What a wonderful observation! I have been guilty of this. The martyr syndrome. In fact, I base this on a romantic notion from my youth; I read a story about a mother who starved herself to death, eating little at meals so that her children would have more. I wanted to be this mother! Seriously. Sick, eh? But that mindset permeated my image of what it meant to truly love your children.
Back at your observation, I think the poverty mindset isn't a bad thing if it is accompanied by the development of an inner life. I have had to cut way back, due to financial constraints. I have used this time to explore my personal issues, to open to a deeper spiritual connection. Not pursuing the accumulation of material goods, I have found joy in little things found in nature. I have had time to listen to my husband and my kids.
Recently, I found myself overwhelmed by my sense of impoverishment; I gave away too much of my power and what remained was a tight chest and a bleak outlook. Letting go of commitments that impacted what I valued more, in other words, taking back my personal power, I felt such amazing release and relief!
My poverty might remain, but I have new energy to attack its roots and clean up its causes!
I believe we can become stuck in issues of particular chakras where we are weak. I think life is full of lessons to help us move through these issues, and that when we recognize patterns of "stuckness", it's best to face our fears and finally admit our issues so that we can help ourselves heal and more forward... to face new issues, with fresh insight.
A very long and perhaps rambling answer to say, changing our perspective on what might or might not be a negative habit is very transforming!