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Does Your Happiness Depend on Others?

Updated on May 7, 2014

Does Your Happiness Depend on Someone Else?

Are You a Martyr?

Very often, the long and unending list of grievances we hear from our friends and families can become a window to their most obvious problem: unhappiness. In a more perverse personality disorder, unhappiness must be shared either with a mate, a sibling or a friend. In these cases, the imperative is to share all those grievances, to agonize and regurgitate them until nothing remains but a martyrdom. While many men and women fail to recognize their massive sense of self-pity and martyrdom, those who patiently listen soon take on the mantle of martyrdom as if it is a contagious disease without quarantine. Are you a martyr? You are if you've failed at controlling others and the environment you live in. You are if every effort is mountainous and your self-defeating attitude disallows forward movement. For all martyrs, it's necessary to extract as much pity from others as possible. Martyrs are wells, once full of the precious water of life, emptied drop by drop on anyone willing to listen and feel "sorry" for the martyr's terrible plight.


The martyrs of the world are never contented. The reason is a childish need to control others. As most psychologists attest, controlling anyone but ourselves is not possible. Most of our inspiration comes from those who themselves strive for exemplary lives. Martyrs strive to have their massive need for pity sated. Since there isn't enough pity in the world to fill a single adult's lifetime of "pity needs," their families, friends and associates all too soon discover that neurotic need for pity and control and began to fade from the fabric of the martyr's life.

The true neurotic martyr hides behind a veil of compulsive controlling of others. In their minds, "if only others did as they were told," or "if only I could reinvent my husband, my children or my siblings," then and only then would these martyrs find contentment.

Often, immature martyrs live in a state of denial of how little control over anyone they have but themselves. You'll hear their discordant protests peppered with excuses that always focuses blame on others. Yet, they are always the common denominator in all of their own problems. It's just easier to deny, deny, deny than to resolve their part in their problems without going beyond their own "personal property lines."

The Needy Need Attention

The biggest problem of neuroses to controls others and thereby obtain pity and sate their "neediness" at the deepest levels of martyrdom is their excessive need for attention neutralized by their slyly concealed addiction to center stage attention. Martyrdom is similar to a Three Act Drama. Act One is the drawing in of kindred martyred spirits by exacting pity. Act Two plays out when kindred spirits begin a contest to see which martyr is suffering most. By Act Three, the most needy, most martyred find they have center stage but their script is predictable and no longer a news flash. When the martyr takes his/her final bows, it's to an audience of one...themselves. For an encore, the martyr hungrily and militantly seeks attention from whatever unwitting prey is within hearing distance.

Happiness Never Depends on Someone Else

When the obsessive/compulsive martyr cannot exact contentment, control of others or at the very least, garner center stage attention, the shell of a human being who so depends on others for happiness is clearly visible. The mechanisms of the martyr are always ineffective because they depend on someone else for happiness.

Here's an great test of your happiness barometer. In a quiet room all by yourself, get a sense of your feelings when you are alone. Are you frightened by solitude? Or, does your mind wander to the millions of details that are part of your daily mental exercise? Does your mind focus solely on what your wife, husband, children or others are doing?

In your solitude, return your thoughts to you and no one else. This kind of self-effacement is a necessary part of obtaining unbiased, objective self-perspective. If you can't focus on yourself and can only focus on others, this should be a serious red flag to whether or not you are really happy.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." Happiness here is referred to as a single individual who has the capability of making "themselves" happy by simply making up their minds to do so.

Co-Dependency in Misery

Ever notice how when the most unhappy people come together in a group, they are like a union of the most miserable people you've encountered? If you are a basically happy person who has no need to share misery with others in a "Pity Party" you run, don't walk, away as fast as you can. The martyrs of the world need to hold their conclaves in order to validate their misery, discontent and unhappiness. They need a group dynamic to justify their long, unending gospels of need for attention. Oddly, many of these martyrs marry and manage to attach themselves like a clinging vine to a spouse or their children, never for a moment considering anyone's feelings but their own. Professionals in psychology refer to this as narcissism. Martyrs are narcissists because from the moment they preach their endless gospels of need, the word "I" is peppered throughout.

Does Your Happiness Depend on Others?

The surefire way to tell if your happiness depends more on others than on your own self-created investments in happiness is to objectively look at your life "outside your own skin." If you saw your life as an outsider, what picture would you see? Would you be smiling at the morning sunrise? Or wishing someone would see how inadequate they are to you? Would you enjoy the sound of birds singing, snow falling or a gentle rain? Or, would you immediately open your eyes and wonder what your wife, husband, children or others are "up to?"

Do you think always in terms of others conspiring against your rules, specifications and mandates? Do you feel a deep need to insure that everything goes "exactly as you planned?"

At the end of your day, calculate how much time you've wasted with negative thoughts and how much time you actually enjoyed positive thoughts in your day.

Happy Is as Happy Does

By observation, martyrs appear not to understand that life is not a perfectly drawn line with all of the commas, periods and "I's" dotted as they command. They seem most unhappy when they cannot engineer a family unit to their specifications or worse, their wife or husband to their three-dimensional model. Even if every possible negative factor was removed from a martyr's life, they'd just manufacture more. In reality, most of these quasi martyrs are children who may possess a chronological adult age; yet, they lack the mental maturity to stand on their own. The very thought of achieving on one's own is a pathological, neurotic fear.

Happy is as happy does is a true fact of life. This is only true when strength of character and a firm resolve to live a happy life without help from others is reconciled.

Happiness Without Anyone's Help

Every human being has a 24 hour span of time when they can make themselves happy without anyone's help. Investing in personal happiness has a wonderful ripple effect. It means compromise at times and the ability to move on without vengeance or regret. Living happy means understanding the difference between that which is "life or death" and that which is "petty."

Be aware that all issues don't always require resolution. Many issues resolve of their own volition. In this case, the tolerate and patient know the value of waiting out an issue to allow it to resolve without outside "assistance." Time and the elapsing of time have a way of bringing a greater depth of objectivity to issues. "To every thing, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven."

The objective way to deal with issues that must be resolved is to view them as an outsider to gain maximum benefit from objectivity. Can this issue be resolved without your input? Are you are crucial part of the conundrum, problem or issue? Would it be a problem if you weren't part of it?

Obviously, honesty is required to be a happy person. Too often these days, individuals find it excruciating to develop a deep and abiding sense of honesty first with themselves and then with others. Ergo, their egregious, unrelenting unhappiness.

Happiness with a Ripple Effect

Ever notice how a truly happy person is a serious annoyance to the least happy? The happy person wakes up with nary a wrinkle of displeasure, discontentment or unhappiness and the Glum Gorillas are raging at their cages trying to revert back to the comfort of their angst and unhappiness. Happiness has a ripple effect. It's a proven fact that when an individual strives to be a happy person every day, this is an infectious element that transfers to everyone in their family, sibling, friendship and co-workers circle. In the workplace, it's a proven fact that happy employees are far more productive. When Mom and Dad are angry, the air in the household chokes children with their parents unhappiness. When siblings rail at each other constantly, the home environment goes from warmth to frigid. If one person in any household or work environment refuses to be unhappy, sooner or later this affects not only their productivity and relationships but everyone else's as well. Happiness begins with you and only you. When you are a mountain of happiness, few have the ability to reach your summit.

Happiness is living life like a beautiful sunset
Happiness is living life like a beautiful sunset


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