Mothering – Leaving the FIXER Behind

by Ariana Ray, UK

I WAS TWENTY-ONE WHEN I GOT MARRIED

Everyone my age was getting married and I didn’t want to be left on the shelf as my mother put it. I was in an unstable relationship, but he was a man and he seemed willing and available for marriage.

BY THE TIME I WAS TWENTY-TWO I WAS HAVING MY FIRST CHILD

The fourth came within less than six years after that, at twenty-eight I had all my children, two girls and two boys. When the youngest child was two I started studying at the local University for an Honours degree. Within six months of starting the degree course my marriage ended and I became a single parent.

I WAS A FIXER

When things broke, when things got difficult, when children cried or knees were scraped, when bills needed to be paid and the all-important Reebok trainers were needed, the sports equipment, the label clothing, the trips abroad, the emotional traumas – I FIXED it all. It was how I fooled myself I was in control, how I mothered my children no matter what the scrape we got in as a family, MOTHER FIX-IT would step in.

TO ME MOTHERING WAS ALL ABOUT FIXING

It so it was ‘better’ for my children, so they would have a ‘better way’ to live that protected them from what I had experienced as a child. Mothering was like a defence class 24/7 where I protected them and fixed it so they would have this ‘better’ life, which I ‘knew’ was right and fought so hard to control. As they grew up, the fixing became harder as they stepped into making their own lives, but I didn’t let up. I wanted to be the cushion that protected them from feeling the consequences of their actions, the defender against painful moments or poor choices.

With hindsight, I can see that I’d been a fixer long before my children came along; it had started when as a child, I could feel how my parents could not cope with my childhood distress over abuse I experienced – they couldn’t fix it for me, so I fixed it for them by burying what distressed me. I quit on myself and buried my feelings to stop others being upset.

I began to heal these old wounds with the help of Universal Medicine courses and sessions with practitioners. It became an ongoing process from 2005 onwards. I began to let go of the beliefs I had about what it was to be a mother and a woman. As a result I was able to consider the impact my FIXING was having on everyone around me. I came to feel how, in seeking to fix someone, I was saying implicitly that they are broken or there’s something broken about them that needs fixing, something not good enough or right enough. At the time, I clearly thought that my way was the right and only way and what did not fit with my way had to be fixed. Fixing was how I thought I controlled my life and those I had relationships with. Of course there was no such control, it was an illusion of control, life happened regardless of all my efforts to change it or prevent it.

As I was able to heal, I stopped the control and began to trust that I could be responsible for my life and others equally be responsible for theirs. I have noticed that this is a very simple way to live, there are no games, no defence, no drive for certain outcomes and no demands that others be protected from the consequences of their choices – just an allowing of us all to make whatever choice, in recognition of our equalness to choose.

LETTING THE FIXING GO

This has made a huge change to my relationship with my children, I notice that letting the fixing go enables them to freely choose to be who they are, as the remarkable people they are, as I am free to be me also. I am still a mother and a grandmother, but I am me first – me – the woman I was born. I love this simplicity of me being me and feeling the equality as we all choose our way to be in life.

WHAT IS IT THEN TO BE A MOTHER REALLY?

The only thing that makes sense to me now is to be me, the woman I am first and foremost as fully as I can be – even if this breaks all the ‘rules’ and stereotypes and even if this fails society’s expectations. I now know that my way of being a woman and a mother is not what my mother chose. It is though, an incredible opportunity to connect with my gentle breath and my innermost, day by day and moment by moment, so I can feel how to be as me as I can be, to be the most me I can be. Every now and then I still get the urge to fix, but now: I gently tell myself

‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’

214 thoughts on “Mothering – Leaving the FIXER Behind

  1. Reading this blog has triggered a memory in me of actually looking forward in some way to something going wrong for another so that I could rush in and be the helper. Basically making whatever drama that was unfolding all about me whilst making out that it was all about another.

  2. Ariana you could write the most amazing self-help book, in which there could be just one line ‘‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’ So simple, so profound, so beautiful and so true.

  3. Honouring and cherishing ourselves as the woman we are offers a role model for children to equally honour themselves.

  4. When we lose ourselves as women and immerse ourselves into roles, it might be mother, daughter friend or partner, we are often not responsive to our own lives for ourselves, we are more focused on fulfilling duties to others. It makes sense to me that when we don’t lose the woman amongst it all we can hold a space for ourselves and our own lives and not become something that’s just there for others.

    1. So true Joshua and as a woman who has been incredibly controlling for most of her adult life I can vouch for how harming it is. When I am controlling there is always an underlying anxiety mixed with a terrible need for things to be a certain way. My body is in contraction and is therefore not able to receive Universal wisdom or love, for all intents and purposes it is a shutdown state.

  5. We are not broken, so why do we need fixing? Hence the lie of being a fixer – it is purely for identification and control.

  6. I wonder if we have a preferred way to deal with our children, like being a fixer, whether our children then adjust and bring us more things to fix as that is our preferred way to deal with them?

  7. I notice at times I can still try and fix things, then I bring back the simplicity of all I have to do is be me in my fullness, ‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’

  8. I expended so much energy trying to fix things for others and then ended up resentful when they were not grateful for all my endeavours! True mothering is about supporting others to live true to themselves rather than trying to control their behaviour to lessen your own anxiety.

  9. There is nothing to do, no one to fix, just be true to our innermost self, as you share in this blog Ariana, ‘The only thing that makes sense to me now is to be me, the woman I am first and foremost as fully as I can be – even if this breaks all the ‘rules’ and stereotypes and even if this fails society’s expectations.’

  10. I really like this piece. I like the fact that there is nothing ever done wrong and it is enough as is. There nothing more to do, and as much as I want to change situations right away, I can’t and it is teaching me to surrender. I can’t expect anyone to be anything not even myself but I can surrender to all the discomfort and vulnerability felt and allow space.

  11. Living life as a fixer seems maybe a productive way to live but actually it is very unproductive. I noticed this feeling inside myself that when a problem would occur I would panic and get anxious and then rush into action ‘to do something about it, to fix it’. This way of approaching problems is not productive at all when we look at the quality it brings in our body of anxiousness and a high level of nervous tension. I noticed this all came from a deep feeling of not being enough or good and so I had to fix it all. Letting this go does not mean not doing anything anymore, but doing from an observation of what is needed and when and sometimes just not doing anything at all.

    1. So true that when you don’t react and rush into fix a situation you often find that no action is needed but rather a holding of the space and allowing others to work through something in their own way.

  12. Thank you Ariana, brilliant to read this again, I’m not a mother of children but I still had the false mothering ideal in relationships of trying to cushion people from the consequences of their actions, very much based on sympathy and not the respect of standing back and allowing people to make their own choices. It’s really great to read this as I’m working my way through letting go of these behaviours and your blog is really helpful, thank you.

  13. Being true to who we are from our innermost is a real support for others – supporting them to be true to their innermost too, however that looks in their expression of it. Beautiful blog, thank you.

  14. Yes, I can put my hand up and say I too used to try and fix people, which is crazy in so many ways, especially as many people are fine with how their life is for them, even if it is disregarding of themselves. Now, I am choosing to just be me in as much fullness as I am able to be at present, and, ‘I notice that letting the fixing go enables them to freely choose to be who they are, as the remarkable people they are, as I am free to be me also’.

  15. There comes an arrogance with being a fixer, that we know what is best for another, and they don’t, ‘I was able to consider the impact my FIXING was having on everyone around me. I came to feel how, in seeking to fix someone, I was saying implicitly that they are broken or there’s something broken about them that needs fixing, something not good enough or right enough.’ A great point you highlight here.

  16. This is such a great blog for me in my life and my work and also to bring understanding to why my mother parented the way she did and what was going on for her. It makes sense now.

    1. Yes, once we understand we can provide alternatives to ourselves and for our relatives.

  17. Fixing – myself and other people – I so relate! ” I came to feel how, in seeking to fix someone, I was saying implicitly that they are broken or there’s something broken about them that needs fixing, something not good enough or right enough.” This is an imposition on others I now know. Supporting people to trust what they feel is true for them is how I now behave – a far cry from my old ‘fix-it’ mode. I also needed to look at why it was so easy to go into fix-it mode.

  18. I have never considered myself a fixer but have great management skills. I managed everything in another version of what you have described. Now I too have learnt to more and more let go of the control. I still have great management skills but can now use them to great benefit in a soulful way rather than in a harmful controlling way.

  19. I can relate to the ‘fix-it’ tendencies and how this gave me a false sense of purpose in my life, that I was valued for what I was able to achieve. Yes, a huge amount of control and dependency on outcomes was what was propelled me through life, yet never was I truly as ease with myself or felt truly fulfilled. Through Universal Medicine presentations I discovered that who I was within was already a given. I was able to appreciate this, and that this same quality was within us all equally. It is empowering, liberating and far more honouring all round when we can live in appreciation of who we are, as it allows us to truly support other to come to the same appreciation for themselves.

  20. ‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’ . . . is a great line for a song Ariana.

    1. I noticed that line too Kathleen, as recently I’ve seen how much unnecessary activity and ‘doing’ comes in when I go into helper or fixit mode, instead of simply being me with others as they take care of their own lives, and I learn to live mine for me and not for others.

  21. From observation the urge to fix everything takes over so many parents, and they will do anything to protect and cushion their children. It’s incredible you broke this habit, because I would say from experiencing this myself as a child it leaves you unable to stand on your own two feet and unsure of how strong you are and how prepared you are for all the things that happen in life.

  22. ” that makes sense to me now is to be me, the woman I am first and foremost as fully as I can be – even if this breaks all the ‘rules’ and stereotypes and even if this fails society’s expectations. ” I love this especially coming from a woman who is also a grandmother so inspiring thank you Ariana.

  23. It is really freeing to understand that we are not responsible for another persons life, only for our own life and what we reflect to another person by that way that we live every day.

  24. I’m not a father to any children but I have understood the best way to father is to father yourself first – to live it first what you will then provide. For me that is taking responsibility for my relationship with myself keeping it simple and loving and appreciating myself.

  25. There is such an urge to fix and having been a chronic fixer and (I still can be), I know the urge well, it comes loaded with trying to control things, outcomes and people and it makes it all about you the fixer really and not truly about the people you’re ‘fixing’ … and that’s the rub for fixing is all about the fixer and their picture (no matter how well intentioned) of how things should … it’s not about allowing things as they are and allowing others to choose as they wish with the understanding that right now that is what they are learning. And it robs everyone of the simplicity of who they are and can be.

  26. ” ‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’ ” this is a huge learning to come to Ariana . Just being you will support others to be the ” you ” that they are, awesome.

  27. I can’t help but love people who go against the norm… they may fail society’s expectations and seemingly break rules and stereotypes but the foundations upon which these are built are not true and need to be rebuilt from a reflection of another way that is based on love and not some belief that people need fixing or conforming. Our world is a mess because we spend too much time trying to fix and not enough time stepping our from under the global suppression and connecting and living to the true expression of who we are.

  28. Much of what our children do is their own choice and therefore inherently ‘unfixable’ as they need to learn. To accept and appreciate that can be quite hard.

  29. ‘Mothering was like a defence class 24/7’ but what are we defending against? For me I can now recognise it was my own feelings of pain and hurt rather than what was going on for the other person (my fix-it mode started when I was just a child). Dealing with my own hurts has allowed me to let go of my need to control and fix things for others as I no longer need to be constantly on the defensive which was such an exhausting way to live. This has transformed my life as well as all those I imposed my fixing ways on for so many years.

  30. A perfect blog for this morning – ‘let it go, there is nothing more to do’ – I am learning how disempowering it is to constantly step in and fix things for other people.

  31. Even though I have not trodden to the path of being a biological mother myself. I have certainly mothered and not in the true sense of the word either. But more than that, I too have been a ‘fixer’, I have found that the more I was able to focus on other people the less I focused on myself, so that i could indeed be there for others more in full. That is something I have only just most recently ‘really’ understood. That you just can not be there to support someone in full, if you have not built up a foundation of love, respect and self honouring in every aspect of life, if you haven’t for yourself first.

  32. Being a fixer is not ideal but it is a big step up from giving up – it allows us to be more intelligent and hence more loving and truthful in our impulse to change what needs to be changed.

  33. Beautiful Arianna I love that there is nothing to ‘do’ but ‘be’, as there is not an ounce of fixing in being! Oh how I can relate to your history as a mother. Great blog.

  34. ‘LET IT GO AND JUST BE YOU, THERE’S NOTHING MORE TO DO.’ I feel my body relax reading this. Giving ourselves permission to let go is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.

  35. I am not a parent but I can relate to the need to fix or make better. But really all that does is make things worse somewhere down the line because whatever it is is not actually being dealt with.

  36. I also really love these lines, I went back for another read for some inspiration today, as sometimes we can get caught in a rut or an ideal of what being a mother is. Its easy to slip into being like our mothers or reacting to them but what you share bellow is neither of those things, its power.

    “The only thing that makes sense to me now is to be me, the woman I am first and foremost as fully as I can be – even if this breaks all the ‘rules’ and stereotypes and even if this fails society’s expectations. I now know that my way of being a woman and a mother is not what my mother chose”

  37. Truly a gift to all woman, it is a very universal issue for mothers, we fall into the “fixing” in order to make us feel a sense go importance but in all that “doing” we skip over one of our greatest qualities as woman, our innate stillness in movement, our rhythm, our flow, our deep connection. For in this quality we are pure nurturing without lifting a finger.

    1. And when we’re in this quality whatever’s needed can come through us, whereas when we’re in ‘fix it mode’ then we’re so congested that nothing of any true value can come through. Whenever anything comes from us rather than through us then it’s of no true value, whereas when something (love, wisdom, truth) comes through us then it benefits not only those who are directly involved but literally the whole of humanity.

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