Hey fixer, I want to talk to you for a bit. You know who you are. You’re the person who takes charge when things go wrong. You’re the person that thinks everyone can change and be better. You’re the person who sees the broken as a challenge. You’re the one people depend on when they need help.
No matter how complicated or simple the situation is, if something is broken you’re plotting and figuring out how to fix it. You fix everything and everyone. You don’t even notice when you do it anymore. It’s a reflex. It just happens. Something goes down and you jump into action – super fixer to the rescue.
In some ways this has been one of your greatest attributes. You take pride in your leadership, your dependability and ability to think on your feet. I know this because I am a fellow fixer, but in recent years I’ve realized that the fixer mentality has been one of the biggest detriment to my past personal relationships.
Being the fixer created dependencies in your partners. They came to rely on you for all sorts of things, big and small, and as the fixer you tend to just do them. Even when they didn’t ask for it, you take over and fix things. Even worse, you try to fix them.
I know this is ironic coming from a person who coaches people for a living, but bare with me. When you go into fixing mode, are you thinking these thoughts?
They didn’t fix their issue the way I thought they should, so I stepped in.
They didn’t think of the solution as fast as I did, so I just fixed it.
I see potential in them that they don’t see; I just want the best for them.
Here’s the outcome:
No matter how genuine the reason is for trying to fix, the result often turns out the same. By constantly trying to fix them, you’ll begin to see them as undependable. You’ll begin to lose trust in their ability to fix things and themselves.
You’ll resent them for having to keep bailing them out. Now isn’t that funny? You resent them for the very thing that you created. You’ll make them wrong, or not quick enough and you’ll lose respect for them.
But here’s the thing. You can’t have a healthy relationship if you can’t depend on your partner. You can’t have a great relationship without trust. How will you last with someone you no longer respect?
And it’s not their fault. They didn’t do the harm. Your constant fixing is undermining them and making you feel these things. They were capable long before they met you, but suddenly they’re not?
Here’s what you do instead:
Stop trying to fix your partner and take a step back. This is going to take some practice, because this habit of fixing is so ingrained in you.
Understand that there is no right and wrong way or a timeline to fix something as long as there are results. Using that mentality, take a deep breath and reassure your partner that you’re here to support them if they need it.
Become a listener instead of a fixer. Ask questions instead of giving solutions. Give them the space to figure things out on their own. They are capable of fixing their own issues. They are adults.
That’s how you’ll leave resentment behind and allow for respect and trust instead.