Q: “Help, I am realizing that I’m a glutton for punishment when it comes to trying to ‘fix’ other people’s problems. My boyfriend, my mother, even my co-workers, all constantly ask for my advice, but too often just criticize me after I've offer it. Then, we all invariably end up angry and resentful. I do love them and try to help, what am I doing wrong?”
What's so wrong about wanting to be a fixer? We only do it because we want our loved ones to be happy, right? And yet, as you've learned from hard experience, the failure rate is usually off the charts when it comes to "fixing" our friends' and families' problems. And it often leads to frustration, bad feelings and resentment.
The truth is, we can't "fix" anyone. That notion is nothing but an illusion. And deep down, you probably already know this, too. So why do so many of us fall into this futile "fixer" role? I believe that we often try to ‘fix’ others because we want to ‘fix’ ourselves. If we’ve been conditioned to believe that we’re just not enough, we’re wrong, inadequate or stupid (ouch, sound familiar?), it only makes sense that we’d want to ‘fix’ that in others, right? And rather than looking at ourselves in the mirror, it’s far easier to look ‘out there’ and become a fixer, so maybe, just maybe, we can feel loved and approved of — and in that sense, feel free to love ourselves.
The first step to interrupting this ‘let’s fix them so I can be happy’ pattern is to ask yourself the following blunt questions: “Can I really ‘fix’ anyone else?” “Is it my job or my responsibility to fix another person?” "Is fixing someone else the best use of my time?" Write down your answers, and let the reality of those answers sink in. (Hint — you should be answering "no" to all of the above.) Once you’re clear that being a ‘fixer’ isn’t your lot in life, you can put your energy into creating healthier relationships that enhance your wellness, with more love, healthy boundaries and mutual respect. Or, as Iyanla Vanzant so often says, it’s time to do your work.
I believe that working with a life coach is one of the best ways to expose and get un-addicted to core negative patterns, loops and old stories that play out in our lives as ‘reality’; until we CHANGE ourselves, life simply CANNOT give us anything different (not for long, anyway) than what our core patterns and beliefs allow us. It’s that simple. For more information on my coaching, click HERE -- Mitch Rustad, CLC