Friday, January 8, 2010

Got an Ear?

A friend has been having issues lately with her family. You see, they call her with their issues and she "fixes" them. They have become the children, and she has become the parent. They are all sisters. Unfortunately for her, this is weighing on her heavily. I truly understand the need to "fix" things; to want to rid others of pain, of suffering, of any unnecessary anguish. However, what tends to happen is; the issues become yours and no longer the person you are trying to help. We've had lots of talks regarding this; we've talked in depth about not destroying your own emotional and physical health to save anothers.... to allow others to have learning opportunities through trial and error..... to grow up.
It took me years and years to not be a "fixer" and to learn successfully how to be a good listener.
So my question to you all is.....
Are you a fixer or a supportive listener?
And, if you are a listener.... do you really really listen? Do you resist the urge to offer advice? Do you offer support with open ended questions or do you move the focus to you?
As I said, it took me years to learn how to successfully listen. I used to either attempt to resolve the issue or direct my friends/family on how to solve their issue with "you shoulds, you need to's", etc... and you know what? I was doing such a disservice to them. So, now I attempt to be involved in a supportive role. I thrive to be a good friend and a good listener. A good shoulder... but no longer the fixer.


Coco said...

OMG...I am a fixer. And it has taken its toll. Of course I am a fixer for my children who are GROWN. I was the fixer for my husband but I ended that. We aren't divorced or seperated. But we no longer live in the same state. I decided he needed to fix himself without me.

This post really made me think.

blueviolet said...

Do you know how happy I am to see you blogging again? This made my day completely!!!!

In regards to your question, I know I'm not a fixer, I'm definitely a listener. But I could probably be a better listener. I'm pretty sure that during a pause, I might be giving some advice. :(

Oh man, have I missed you!!

Michelle said...

I think age brings wisdom. I used to be a fixer but now I truly feel like I am a supportive listener. It's part of a growth process, I think.

wendy said...

I'm a fixer by nature. I want to be a better listener but I get too wrapped up in what *I think* will solve the problems. I just want people to be happy so I try to make things better. Doesn't always work!!

Heatherlyn said...

You just described my SIL to a T. She took on everyone's problems of her siblings and her kids and made them HER problems in an effort to help and fix. She can't even listen to a problem without internalizing it. It really hurt her when her oldest kids started to have BIG problems and she was losing more sleep over them than they were, literally. There has to be a line separating a person from the help and love they want to give and then taking the problem on as their own emotionally.

I definitely try to help. But I need to breathe too. Loosing sleep over someone else's problem doesn't help anyone.

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