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How to stop being a fixer

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You’re in relationships with people where you’re the one pushing to make it work, you feel exhausted, and are on call for other people’s issues.

How To Stop Being A “Fixer”:

A fixer is someone who has good intentions and wants to help other people. 

The issue is, this help is at the expense of their own emotional health. In the process of “helping” someone else, they often neglect or betray themselves. 

Fixers are subconsciously attracted to people who are struggling in some way. Sometimes financially, within their relationships, or with their job or career. 

They build relationships based on “potential” or who they believe the person to be in their mind 

This usually comes from a childhood pattern. 

For example: 

A child who grows up with emotionally unavailable parents, has to earn the love or approval of their parents. Their own needs are suppressed or denied, and they’re conditioned to believe putting everyone before themselves is normal. 

As adults, this pattern continues.

Fixers find relationships where they are most needed, not where they feel the most emotional connection. This is why relationships tend to be one sided, draining, and without boundaries. 

Examples:

Rita is attracted to men who are financially impulsive. They don’t budget and often come to her for help. Rita swoops in to fix their situation, but in the process she only enables them to continue their behavior. 

In healthy relationships, there is reciprocity.

Partners are enriching each other lives. They feel supported, like equals, and can depend on each other in productive ways. They don’t expect another person to do for them what they can do for themselves. 

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This is different than a “fixer” relationship where one person is doing all the work to keep the relationship going. There’s also lack of reciprocity, where one person is over-giving their resources. 

To heal your fixing pattern, it’s important to understand *why* you’re taking on this role. 

Ask yourself:

1. As a child, what role did I have with my parents?

Did i feel like a helper or therapist to them? Did I help them with marriage issues? Did I hide my own feelings to not upset them? Did my parents focus on my emotional needs at all? 

2. What is my emotional payoff?

Emotional payoffs are underlying motives for behaviors. Fixers generally get to avoid their own issues, problems, and feelings of low self worth by jumping into other people’s issues. Be aware of why you do it. 

3. Where can I start setting boundaries?

Think of a relationship where you’re playing this role. You’re likely exhausted, right? Time to set boundaries. Start start practicing saying “no.” 

4. Do I know who I am?

It’s time to start getting to know yourself. Many fixers can’t stop fixing because they’re afraid if they don’t, they’ll have no role in life. Spend time with you. Learn what you like. Enrich yourself with new hobbies. 

Healing from this role can help you create mature adult relationships with dependable, supportive, safe people. 

Are you a fixer? Share your story in the comments.

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