Moving Beyond Relational Martyrdom to Relational Wholeness

Uncommon God, Common Good | 1/24/2020 | Staff
josh567josh567 (Posted by) Level 3
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Have you ever heard the phrase “relational martyrdom ”? Well, I hadn’t, until my colleague Becca Jones mentioned it to me. Becca Jones is the Director of Student Counseling & Wellness at Multnomah University. Becca and I discussed this topic yesterday. The discussion was recorded and will appear at New Wine, New Wineskins’ YouTube channel over the coming days. A portion of it will also be posted at this blog post. Becca, others and I will be discussing this theme in a few days during “Wellness Week” at Multnomah.

Becca defined relational martyrdom in the following terms: “Often people who serve to the point of overextending themselves and crossing boundaries struggle to say ‘no’ in their various relationships for fear of being selfish or greedy. They view this as an act of martyrdom or service when it can often be fear-based, where they are afraid to say ‘no,’ to disappoint, miss out, or be perceived in a certain way, which can actually be self-serving.”

Becca - Point - People - Concern - Self-preservation

Becca’s point that failing to say “no” can be “self-serving” may appear counter-intuitive. But think of it. If we refuse to say “no” because we want people to like us, then our real concern appears to be about self-preservation, albeit in a manner where the other person(s) dictate to us our sense of identity or worth.

Becca added that “having boundaries, and saying ‘no’ is not selfish, and is in fact often an act of generosity.” Generosity? Here again, the counter-intuitive wheels in our heads may be turning. How can saying “no” or having boundaries be a sign or expression of generosity?

Person - Boundaries - People - Reach - Humans

For one, saying “no” does not allow the other person to operate beyond their appropriate boundaries. When people over-extend their reach and have control over us, they are no longer operating as fellow humans, but as demons who...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Uncommon God, Common Good
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