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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:06 AM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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The Antidote To Mr Fix It

We all suffer from it to one degree or another... this impulse to "solve" things when someone comes to us with a challenge, a frustration, or an inconsistency.

Before NMMNG I was told "that's just the way men are! We're solvers!" and it was often paired with how women were "talkers and sharers" and when men and women conversed, it often ended up in frustration because the two modes clashed.

But, NMMNG helped me disconnect that assumed pairing, and look at each side's merit or demerit on their own. Since we're men here, I'm going to talk about the "We're solvers!" thing and not worry about the women's side. Let the women explore that.

IMO, "We're solvers!" is just another way to say "Mr Fix It". Different people have different motivations for wanting to solve/fix other people's stuff, but it's all about Mr Fix It.

I've only found one reliable way to counter Mr Fix It, without turning into the disconnected-state Mr I'm Not Here To Fix It For You, and it is:

To ask questions.

And when choosing what questions to ask, pulling my questions from what is being said, NOT what I wish were happening, or what *I* was thinking about (at least, not until I disciplined myself to thinking about what is being said at the moment vs all the other swirls in my head).

And when asking questions, allow for whatever answer comes out, and find more questions to ask about those.

At some point, the questions run themselves out. How they run themselves out tells me a lot about the deep level of health or illness of the relationship with the people I'm talking to, as well.

Having posted my martial arts thread a few hours ago, I know not many people have had a chance to respond, but even when I'm specifically saying I will only answer questions, and making it clear I'm only responding to things with question marks at the end, people are having troubles formulating questions, but finding it easy to jump into "conclusion/suggestion" mode which is awful close to Mr Fix It in my mind.

Interesting to note how difficult it is to find good questions, both to ask and to answer... (ie: I'm not saying I'm a pro at it either!)

Boyd

Last edited by Boyd; April 17th, 2012 at 11:08 AM.. Reason: changing you's to I's
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:26 AM
theyorker theyorker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd View Post
To ask questions.

And when choosing what questions to ask, pulling my questions from what is being said, NOT what I wish were happening, or what *I* was thinking about (at least, not until I disciplined myself to thinking about what is being said at the moment vs all the other swirls in my head).

And when asking questions, allow for whatever answer comes out, and find more questions to ask about those.

At some point, the questions run themselves out. How they run themselves out tells me a lot about the deep level of health or illness of the relationship with the people I'm talking to, as well.

Having posted my martial arts thread a few hours ago, I know not many people have had a chance to respond, but even when I'm specifically saying I will only answer questions, and making it clear I'm only responding to things with question marks at the end, people are having troubles formulating questions, but finding it easy to jump into "conclusion/suggestion" mode which is awful close to Mr Fix It in my mind.

Interesting to note how difficult it is to find good questions, both to ask and to answer... (ie: I'm not saying I'm a pro at it either!)

Boyd
Yo man, I'm not sure what fucking questions you want me or anyone else to ask but I read your post where you whine about your karate lessons not going the way you want and here you are whining about all of us being mr. fix it's and not asking the "right" questions.

You put out the posts, you made the whines and then you want to criticize the responses...LOL whatever man, it's a free country.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:03 PM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Originally Posted by theyorker View Post
Yo man, I'm not sure what fucking questions you want me or anyone else to ask but I read your post where you whine about your karate lessons not going the way you want and here you are whining about all of us being mr. fix it's and not asking the "right" questions.

You put out the posts, you made the whines and then you want to criticize the responses...LOL whatever man, it's a free country.
Feel better after that puke?

Boyd
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Hi Boyd,

Yeah, I get this. Good post.

My first take on "Mr. Fix It" is in how it relates to our efforts to purchase attention and affection. I just seems to go there first for me right now because I have a large issue with this myself and clearly I haven't resolved it.

I like your approach of asking questions rather than offering solutions. I am aware that people often express themselves through their "ordeals" and that for the most part they aren't really looking for a solution, just a chance to express themselves and to be heard. Unfortunately I have very short patience for this type of communication. I have either already resolved that issue for myself, have a very strong opinion of how I would resolve it, or just don't understand why it is an issue in the first place. In all cases I have taken on the issue personally. This is where I work to get past the "Mr. Fix It" mentality.

Like you I often find it hard to strike that balance between not taking the issue on personally and not being totally disconnected from the other persons expression of what is going on in their life. I don't necessarily want to shut that down (though I often do out of a stressed out feeling that I need to do something - childhood training issues), but I also don't want to take on somebody's problems. I have enough of my own.

I am still working on that balance. One of the issues I am starting to see now is that I have a personal stake in feeling like I am capable of handling things so well that I can offer that to anybody else who steps up and asks by just expressing their daily issues to me. That is a confidence over-compensation issue and I have begun shifting focus to becoming aware of that. This personal stake involved in solving the problems of others is an attachment issue with multiple threads. I think getting rid of that personal stake and just focusing on being solid on our own is one way to approach this.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:31 PM
theyorker theyorker is offline
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Feel better after that puke?

Boyd
Yo Boyd, 2 questions for you

1) you got something you want to say?
2) You want a shit sandwich?

I'm getting the feeling you feel like putting your shit off onto me and this forum today instead of dealing with it. I'm not puking, I'm telling you to grow the fuck up and deal with your shit.

There's 2 questions for you and my answers to them. Go criticize that.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:33 PM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Originally Posted by theyorker View Post
Yo Boyd, 2 questions for you

1) you got something you want to say?
2) You want a shit sandwich?

I'm getting the feeling you feel like putting your shit off onto me and this forum today instead of dealing with it. I'm not puking, I'm telling you to grow the fuck up and deal with your shit.

There's 2 questions for you and my answers to them. Go criticize that.
Hey angry boy.

Welcome to my ignore list.

Boyd
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TaoZen View Post
Hi Boyd,

Yeah, I get this. Good post.

My first take on "Mr. Fix It" is in how it relates to our efforts to purchase attention and affection. I just seems to go there first for me right now because I have a large issue with this myself and clearly I haven't resolved it.
I know that personally, I was trained from a very young age that in order to get affection and attention, I should display my intelligence. I grew up with a love/hate relationship with my intelligence as a result, and didn't find a comfortable resolution for that until about 35. I'm still ferreting out the bad habits that stemmed from that love/hate relationship.

What way do you use Mr Fix It to gain attention and affection? What way works for you? I know if I tried to do it demonstrating via carpentry or other physical creations, I'd bomb badly, so my Mr Fix It mode was more psychological and less physical (although I'm a decent athlete). Is yours the same? What ways are different?

Quote:
I like your approach of asking questions rather than offering solutions.
Thank you.

I've met some people in my life who have SUCH DIFFERENT lives than me that I'm almost stunned when I talk to them. Their experiences and outlooks despite being the same race, age and geographical location all our lives is amazing! It's opened my mind for sure.

Quote:
I am aware that people often express themselves through their "ordeals" and that for the most part they aren't really looking for a solution, just a chance to express themselves and to be heard. Unfortunately I have very short patience for this type of communication. I have either already resolved that issue for myself, have a very strong opinion of how I would resolve it, or just don't understand why it is an issue in the first place. In all cases I have taken on the issue personally. This is where I work to get past the "Mr. Fix It" mentality.
Actually that's okay, I believe the step between Mr Fix It (enmeshed) and Mr Question Guy(healthily connected) is Mr I'm Not Here To Fix It For You, Fix It Yourself (disconnected). You (general you) gotta cut the unhealthy patterns and set new healthy ones, which requires a period of disconnection. At least, that's what I told myself and those around me to soothe us all as I went through that period heavily myself.

And yes, it's difficult and hard on relationships, but so is ongoing enmeshment.

Quote:
Like you I often find it hard to strike that balance between not taking the issue on personally and not being totally disconnected from the other persons expression of what is going on in their life. I don't necessarily want to shut that down (though I often do out of a stressed out feeling that I need to do something - childhood training issues), but I also don't want to take on somebody's problems. I have enough of my own.

I am still working on that balance.
Me too, brother, me too. And once I find the balance in one spot, I look around for other bits to push nearer to the edge of life, putting myself off balance again (or having life do it for me), and having to pull back just a bit so I don't go over the edge...

Thanks for your contribution and thoughts!

Boyd

Last edited by Boyd; April 17th, 2012 at 01:29 PM.. Reason: adding more acknowledgement in form of appreciation
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by theyorker View Post
Yo Boyd, 2 questions for you

1) you got something you want to say?
2) You want a shit sandwich?

I'm getting the feeling you feel like putting your shit off onto me and this forum today instead of dealing with it. I'm not puking, I'm telling you to grow the fuck up and deal with your shit.

There's 2 questions for you and my answers to them. Go criticize that.
Hey Yorker, how's it hanging?

Welcome.

I have to admit, that though you are brash and offending you do bring a new tone to the forums. A lot of what you are saying has value and offers insight. For the most part I am enjoying reading your responses.

I have a question for you though. What makes you think it is your place to tell anyone anything? You are free to do so, of course, just as I am free to just ignore you. I find some value in your words but barely enough to want to engage someone who wants to "tell me" anything. I put my words out here just to invite contribution. What I do with that is up to me.

Why would you expect anyone else to do anything else?


(Boyd. Sorry about the attempted hijack. )
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I am
I am the wind
I am the sun and I am the trees
I am the moon and I am the seas
I am the stone that causes the ripple and I am the ripple

You may think this to be nothing but it is a truth so profound as to be frightening and I am unafraid
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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I've only found one reliable way to counter Mr Fix It, without turning into the disconnected-state Mr I'm Not Here To Fix It For You, and it is:

To ask questions.
If someone asks me, why am I on this board? This is the reason. I am currently attempting to excise the last remnants of my Mr. Fix It mentality.

There's actually 2 ways to counter it.

The first is to share your story. If the other party picks up something useful, great. If not, accept it. Don't be attached to the outcome.

The second way is to ask questions. Be willing to accept the fact that the other party will walk away and refuse to answer any more questions if they don't want to fix themselves.

The change in mentality is from "I can fix it" to "I can help you fix it but if you don't want my help then I am OK with it too".
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd View Post

What way do you use Mr Fix It to gain attention and affection? What way works for you? I know if I tried to do it demonstrating via carpentry or other physical creations, I'd bomb badly, so my Mr Fix It mode was more psychological and less physical (although I'm a decent athlete). Is yours the same? What ways are different?
Hi Boyd,

Don't want you to think I am ignoring your question here. Just wanting to take some time to think it through a bit.

I have used the Mr. Fix It routine a lot throughout my life and even when I am aware of it I often can't pull back. It often seems like the only source of reliable positive feed back that I know and when I have less faith in the other sources this is hard to give up. I think that gets to one of the root issues of the NG, identifying and trusting other sources of feedback to give you what you need.

So, to your question.

Using my intelligence is clearly one of the ways I learned to over achieve for attention, not saying that I have any, mind you, just that I learned to use what I have to seek attention. Sometimes I think that any intellectual abilities I have are due to a long practice based on wanting this attention.

I also like to help people clean up and generally get their lives and homes back into shape. Also learned that from my childhood where my services were on offer by my father anytime he needed someone's "good" opinion of him. My services were offered a lot.

I am a financial analyst and most of my skills are of an intellectual nature so I don't have much in the way of physical skills to trade. I don't do other peoples taxes, to risky and often too complicated and difficult. I have traded car repairs, yard services, moving and hauling services, and other basic needs services for attention. My main attention "fix it" service is to offer "clarity" of thinking and a confidence of focus that others sometimes find hard to achieve for themselves. I sometimes think that I was driven to being an analyst because of the skills I perfected in my childhood. I drive immediately for clarity in every situation while working to stay aware of the sensitivities that surround it. That's a powerful combination to anyone who is even a little bit confused about something.

On the flip side, I have learned that when I am on my game and not deeply partaking of the Mr. fix it drug, people are naturally more comfortable around me. I get the why of this, no one likes to be around someone who just naturally "knows it all" (ok, ok, I only think I do ), and there is that little secret that I had such a hard time learning. Often people aren't really telling you their stuff so that it can be fixed and if only presented with a solution will quickly "turn off". Wow, what an eye opener that was for me.
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I am
I am the wind
I am the sun and I am the trees
I am the moon and I am the seas
I am the stone that causes the ripple and I am the ripple

You may think this to be nothing but it is a truth so profound as to be frightening and I am unafraid
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Old April 17th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Boyd View Post
I know that personally, I was trained from a very young age that in order to get affection and attention, I should display my intelligence. I grew up with a love/hate relationship with my intelligence as a result, and didn't find a comfortable resolution for that until about 35. I'm still ferreting out the bad habits that stemmed from that love/hate relationship.
Oh, tell me about that one!

(Or shall I quote something that Kierkegaard said about it.... <joke>)
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Old April 17th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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There's actually 2 ways to counter it.

The first is to share your story. If the other party picks up something useful, great. If not, accept it. Don't be attached to the outcome.

The second way is to ask questions.
Damn.

When I read the first post, I was going to say that, and Aristotle beat me to it.

I was once on a forum similar to this, run by a different self-help author / therapist for men.
One difference was that the author participated strongly in the forum.

And his main ground rule was "NO ADVICE".
I've mentioned that rule on here before, and got a lukewarm response.
Several guys (if I remember) said things like getting advice on here was the main reason to be on here
and they had gotten some very helpful advice.
I guess I understand that.

But actually I found the "no advice" rule very helpful on a forum
and very helpful in real life.

Just like Aristotle said, I believe the other useful thing to do apart from ask questions,
is to tell your own story.

And I do try, on here, when someone poses a problem, and other guys are wading in with
"ditch the bitch" or "man up" or "lift weights" responses,
to try to think if there's some obvious question that hasn't yet been asked or answered.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 03:27 AM
Boyd Boyd is offline
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Oh, tell me about that one!

(Or shall I quote something that Kierkegaard said about it.... <joke>)
Heh, I'm assuming your "tell me about that one" is more a "I'm with you on that one, brother".

Or, are you really asking?

Boyd
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Old April 18th, 2012, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post
If someone asks me, why am I on this board? This is the reason. I am currently attempting to excise the last remnants of my Mr. Fix It mentality.

There's actually 2 ways to counter it.

The first is to share your story. If the other party picks up something useful, great. If not, accept it. Don't be attached to the outcome.

The second way is to ask questions. Be willing to accept the fact that the other party will walk away and refuse to answer any more questions if they don't want to fix themselves.

The change in mentality is from "I can fix it" to "I can help you fix it but if you don't want my help then I am OK with it too".
Awesome. And I like your edit of the last line, originally I think you didn't have that "but if you don't want my help then I am OK with it too" but I hadn't decided how to respond to it.

Thank you for your contribution, I agree with the "sharing your story" aspect, although I still struggle a bit on it too, because there's a fine line between "sharing your story" and "commiserating but adding nothing of value to the conversation", and I respect the former but not the latter.

I must admit, your initial posts with all the philosophy, coupled with the name, turned me off of your posts for a while. I'm glad to see you contribute in the thread however, and I see you have been asking IM some solid questions on another one, too!

Keep it up

Boyd
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