The Family Fixer: “I Want to Fix My Loved One or Their Situation”

“Dear Doc,

I want to ‘fix’ my family member or the predicament that they are in… yet again.”

We have received numerous requests over time regarding well-meaning relatives (mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, etc) who are “worried to death” or “at their wits end” about wanting to ‘fix’ another family member who is “down and out” or “in trouble” or “in jail” or “in an abusive/dysfunctional relationship”. The common denominator in each situation is that one person is spending far too much time and creative energy in a state of frantic worry about a circumstance that they did not create… much like a hamster running in an exercise wheel spinning furiously yet going nowhere fast. Often the ‘Fixer’ relative is quite frankly more worried about the situation at hand than the person who is “needing to be fixed”.

These ‘Good Samaritan’ relatives tend to be motivated to ‘fix’ their family member’s problem out of one of these underlying components of fear: guilt, shame, anger, resentment, fear of abandonment, or fear of being judged ‘unlovable’ if they don’t rescue their loved one from their own life creation. Many times the ‘Do-Gooder’ has tried to solve the problem(s) of their ‘loved one’ by throwing money at it… only to have the problem (or one similar to it) manifest once again for the recipient of their kindness. This can create further resentment of the money being ‘wasted’. In truth, the motivation of the concerned relative is frequently driven by conscious or subconscious selfish motives- to control the ‘down and out’ family member (gifts with ‘strings attached’) or to relieve them self of guilt, shame or embarrassment over the idealized ‘image’ of the ‘family’ being destroyed.

It is important to recall that the ‘person in crisis’ is creating very powerfully in his or her own life as an adult by their own choices. We are all very powerful in our choices! We can only control and choose 1) The thoughts we focus on; 2) The emotions we choose to dance in (compassion, anger, resentment, fear, guilt, shame, sense of abandonment, love, etc); and 3) Our actions. You can not choose anything for your loved one- just as he or she can not choose for you.

Whatever your loved ones create in their own life is in Divine Order. We have found that many well-meaning family members have a desire to ‘fix’ another family member’s situation or circumstance that is of their own loved one’s creation out of their use of their own Divine Free Will. If we constantly remove the consequences of our loved one’s creations, then we can sometimes rob another of their powerful spiritual lesson(s) for growth- and they will often keep recreating the circumstance until they are allowed to experience the consequence for their own growth.

A minor child also is creating powerfully in their own right; but a child does need to be nurtured by their parents or guardians. A child’s parents (whether you like it or not) are the ones legally and morally responsible for making choices for them. If a well-meaning relative feels the parents or guardians are neglecting or abusing a child, then a call to the local Department of Social Services Child Protective Services may be in order. If, however, the ‘Good Samaritan’ does not believe that a child is being neglected, then doing anything more than offering the child and family compassion and love will possibly be meddling.

Worry is never helpful– it robs you of your inner peace and does not help your loved one. Meditating daily and surrounding your loved one in the Light of your Love may do more than you realize for your loved one; and it will help keep you in your heart and out of your head or ego. You can choose to come from your own shadow aspect or from your inner Light– as you are powerful in your choices as well. You might ask the relative you are concerned about how you might be of most heartfelt help other than money. Speaking to them from your heart rather than from a place of fear may just move some mountains that have been manifested out of the ‘maya’ of ego and angst.

Tips to Decrease Worry and ‘Get Into Your Heart’:

“Worrying is using your imagination to create what you don’t want” – Abraham Hicks

All health professionals are taught a mantra when they first start clinical rotations: “When in an emergency, take your own pulse first.” This is a wise saying. If we are not centered, we make choices and decisions fueled by fear and anxiety. The blood flow in a crisis situation when we are in ‘fight or flight’ mode goes more to our primitive or hind brain and depletes the flow to our higher cortical areas where our critical thinking takes place. If we do not take a minute or two to stop, breathe, and get centered, then we will likely make emotional and/or irrational decisions. Once we calm down, decrease the anxiety, and get centered, we are able to make more heartfelt, compassionate, intuitive decisions.

1. Over-Energy Correction Exercise:

An imbalance in our energy meridians can come from being over-charged and having too much energy. This results in feeling spaced out, confused, anxious or overwhelmed. To correct for over-energy: Cross the left ankle over the right ankle, extend arms with backs of hands facing each other, bring right hand over left, clasp fingers together, fold arms and hands inward and rest the hands on the chest under the chin; place your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth, breathe deeply for 1-2 minutes. It’s very calming for most individuals and can be used as a separate exercise to promote sleep and reduce acute anxiety. (To see a quick video demonstration of the Over-Energy Correction Exercise, see )

2. Rhythmic (or Box) Breathing Exercise:

Rhythmic (or Box) Breathing is a helpful technique for rapidly decreasing stress, anxiety, heart rate or blood pressure. It also is centering and prepares you for a meditation or a peaceful night’s sleep.

Think of your breathing pattern as if it were a box or square drawn on a piece of paper: with the breathing in (inhalation) being the left upward drawn line, holding your in-breath as the line on the top of the square from left to right, breathing out as the line going downward on the right side, and then the holding of the out-breath being the line from right to left on the bottom side of the square.

You slowly count the length of your breath going in, being held, or going out that is right for you. The length of your in-breath and out-breath should be the same count; just as the length of the held breath at top and bottom should be the same number of counts. As you practice your breathing, you might find that your square is actually a rectangle. Each person may find they have a different count from another person; and that is fine as we are all unique individuals. Just make certain that you are not strained in your breathing in or out or with the breath holds at top or bottom; if you find you are strained, then change the length of your counts for different sides of your “box” of breathing.

Once you find the pattern of your square or rectangular box that works best for you, go through 4 to 5 complete rounds of the rhythmic breathing and notice how your body and mind respond.

3. Loving Compassionate Benefactor Meditation:

Find a comfortable, seated position on a chair or cushion and allow your body to settle into position. Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention on your breath, following your cycles of inhalation and exhalation.  Notice the rising and falling sensations in your belly as you breathe in and out and follow this for a few cycles.

Now try to bring to mind a heartfelt sense or visual image of someone whom you believe embodies the qualities of unconditional love and compassion.  This person can be a friend or relative, a religious or historical figure, a spiritual being or just someone who embodies these qualities.  Picture this person as if they were sitting or standing right in front of you.

Look into their eyes and feel the absolute unconditional love and compassion flowing from them towards you.  Now, radiate feelings of love and gratitude back towards this person. Whenever you feel your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to the image of the loving friend, historical or spiritual image and once again practice radiating love, empathy and compassion towards them.  Feel their love, empathy and compassion radiating back towards you.

Now sense that your Loving Benefactor is moving around your left side until they are now standing behind your left shoulder still sending love and compassion to you. But now they are also sending love and compassion to your loved one whom you are concerned about as well. You still feel their love coming to you, yet you are now able to sense them sending love to your loved one as well.

Stay with your Loving Benefactor and feel their love flowing to you and your love flowing to them for up to 20 minutes.  Know that this Loving Benefactor is sending you love (and your loved one love) every minute of every day.

Hope this helps. 🙂 Keep shining your Inner Light brightly by staying in your heart rather than in fear and you will indeed become a trail of Light for others to follow!

The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S., Mh.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D., Mh.D.)

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**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at or find out more about them at .


  1. Beautiful read!! the fixer has been a local conversation & how we can bring our focus back to the immediate beauty & wholeness that we are.
    Thank you for the food for thought 🙂


  2. interesting article but I’m concerned more with the author’s state of mind…they seem to be subtly denigrating the “do-gooder” in numerous ways….the author is the person with the problem as they have invented various excuses or reasons that the family member has for trying to help their loved one….except LOVE….I notice the authors have sarcastically put certain words or phrases in “inverted commas” which is condescending, hurtful, foolish and unkind.

    Within a very short few paragraphs I can discern that I’d not be taking or sharing any advice that Marion and Tracy have to offer. They are clearly in the wrong profession and will do more harm than good with that bad attitude.

    This has to be one of the WORST articles I have ever read and it concerns me greatly that these people are allowed to practice…dangerous toxic people themselves I hope they are kept well away from injured people. Abysmal. Sorry for being so critical but this article gives serious cause for concern.

    • What G. James is overlooking is that this is not an incidence of a ONE TIME crisis or circumstance that we are talking about. This article is addressing where a family member is re-creating NUMEROUS times a recurring crisis that another family member is trying to “fix” YET AGAIN. This is not an issue of compassion or love for a person who has seemingly unwittingly found them self in a one-time ‘tight spot’ or a ‘pickle’ or had the economy knock the wind out of their sails. This post is referring to the family member or loved one who keeps repeating the same dysfunctional patterns of decision making and then expects or requests that a family member bail them out of what they have created for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th time in fairly rapid succession. Any good therapist would point out the dysfunction in such a situation and that is what we are addressing here. If you still think that the post is off the mark, then perhaps you are in one of these circumstances as either the ‘victim’ of recreating dysfunction or the one attempting to ‘fix’ the issue and in denial – which is often the case when these scenarios repeat over and over… hence us writing the post to begin with. Wishing you peace in either case or circumstance.
      “The Shift Doctors”

  3. As bitter of a pill that this is to swallow, my personal experiences with this issue leave no doubt in my mind as to the validity of the Shift Doctors article. While I’ll never doubt my mother’s love and good intentions, she was a martyr, always putting everyone and everything ahead of herself. I was sorely over-protected, sheltered from anything she viewed as being negative or evil (which having been primarily raised by her Puritan grandmother was just about everything). She spent money on me as if there was no tomorrow (which sort of took the fun out of receiving gifts). She showered me with endless praise, confident that I would be the best at what ever I pursued whether I had talent or not. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same confidence in myself that she did. Over-protected and sheltered from the slightest difficulty I grew up unbearably naive, unable to think or do for myself and feeling as though I wasn’t competent enough to live my own life. This led to the bad habit of running from challenges and problems instead of working them out. As mentioned, she was constantly in a state of anguish & worry, which in turn led to serious emotional and health problems. Watching her suffer, I grew up believing I was the cause of her unhappiness. By age ten, I was parenting her instead of the other way around. When she died an early death due to neglecting her health, I felt it was because I failed to save her. It was years before I unlearned this toxic behavior; unfortunately not in time to prevent me from doing the same with my own children. While our daughter turned out strong and independent, our son ended up with serious issues. After nearly going broke rescuing him from an endless string of legal and financial issues we finally took the advise of doctors, mental health professionals and friends alike and said – “No. You are an adult. You need to make decisions for yourself, learn from mistakes and reap the benefits of making good choices. We have faith in you. You are far stronger than you give yourself credit for. Just take things one step at a time. Leave the past behind you and start today with a fresh, new outlook on life. The only one you have to please is yourself. We cannot fix your mistakes. That’s up to you. We’ve made our share as well, and that’s for us to take care of. But we will always be there to listen and offer free advice if you need it. Both our kids are now independent and successful. I came out of denial and began dealing with my own problems. We’ve all learned that, indeed, you have got to love and take care of yourself first to be able to give your best to others.

    A former enabler

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