As adults who grew up in family dysfunction - we often find ourselves needing to fix others and ourselves. We get involved with people we believe need fixing, and we approach healing from the belief that we are faulty and need fixing.
In this episode, I'm sharing where this compulsion comes from - how to release it, and reframe the core beliefs that cause it.
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Show Transcript Below:
In my clients - and even in myself - I notice this impulse - really it’s a compulsion more so. To fix things. To fix other people - to fix ourselves - to fix the past - to fix every single little mistake.
Why do we feel the impulse to fix ourselves, fix others, and fix situations that have happened in the past?
It’s important to understand that this compulsive fixing behaviour is not your fault. It’s something that you may or may not even be aware of. And it’s something that can be healed - it’s not something for you to shame and blame yourself over. So have compassion for yourself and if you need support with self-compassion be sure to DM me on Instagram or book a consultation with me on my website to learn about working together.
So this compulsive fixing behaviour is a coping mechanism. And it worked in childhood in families that were dysfunctional and in family dynamics with unhealthy patterns - but as adults this compulsive fixing makes us feel like healing is always out of reach - we feel drained - we feel constantly confused - we are always looking for the next quick fix and method for healing - and we struggle to stay consistent because we believe that we are the problem.
It can also cause major burn out - depression and anxiety because fixing others is an energy drain - and we can become overly responsible for the actions and feelings of others which causes an imbalanced energy dynamic in our interpersonal relationships.
And I believe that this compulsion to fix things comes from a few core beliefs that are imprinted on our psyche’s and emotional bodies and physical bodies and nervous systems from childhood. These core beliefs and imprints are running the show:
1) There is something wrong with me. I am a problem that needs to be fixed. I am a mistake that needs to be fixed.
2) It is my responsibility to fix other people. Their problems are my fault. They need my help.
3) Any problems that happen in relationships, at work, or any problems that I am in proximity to are somehow my fault and my responsibility and I need to fix them.
These beliefs come from a lack of tolerance for emotional discomfort both in ourselves and others.
And this arises when are reared in homes that are unsafe where there was overt or covert abuse and neglect that was not soothed and healed. We may have picked up these patterns from parents as well.
We can think of this fixing behaviour as escapism - escaping pain - escaping our own emotional chaos - and escaping the emotional projections of others.
REFRAME - I am my own responsibility. I am capable of being responsible for myself. I am not responsible for the feelings and actions of others. Other people are also capable of being responsible for themselves. I am whole and other people are whole. They do not need me to fix them. I can show empathy and compassion - but it’s not my job to fix others and it is not their job to fix me.
REFRAME - I am not perfect. Sometimes I may make mistakes or hurt others. I am capable of self-reflection and awareness but I do not need to take all the blame, make myself wrong, or take the full burden on. Relationships involve two people - we can work together to make it right - it’s not all on me. Sometimes, things go wrong and they have nothing to do with me. In those cases - I take no responsibility and I allow those responsible to take care of it.
So - You are not a problem that needs to be fixed. You are not a stain on the world. You are not here to atone for the sins of mankind. And I think this is a really deep sensation that comes from shame and guilt after being wrapped up in unhealthy family dynamics. It’s a a perpetual feeling of shame and guilt that we never really take the time to curiously explore. And because we spend our lives running from it and trying to outrun it and prove that we are not worthless - we end up really struggling to feel at peace inside - our nervous systems are in a perpetual state of rigidity and we really end up struggling to set boundaries and let go of unhealthy dynamics and we end up re-creating traumas from the past.
So - in order to really stop this compulsive fixing - we’ve got to stop, sit with the urge to fix - and get really curious - what’s happening in the body when we want to fix others? What’s happening in the emotional body when we compulsively apologize and take on too much at work - or try to overcompensate for someone else’s emotional avoidance?
What is underneath there?
And you’ll find that there’s really really deep loneliness and grief there because we have spent our lives believing that in order to be enough for the world we need to carry the world on our shoulders. We believed that if somehow we could fix ourselves our parents would love us - or stop hurting us - or see us. We believed we were bad and wrong and not good enough. And we never stopped to recognize - no one ever taught us - that those beliefs were simply not true. They are not true. We are enough as we are.