“Fixers” live among us. Treat them with care…please.
Dear Woo Woo Girl:
I am not doing so good. My boyfriend left me-it’s been 8 months now and I can’t seem to get over him. I want to be loved but it should be real love. My trust was broken. It always is. Also, my mom is not happy and I really wish for her to be happy but I don’t know how to fix it so her life won’t be hard. I guess I am sad for myself and other people. I have been seeing a therapist and it doesn’t help. The thing is I find happiness in people. I want them to be happy, and I want to be happy. Since childhood life has not been smooth, even though I try to do good deeds. What should I do. Signed: Let me make you happy.
I wish others would fully understand the depth of despair fixers go through in their life. Sensitive souls like you want to lift people up, and take away the pain others emotionally feel and you sense deep inside of you. Their heart hurts and you internalize it. It is a physical and visceral response. Fixers have a tough job in this lifetime. They can’t walk away from others suffering. Compelled to boost others, and find some way to make them happy, is a compulsion, a karmic duty, and a soul purpose. They physically ache for you on all levels.
I know. I have been there. I grew up with a mother who in her early years was overwhelmed with life, alternating between being angry, bitter, mean, manipulative, loving and hopeful. My heart ached for her as a child, and I longed to make things better for her, and never knew how. My brothers as young boys never felt her pain at the same level I did. It might have been a girl thing, but I don’t think so. I have always been a rescuer and a fixer. The number of squirrels, cats, dogs, raccoons, birds, people, I brought home to live in a box or sleep on the couch was too many to count. I still do it. I firmly believe in it but it comes at a cost.
Sometimes feeling my mother’s pain so deeply, made me tremendously sad. It meant she couldn’t feel mine. I couldn’t confide in her, even when she tried to get close I didn’t understand that just because she was feeling down didn’t mean she couldn’t take on my pain. So I held it in. (Is this resonating with you?)
I became the fixer, which is a beautiful gesture if you do it right and understand the rhythm of it.
When you are that person, that “fixer”, unless you are immersed in an unusually loyal friendship, you will be left. Because you are filling a void in someone else’s life.
It is a sacrificial moment in time that has a beginning and eventually an end. It will hurt. Your role will be undermined and often unacknowledged.
I had this with my mother. I picked up many pieces in her life, just like she knew I would. She relied on this quality and used and manipulated it. Now don’t get me wrong. She was not terrible, and we had fun over the years, but she needed me. I knew it and she knew it. Because she was my mother, she would never leave me, but most do.
I have always known this, but could not stop myself. Relationships for fixers are like shattered glass and you are the repairman.
Pieces of glass will stick to your knees and leave little or large ouchies.
Which is why, when you are just understanding your role, be cautious with new friends. Take time to get to know them and understand the phase of life they are going through. We meet people for a time, a season and a reason and friends shouldn’t be the people you fix. Why? Because when they have finished going through what they have gone through it will be Hasta la vista . The need for you is gone because they have evolved with your help, they have done their internal work and don’t see you as doing the same. I suspect that is what happened with your boyfriend. He received the benefits of your selflessness and became strong enough to move on.
It is important to understand who you give your gift of compassion to and to separate that gift from your needs. It is your gift, and other people will abuse it if you let them.
It is also not a way to have your unfulfilled wishes met.
Part of this journey is to be aware then do away with any unrealistic beliefs, that once the other person is fixed, they will be eternally grateful and perhaps never leave you. It is a replay of a role you are trying to play out with your mother- the when she is happy you will be too.
I tell my son to channel his gift into a helping profession, and not be the fixer in his friendships. It hurts when so-called friends leave and they WILL move on. because it was always about them and not about my boy.
Learn early that relationships are 50/50.
Learn that you are a gift to the world, and bestow it on people wisely.
Learn to be objective about it and take pride that you helped someone learn about themselves and the world around them.
Learn not to include you in that picture.
Learn the 25/25/25/25 rule of life. 25% is giving-only in the way you want to give; 25% is personal interests- focus on what intrigues; 25% is love for another-notice is not all consuming; 25% is healthy relationships
One more thing: Practice Yoga for Change and Drain with Adrienne