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The Fixing Trap

Have you ever thought to yourself, “this feeling should not be, so I must get rid of it by correcting what causes it.”


Have you ever tried to change what someone else is feeling so you could ease your own discomfort about their emotions?


Have you ever thought it was your responsibility to change someone else so they’ll be “happier”?


Have you tried to change who you are in order to fit in, conform, or avoid rejection?


These are all expressions of the Fixing Trap.


What is the Fixing Trap?


The Fixing Trap is a codependent idea that suggests that if you fix yourself and/or others, you will finally be accepted, loved, valued, and wanted.  For some, fixing is very focused on changing others.  For others, it is focused on reshaping themselves.  Most individuals dealing with codependency do both to some degree.


This trap is a result of trusting the conclusion that it is who you are that causes others to reject you, attack you, exclude you, or use you.  Now, this conclusion makes sense since the rejection and attacks often came with claims about your nature and person being too much, too little, not enough, or wrong in some way. 


The Fixing Trap comes alive when you trust this toxic feedback from others. This allows shame to hijack your natural confidence and worth. You see, the Fixing Trap’s power is contained in the trust you have in the feedback you were given.

Without that trust, it has no power. 

You can experience that for yourself right now using a tool that helped me experience this, too. This tool is called a “What Shifts Question” and is designed to give your mind and body something different to experience, and with different experience, you become more available for shifts in your personal truths and beliefs.  


Here’s the What Shifts Question that helped me start breaking free of my Fixing Trap:


“What shifts when you distrust, just a bit, the criticism and shaming you received for being yourself?”


This particular question invites you to distrust that feedback and see what arises. This is a crucial step in detecting your actual feelings about how you were treated, which when acknowledged and treated as real and valid, spring the trap and set you free.

This can also help you begin to shift how you interact with yourself, others, and your reality. 


Here’s some shifts that have helped me and my students remain free of the Fixing Trap:


  1. Fixing means, “this feeling should not be, so I must get rid of it by correcting what causes it.”

  2. Allying means, “This emotion I feel is communicating something to me. What is it trying to tell me?”

  3. Fixing means, “I am wrong for feeling this. I should not feel this way about this situation.”

  4. Allying means, “What I feel is real and valid. What is it communicating to me?”

  5. Fixing means, “I must never feel this emotion again or I am broken.”

  6. Allying means, “I will receive whatever I feel and listen to it’s message and insight.”


Ally and legitimize your emotions and you will find lasting emotional evolution, maturity, and growth.


May this guide and help you in your journey of freedom and peace from codependency.


By Marshall Burtcher, Codependency Healing Expert.


From: The Codependency Recovery Council (n.d.).


Marshall Burtcher, Codependency Healing Expert. Marshall helps codependents, people-pleasers, and perfectionists stop fixing themselves and start loving themselves. Join Marshall for his next free live workshop, “The 8 Factors That Heal Codependency Permanently” by clicking here: https://workshop.freetheself.com

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