Column 46 – If Mama Ain’t Happy, by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

We come from a very long line of martyrs. This is a bad habit that’s hard for to kick. Even when we think we have let go of our martyred attitudes, they have a way to reaching up and biting us. This can cause a whole new set of problems if we are not careful.

We don’t have to be the martyr any longer. I know this seems really strange, because we don’t even know it when we do this. We have always put everyone in our homes first; believe it or not this comes naturally to us. Here is how we can tell if we have let go of our martyrdom; when you make the choice to allow someone to put their needs in front of yours and we get in a bad mood over it. We have choices in everything and this includes being pouty and short with our family.

Sometimes what we are feeling is not just martyrdom; it can be anger at ourselves for not stepping up and saying what we really want. Since we don’t realize that it is anger; we can lash out at those around us. This is when we have a tendency to transfer the anger from ourselves to others.  What are you really getting upset over. We say it is because we are always last, but the truth may be that our perfectionism has reared its ugly head once again. We don’t like making mistakes that we should have thought of in the first place. Then the whole day begins to fall apart in our mind. We had everything planned then the plans got changed for whatever reason. We have a hard time converting to plan B. This is all because we did not put our needs into the equation. We are always putting everyone else first. Let’s face it; we are the event coordinator for our family. We have been juggling schedules for as long as we can remember.

Now I want you to look at this from your family’s prospective. They love you! They want you to be happy, but they cannot read your mind. If you don’t tell them and share your burdens with them how are they going to know that you feel like you are always last. We are pleasers. When are we going to wake up and realize that when you please everyone around you but you then everyone suffers! You know what we always say, “If momma ain’t happy; ain’t nobody happy.

Your family wants you to be happy! They are willing to do whatever it takes to make you feel loved, but you have to let them love you! When you are upset and say you are feeling like you always come last then that hurts their feelings. Especially when you say it to them in anger or with that martyred attitude that we can throw around. They have you up on a pedestal for all you do for them; they are willing to help, but you have to say it. This is why it is important for us to take a few minutes to take care of ourselves. Your family does not know your sacrifices unless you tell them.

Life is one plan B after another. Our routines give us the foundation to help us adjust. We don’t always have to be in control; our perfectionism puts us in this place of always needing to be the one in charge. We are so used to being selfless that we have forgotten about ourselves.

Don’t fall into the trap of being the pleaser. Because in the long run; you are the one that is going to feel hurt even when it is your choice. It is up to you to tell your family what you need. They cannot read minds. This cannot be done with the martyred attitude either. You don’t have to do it all; even though you feel more in control when you do. Reach out and allow your family to reach back with a hug.

Martyred Attitudes Keep us from FLYing!

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Random House and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2011 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication Helping women around the world get their home organized. Copyright 2001 - 2020 FlyLady and Company, Inc.