Monday, October 19, 2020

Are you a Self Sacrificer?

In Schema Therapy, “self sacrifice” is defined as excessive focus on voluntarily meeting the needs of others in daily situations, at the expense of one's own gratification.  The most common reasons are:  to prevent causing pain to others;  to avoid guilt from feeling selfish;  or to maintain the connection with others perceived as needy .  Often results from an acute sensitivity to the pain of others. Sometimes leads to a sense that one's own needs are not being adequately met and to resentment of those who are taken care of. (It can overlap with concept of codependency.)

Of course it can be good for society, but if excessive, it can be problematic, especially if it’s not balanced with adequate self care. It’s hard to give, what we don’t have. 

When our needs are not met, and our self care is neglected, our mind may default into the self preservation mode of “what about me”.

The problem is, when “self sacrificers” put their needs first, they tend to feel bad or guilty, and this will create an inner conflict between self sacrifice, and “what about me”. This will increase the chance of stress and burnout.

So how can we minimize or mitigate this?

Simply be aware, defuse or unhook from our “self sacrifice” schema, accept that every superpower has its own Kryptonite, and remember the mantra of oxygen mask on us first, so that we can look after many. Looking after ourselves first does not equal selfishness. It’s looking at the bigger picture. 


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