How to Control Our Tendency to Fix People

If you literally drop everything you’re doing, just to be of help to someone who is feeling drowsy, and you do so despite your own feelings at that moment, then you’re a ‘fixer’. But is this more often a curse or a blessing?

It’s a sad reality of our society, that most of the parenting that is taking place in the world, is actually a result of generational unhealthy communication. We are often raised by adults who do not know themselves at all, who are walking throughout their lives without having a sense of purpose, or knowledge of what they really want for the rest of their days. This uncertainty and recklessness reflect our parents’ choices, communication patterns, and their level of happiness. But the worst thing is that these communication patterns reflect children the most. And we continue cultivating them because it is extremely difficult (although not impossible) to choose to live through principles we have never really seen—such as honesty, empathy, and understanding.


The Fixing Syndrome

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Anton Vierietin/shutterstock

And because we could not fix our parents at the time, we try to fix our lovers, our friends, our siblings, and pretty much most of the people that walk into our lives, leaving our needs behind as soon as the opportunity to ‘rescue’ someone from their selves arises.

Some people call this the ‘fixing syndrome’, I call it exhaustion. ‘Fixers’ become consumed by their high alert towards satisfying other people’s needs. In relationships, fixers risk losing their entire identity because they do not know how to prioritize themselves, and what they also don’t know is that changing other people is often not possible. Heck, it is often extremely difficult to change our own selves! So how can we expect to change someone else, and can we for once admit that some people simply do not want to be changed? Despite their abusive behaviors and bad habits, to some changing is extremely painful, and trying to change these people induces even more aggressiveness as well as feelings of alienation in them. I know from my very own experience, that these people want and expect to be loved just as they are, without meeting you halfway in the change process.


Why Do We Try to Fix People Anyway?

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As mentioned earlier, we become bound to the circumstances we grew up in. Due to the inability to change our living environment as children, the consequence is that we may grow up with feelings of unworthiness. A lot of us feel like we don’t deserve to be loved or nurtured in a healthy manner—so we try to change the people around us who feel the same, hoping that once they feel better about themselves, they will automatically treat us better too, because they will be grateful to us. By trying to change hurt people, we are somewhat feeding a need deep within ourselves, for better treatment, care, empathy. Wounded individuals tend to think that love does not come to them by default and that in order to earn it, they should prove themselves as the ones who can sacrifice & heal. It is a cycle we go on repeating, without understanding that we have the power to put an end to it after all.

I would emphasize the fact that some people do NOT want to change. And I beg that the reader who identifies as a fixer reads this part carefully. Really, it may cost us our entire well-being to try and fix everyone, but especially lovers and close friends who do not make even the minimum effort to recognize your willingness to help and your capability to put yourself in their shoes every single time.

Become aware of your tendency to fix the people around you. The sooner the better. And I don’t have to show you how to do it because you pretty much know. It’s the nights you come home tired because you could not say no to your friend who was feeling ‘a little bit down’, and wanted to go get drunk. It’s the weekends you spend in sleepovers at your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s house, because they wanted you there, despite that you had scheduled the weekend to write and introspect. It’s the times when you feel like time is slipping off your hands, and you’re not mindful of anything at all. Become aware of these situations, listen to your thoughts, and most importantly—listen to your body too.

I read a post somewhere just recently, that if you don’t pick a day to relax, your body will do it for you, probably the hard way. So reduce the fixing, and increase the self-awareness. I promise it pays off.


Illustration: Vectorium/shutterstock


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