A popular term for a condition in which a person uses his/her suffering, self-sacrifice, and role as a victim to manipulate others into psychologically rewarding the “martyr” for his/her ongoing misery.
Saint Sebastian (?–288) was an early martyr killed during Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He was tied to a tree and shot with arrows (here painted by Il Sodoma), then rescued and healed by Irene of Rome. He then decided to have a go at Diocletian in person–why leave your death wish to subordinates?–who had him clubbed into oblivion.
Synonyms Martyr complex, victim syndrome