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Episode 57 – Why Mixing Martyrs and Birthdays Don’t Make A Great Cocktail

Why Mixing Martyrs and Birthdays Don’t Make A Great Cocktail

Learn how to NOT BE a celebration martyr!

Hey there Beautiful!

So it’s official, my youngest son has found an apartment and will be moving out with two of his friends this August.

Part of me is like, “WAHOO!!!!” and the other part of me is like, “Awwwwwwe.”

It’s been fun having him around, talking about his plans, telling me stories of the unhappy customers who spread their unhappiness through the Starbucks drive-through window, and having debates over the silliest of subjects.

Today’s discussion was extremely hilarious to me and of course I will share it with you.

Just a mom, her son, and a video game discussion.

Have you seen the videos on YouTube of mostly men, playing video games while providing commentary?

The example that my son showed me while he was making his breakfast, was of a man, with his face in the corner of the screen, playing a video game and while he played he answered and asked questions to the narrator of the game. The narrator said something about asking the player to shut his eyes and the guy did and then said something back to the narrator which my son then laughed.

I said, “Why do you and other people watch people who are playing video games? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

He said, “ Because it's fun.”

Insert me rolling my eyes up to the ceiling.

I suggested that we could do something like that where he’s playing the video game and then in the corner would be our faces. I would ask questions, make funny comments to him about his playing abilities, and the game itself. Then we could put it on YouTube and see what happens.

He said, “ABSOLUTELY NOT! That would be embarrassing and who would want to watch that!”

I said, “Why wouldn't people watch that? You have a ton of people watching that guy you just showed me. What’s the difference? Why wouldn’t people want to watch a 47 year old mom asking her son dumb questions about the video game?”

He grabbed his toast and walked away from me saying, “There’s no way I would do that. You’re embarrassing.”

I'm going to miss our silly discussions.

I just laughed and thought, “Awww, I’m going to miss these silly discussions that we have.”

So yeah.

As of this August, it will be just my husband and I in our house.

Oh and of course our dog, Delilah.

But then that’s it.

Not saying that one of our children will not boomerang back into our house because you just never know what life’s going to toss at you.

We shall see.

And now back to this week's episode about how NOT to be a celebration martyr.

Okay this week’s episode I wanted to talk about how many women are being martyrs and how it DRIVES ME CRAZY!

I know for a fact that I am one but am a bit more reformed.

So I can sympathize with all of the other women out there since I know from what I speak and hopefully change their martyr ways.

Their martyrdom is ESPECIALLY present when there is something to celebrate.

You can insert a different word in front of the word “martyr” and the meaning will be the same.

Here are some examples.

These women are Birthday Martyrs, Anniversary Martyrs, Mother’s Day Martyrs, Christmas Martyrs, New Year Martyrs, basically anytime there will be a celebration of some sort, these women turn into martyrs.

Let's define "martyr" for today's discussion.

One definition of the word “martyr” is a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering.

Now these women are not actually physically having severe or constant suffering but when you overhear them complain to friends or read a post on social media, you would think that they were having their feet repeatedly applied to a hot branding iron like one of the droids in Jabba the Hutt’s palace in the “Return of The Jedi” movie from the Star Wars saga.

It’s absolutely painful!

Birthday Martyrs have a special place in my heart since I was once one of them. And I learned from the best, my mother.

Let’s take a look at Birthday Martyrs in particular.

My mom was one and I learned all I know from her about being a Birthday Martyr.

I am now a recovering Birthday Martyr and I get a bit stronger each year when my birthday comes up and don’t revert to previous undesirable habits.

Birthday Martyrs have made plans in their head of how their birthday should be celebrated.

Their perfect day should go something like this:

Text messages will be sent from her children first thing in the morning and sometime during the day, each child will call to wish her a “Happy Birthday!” Quite possibly one child will even come over for dinner or send flowers since they live so far away. Her spouse will bring her flowers and a card while making her breakfast. There will be a small gift given from her spouse of the exact present she was hoping for and will think, “How did he know to get this for my birthday? What a surprise!” The house will be magically cleaned, dishes put away, laundry completed, and she will not have to lift a finger the ENTIRE day. For dinner that evening she and her spouse will go to the perfect restaurant, have a lovely meal, and dessert will be her favorite that her spouse got from a local bakery. To complete the day, she will have a hot bubble bath while reading a great book in the bathtub.

Sigh….

What is the fatal flaw with this imaginary birthday?

Did I lose you after I said, “Text messages will be sent first thing in the morning from her children wishing her a ‘Happy Birthday’?”

What was the fatal flaw in this perfect birthday she created?

Did you pick up on it?

Her mistake was NOT TELLING ANYONE WHAT SHE WANTED!!!

This was a perfect birthday she imagined in her head and assumed that her family would just know what she wanted.

I think this belief that people should know how a woman should be treated on their birthday or any other day that she is celebrated, started early as a pre-teen girl while watching romantic movies and reading girl meets boy books.

In those movies and stories everything’s perfect and if by magic all her desires are fulfilled and everyone does the right thing.

There's a reason libraries have a section for fiction books! Those stories are fiction.

You have no one to blame but yourself, if you don't tell people what you want.

As we get older, the magic begins to dissipate since all of our unknown desires for our birthday are not fulfilled and we get bitter, disappointed, and resentful about how we are treated on our birthday.

But here is the key that will unlock the chains of martyrdom so you can be set free. 

If you have these expectations of how a day to celebrate you is supposed to go, and you tell NO ONE what you want, you are setting them up to ABSOLUTELY FAIL.

And if you do get asked by your family what you want to do for your birthday, and tell them “Oh nothing. Don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal.”

DON’T YOU DARE get disappointed and upset at them when they do NOTHING. They are following your instructions!

And if nothing happens for your birthday, don’t go on social media and complain about it because you then become the Birthday Martyr and I will find you and set you straight.

If you want your birthday to be a success you may have take control over what happens that day.

Take your power back and plan your own birthday day.

It’s completely up to you if you want to include or not include your family in your plans for that day.

Heck you don’t even have to celebrate on your actual birthday if you don’t want to. Pick a random day your birthday month and celebrate the heck out of it on your own terms!

If you do get asked, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” tell that person what you want to have happen on that day. Yes a bit of the spontaneity is removed if you plan it all out but then you won’t get disappointed and become a Birthday Martyr.

You could give your family multiple suggestions of what you want to have happen on your birthday and then allow them to surprise you (that is of course if you trust them enough to still make something happen that day when you give them too many choices.)

If they want to give you a gift, give them three ideas that they get to choose from that you would be happy to receive.

Do you really want to be a celebration martyr?

When you are a celebration martyr, it makes it difficult for those who love you to try and do anything for you.

Because my mom was a celebration martyr, it absolutely rubbed off on me.

It makes it difficult for me to give her anything since she has cut herself off from receiving.

She won’t tell me what she wants to do either than saying, “Nothing. You know I hate this day.”

It used to make me feel extremely guilty because I assumed we messed up so bad one year and every year thereafter that there was nothing we could do to make it up to her.

Now I just tell her well if you don’t give me an idea I’m going to take you out to lunch anyways. So there!

Like I said before, because of her attitude towards her birthday, Mother’s Day, and sometimes Christmas, it rubbed off on me.

I used to think, “No one ever gets my birthday right. No one ever brings me flowers. No one does what I want to do. No one remembers what my favorite things to do are. No one surprises me. No one gets me the right gifts.”

I set the expectations of what I wanted but then failed to communicate to those around me what I wanted.

So no wonder I was continuously disappointed.

Not every celebration will turn out the exact way you or your family planned it. But the celebration martyrdom needs to stop with you.

Now if you do tell your family what you want to do that day and they don’t do anything to mark the day, you have my permission to be angry and cry.

Go watch Steel Magnolias and cry it all out! Maybe they will do better next time or maybe next year you will plan out your day and just go do it by yourself.

Don’t allow disappointments from the past cloud your thoughts about how future celebrations will be.

Don’t teach your martyrdom to your children and possible grandchildren.

This celebration martyrdom needs to stop with you.

There is a huge emphasis put on celebrations but try and remember it’s just a day like any other day.

Maybe your child didn’t text you on the actual day of Mother’s Day but a month prior to that day he sent you a text telling you how much he appreciated you and how he didn’t tell you that enough.

Or on your birthday, your spouse didn’t get you anything but a month later surprised you with a bottle of your favorite wine just because he knew it was your favorite.

You can celebrate being you, any given hour, on any given day of the week, in any given month, in any given year.

Just because Hallmark says you have to buy a card for that particular day, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the wonderful person you are, at any given moment.

I’ll talk to you later, Beautiful!

Did you miss this fabulous episode about how you're NOT having a midlife crisis, you're having a midlife reinvention?

Well what are you waiting for? Go listen NOW!

Thanks for listening!

Share your thoughts with me or ask a question about this episode. Send an email.

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Alice Agnello, Lifestyle and Success Coach

I'm Alice Agnello.

I’m a California raised, incurable romantic who was too snarky for the corporate world. I love show tunes, chai tea, and all things British. My mission? To help women rediscover who they are, after their kids have grown.

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Download the FREE guide to 5 Things You Can Do This Week To Help Find Yourself. You are ready to take this next step now that the kids have grown.

The guide will help you:

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Before you go, get the Guide!

Download the FREE guide to 5 Things You Can Do This Week To Help Find Yourself. You are ready to take this next step now that the kids have grown.

The guide will help you:

→  Work on your mindset so you can recognize negative thoughts and work to quiet them.

→  Help figure out what’s bothering you and know it’s okay to go at your own pace.

→ Understand that taking care of yourself is the most important person in your life and to release the guilt.

Sign up to receive my whitty newsletters, tips & tricks, promotions, & other emails, & receive this free guide!