Beware of the Martyr Complex

Taking Care of the Care-Giver : An Aspergers101 Exclusive Series

Taking care of yourself is a must when you are a care-giver or more specifically a guardian of a child with special needs. 

Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D.

“We have to give out of the overflow versus an empty tank. When we give out of our overflow, we are built up enough to give healthy help and joy. When we let our tank go down, it is like a car that begins to knock because the sediment on the bottom of the tank, is ruining the smooth running of the car. In these situations the car doesn’t run well, much like us when we do not have positive healthy, nourishing self care. We can only give out that which we have, we must center on the Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body”. – Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D. 

We welcome our Aspergers101 readers to a series dedicated to you, the care-giver. Pause and re-fresh as Dr. Ghia Edwards takes us into the first of a series of four blogs aimed specifically to you. Note: You might especially enjoy the added audio portion inserted into the text below!

“We cannot help anyone if we are not helping ourselves first”, we have all heard this before but what does this actually mean and how do we put it into practice. The Inner Workings of a Healthy Helper. Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body health keep the caregiver from running into the weeds. It’s like they say when you are flying, “In the event of an emergency apply your own mask first, then help others around you”. It’s quite a simple practice, so WHY oh why do we not implement it in our lives, we’ll I have theory.
When we are caregiving we are getting a payoff of some sort. If it’s just knowing that we are doing the correct thing for those we are caring for but with that comes being needed. Being needed is seductive, it is alluring, it feels great to know you are valuable but it can be just a step away from being a martyr. Beware of the martyr complex!  It’s subtle but in my line of work I have seen this over and over again and perhaps even participated in the behavior myself. Yes I am a recovering over doer aka martyr.
Here are some solutions to help us NOT become a martyr.

1. Realize that there are resources out there and these resources will help with giving you a break from your loved one / family friend.The key is to persevere and get er done, find the resources and don’t take no for an answer.
2. Remembering that there are other people that can help. Even though you might have a great rapport with your loved one or family friend, it’s always healthy to open up a safe, healthy support system.
3. Remember your loved one/family friend might need a break from YOU.
4. Understand you can’t give what you don’t have and if you are not living a life of healthy self care, how are you going to model this for your family/family friend?
-Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D.

If you have a question regarding the topic of “Caring for the Care-Giver”,  you may email Dr. Edwards directly and she might insert your question (and answer) in a forth-coming blog!  dr.ghia7@gmail.com

Asa ~ ( /’ay-sah/ ) is a Hebrew name, which means “doctor,” or “healer” and Dr. Ghia is used as both, she is a professor of Psychology, received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Southern California Seminary and is as well a licensed ordained minister. Dr. Ghia believes that MINDFULNESS and Wellness go hand in hand and is excited about conducting and being in the first phase of a student focused Mindfulness research project, at San Antonio College in Bexar County. Dr. Ghia Edwards teaches the art of staying in the here and now and believes in the concept of long term Spirit, Soul, Mind, Body health, which comes from living a life of Mindfulness.”The journey isn’t easy but it can be joyful”, Is one of the Doctors favorite sayings.

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Jennifer Allen

After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.

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