Are you the ‘fixer’ in your family?


Whilst there’s some form of tension in every family, there’s also usually one person who plays the role of the fixer, peacemaker or mediator. Is this you and how does that play out?

If this is you, it’s likely that you are the person who other members turn to in the hope that you will solve their problems. They look to you for wisdom, advice, a listening ear, or practical help, or all of these at different times.

You may enjoy this role: they trust you, they rely on you, they need you.

And you might like helping them. You’re happy to do whatever you can to make their life easier.

Playing this role has its challenges, but let’s focus first on your positive experience: if you’re the fixer in your family does it make you feel good about yourself? What other benefits do you get? If you could change the dynamic, would you still want to be this person or would you hand over the baton to a sibling?

But playing this role also comes with plenty of downsides.
Raise your hand if . . .

You’re contacted by certain members of the family only when they need something from you.

You’re made to feel guilty if you say you can’t help them with their problem immediately.

You’re tired of being the supporter without getting support in return.

It might feel as though your family take you for granted, or under-play your effort, or overlook the time you donate to helping them – that’s because they do. They may not mean to, but you’ve been playing this role so well for so long, they’ve come to rely on your compassionate response.

Try noticing these three things:


1/ Who asks you most frequently for help?

2/ How do you feel when you are asked for help?

3/ How do you feel once you’ve helped them?

Write down your answers and review them over the next few weeks or months. Doing this will enable you to become consciously aware of your helping behaviour and the impact it has on both you and other people.


There’s a whole lot more to say on this subject. And I will be unpacking the whole theme of helping and how it can effect compassionate people. You can track this series of blogs, follow me on Insta, and make sure you keep your eyes peeled for my forthcoming book The Super-Helper Syndrome: A survival Guide for Compassionate People.

And if you’re at home right now, surrounded by people who take you for granted, I’m sending buckets of self-compassion and I’ll ask you one more question: what can you do today to make sure you get some much needed, well-deserved time for yourself?