I am a fixer. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. When I hear others’ problems, I can’t control the impulse to try to help. It comes from a caring place….not a place of condescension or rudeness or any of those negative things. It’s just that I don’t like people to hurt or complain or hold grudges. All of that makes me feel uncomfortable. Additionally, I love people. I just do. I especially love those close to me with whom I maintain personal relationships. I don’t like to see my kids or husband or friends or anyone else I love wrestling with a conflict in their lives. Therefore, my first inclination is to want to make things better and fix things.
However, it usually comes at a price. I have learned that sometimes people don’t want a situation fixed. They just want to be heard. Sometimes, people are searching for an acknowledgement of their own problems rather than a solution to them.
This is totally counter intuitive to my very nature. However, I worked through this tonight to withhold solutions.
Tonight E was quite upset about something. Very, very upset. Anger and frustration boiled from him. I do not like to hear that type of emotion in his voice…..particularly when it is an issue that I know a year from now he will not recall. I wanted so much to offer him a new way of looking at things….to put it into perspective. I yearned to explain that these things he was mentioning were probably just his perspective on things and to walk him through other options.
But I didn’t. I sat and listened and nodded while he unloaded. When he was done, my only words were, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. Is there anything I can do? Would you like a hug?” Because, mamas, sometimes even teenage boys need hugs from their parents.
He continued to talk about what was bothering him for a few more minutes, but then he was calm, rational, and ready to be around people. It was one of the first times he was that upset and it didn’t end up with slamming doors, negative consequences, or more frustration. And it was wonderful. He was able to get everything off his chest that was bugging him while having his feelings validated.