My name is Melissa and I am a fixer…..
My son, Michael, can attest to that. He has definitely been affected by my fixing behavior. Michael is full of life and energy. There have been several times, in his younger years especially, when I tried to fix him. I tried to get him to be what others (and myself) wanted him to be. “Just sit still and be quiet. Keep your hands to yourself. Just do what you are told and don’t ask questions”. Unfortunately, those words have come out of my mouth a lot with absolutely no conversation around them. It was strictly rules and strictly a way of me telling him to just be “good”. There was never any conversation around who he was as a person, why he did things the way he did, and how to be the real him in this world. As long as my focus was on fixing him, I missed out on enjoying him and his wonderful, fun-loving spirit.
What do you think started happening next? He started hiding. I was not a safe place to come so he just didn’t tell me when he got in trouble at school or when he was having problems with a friend. He knew my answer would just be a behavior modification and all about how he needed to be different. He had experienced the fact that there was no real love in that kind of answer. My answer instead spoke the opposite of love. It said, “You are embarrassing me. Act better so I at least look like a better mom.” I wouldn’t trust me either!
Do you ever try to help someone? You see their “problem” and feel like they just aren’t understanding how to control or fix it. A lot of times we just jump in to “save them”! No matter how many times I tell myself that I am doing this because I love the person I am trying to fix, it is not true.
So, what is fixing really about? For me, fixing has several synonyms. It means control and stuffing away of reality. Fixing means I will be less embarrassed and frustrated. All will be well in the world….Not! Sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge that we fix. At times I think we even fall for the false believe that what we are doing is something that should be held in high esteem. I know I can easily fool myself into believing that I am really just being such a good helper and that I have to be right.
The truth is though that fixing is not helping. It’s damaging. It puts a wall up in our relationships therefore the relationships can’t mature and grow.
When we remove fixing from our relationships, we are free to actually get to know, understand and love the other person. As long as fixing another person is my goal then I cannot experience the love they have for me and I cannot truly love them. Offering an environment of trust where a person can come to me with no expectation of being fixed is freeing for both people. We get to know each other and appreciate our unique traits. Relationships thrive and grow there. Love grows there.
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