Side Chat: When you want to fix someone, but can’t

fix someone

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This one goes out to all of the caring, compassionate, empathetic, concerned people who just want to help others.

Especially if, in your altruistic mindset, you deeply believe that you know what’s best for someone, and that if they’d only listen to you, you’d be able to solve all their problems.

Dudes, from a couple of (recovering) fixers, YOU GOTTA CUT THAT OUT.

In this month’s Side Chat, we’re getting into what to do when you want to fix someone, but can’t. We talked about:

  • The ways (including the less-than-obvious ones) that the compulsion to “fix” can show up.
  • How people-pleasing and being a highly sensitive person relate to the desire to fix others.
  • Why over-giving and over-doing tend to backfire in spectacular fashion.
  • Why letting people struggle is often the kindest thing you can do for them.
  • Better ways to respond to someone who needs fixing, and how to encourage people to change in a way that actually works.

After you’ve listened, leave a comment below to let us know how called-out you feel, and which part of this side chat resonates most.

DUDE, FIX THYSELF

You know what’s a better use of your time and energy than worrying about how to fix other people? Fixing your damn self!

If you’d like to get out of your own way and make more progress in a matter of months than you’ve likely made in years, that’s what 1-on-1 coaching is for:

Fill out the quick form on this page and we’ll talk it out.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU’LL ALSO LOVE…

Side Chat: Curing your people-pleasing disease

Side Chat: We are not the crazy ones! (How to tell if you’re a highly sensitive person)

Side Chat: “I’m not enough” vs. “I’m too much”

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6 Comments // ADD COMMENT

6 comments

  • Marilyn Neilson

    Hi ladies,
    I just listened to your Side Chat called “When you want to fix someone, but you can’t” and here’s my comment(s). I haven’t been a people pleaser but I have been on the receiving end of people wanting to “fix” me. I grew up in a very judgmental family & was emotionally, mentally, verbally & sexually abused in this dysfunctional family so they were the ones that broke me & then they’d have the audacity to try to fix or correct me. Yes, I saw it as the audacity, for sure. They called me the rebellious one because I didn’t line up to what they thought I should be. But I knew in my heart that I wasn’t being rebellious. So I’ve been on the receiving end for much of my life. So first I’d like to add to your side chat… one has to EARN the right to speak into someone’s life. I heard Kristen speak about this, but in other words. She talked about saying something in a way in which the person would receive it. Yes indeed! So true! So whatever/whenever they tried to correct me I would wind up rejecting it & then be called rebellious. Oh well. This has been a lifetime of struggling with my family as a result. Anyway, I just wanted to share the aspect of earning the right to speak into someone’s life. Thank you.

    • Rachel East

      Hi Marilyn,

      Yes! This is a very important point. A lot of people certainly do NOT have the right to speak up and try to fix someone, and we should all be very discerning about who we allow to try to fix US, for sure. I’m so glad you know that your family does not have that right.

  • maria

    Hi ladies, amazing side chat that really resonated with me. I have experienced and am experiencing right now both sides of this and find myself getting quite confused and disempowered by it. I am a people pleaser, and am struggling in a relationship with a guy who is incredibly avoidant and doesn’t do intimacy which causes me a great deal of anxiety- the relationship has ‘officially’ ended (after 2 years of being ‘on /off’) but he still keeps me in his life and I still see him often, and inevitably my love for him as resulted in me constantly trying to fix him of his inability to get close to anyone emotionally. I try to please him and ‘be nice’ but of course it doesn’t work and it frustrates and upsets me but youre right- I want to fix him because it upsets ME, so I’m not coming from a purely altruistic angle, he probably needs to go through this struggle alone for a reason. I find it so hard to let go.

    Interestingly, my anxiety about him has caused me to lose friendships with people who have tried to fix me, one friend in particular stands out who I always turned to when I was stressing about him, mainly because I saw her as wise and experienced. But she ended up making me feel like I was wrong, broken, defective, she would tell me he was evil and bad and I needed therapy and help. I went to a therapist because she told me to. what happened? you can guess, I dropped out of therapy, I was never bought in and I felt very resistant to her. Then I stopped going to my friend for help. She said I was defensive, yes I was, I told her I felt like she was judging me. Sadly we’ve not spoken for months.

    My mum is also a control freak and will yell “I told you not to do that! you’re so stupid!” – you know, that kind of person. But also very enabling when I was a kid, always aggressively fighting my corner. Never letting me stand up for myself.

    Anyway, I loved your analogies, the butterfly, the baby learning to walk. It’s about letting go, isn’t it, and accepting that everyone is on their journey. this is what I think we all find the most difficult to do. I hope that I will eventually let go of this guy. I’m aware it’s what I need to do, but I just don’t feel I can at the moment.

    • Rachel East

      Hey Maria,

      It’s good that you’re capable of seeing this from both ends of the spectrum! And maybe seeing how you react to the guy enables you to have empathy and compassion for how other people are seeing you, and vice versa. Letting go of our attachment to things that aren’t working is one of the hardest things ever! But I also find that it’s ultimately rewarded in equal measure by the Universe. Just think what happens when you have the courage to let go of something that’s eaten up a ton of emotional bandwidth–you’ve created a major space in your life that has the opportunity to be filled by something much better.

  • Alyx

    Such a great topic for the 100th episode!

    I felt triggered at every corner! One of the best lessons I learned was at the tail end of the PPVE on a call with Rachel after a very stressful Thanksgiving with my family. I had just come off this life changing course but was stuck with people who emotionally/mentally in a headspace that I had worked hard to come out of. I was extremely concerned for one of my family members who is actively in therapy but still…very much in the same stage of rage and anger and Rachel said, “The best thing you can do it let them be. You can’t fix them and it’s not your responsibility to do so, even if you’re watching them fail. It could take them years to figure it out or they may never figure it out”. It’s so tough to stand by and do NOTHING. But it’s what I’m working on and reminding myself of all the time of how important it is.

    I’ve been that person wanting to pay for the help for others. I’ve even promoted Clarity on Fire as a whole – or even as singular episodes. Did anyone actual listen to my suggestions? Not really. Do they continue to vent and complain and not do anything to fix their personal issues, absolutely. But I’m learning to take a backseat.

    And I’m so much of that empath. I’ve loathed it growing up. I spent a majority of my childhood in a constant state of nervousness, not sure why, until recently when I learned it was just the energy of others that I was picking up. Like you said, sometimes an empath wants to fix the problem so they can just have their own peace of mind. It was your butterfly analogy that really struck me. Sometimes helping them out/trying to speed up the process can hurt more than help them.

    Now, do I want certain people to listen to this podcast for their own peace of mind? Of course! However, my contribution will be promoting it on social to let people make up their own minds!

    • Rachel East

      Hey Alyx,

      I’m so glad that you’re working through this, even though it’s difficult for you! I think the things we struggle with the most tend to be the areas where we also grow, learn, and evolve the most. So you’re developing as a person a LOT through this issue (which may be nice to think about on some days, and super annoying on others, lol). You may feel alone among your family, but at least you know there are a lot of other people out there (us and so many people who follow us!) who totally relate to what you’re going through. 🙂

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