Many of us feel good in general when we dedicate time and effort toward helping others, especially when the people we help are special to us.
While being a helpful person is great, there are times when offering help and the gratification that results from providing it can be addictive.
Helpfulness in general is a positive, but you may have noticed that you’ve become obsessed with the idea of fixing people.
If you find yourself feeling useless or depressed when you’re not helping other people, the desire to fix their problems has become a problem of its own.
Let’s explore what causes a person to want to fix others, how the constant provision of help can become an obsession, and what to do if this issue has occurred.
Am I A Fixer?
It’s important to understand that there is a significant difference between being a helpful upstanding person and being stuck in a fixer mentality.
Being helpful does not tend to become a problem for the person providing the help, meaning that a helpful person still functions normally when they have time to themselves.
A helpful person might assist a friend with moving into a new apartment, feel appreciated for it, and continue with the rest of their week living normally.
On the other hand, a “fixer” might help a friend move into a new apartment, and also make herself limitlessly available to discuss that same friend’s relationship troubles at length.
A fixer’s desire to help others might interfere with her prior engagements or free time that she is supposed to be taking for herself.
Additionally, a fixer might seek out difficult situations (like relationships with a troubled individual) because she has such a strong desire to help that person become the thriving human being she envisions in her mind.
You may be a fixer if you feel that you’re not living up to your highest potential if you’re not helping people.
What Causes This Behavior?
Some people help others because they can and because it makes them feel good knowing that they’re doing something positive for another person.
However, people who are fixers tend to try fixing other people’s problems out of the need to have an imagined security net underneath them.
Fixers often believe that the more people they help, the more people will be available to help them when they need something.
Additionally, “saving” people can often make a person obsessed with fixing others feel better and better about themselves with each task they perform.
What Is The Harm?
At face value, there isn’t anything wrong with being available to help others in their time of need.
A good friend, loving family member, reliable employee, or dedicated spouse is often the sort of person who is willing to help when they’re needed.
The harm lies in invading other people’s lives so often out of the desire to help that a fixer fails to notice whether an individual needs help or not.
By constantly inserting himself/herself/themself into other people’s situations, a fixer might do more harm than good in a couple of ways.
- A fixer might get in the way of allowing individuals to work through their own problems and get themselves out of manageable issues.
- A fixer may become burnt out when investing so much time and effort into other people and their supposed needs.
- A fixer may lose friends or unintentionally start arguments if they insist on helping in situations where the help is not wanted.
- A fixer might unwittingly get involved in situations that can be dangerous or mentally draining.
Finally, someone who fixes other people’s problems due to a misplaced belief that people will “pay them back” later may find themselves disappointed and discouraged when no one comes to their rescue later.
Why Do I Feel Like I NEED To Fix People?
There are a lot of reasons behind having a “fixer” personality type.
For example, someone who thrives when fixing other people’s problems may be broken themselves.
They may find it easier to help others rather than seeking help for their own problems and use the good feelings that being helpful creates to put a bandaid over the sadness they feel.
While it feels good to help people short-term, this desire can become an unmanageable obsession that does not actually benefit a person’s mental health.
If you’re obsessed with fixing people, it may be worth speaking to a licensed therapist in order to explore the root causes of this need.
While your intentions are pure, being dedicated to helping others may be costing you in the long run, and it’s worth examining your own mental health needs.
It’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable to take steps toward helping yourself.
If you’d like to seek support for your mental health needs, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with their desire to help others, and we would be honored to help you, too.
Please feel free to book a complimentary 20-minute personalized matching consultation with our clinical intake coordinator to find the best clinical match for you.