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To wonder why so many women allow themselves to be downtrodden martyrs?

(141 Posts)
Flashbangandgone Thu 02-Jul-15 21:13:45

I've been wondering this since reading in a thread earlier about bbqs where various posters complained about doing all the shopping, preparation, clearing up etc. only for their dps to get all the glory for standing over a bbq turning prepared meat for 20 minutes whilst they appear to sulk in the background.

There's nothing overly abusive or extreme about the behaviour here... just low grade stuff, but it just to be typical for many (not all, or even most, just quite a lot of people it seems)

I can't imagine a man acting in this way...

Why oh why?

GeorgiaOQueef Thu 02-Jul-15 21:21:22

My mother is one of those martyrs, and expects me to be the same. I am quite damaged by her martyrdom and I am determined not to be the same. She thinks it is her role to do everything, and I never had to lift a finger as a child. Now she is surprised because I am not great at domestic stuff. She also undermines me in front of my children if I ask them to do an arduous task like hang their coats up and does it for them. You'd think I was sending them up a chimney. Oh, and she worked full time from when I was 8ish, so not a SAHM at all. DH left me so he could have exciting sex with another woman but my mother insists it is because I didn't do enough ironing.

Flashbangandgone Thu 02-Jul-15 21:28:50

Interesting how some seem to relish it... Almost like if they didn't feel they were doing everything, they'd lose their main pleasure in life - moaning how they much they do/little their dp does

FreudiansSlipper Thu 02-Jul-15 21:38:42

It's a way to get recognition do people that a confident in themselves act the martyr?

Seeking attention and really a cry for themselves to be noticed that they are not finding things so easy.

It's conditioning too what is their role if it is not to prop someone up

And I know more than a few men who play the martyr just it often plays out differently

Can be annoying but listen to what they are saying and why rather than think here they go again moan moan moan

BMW6 Thu 02-Jul-15 21:46:54

TBH some women actively encourage this role - one of my sisters is very much like this. In her case it is a "need to be needed" thing. God knows why, nothing in our childhood can account for it.
Example - their 26 yo DS still lives at home, and she gets up early every morning to make his breakfast......then opines that he has no self determination/confidence...hmm. I have tried to point out that she is not doing the best for him, by tying him to her apron strings, but she just won;t stop.
She just cannot seem to see that she is sabotaging (sp) what she says she wants for him.

AnyFucker Thu 02-Jul-15 21:48:55

if you read the relationships threads it seems this is still a common default position for many women, and then we wonder why some men treat us like domestic appliances

it's like Feminism never happened sometimes

DoJo Thu 02-Jul-15 22:04:49

if you read the relationships threads it seems this is still a common default position for many women, and then we wonder why some men treat us like domestic appliances

it's like Feminism never happened sometimes

Surely the fact that this happens amongst educated, capable women is a sign that feminism hasn't 'happened' at all, but is an ongoing process which is only just now chipping away at the hard-worn gender roles that society has held on to for so long? Blaming women for it seems a bit illogical.

AnyFucker Thu 02-Jul-15 22:14:12

we are talking about the women's attitudes here

like I said, on the Relationships threads many start with the premise that "I did everything for him and still he hits me/dumped me for a younger model/is cruel to me etc"

Let's teach both girls and boys that women do not have to martyr themselves to men to attract a mate/stay in a relationship

lemonade30 Thu 02-Jul-15 22:19:39


I can't work it out either.
I like to be the boss and have my partner running around like a blue arsed fly at my every whim.

I don't know why more women don't try it out. It's great wink

DoJo Thu 02-Jul-15 22:36:38

we are talking about the women's attitudes here

But these aren't developed in a vacuum - societal pressure has a huge part to play and I'm sure no woman would choose to be the one doing the drudge work for no thanks unless they felt that, whether they are conscious of it or not. Women tend to earn less, be primary carers for children and other family and experience more criticism for career choices that take them out of the home - education can only go so far when the world both boys and girls see around them doesn't reflect what they are being told. Hopefully generations will chip away at it, but it's by no means something that can be solved overnight.

AnyFucker Thu 02-Jul-15 22:42:57


but telling women they have no responsibility at all for perpetuating the belief that men are kings of their own castle isn't the answer either

Flashbangandgone Thu 02-Jul-15 22:48:36

Ironically those women who complain "I did everything for him and still he hits me/dumped me for a younger model/is cruel to me etc" don't realise that it is because they act as drudges that they get treated badly.

If you act like a doormat, don't be surprised when you get trodden on!

TwoTribes Thu 02-Jul-15 22:51:09

I don't know why some women do it either. So many threads about housework too. I obviously have no clue how some people live, it's totally alien to me. If someone won't treat you as an equal why have them in your life confused

lemonade30 Thu 02-Jul-15 22:52:43

exactly flash.


I think some women are congenitally masochistic. They enjoy it you know.
revel in it even and see fit to castigate those of us who believe that our needs and wants supersede that of our partners.

Its not ladylike to be selfish (ahem)

these drudges are veritable paragons of femininity I'm sure....

Pumpkinpositive Thu 02-Jul-15 22:55:35

Ironically those women who complain "I did everything for him and still he hits me/dumped me for a younger model/is cruel to me etc" don't realise that it is because they act as drudges that they get treated badly.

Right. So it's all the woman's fault?

No blame assigned to the bastard who treats someone they're supposed to love, badly?

FreudiansSlipper Thu 02-Jul-15 23:00:19

Why would someone who loves you treat you like a doormat hmm

Surely if you love and respect someone them acting in a way that puts you in a position of being in power you try and make changes so you both feel equal

lemonade30 Thu 02-Jul-15 23:02:35

no its not all the woman's fault.
but why give somebody the opportunity to take advantage of you by making yourself a martyr?

women need to take some responsibility for how the they allow themselves to be treated

ToysRLuv Thu 02-Jul-15 23:06:08

I was on the barbeque thread. Barbeque night is about the only night I know I don't get completely off the hook with cooking, as it's such a massive hassle (we're veggies) and I can't just not help a bit. As it stands, we do close to 50/50 cooking and everything else. I don't massively begrudge DH having a play with the bbq, as it happens (at most) twice a year and he seems to enjoy it a lot more than I do. But, still, it seems to be a pattern with a lot of women, this having to do all the prep etc. while men play with fire and pretend to be survivalists.. So the tag line on the bbq packet about "mum's night off was" just wrong on lots of levels. Unless it was wry joke, which I doubt..

Preciousbane Thu 02-Jul-15 23:13:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flashbangandgone Thu 02-Jul-15 23:14:06

I'm not talking about abuse here, I'm talking about women who put up with all manner of selfish shit from their partners, often without even realising it because of their martyrdom tendencies....

In these cases both partners are in their own way responsible for the situation... The 'bastard' who behaves selfishly, and the partner who puts up with it, and makes excuses for it.

lemonade30 Thu 02-Jul-15 23:17:19

the bastard and the doormat deserve each other.

And will in all probability gravitate toward each other.

sad but true.

EvansOvalPiesYumYum Thu 02-Jul-15 23:32:43

I, too was on the BBQ thread - silly me, I did think it was a lighthearted chat, hence my own lighthearted contributions. Believe me, Flash I am not a downtrodden martyr at all. Some people are allowed to join in with threads without their comments being dismembered and having another ridiculous thread started. Do you understand tongue-in-cheek humour at all? I did see your initial comment on that thread and chose to ignore it. Sometimes we are permitted to laugh about our partners in a good-humoured way, without it being perceived as being abusive or in the realms of martyrdom.

Yet now you've chosen to turn a lighthearted conversation into a massive phsyco-analysis. Seems to me, you've read into that thread far more than you needed to.

Oh, and by the way - isn't a TAAT frowned upon??

ToysRLuv Thu 02-Jul-15 23:57:48

Agree, Evans. I gave a snapshot of my life, a jokey opinion on a thread about a joke, only for that to be taken as some sort of binding evidence of martyrdom, when it really isn't AT ALL.

Sandpipernest Fri 03-Jul-15 06:31:38

My MIL was the ultimate doormat martyr to her husband who eventually left her and her sons who have absolute no respect for her and tolerate her at best as adults.

DH left home unable to even make a cup of tea. And he hated her for it. And yes - we are equal!!

Teabagbeforemilk Fri 03-Jul-15 06:40:51

Whether the BBQ thread was jokey or not, the OP still has a point.

My mum is typical martyr . When we lived at home, no one was allowed to cook meals, touch the washing machine etc. then she would complain that she was always busy.

She still complains that dad doesn't cook, but when he tries to she stands over him and tells him he is doing it all wrong. Dh (a chef) gave dad cooking lessons when dad retired. She still insisted he was cooking wrong, interfered and ruin several meals. Than blames dad, so dad refuses to cook.

In fact she has been complaining this week that she is exhausted from planning dads 65th birthday last week. She was unimpressed when I pointed out that she bought his gift weeks ago and it was me that sorted the restaurant, the cake, the seating etc. even when she doesn't do much she still insists she has. I organised dads birthday to take pressure off her, but she still sees it as her doing it.

She thinks that I shouldn't let dh have so much involvement with the house and choldcare in case we split and he might (shock horror) get the children 50% of the time.

I don't know why it's not rubbed off on me, maybe because I saw how miserable she made herself and everyone around her. The thing that bothers me more is that she actually makes stuff up to sound busier. I was trying to call her on her mobile yesterday and she didn't answer. I was passing so popped in, dad was ironing and she was having a nap. I stayed for a coffee then went to get the kids. When she called me later she claimed she hadn't stopped and reeled off a load of housework including the ironing. I pointed out that I had been round and she was in bed and dad ironed. This led to a huge rant about how she is allowed a nap. I agree she is, but it's the pretending that she isn't or that she never gets to relax that winds me up.

It's not a great environment for kids to grow up in. It's causes dbro a few issues. He is older, married and has kids but is dependant on mum and dad to do a lot for them. Dbro hasnt even decorated a room in his own house, mum does it for them. Dad refuses and thinks he needs to learn. He didn't even cool his own meals until he was 32 even though he had moved out. He uses to go to mums for dinner and she would have his lunch for the next day ready.

It's not great for girls either. Seeing this a role model. I bought my first house at 19 because I needed to get out.

I'm some marriages with a martyr, it's completely the martyrs fault. In some it's the martyr and the spouse who is happy with the status quo.

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