There are some people who try and fix others. This could be something they have a habit of doing or something they do once in a while. And while these people may think that they are helping others, they are generally having the opposite effect.
A bit like how a mechanic may fix an engine or a certain component within a car; this person will try to repair something that they perceive to be wrong or damaged in another person.
And there are many ways and approaches that these people can take to reach their goal and to make their view a reality. But while the fixer may think that they are only trying to help, this behaviour can come across as: controlling, manipulative and patronising.
The person who is trying to be fixed can feel: angry, frustrated, resentful, overwhelmed, violated and compromised. And this is due to their boundaries being breach by the fixer.
What boundaries do, is protect ones personal space and within this space is where one feels that it is safe to be who they are. Here, one will know there they begin and end and where another person begins and ends. So it will be a natural consequence to respect another person’s space; simply because one is aware of their own personal space.
But when these boundaries are not in place it will lead to all kinds of problems. One will either retract and build walls around themselves or end up being enmeshed to another and will lose who they are.
Or it can lead to one taking the opposite approach and trying to control others. This person will still be enmeshed to others, but whereas the person above will take on board another person’s reality; this person will make sure other people take on their version of reality.
And of course, these roles can change depending on who one is with and how they feel for instance.
The person who takes on the role of the fixer has boundary problems. This is causing them to compromise another person’s personal space. And this can relate to all areas of life, from: relationships, money, health and career.
This person could place themselves in a position of authority or superiority. And that what they know, is the best or only way in life. But while this person is convinced that what they say is the truth, it is still only their perspective on what is going on and it is not the truth.
It can also lead to a relationship that is unequal and then one person is above the other. A bit like a parent and child relationship; so adult to adult relating becomes impossible.
While no human being is an island, there are ways that one can be there for others that help them and ways that disempower them. And trying to fix another person is only going to create problems. It can make one doubt their innate ability to deal with their own challenges and it can lead to dependency.
We are all on our own path and therefore cannot walk it for another person. And while the fixer may say they are only trying to help and are not operating from a hidden agenda; it could be that they don’t have any other way of being accepted.
Each person is playing a role here and although it may appear that the fixer is trying to help others, it is more about what they gain through doing this. The fixer is interpreting others as being incapable of helping themselves.
Where as a person who doesn’t try to fix others, will have a different perspective. They may let them know they are there if they need anything, but they won’t try and fix them. To them, another person will not be seen as powerless; they may need help from time to time, but no more than anyone else will.
A Deeper Look
So what could be taking place here is something known as projection. The person, who appears as weak and useless in the eyes of the fixer, is simply mirroring back to them what they have repressed within themselves. They have become disconnected to their own sense of powerlessness and then see others this way.
What they have done, to avoid feeling their own sense of powerlessness is to go to the opposite extreme, here they can appear as all powerful and all knowing. The ego mind works in polarities, so it will often go from one side of the spectrum to another as a way to avoid certain things.
Through seeing what they have denied within themselves in another, they try to change them, as a way to regulate their own inner pain.
The Other person
When it comes to the person who appears as incapable or powerless, they have neither repressed nor denied their feelings. These are people who are living their life based on them. This could be the only way they know and all because they have identified with them.
So by being with a fixer, it will allow them to feel a sense of empowerment and to regulate the feelings of being powerless or useless.
In this situation and the situation above with the person who is a fixer; it will come down to approval and how these roles are being associated as familiar and therefore safe to the ego mind.
This could go back to when these people were children and events that have taken place in their adult life. Through having these occurrences, one generally feels safe only when they are either appearing as useless or as all powerful. And it is likely that the relationship one had with their caregivers will play a massive role here.
Perhaps one was brought up by a caregiver that acted useless themselves and therefore one had to take on the role of being a parent as a child. And then the only way that they would be accepted, loved and approved of by this caregiver was by being there for them.
If they showed their own emotions or expressed their own needs, they would be: abandoned, rejected, isolated and ignored.
Or one may have been brought up by a caregiver that was unavailable in some way. And the only way they would receive attention was by playing up and acting as though they were incompetent or useless. Their caregivers may have been controlling and overbearing and therefore wouldn’t allow one to grow and develop their own sense of power
The first person can come to see that the only way that people will like them is through being more than others. If they look vulnerable, have needs or show weakness, they will be rejected. To their ego mind, what is familiar and therefore safe is looking stronger than others.
And when it comes to the second person, they see that the only way people will like them is through being less than others. If they were to embrace their real inner strength, it would lead to them being rejected. To their ego mind, what is familiar and therefore safe is looking weaker than others.
These are just roles that people play as a way to deal with that is going on at a deeper level. They are not good or bad or right or wrong; they are simply consequences. In order to have adult to adult relationships, it will be essential to let go of the past.
Here one will be able to be who they really are and not feel that they have to put on an act in order to be accepted or to survive. The assistance of a therapist, coach or healer may be required with this process.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.