Many of us go into medicine because we are helpers by nature. We care about people and want to provide help to those in distress. This is a noble aim. However, over-functioning physicians can discourage collaboration and prevent patients from expressing autonomy, and voicing and achieving their health goals.1

Overly identifying as fixer-helper-rescuer

What can happen over time, however, is that we begin to overly identify with the “fixer/helper/rescuer” role, and that role begins to cross over into other areas of our life. We unconsciously “need to be needed.” This form of over-functioning can occur in any type of relationship: family, work, friendship, romantic/intimate, peer, or community.

Signs and symptoms of over-functioning

  • Saying yes when we want to (or ought to) say no
  • Surrounded by seemingly “needy” people
  • More concerned about another person’s problem(s) than they are
  • Making “helpful suggestions” repeatedly, even after the suggestions are being ignored or being told the suggestions are not welcome
  • Putting others’ needs above our own
  • Inability to identify our own needs
  • Feelings of guilt when stating our own needs or saying “No.”

It is important to know what over-functioning and people pleasing looks like in our daily lives. We can then effectively identify if we are operating in these patterns and take steps to change.

If you or someone you know needs assistance in dealing with over-functioning behavior, contact us today.