A protector-fixer assumes that the other partner needs protection and therefore takes steps the other from things (information, feelings, or circumstances). However, as I have repeatedly observed, this very frequently leads to conflicts in the relationship and involves at least several faulty assumptions:
- Something needs to be fixed for the other person.
- The other person is incapable of fixing it for him or herself.
- All problems can be fixed.
As a healthier, more workable role in a relationship, I have been working with my patients on considering being their partner's "Best Girlfriend." Why? A best girlfriend makes a different set of assumptions and takes on a different role in a relationship:
- Listen--not fix.
- Accept and validate--not judge.
- Empower--not rescue, protect, or fix.