I have a problem with regards to relationships, that is reflected in the fact that I tend to attract emotionally unavailable people. There are many different types: narcissistic people, victim-mentality people. Lately I've been reflecting on the self-sacrificer.
Sacrifice is an indirect way of obtaining love. It is a manipulation tactic that stems from a belief system that we do not deserve love, and thus we should not get it directly. People who self-sacrifice are usually grown in an environment were their needs, wants or desires were not met. They internalized the belief systems that the needs of others are more important than theirs, and that the only way to be somewhat loved is to sacrifice their needs, and ultimately their happiness.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn't work. The ability to love another person is exactly the same as the ability to love ourselves. If we do not follow our joy by expressing what we feel and going after what we need, want and desire, ultimately we cannot do that for other people either. Sacrifice is therefore a love illusion - we buy the illusion that by sacrificing ourselves we love another person, and thus we deserve to be loved by them - but the truth is we do neither. We withdraw love both from ourselves, and from the other. The other person feels this lack of love and responds accordingly, and thus we do not receive the love that we expected in 'return' for our sacrifice. We wonder why people are so selfish and cold, when we are so giving and warm. We start to believe that others simply cannot love us as much as we love them.
The trick to overcoming the self-sacrifice routine is to recognize it exactly for what it is: an unconscious manipulation tactic, an indirect way to try to get what we want but we believe we do not deserve, because of the way we were grown. It is our subconscious trying to get love, because ultimately we need it, and yet we conscoiusly do not allow ourselves to have it.