Why do i feel the need to fix everything

The Fixer Mentality - People Who Try to Fix Others

4 minutes

People with a fixer mentality are sort of like a white knight, often gravitating towards those they can rescue, and leaving a moral debt behind.

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

People with a fixer mentality have a need to “save” others and think they know how to solve everyone’s problems. However, this is due to an intrusive and even selfish personality. These kinds of people are usually insecure and it’s easier for them to do for others what they can’t do for themselves. In addition, they think that their assistance creates a moral debt they can request payment for later.

In one way or another, everyone has come across someone who needs to rescue others. Some people do so in good faith and feel happy being the person who can take care of things and attend to everyone’s needs. However, just as it’s necessary to know when to help, people also need to know when to back off.

There’s one thing you can’t ignore. Objects can be dangerous or delicate at times. They may have sharp edges and even cracks that’ll make them break as soon as someone touches them. Thus, there are moments when it’s best to do nothing. You must know when to be present and supportive but to do so wisely and in silence.

Broken people need help from specialized professionals. People with a fragmented heart or self-esteem, in turn, need to heal but at their own pace. They need enough adequate space to repair themselves gradually.

Therefore, one can’t accelerate certain processes. You can’t just rise up as a hero in the light of causes you’re not really familiar with and that may require other times of assistance.

The fixer mentality

People with the need to “fix” others often insist on patching something that isn’t broken. True, they’re flooded with goodwill and even noble intentions. But they overextend in their eagerness to solve any problem. These individuals are determined to do people favors they haven’t asked for. In addition, they want to repair aspects in other people they don’t need help with.

For example, you can see this in people who insist on matchmaking for those who are single. Or it may go even further, as in the ones who tell you to stay away from a certain person because, in their opinion, said person is dangerous. Others may encourage you to, perhaps, be more outgoing, open and happy. However, they say this when they haven’t even bothered to understand how each piece fits into your character.

A person with a fixer mentality must fix anything they perceive as defective, hurt, or lacking in happiness. They almost do so automatically because, in reality, they’re often the true survivors of some kind of past damage. They’re the ones who, after all, carry a wound of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

The fixer mentality and the white knight

Rescuers belong to a profile that’s known in psychology as the “white knight syndrome”. This term was coined by psychology professors Mary Lamia and Marilyn Krieger at the University of California, Berkeley.

Thus, this sector of the population encompasses all those men and women who often establish relationships with people who, in their eyes, seem damaged or vulnerable. Their goal is to rescue and repair them. They want to be that one figure everyone looks up to because they facilitate all kinds of resources, even though they’re not really necessary most of the time.

What these people are looking for with such a rescuing and restorative attitude} is to give meaning to their own lives. Hence, the authors who described this type of profile specify that you can distinguish a White Knight from the following characteristics:

  • People with a past of abandonment or abuse or those who lost a caregiver.
  • These people are very sensitive and emotionally vulnerable and need to feel useful.
  • They’re very critical of themselves, but devalue others for a very clear reason: a need to justify helping those who are weak.
  • Finally, these people don’t usually rejoice in safe, brave, or risky attitudes and other’s accomplishments. They’d rather help those who are insecure and bordering on failure, sadness, and fear.

People with the need to “fix” others are like those white knights that travel from kingdom to kingdom rescuing and helping anyone they come across (even if they don’t need it or ask for it). Hence, most of the time, their acts are futile because their behavior can feel intrusive and annoying.

Final notes

Thus, you can imagine the kind of life this type of person has. They’re full of pain, disappointment, and frustration that stem from the fact that others don’t recognize their noble efforts. Thus, they may become tyrannical and even try to manipulate you. But what you must concentrate on is the injured person who lives inside.

The white knight has a fixer mentality who wants to rescue everyone. However, they must take the steps toward repairing open wounds from the past. They’re the only ones who can fix the frayed self-esteem that leads them to project their own needs onto others. Thus, be sensitive to this kind of reality.

Likewise, if you’re a white knight, allow yourself to be rescued. It’s time to lighten your load and accomplish your greatest feat of all: personal healing!

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Do You Have "Fixer Syndrome"? - #MTtalk Roundup

During our #MTtalk Twitter chat last week, we discussed "fixer syndrome" – the need that some people feel to step in and "fix" people and situations.

"When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul."

– Rachel Naomi Remen, American author (1938- )

Jim was often late. He couldn't concentrate on his work, he had anger issues, he got into conflict with his co-workers, and he even swore at a client.

Knowing that Jim was the only breadwinner in his family, and realizing that he might end up losing his job, Carol made it her "work" to help him.

She took time out of her already busy schedule to help Jim see a professional counselor. She mediated at work, she covered for him when he was late. Sometimes, she even picked him up from home and drove him to work and to appointments.

Jim's behavior improved, but as soon as Carol took her attention off him to focus on other responsibilities, he regressed. Once again, she went through the same drill to help him.

Carol is at her wit's end. After returning to work from a much-needed vacation with her family, she found Jim back at square one, making poor choices and giving in to bad habits as soon as she was out of sight.

Should Carol step in again? And why did she get involved in the first place?

Why People Develop Fixer Syndrome

The desire to "fix" people, or not wanting them to experience pain, usually comes from good intentions. Fixers like Carol mean well. Their need to step in and help often originates from their own experiences of needing help.

Although fixers are truly kind and compassionate, they also need to feel needed and, in a sense, they're fulfilling a selfish need while helping others. They get a kick out of solving problems, providing solutions, and being rescuers.

On the surface, it's hard to argue with such apparent altruism. After all, acts of kindness and compassion make the world a better place.

Stepping in to help is the right thing to do. And fixers set a great example – up to a point. Beyond that, the boundaries between helping, interfering and controlling start to blur.

The Downside of Fixer Syndrome

Also, fixers could set themselves up for failure because of a single universal truth that I call Relationship Rule Number One: you can't change other people!

To be honest, often you can't even change yourself, even though you want to change and you have full control over you! Imagine how difficult it would be to fix another person.

Trying to fix others can take up a great deal of time, as well as mental, physical and emotional energy.

We're all adults who must learn to take responsibility for our own choices and actions. If you're constantly taking responsibility on behalf of another person to shield them from the consequences, there's no motivation for them to change. While you may think you're doing good, you're not helping their situation.

Fixers often find it difficult to stop wanting to improve a person. It's necessary to learn to accept people as they are, and not as you want them to be.

Learn to know the difference between healing and fixing. By all means help someone heal by providing a safe space, by listening mindfully, by coaching and guiding, but don't try to fix them.

Lastly, work on your healing, and help others heal from your position of wholeness rather than your position of need. The best guide to the mountaintop is a person who has already climbed it.

Do You Have Fixer Syndrome?

During our #MTtalk Twitter chat, we explored the good and bad about wanting to fix people and things. Here are the questions we asked and some of the responses we received:

Q1. Who or what would you like to "fix," and why?

@J_Stephens_CPA I tend to jump in and "fix" if I see a need in a situation where I have the ability or knowledge to be helpful. Sometimes that backfires.

@GThakore I would like to fix my mind against its mischiefs.

Q2. What behaviors characterize a "fixer"?

@LrnGrowAchieve Different people - or better yet different motivations - elicit different characteristics. A) helper, supporter, intention to help/guide/teach. B) controller, impatient, "I can do it faster," intention to help but also to get it done "right."

@temekoruns Fixers can be impatient control freaks and dictators, who are overwhelming with belief systems and don't understand there may be several different paths to get to the same destination. Or fixers can be thoughtful mediators who guide others in the right direction.

Q3. Why do some people need to be fixers? Is it always good or bad?

@SayItForwardNow Some fixers have the best intentions - they are caring, helpful, compassionate - and they want to help!

@harrisonia Wanting and needing to fix things are two different actions. People who need to be fixers have an unaddressed void in their life. People who want to be a fixer are driven by helping someone else.

Q4. What are some of the drawbacks of being a fixer?

@Adventure1Photo Not understanding why others don't see your help as help. Not understanding boundaries. Not understanding to self-reflect first and then help, if help is really needed.

@MelissaPalumbo Fixers can internalize and blame themselves if they are unable to fix.

Q5. How is the fixer mindset linked to difficulty in saying "no"?

@DrRossEspinoza A fixer takes responsibility for something that is not in their area of responsibility; they say yes to a question that was not even asked.

@realDocHecht It is hard for a fixer to say no, because they are constantly wanting to help and say yes to anything they can fix.

Q6. Where are the boundaries between kindness and fixer syndrome?

@JKatzaman Kindness is empathy. You cross the line when you're the kind who meddles when not invited.

@Dwyka_Consult Kindness can step in and step back, and feel OK about both. "Fixing" is being too involved, interfering and feeling rejected if you're asked to take a step back.

Q7. When have your attempts to fix or to give advice not been welcome?

@MicheleDD_MT When I come from a place where "I know what is best for you."

@yehiadief When "helping" becomes an argument.

Q8. How could you respond to someone who is trying to fix you?

@SanabriaJav Being mild always helps with your colleagues, and people in general. They probably mean well, and that's something you can thank them for before letting them know you have your own plan of action.

@Midgie_MT I might choose to ignore their 'suggestions,' or politely thank them for what they are offering yet say that I need the time/space to make my own decisions.

Q9. How do you break the habit of being a fixer?

@Yolande_MT Learn the two rules of life: Rule 1 - I can't change other people. Rule 2 - I can't control other people. You can influence, teach, support and inspire. Do that. Show others that you believe in them. Fixing is not an act of trust or belief.

@carriemaslen You can break the habit of being a fixer. Truly listen. Pause before replying. Accept that taking care of your needs 1st is key to having energy for others.

@BrainBlenderTec I don't want to throw gender in this, but some guys are just programmed that way and it's a hard habit to break.

Q10. How could you help others in a more productive way than fixer syndrome?

@SophieHassell30 Motivational interviewing is a good tool. Letting people lead their own changes within a supportive framework.

@PmTwee Helping others should be teaching them fishing, but not giving fish. Understand the problem they are facing and help them to find a solution together. It will be more productive.

To read all the tweets, see the Wakelet collection of this chat, here.

Coming Up

Fixers often want to "fix" things that don't need fixing – all they need is time and space to grow and develop.

The topic of our next #MTtalk chat is, "Make Space and See the Magic Happen." In our Twitter poll this week we'd like to know why you think some people find it so hard to give others space. Please cast your vote here.

Useful Resources

In the meantime, here are some resources relating to fixer syndrome:

Note: Club and Premium Club members can enjoy instant access to these resources. Nonmembers may find that access to some of them is restricted.

How to Manage Controlling People

How to Avoid Generosity Burnout


Boosting Your Self-Esteem


Preventing Manager Dependency

Developing Personal Accountability

Mikhail Labkovsky: In relationships, we want to repeat the feelings we experienced in childhood - Maria Surmina - Project events - Site materials - Snob

The role of relationships in human life

By nature, we are social beings. Back in school, we were taught that the need to have a relationship is genetic. And various kinds of dissenters who need to be alone or hermit are treated by psychiatrists as inadequate: this is common among religious fanatics or those who have very painful relationships with other people. They prefer to say, "The more I get to know people, the more I love animals." A healthy, mentally well person has a desire to have a relationship.

Beyond that, the ideas proposed by the healthy and the neurotics diverge. Because, firstly, in any relationship there is a certain meaning, and secondly, their role in life is greatly exaggerated by those who lacked parents in childhood (they were either physically absent or were cold people). Many women believe that relationships are the only thing that exists. Self-realization, career, money - everything is meaningless, they acquire significance only in the absence of relationships. Due to the fact that many did not receive parental care in childhood, they now have an exaggerated attitude towards relationships: they are dominated by an obsession - to have someone nearby. At the same time, in comparison with women, men's priorities are slightly shifted: at the expense of work, the desire to receive money and other life attitudes. If a person, in principle, did not have such problems with his parents (he is healthy), relationships play a secondary role in his life, and self-realization comes first.

What is hidden behind the desire to have a loved one

Entering into a relationship, people subconsciously want to get money, care, attention, a roof over their heads - and at the same time do nothing. In fact, all this has no value: only emotions, experiences and feelings have it. Desiring a relationship, neurotics want to return to childhood and experience the sensations experienced earlier again. Healthy people are looking exclusively for mutual love, so they have no problems entering into a relationship.

Many women wonder where to find a man. When a person has an openness to relationships, the ability to live together with someone, then relationships arise on their own. For example, Nadenka, the heroine of the film “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath”, has been without a man all her life and has been left without him: she does not need her fiancé Ippolit. She needs a man who can fly drunk to another city, because before him she had already met a married man. She is a sufferer in life, everyone lowers her: “What a muck this is your aspic fish!” She liked the holidays only because she spent them with a married man. And her new lover Zhenya is just like her. Firstly, he has a fiancee, and secondly, he himself does not really understand what he needs (his mother wants him to get married). Women like Nadia need a deaf-blind sea captain, because they never had relationships with men in their childhood or had bad ones with their mother.

The key to a happy life to the grave is not in compromises, but in a stable psyche. Only in this case can you love the same person all your life. If the psyche is unstable, you can stop loving in five minutes, or simply something will start to dislike in a person. And in the future it will lead to divorce.

On the problems of unhealthy relationships

Neurotics can have many reasons for not having relationships, one of them is that they are simply not ready, although they themselves do not understand it. They are afraid to make connections: “I don’t meet strangers.” Express fear of sex: "I don't have sex without love, and I don't love you." May have painful experience: "I'm afraid of a new relationship."

If they still managed to enter into a relationship with the opposite sex, many soon part, because they find flaws in the partner. The search for a flaw is a protective function of the psyche of a person who is afraid of relationships. He may be irritated by a crooked toe on his left foot or a new smell. Men often like to brag about having one-time sex, considering it a feat. In fact, it is the same inability to have a relationship. Moreover, in sex they behave like children who are looking for their mother. Womanizers say: "I'm fine," arguing a new break with the "excessive bitchiness" of the lady and not looking for reasons in themselves. It is hard for them to admit that they are not ready for family life, and not just "did not find that person." The same happens with women.

Many of us, in principle, are not able to have a family, just as the heroes of Andrey Myagkov (Zhenya) and Barbara Brylskaya (Nadya) could not. Nadia's childhood experiences are suffering and self-pity. And the person who loves her and wants to make her happy cannot give her these feelings. She does not need love and care, but wants to constantly be in limbo. Such people cannot have relationships or families due to a difficult background, for example, unpleasant memories of the parental family. Men, in particular, are scared off by women who start to take care of them too much, because they are used to a cold mother and they never sit down at the dinner table as a family.

The famous “childfree” trend is people who are against having children. It seems to them that they have such a concept, but in reality a difficult childhood affects.

About the consequences of unhealthy relationships

Neurotic experiences flow into the presence of painful relationships. It begins to seem to a person that the partner wipes his feet on him: he does not call back, disappears, comes once a week just for sex, does not introduce him to friends or parents, does not feed. That is, he feels that he is being used. Such an attitude develops because he himself wants it: he likes to sob into the pillow when his partner leaves, sort things out, wait until the bell rings - these are those childhood experiences: how his parents abandoned him, gave him to a boarding school, took him to his grandmother . Such relationships are hopeless, they end in nothing. A man in such a situation will not propose to a woman, because he sees that there is no need to take on any obligations, since everything suits her anyway. He understands: she will be a little naughty, weep, and then accept.

Such situations are ridiculed in humorous programs: a man leafs through his notebook in search of a one-night stand who will definitely not refuse him, calls her - she agrees. Why cry after that? So there was no need to agree. But, just as she waited six months as a child for her mother to visit her, so now she is ready to wait another ten years for him. At the same time, it seems to her that she is being treated poorly, but in fact this is her need for a relationship.

The same happens when a girl communicates with a married man. Or if she agrees to an “open” relationship, but really wants a family, she will most likely not get married. She agrees to these conditions because she is afraid to be alone: ​​no one knows how life will turn out with a new chosen one, but she seems to love this one.


What to do if a woman understands that a man is using her, but still cannot end the relationship with him?

A situation in which “he didn't call back” means the end of a relationship for a healthy girl, the beginning of love for an unhealthy girl. There is a conflict here: the narcotic need to be near this man. In this situation, you need to introduce a rule: if you don’t like something, you must say about it once; if the person's behavior does not change, make a serious decision. Whining with the phrases “well, you promised”, “well, we agreed” is useless: this is how you talked in childhood with your parents, who did not take you to the zoo for three years. Here the situation is simple: I feel uncomfortable - I'm talking about this, if the behavior does not change - you need to end the relationship. At first, you will be sausage because you, as an addict, need these emotions, the main one of which is self-pity. But if you practice this behavior, then quickly enough let go of the situation, and men will begin to treat you differently. Because when his mother said something to him, but he did not do it, she did not sob into the pillow, but walked and beat him on the head with her hand.

What to do if a person is already married and has a family, but something in his partner's behavior starts to annoy him? Do not get divorced if he champs or scatters socks. Is it worth giving up?

It seems to you that if a person starts kicking you, then this is a reason for divorce, but if he champs, then you can be patient. Any annoying little thing can become a trigger. In fact, you and your husband have a real internal conflict, but there is nothing to complain about, because he behaves correctly. The psyche is arranged in such a way that it immediately finds what to throw it into. You tell him, "Don't slurp," and he continues. You need to disperse. Otherwise, your children will live in an atmosphere of terrible hatred and not understand why parents are constantly in conflict.

There are situations when the husband wants to watch football and the wife wants to watch ballet. If it is not possible to buy two TVs and the situation repeats itself, you have married the wrong person. There are systemic problems that show that you are incompatible in an ideological sense. If the action is one-time, you can close your eyes to it; if it is repeated, you begin to live in conflict not with your husband, but with yourself.

There are two ways out of your situation. Animals have two reactions: they either fight or they run away. There are no throwing and deep feelings: they quickly assess the situation and make a decision. You can accept circumstances, but not come to terms with them: you will scatter socks and slurp together. At the same time, you should like what you are doing, otherwise you need to change your husband. Scary is another matter.

According to your rule, I told the young man exactly what I didn't like about him. He changed behavior, but only for a few weeks, after which he disappeared. After some time, he appeared, began to call often and make attempts to come. I understand that I do not want to continue the relationship. How to stop reacting to his actions, if feelings still remain?

In my article, I wrote that if I manage to change a person's libido, then most likely I will receive a Nobel Prize. I managed to do it myself. Some time ago I fell in love with a very nice girl, there were no complaints about her. But twice she did the same thing: we agreed to meet, we have to phone - she does not pick up the phone. A few hours later, she calls back and says that she is late. The next day the situation repeats itself. She broke off my childhood feelings and did it not on purpose: living alone for a long time, working hard, she got used to not being dependent on anyone. And I don't blame her - it's her life. But after what happened, I realized that I didn’t feel anything for her, which was a shame, since I liked her. We tried again, but the feelings did not return, the psyche slowed down.

You need to break yourself. You feel resentment that he does this, but for you he is a man, because he makes you suffer. I, apparently, also liked this feeling, but I got rid of it. For people who love those who love them, the rest is an empty place: they feel nothing for them. The psyche is always stronger than a rational act, and everything that we think does not make any sense. In order to change your attitude, it is necessary in such situations to start behaving differently: when something does not suit you in life, you need to break off the relationship without bending.

We are all shaped by the daily repetition of our parents' behavior - it has shaped our mental responses. Try to do the same with yourself: behave in a certain way, and thus force the psyche to form new neural connections and new mental reactions.

After the end of the relationship, there was an inner need for an apology from the partner: he deceived me, and then just left. How to stop feeling this need?

From his point of view, he did not offend you, and in some ways he is right. My girlfriend didn't do anything to me either. Many neurotics believe that everything is done to them on purpose, but this is not so. It’s just that the person is the way he is: no one is to blame for anyone, you just don’t suit each other. You still like him, but because of his deceit, you understand that he will continue to do this to you. And you think right. Only arrogant women believe that everything will be different with them - it won't.

Enter a rule for yourself: if you don't like something, don't do it to your detriment. I didn’t like that he deceived - do not pay attention to emotions, try to forget about him. For a while, by inertia, you will still feel resentment and think that everything could be different. You are attracted to him because you have the desire to suffer. When you act according to the rules, it will pass.

I am 38 years old, never married and have no children, but I want to give birth in a strong family. How to build healthy and honest relationships?

First you need to build them in your head: you need to understand what your life looks like. Everything that you experience in relation to yourself, you need to learn to experience in relation to men. For example, if you don't love yourself, you don't love a man either; think that love must be earned - he must prove that he is something; you are mentally unstable - you will select such a partner.

Today, marriage is built on a love-dislike relationship. Initially, marriage had nothing to do with feelings: it was done for the sake of increasing the community, procreation, trying to improve one's life, so the selection criteria were health, wealth, good heredity, and generosity. If you want an honest relationship and a strong family, you must have an honest relationship with your brain and a strong family with yourself.

What is the right way to treat my wife's previous partners?

The problem is not with her sexual partners, but with your insecurity. In the Caucasus and in many other countries, there is an obsession with marrying a virgin so that a man does not have complexes: she has no one to compare with. It's a self-esteem issue. If you feel complete as a man, you don't care who was before, because now you have been chosen.

How to choose a partner if a person feels that he is neurotic?

All my life I have loved those who did not show mutual sympathy in return. This is due to the fact that my mother was always unavailable to me and I tried to win her attention. I got over it: I am no longer attracted to people who are not interested in me. The person you love should evoke some association with childhood. Stick to your feelings.

The World Health Organization considers being in love a complete absence of reality - it is a temporary mental disorder. Even if you experience joy, you still perceive the person inadequately: you perceive not him, but your attitude towards him. If you start to act according to the rule “if you don’t like it, goodbye”, you will quickly run out of it.

How important is equal social status in society for relationships?

Here are some examples. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as an experiment, married an illiterate peasant woman, she ended up taking part in his murder - such a version existed after his death, most likely this is not true, but characterizes their relationship. Another: Natalia Vodianova was asked if she could marry a locksmith, to which she replied: “Of course! Where would we meet?" I believe that, like Lenin and Krupskaya, common interests play an important role. At the stage of falling in love, there is no difference: a person does not think about what his partner is like and who he works for. Then there is a transition from sympathy to perspective, from childhood to adulthood.

If both partners are neurotic, is it possible to somehow get along and find a common language?

Millions of people around the world are in neurotic relationships. Many from their very birth lived so badly and hard that they consider them absolutely natural. They do not feel neurotic, on the contrary, they think that all people with shortcomings, quarrel and conflict. Zhora Kryzhovnikov, the author of the films "Bitter", "Bitter-2" and "The Best Day", wrote comedies about psychos, but they live like that. All the characters are sick in the head, but at the same time they have feelings and they are in a relationship. Unfortunately, most people are used to suffering, it seems to them that this is normal.

Our literature, theatre, cinema and music - our whole culture contributes to this. Prominent representatives are Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. The first one constantly brought his wife up, and did not communicate with the children until their twentieth birthday. On the other hand, he hung out with peasants, engaged in demagogy and absolutely did not correspond to what he writes about. But he fought with himself. The second took jewelry from his wife and lost them in cards. Life is not the way they describe it, although they write brilliantly. The idea of ​​suffering is a Russian trait. Orthodoxy, which cultivates suffering, also plays a huge role. Most people suffer and die without knowing another life, without neuroses and manipulations. I believe that a person deserves to be happy, and can be so. A healthy person always chooses himself, and a neurotic always chooses relationships. This is the difference between them.

Just such a strong love: healthy feelings or addiction?

Urgent need to be needed by another person. Addiction does not bring pleasure from the opportunity to be with someone together, help or support, but, on the contrary, causes suffering when there is no such opportunity.

Previously, in psychology, there was an opinion that a dependent relationship is when one person in a couple supports in one way or another the dependence of the other (from alcohol and illegal substances to gambling), mental illness, irresponsibility and other unhealthy patterns of behavior of the other partner. Now, when they say that someone is in a dependent or co-dependent relationship, they mean that a person is very afraid of losing a partner, overly relying on his support and approval. The components of such an addiction can be difficult to live with, but nevertheless it is not the same as “dependent personality disorder”, in which people feel completely helpless without the support of other people.

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Most of us are in dependent relationships to one degree or another. We all rely on loved ones, we are waiting for support, we want to tell our partner how the day went, and so on. The difference between painful addiction is the feeling of one's own inferiority when separated from a partner. In this case, the relationship ceases to bring satisfaction and serve as a constant source of anxiety. Such feelings are a signal that the relationship needs to be worked on.

To deal with addiction in a relationship, the first step is to identify the symptoms.

© Obsession, 2004

  • Desire to please

You constantly think about what else to do to make your partner feel good, so that he sees what a wonderful person you are. Does he have some problem? You immediately undertake to solve it. You think that your partner appreciates you precisely because you are always there and will be able to resolve any of his difficulties, despite personal inconveniences and risks. You don't care about yourself and are willing to renounce anything to show you care. It sounds like a perfect romantic concept, but in practice, after all this, you feel empty or even exhausted. This is a natural reaction of the body, since, acting out of a desire to prove our “necessity”, we experience great stress. In a healthy relationship, there are other motives that allow you to act without such emotions (and often more effectively).

  • Belief that if you make a mistake, you will be abandoned

You are constantly trying, working on yourself, trying to do everything perfectly. You believe that if you make a mistake, act stupidly, then your partner will definitely leave you, because he will not be able to stay with "such a person." You think that only you are responsible for the relationship and should try not to lose it.

  • Difficulty making decisions on your own

If you ask yourself how you feel or what you want, it will be difficult for you to answer. You are often not sure what decision is better to make, whether to buy some thing or not, what is the best thing to do in a given situation, so you constantly ask your partner, check with his opinion. You want him to show you how to do it.

  • Conflict avoidance

You'd better keep silent than complain. Why say something is wrong? After all, there will be a conflict, so you think it’s better to give in and not say what you want. It is difficult for you to express your feelings, experiences and dissatisfaction.

  • Desire to be with a partner all the time

You want to be with your partner all the time, spend as much time with him as possible. You have already forgotten the last time you met with friends on your own or when you went somewhere. You do not rest from each other at all and almost do not spend time apart.

  • Breakups cause undue pain

Parting with a partner is a serious grief for you. Just thinking about it makes you step over yourself and go against your principles. You are literally ready to do anything to save the relationship.

  • Desire to control everything

Since the most important thing is not to lose relationships, everything can be used, including total control. You are driven by the desire to constantly know where the partner is, with whom he is, what he is doing, what he is talking about, what he is thinking about. You need to be aware of everything in order to be able to influence the situation.

  • Negative

The biggest difficulty in dependent relationships is that most often they deny the real state of affairs, while the partner and the situation are idealized. “We don’t have any addiction, I just love him very much.” It is very difficult to admit that there is some heavy component in such an expensive relationship.

© Obsession, 2004

  • Education

Our perception of ourselves is formed through the reflection of us by our parents. When a three-year-old girl spins in front of a mirror and hears: “You are so beautiful,” then she will know that she is beautiful. When she hears: “You are so kind, you helped the girl find the doll,” she will know that she is kind. Collecting such assessments of parents in our internal piggy bank, we create an image of ourselves. And if we did not hear positive comments from parents or, on the contrary, received a lot of negative ones, then we begin to urgently need to hear such assessments from the outside. It becomes necessary for us to constantly hear how good, valuable, important and so on we are in order to feel ourselves as such. Compliments are great, but it’s bad when it’s hard for us to feel good without them.

  • Child injury

Some severe childhood traumas, an early break in relations with an important person, for example, the father left the family and stopped communicating with the child, could have influenced the formation of a tendency to dependency relationships.

  • Trespassing

If the parents do not respect the personal boundaries of the child, then, turning into an adult, he may be inclined to fall into a dependent relationship. When parents enter the room without asking, take things, get into the phone or personal diary with checks - this blurs the boundaries of the child, he gets used to this attitude and either tries to act in this way in adulthood, or expects the same from a partner.

© «Obsession», 2004

If there is a lot of passion, emotions, strong attachment in a relationship and everything suits you, why can it be bad?

  • Emotional exhaustion

Dependent relationships can lead to emotional exhaustion, as they involve great sacrifice, constant concessions and actions contrary to oneself. Not caring for yourself in favor of caring for others also leads to exhaustion.

  • Not quite my life

If you think about others more than about yourself, keep silent about your needs and desires, do not pay attention to their realization, try all the time to be not quite yourself, but to correspond to the ideal image, then life becomes as if not quite your own.

  • You can be used

Research shows that most cases of psychological or physical abuse by one partner against another occur precisely in dependent relationships.

© "Obsession", 2004

Such symptoms, of course, can manifest themselves not only in romantic relationships, but also in any other. The problem solving steps that we offer are suitable for working on relationships of any format.

  • Start by identifying your strengths. Their understanding will give great support in the process of working on yourself and relationships. For example, people who try to please others often have a highly developed ability to understand others, their desires and experiences. This can be used to enrich communication with other people.
  • Analyze your symptoms of addiction. Think about what you think are signs of a healthy relationship. What is important to you in such a relationship? How could moving into such a relationship enrich your life? Answering these questions will help you increase your motivation to work hard on yourself and relationships.
  • Learn to give yourself positive feedback and support. It's very difficult. Try to celebrate your victories, even the smallest ones. Praise yourself for them, even if it seems silly at first: constant repetition can help you become less dependent on other people's evaluations.
  • Think about what you do for yourself. Write a list of ways you can take care of yourself, make yourself happy. Maybe you have long wanted to go somewhere or try some new activity? Please yourself. Remember what brings you pleasure, what you like to do. Make time for your wants and needs. Try to do at least one thing for yourself every day.
  • Work on personal boundaries. Think about when you feel uncomfortable with your partner. When he raises his voice or speaks in a rude way, do you remain silent, but do you feel bad? So there must be a boundary here. How do you usually react to its violation? Think about what new rules you need to establish in order to feel better next time in such a situation. Do you want your partner to take a break before going into another room, or to apologize for being rude? Tell him about your thoughts.
  • Psychotherapy is best suited for working with addictive relationships, as it helps to track what is in the blind spot and get out of denial of problems. Most people in addictive relationships don't realize that they can do things to increase the addiction. The psychologist helps clients try new behavioral strategies to turn the tide and improve the quality of the relationship.
  • If alcohol, drugs, gambling and the like are involved in your relationship, then it is better to turn to special programs for working with addictions, for example, 12 steps. In difficult situations, it can be very important to see other people with similar problems in order to understand that you are not alone, to be inspired and to fight together.

In any case, working on dependent relationships first leads to an uncomfortable and difficult state, since it is very difficult to break such a familiar and comfortable order of things. But in the end, relief always comes, and life becomes better, since healthy relationships are a source of a sense of harmony, fulfillment and happiness.

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