We’re fixers not listeners

We need to be listeners. But if we can’t fix it, we tend to turn in the other direction.

Those of you who’ve suffered watching a loved one with addiction or a mental illness or both know what I mean. We wanted the formula. And in our first support group, we sat there waiting for the magic recipe to fix our kid. There had to be steps we simply missed.

If we took them to the right rehab, said just the right thing, did just the right thing, everything would turn around and we’d have our child back.

After our first Al Anon or Families Anonymous, we started to understand. There was no magic fairy dust and we realized it was not something we caused or could cure. And after doing a whole lot of listening, we came to some realizations.

We realized we had to set boundaries and find recovery ourselves. We arrived thinking we didn’t have a problem. It was our loved one. Yet we did and we had to change so we could cope.

And even in grief, I find that people who feel they can’t fix the fact Charles killed himself, think their time and companionship are not important to me. It’s never about fixing or saying the right thing.

Nobody can undo what happened to Charles or say the magic thing that will make my grief go away. It’s about companionship and listening and just being there.

And those of us who are struggling with loss, a difficult time need to be direct and tell that to our friends and family. You’ll see how relieved they are to have directions and know what’s inside your head. Because they’ve been wondering.

Emotional hibernation

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.

4 thoughts on “We’re fixers not listeners”

  1. So well said, Anne Moss. Whereas we can’t fix what another person is going through, we can improve our listening skills. We are trained to listen to respond. Often, we just need to listen.

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