am somewhat disappointed with myself for loving him so much and believing that he was the love of my life. He kicked me out his car, out his house and I kept going back as soon as he's give some sort of fake emotion and I couldn't understand why I kept going back. Everything I did for him and went through with him has been things that went against my beliefs and worth. I don't know if I am making sense. I just want to say Thank you for posting this. It is still all so difficult to absorb but your letter, I can relate to in almost every way. I always felt like he was cheating on me but he would never admit it. He also 'forgot' and everything else. I wouldn't be surprised if there is someone else. I am trying to find help. If there are any interactive forums anyone can recommend, please help me. I don't want to fall back in his trap.

7:32 AM  

I read. I loved. I neet to read, watch whatever about how abusive it can get. I go throuugh a divorce and it,s been a hell this last year. Trying to disconnect, trying to stay calm when you want to scream and yell. YOU ARE CRAZY!! My husband does all above. Lessons? Get out as fast as you can and cut the losses. LEAVE.

4:12 PM  

It's astounding to read these words and realize they were written by someone else when they so aptly describe my experience. Recovering after being discarded is such a humbling and painful process. The line separating narcissist from psychopath became blurry once I realized that he ENJOYED spinning me out of control. Looking back, I now clearly see the devious ways he would purposefully push me past every level of patience and calm until I reacted with anger, thereby deflecting any issue in which he was trying to avoid taking responsibility.

It's shocking to realize that another human being would prefer to crumble the core of someone they "love" rather than take responsibility for their own inconsiderate and selfish actions.

7:56 PM  

Absolutely wonderful post. I am going to bookmark this and read it every day. God bless you Melinda for your brilliant clarity and eloquence. I find it so difficult sometimes to put things into words. You have done this so well. Thank you.

6:45 AM  

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