The Fixer Mentality – People Who Try to Fix Others

February 19, 2020
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.

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.

Four twigs taped to a window.

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.

A fixed broken heart.

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.
A white horse that symbolizes a white knight, typical of the fixer mentality.

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!

  • Lamia, Mary (2015) The White Knight Syndrome: Rescuing Yourself from Your Need to Rescue. Echo Point Books & Media