We all have those roles we play in our family. Some of us may be the black sheep, others are the scapegoat or the golden child. I am the fixer. Bring me your problems and I will fix them. My own life can be a chaotic mess, that doesn’t mean I cannot help you fix your problems.
That is where the difficulty is. I need to feel needed if that makes sense. Taking care of other people comes naturally almost to a fault. I can say with total sincerity what I want or need is last on my priority list. Now, there of course are times when this is the right thing to do. Somewhere there is a balance that I have yet to find between times to put others first, and the times to put myself first. Placing other people’s wants and needs ahead of mine makes me think my desires are unimportant.
This is the thinking that I want to change. Having a fixer mentality puts me into a mind frame of wanting every one around me to be happy at all times. What if I don’t want to do something? Do I speak up? Nope. I hate confrontation, so I go along with what is wanted or needed. Do I not care about my own happiness or health? What if I am feeling sick, or haven’t slept?
If I am needed, then I handle whatever needs to be done. All the while, I blame myself for not being able to say what I need. If I were to guess, it must be from feeling unimportant most of my life. Finding out I was not blood related to my family was the first part of feeling not as important. My parents often said they loved us both, but there was a big difference in how I was treated. That is the kind of thing kids pick up on. We know when we are not the favorite, trust me.
I will give you an example. My dad had a triple bypass on my twelfth birthday. The only surgeon we could find in the area was in New York City. This was major surgery and I waited for hours in the waiting room alone wondering if my dad was going to live or die. What kid wants to be in a waiting room in a hospital by themselves? How is that going to make you feel?
Yeah, that felt great.
Where was mom? Upstairs waiting for the surgeon to come out of the OR. My brother and his fiance were with her, not me. I was left to fend for myself. That right there told me how important I was. No one gave a shit that I was downstairs bawling wondering if dad was going to die. The fact that it was also my birthday did not help. All I wanted was to fix daddy and make him better.
So, the fixer was created. The person who always wanted to help. It is not a bad trait, except that I take the whole world on my shoulders. I want to fix problems that aren’t even mine. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so it is said. Maybe the road out of hell is to stop feeling the need to fix situations. You know what? If it is broken, don’t call me. I am not going to fix it.
Do you have a role in your family that no longer fits you?