Do you have a habit of constantly trying to rescue or help people, even if no one has asked for your almighty assistance, just because you personally foresee a situation being so much better if only one or two things were different?
Do you see the great potential bubbling just under someone’s surface and think, with a little encouragement and good ol’ TLC, they could be all that they could be?
Do you initiate reconciliations after fights, even if you know in your heart of hearts that you weren’t the one who was wrong, just because you’re ready for the beef to be over and everything to go back to normal?
Yeah, so do I. I’m a self-proclaimed, self-aware, self-regulated fixer. That’s my role in a relationship. One of them, anyway. I’m not quite sure where it came from but I’m realizing that whatever’s causing it needs to be fixed. So to speak.
My friend pointed it out to me just the other day. I only have a few guy pals that I talk to on a regular basis, and this particular one holds no cut cards. He says what is on his mind whether you want to hear it or whether you have a box of Kleenex handy after he drops his raw version of honesty.
“You’re the cat in the cat and mouse game,” he told me. “You’re always trying to fix something. You even do it with me.” If we have an argument, he said, I’m always the one to contact him first. He knows I’m good for it, so he just has to wait and I’ll come around. Well then. Is that so? I thought, mentally checking off my behavior so I could be sure not to ever, ever give him the satisfaction again.
At first, I thought he was way off base. It wouldn’t be the first time for him, that’s for sure. But sometimes a simple observation from someone else will get the wheels a-turnin’ in your own mind and bring up mental images of yourself at work. And when that highlight reel started playing, I saw myself in full-out fixer mode, like entertaining guys in the past that I knew would make really good boyfriends—not for me, per se, but some other girl—if only they stopped hustling or went back to school or got legal jobs.
My best friend used to call them my “broken birds.” We laughed it off and I kept on picking up these man improvement projects, not taking them seriously but still trying to help them change.
But when it came to the men I really wanted, the actual boyfriends I fell head over heels for, I had to fix everything that went wrong in the relationship. If he was mad at me, I had a 24-hour wait period before I was on the mission to make things right. Life is too short, I reasoned, to have this unresolved anger and brokenness hanging in the air. After losing three close family members in just a few short years, I knew that truth firsthand.
Maybe this fixing comes from some deep-rooted effects of not knowing my father. Those daddy issues everyone keeps talking about that I see in other people may be real in me after all. Maybe it really does comes from having people close to me pass away and knowing that life is too short for grudges and hard feelings. Or hell, maybe I’m just a controlling heifer who wants to have everything just so and didn’t realize it until just now.
Whatever it is, it definitely needs fixed.
Are you a fixer?
Image via danisabella/Flickr