Are You a People-Fixer?

Why over-care isn’t good for you (or anyone else)


Surely it’s good to help people? After all, love and tenderness make the earth revolve. Well, this theory is only useful if you recognize your limitations and give individuals the freedom to learn to cope when doing so is right for them. At others, you might undermine your well-being and that of the people you try to assist with over-care.

You learn you are a loving person if those in need instantly warm to you and disclose their secrets. People you’ve just met tell you about painful divorces or the death of beloved pets. You might be happy to listen and lend a shoulder.

On the other hand, if you have an unhealthy need to solve people’s issues…

Before you know it, you bear part of their emotional load. Their problems take up too much space in your life. More difficulties crop up, too, when you look for people to fix.

The disparity between caring and fixing

There’s a distinction between the need to help everybody and being kind. Humans work well collectively and thrive when they collaborate. It’s natural and healthy to help your neighbor.

If you’re a people-fixer, however, you don’t only listen to other’s troubles, nor do you just offer them a practical hand periodically. You attend to them at the expense of your own well-being, and surprisingly, theirs.

How being a people-fixer damages others

You have a habit of stepping in swiftly, which means people don’t work through their problems and learn and grow. When you take over, you don’t give them a chance to recognize they can manage alone.

They have to experience problems unaided before knowing they are capable. Of course, now and then people aren’t able to find solutions and need help. In which case, your benevolence is a healthy, caring response to their lack.

Charge into their stress at other times, though, strengthened with willpower and an acute focus on their issues, and you stop them discovering whether they are robust enough to survive by themselves.

How being a people-fixer hurts you

When you invest time and energy into fixing people, you might neglect your needs. Indeed, by concentrating on others, you use up the time you could improve your own life. Your ambition to be sympathetic may even have a damaging influence on those dearest to you, like your family.

Spend your evenings listening to your friend’s headaches, for instance, and your household may feel you’ve deserted them. You aren’t likely to detect their angst until it becomes monumental and you’ve created a problem of your own.

Hidden motivation for fixing people

No doubt, you are a sincere, sympathetic individual. Your parents brought you up to appreciate people’s needs and take them into account before you act. Your compassion is praiseworthy, and yet, an undiscovered motive might shelter behind your people-fixing.

Setting your sights on others’ pain allows you to evade your own.

Even if you don’t have issues, your conduct may show you get your sense of self from feeling needed.

While gaining significance and purpose by aiding others is not wrong, it means you don’t feel whole without someone needy in your life. Thus, when no one wants your assistance, you’ll be like a heat-seeking missile, hunting for people to fix, albeit unconsciously.

Compassion, love, and kindness are, perhaps, what makes the world gel, rather than spin, holding it together. They bring stability and harmony. Trying to fix people, though, adds to chaos by creating an imbalance. Especially when they aren’t even broken (another issue).

Care, but look after your needs too. Further, let others work out their disputes when they can, and discover satisfaction in watching their courage grow.

Cheer in their corner rather than charging in on a white horse if you see they are finding their way without you. As a result, you’ll have stamina and space for yourself and those you cherish.




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✨ Bridget Webber


Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.