Psychology and Psychiatry


Self-sacrifice - is the neglect of the individual personal interests in order to preserve the well-being of another. Simply put, it is the desire to abandon the satisfaction of personal goals, pleasures, often even life to protect the benefits and interests of other individuals. Self-sacrifice is considered an extreme form of altruism. In the modern high-speed rhythm of life, in the universe, where technology dominates and all-consuming to personal gain, where the level of stress is overwhelming, where morality has already receded, not even to the second, but to the third plan, the described phenomenon occurs less and less. Self-sacrifice for the sake of people is the human instinct for the protection of the family, the offspring.

The problem of self-sacrifice

It is accepted to think that the willingness to self-sacrifice as a foundation under him has love. It is believed that a deep feeling moves individuals to feats: one wants to devote themselves to their half for free, others dream of surrendering to their beloved profession. However, psychologists are convinced that this theory is a myth.

The problem of self-sacrifice lies in the unattractiveness of the causes that provoked it. Self-sacrifice in life often gives rise to two feelings: insecurity (doubt) and fear.

Doubts lead a person to the loss of the inner feeling of their own strength and confidence. Such people believe that their persona in itself is nothing, that they are not capable of actions that cause respect, as a result, they begin to have problems and achievements of other subjects. Also, they are convinced of their unluckiness, so they think that they are not worth even public indulgence. The result of such internal reflections becomes self-sacrifice for the sake of people. Through self-sacrifice, such individuals seek to obtain the favor of their loved ones or attain public recognition. Therefore, the meaning of self-sacrifice is often not in the sincere desire to neglect their own interests, but in the usual manipulation of others in order to achieve their goals.

Fear as a leading motive for self-sacrifice often arises from the fear of loneliness, the loss of a loved one. Such people to sacrifice themselves are not pushed by heroism, but by ordinary egoism. At the same time, individuals who are prone to self-sacrifice do not realize that each time the habit of sacrificing oneself for the sake of another draws them deeper and deeper and may lead to irreversible tragic consequences. There are many examples of this in real life:

  • adult children who have escaped from under the choking care of mothers simply forget about their parent and may not communicate with her for months;
  • wives who have abandoned self-realization and turned into a disheveled housewife for the sake of family care and faithful, either remain abandoned spouses, or until the end of their days husbands commit treason and disrespect their own children;
  • men who put themselves on the altar of state work, while away their old age in a nursing home or drag out a miserable existence to a beggarly pension.

How often from these categories of people can hear tears and moaning. They complain that for the sake of a loved one, children, the state, they sacrificed themselves, youth, career, family (each extremely pronounced altruist sacrifice is individual), and in gratitude they were left to the mercy of fate. In fact, no one asked for such a sacrifice. All their behavior was dictated solely by their own choice.

It is in the absence of gratitude from relatives that the fundamental problem of self-sacrifice lies. Arguments, heard from close surroundings, are indisputable and monotonous, often fit in one question: "Who asked you about this?". For example, women often blame children for making it impossible to arrange their own personal lives. At the same time, they do not realize that they are simply shifting the responsibility for their own mistakes, which they have done with a fair frequency in collaboration with the sons of Adam, on little children's hangers.

Therefore, the majority is inclined to consider self-sacrifice in life as a manifestation of selfishness. Because the individual does only what he wants or needs, without thinking at all about whether his relatives need such actions.

However, it would be wrong to say that the word egoism and self-sacrifice are synonymous. Rather, selfishness is the reverse side of self-sacrifice in some cases, since there are many situations in which one subject sacrifices selflessly for his own health or life for the sake of another, for example, during a fire. Such sincere self-sacrifice can be deliberate (during the war the exploits of the soldiers) and unconscious (rescue under extreme circumstances).

In other words, the conscious feat of self-sacrifice consists in the individual's understanding of his own sacrifice, its meaning, price and ultimate goal. So, for example, a soldier, covering himself with an enemy pillbox, understands that this is his last second of life, that his actions will save comrades from destruction. It is such a self-sacrifice called heroic.

In addition, self-sacrifice can often act as a basic instinct, for example, the mother saves her child.

In the general sense, self-denial and self-sacrifice are more synonymous than selfishness. Although most linguists believe that the word self-sacrifice has no analogue in meaning to the Russian language. It is believed that the source of the described concept is self-denial. Self-sacrifice is found in self-denial, is consolidated in it, and becomes ready for a steady renewal of absolute returns.

Today the threat is fraught with the problem of self-sacrifice expressed in terrorism. The personal incentives of suicide bombers are their perception of self-sacrifice. They believe they sacrifice their own lives in the name of religion.

Self-sacrifice is not so dangerous when it is observed within one family or an individual collective, since its destructive influence is not so global. When it affects the interests of a state or a large social group, the consequences will be rather pitiable. Often, the foundation of suicidal terrorism becomes the problem of self-sacrifice. Its arguments are based on love of country, on religious "ecstasy."

Self-sacrifice in terrorism is not a voluntary death wish, but the responsibility that society imposes on its members. The feat of self-sacrifice as a conscious departure from life for the good of society existed in various civilizations and cultures. The individual at the cost of his own life seeks to prevent a threat to the existence or loss of close fellow tribesmen of freedom, and also to ensure the welfare of the social system with which he identified himself.

Although in modern being, public consciousness is increasingly rooting in itself the conviction that any individual is valuable, regardless of its ethnic or socio-cultural identity, readiness for self-sacrifice in acts of terrorism becomes a global phenomenon.

Almost all researchers of the phenomenon of terrorism are convinced that the tactical and strategic principles of the ideologues of terrorist organizations and the ideological attitudes of suicide bombers, who sacrifice themselves, are the key motive force that predetermines the choice of self-sacrifice for the accomplishment of extremism.

A suicide bomber, sacrificing himself, solves his own personal problems, while providing in the other world for himself a favorable life conditions, and for his close relatives in this world.

How to explain the manifestation of self-sacrifice?

Some psychologists say that not every subject is capable of such an action. A number of scientists believe that self-sacrifice is "inherited." In other words, the desire of the individual to neglect their own interests and devote their lives to others is invested at the genetic level. In addition, education contributes to the development of self-sacrifice, if the family honors the charity and is willing to give the latter to the needs of the people. The child, observing such behavior of parents, considers just such a behavioral model to be correct, since he did not encounter the opposite. It develops a world view and massive “zombies”, which is often observed in the ideology of most religious sects or other communities.

Often the lack of love in childhood leads to self-sacrifice in adulthood. Disliked individuals tend to sacrifice themselves for public recognition, so that their parents are proud.

Thus, giving an answer to the question: “how can one explain the manifestation of self-sacrifice”, one should conclude that the desire to praise, increase one’s own significance, the desire to prove something to oneself or to someone, to be recognized, to become famous is all causes sacrifice oneself. In addition, the spiritual message to save the drowning, natural instinct to protect the weak, selfless impulse to assist individuals in distress are also considered to be quite frequent causes of self-sacrifice.

Examples of self-sacrifice in the literature

You can often find examples of self-sacrifice in literature, both classical and artistic. The topic of self-sacrifice in the fantastic epic of Tolkin's “The Lord of the Rings”, which describes the feats of representatives of various races for the sake of peace and the life of the peoples of Middle-earth, is very clearly seen.

Many Russian writers often touch on the topic being described in their creations. So, for example, in the works of Dostoevsky, behavior patterns based on self-denial and sacrifice are traced. The heroines of his work "Crime and Punishment" Marmeladov Sonia and Raskolnikov Dunya sacrifice themselves for the good of their loved ones. The first one trades in its own body, thereby earning a living for the family. She suffers, not having the right even to suicide, since relatives will remain without a source of existence. The second intends to create a family with an unloved, but rich man, for the sake of helping a beggar brother.

In the works of M. Gorky, one can also often encounter the phenomenon of self-sacrifice. In his work "The Old Woman Izergil" the embodiment of self-sacrifice is Danko.

Self-sacrifice in the works of world literature and myths is celebrated as a feat in the name of humanity, as the ability to transform the world and society, to make them better and cleaner. For example, the myth of Prometheus, who gave people not just fire, but the only opportunity for survival, knowing that he condemns himself to death.

Self-sacrifice for love

This beautiful and high feeling that connects two opposites: a man and a woman, a lot of novels are written, poems are composed, pictures are written. It is believed that true love is the ability to sacrifice oneself, to neglect one's own interests, this is dedication, the readiness of one partner to accomplish what is possible and impossible for the good of another partner. Probably, such an understanding of love originates from Russian literary works.

Love and self-sacrifice in works are often described as a whole. Many authors have described love based on self-sacrifice. A striking example of such a feeling is the romance between Margarita and the Master in the immortal creation of Bulgakov. Margarita for the sake of his beloved, overcoming fear, taking over the circumstances, accomplishes the feat. It was the power of her love that the heroine saved the Master.

Self-sacrifice in the name of love — myth or reality? Are people really ready to sacrifice their interests, preferences, friends, hobbies for their loved one? How to explain the manifestation of self-sacrifice in the name of love? What is more important: healthy egoism or self-sacrifice in love relationships? Many will say that relationships will not last long on selfishness. For a long and happy family connection, the ability to sacrifice yourself is important. This statement could be true, if such self-sacrifice would be disinterested. Unfortunately, sincere dedication and self-denial are very rarely found in love relationships. Each partner, sacrificing something in the name of a loved one, expects in return either a similar sacrifice, or endless gratitude. If in a relationship basically one partner donates, then his self-sacrifice will rather be a manifestation of dependence on a loved one, which often leads to disastrous results.

What is healthy egoism? This is the love of the individual to his own person. “Adequate” egoists put their own interests above all else, but they also give this right to others. Psychologists say that if an individual does not like his own personality with all its flaws and positive qualities, then he will not be able to truly love another.

Unfortunately, the majority is convinced that love is the repression of one’s own egoism towards the other. If we add to this the meaning of the word egoism, then it turns out that love is when the attractiveness of the partner's “I” becomes higher than their own, that is, their own interests are replaced by the preferences of the other. It is on this that their mutual feeling is based. The inner world of one partner is filled with the inner world of a loved one. Thus, it is not a healthy relationship based on mutual respect that is built, but a dependent relationship in which one will necessarily be more dependent on the other. That is, one will sacrifice their own interests, and the other will be taken for granted. Often, such relationships break up, bringing a lot of resentment and heartache to an individual who is inclined to sacrifice himself.

Of course, in love you need to learn to give in. Love without compromise, too, will not last long, but the ability to remain silent in time and to find compromise solutions has nothing to do with self-sacrifice.

Therefore, the meaning of self-sacrifice in the name of love does not exist. Where there is a place for self-sacrifice, there is no place for love. True love does not need to be confirmed by neglecting one’s own personality and interests.

Thus, self-sacrifice is acceptable in love for the Motherland, maternal love, but not in any sense that arises between subjects alien to each other: a man and a woman, tying them for life.