Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dealing With People Who Push Your Buttons

Do you have this person in your life that just pushes everyone of your buttons and you automatically start negative thoughts going off in your mind. It happens before you can catch yourself because this person sets off so many alarms.

He isn't trustworthy. She doesn't look you in the eyes when you talk to her. He hurt you more than once. She chews you out to someone else rather than saying those things to your face fully expecting that person to tell you every word she said. Which they do. Which leaves you feeling angry and raw and probably directing your anger at the wrong person.

That happened to me this morning, in my own home when a group of people came to visit. The button pusher was all nice and even asked how I was doing---like I really want to be honest and tell him.

I don't like giving up my power to this person and that is just what I did. I was polite and friendly and he has no idea of the thoughts going through my mind. I know the reasons that he behaves the way that he does and it doesn't make any difference in the way I feel about him.

What do I need to do about this situation? I will continue to run into this person because of the group that he belongs to. So I have to deal with him a few times a year. I will continue to protect myself and not give him any more ammunition to use against me.

I used to like this person. I even considered him a friend. I still like some things about him. I understand about his wounded childhood and his lack of trust of other people and his extreme fear of being used and hurt. I see those things in him and others because for many years it was part of my makeup. He becomes your friend because he so desperately wants your friendship and approval. Then he gets scared, terrified is probably a better word, and he does things to push you away. Knowing this about him is why I am able to understand and not get angry and lash out at him which would only have me making the situation worse.

Two angry, scared people trading rude comments and name-calling just makes the problem worse. It is what I grew up seeing my parents do so I know nothing gets solved. When this person isn't in my face, I can see clearly and send him love and light. Maybe after looking at this situation while I am writing this will remove the emotional sting so that I can just send him love and light rather than getting pulled into his game playing and my mind chatter.

Today, every time that I think about him I going to surround him with love and light and see the mirror that he has been for me today. Sorting out all of this does help. I won't know until next time that I see him how much this has made a difference.

Do you have any people in your life like this? I am not saying to accept abuse from the people. I am saying don't add to the situation by adding your own abusive behavior back to this person. Pay back, as pleasant as it sounds sometimes, doesn't solve the problem. Don't abuse others. Don't allow yourself to be abused. If possible remove yourself from the company of this person. And most important of all, don't abuse yourself or blame yourself for having the kind of thoughts that I had earlier today. See your thoughts for what they are---a negative reaction that doesn't have to be acted upon. Don't stuff those negative emotions because that can do damage to you. Feeling them doesn't mean you have to act on them. Feel them. Look at the cause. Look at the lesson. Then let them go.

When you find yourself in a situation like mine, look at what the person is mirroring in you. If needed, work on healing that part of yourself that is doing the reacting. This is just one way of dealing with troublesome people that works for me. What works for you?

I am sending love and light to this person, to you and to myself. Have a glorious day.


Anonymous said...


When I consider the phrase "pushing my buttons" it occurs to me that the buttons are indeed mine. So, I wonder, how can I remove the buttons?

Patricia Singleton said...

Slade, yes, they are my buttons. That is why I am willing to do the work of removing the buttons because I am the one who also does the suffering if I keep letting them be pushed.

Anonymous said...

Patricia - you are right on with this article.

These people are DANGEROUS. If you confront them, they will raise the stakes on you and do more to attack. All the while being nice to your face.

Your best advice here is to limit your being around them and just ignore them as much as you can.

The ideal would be not to see them at all - but as you said - they are sometimes involved with others you want to see.

Patricia Singleton said...

Corinne, you are right. They are dangerous but only for as long as we allow them to undermind our confidence and trust in ourselves and others. In looking at this person, I see the qualities that push my buttons when I allow them to be pushed. I also see the good qualities that this person sees that he probably doesn't see because he is looking at the world through his pain. Seeing the good in him is my gift to him and myself because when I see the good in him, I am also seeing it in myself. That is the lesson that I choose to take out of this experience.

Evan said...

Thanks Patricia for much wisdom.

My way of responding is to see what is triggered in me. I do allow myself to indulge in fantasies of getting back to them.

When I have to keep dealing with them I do my best to stay polite and superficial - I don't let them get close.

Patricia Singleton said...

Evan, I agree that sometimes just being polite and not connecting with the person is the best that you can do. For me, figuring out what is being triggered in me is the best way to stop the buttons from being pushed in the future.

Anonymous said...

Patricia - you're right about some people pushing buttons. I haven't always been able to catch it when they pull the trigger but I'm getting better at it.

Even if I'm able to look at it afterwards and send them love it's so much better than engaging with the negative energy that can only potentially bring me further down.

They're only triggering something I still need to come to terms with within me.

Good post and reflective thoughts on how you've learned to work through this.


Patricia Singleton said...

Pat, isn't it wonderful to have the awareness of what is happening even if you still get the buttons pushed and then catch yourself reacting, that is better than having no idea why you are so angry or hurt by the actions of another person. Awareness is the first step towards change. Two steps forward, one step back seems to be the way it works for me in the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if there is a way to contact you b/c I have question about people who push my buttons. Thanks.

Patricia Singleton said...

Elisabeth, send me your email address in a comment here. I won't publish the comment but will email you. I don't know if I can answer your question but we will see.

Liara Covert said...

You always have a choice to view these kinds of people as gifts or blessings. They help you go deeper within yourself to learn why you harbour anger and feelings of discomfort. You are invited to do what it takes to work through this kind of energy, learn to let go, release it and heal at your pace. This removes the buttons.

Patricia Singleton said...

Liara, I always look forward to learning more from your comments. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Detatch -rise above- work out what your own part in it is .
What steps can i take to communicate differently to diffuse the situation.
How can i better protect myself next time.
Pray for the button pusher
Hide my buttons
Deactivate my buttons
change my re-actions
take action take no action - do not re-act
love myself more

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, all of what you said is good for stopping the button pushing. It is all about you when your buttons are being pushed. Sometimes the only safe thing to do is to walk away.

The person that I wrote this post about is someone that my husband and I have since walked away from our friendship with him. He wasn't going to change and we were not comfortable with his harrassing attitude. I do pray for him. He would make a great friend if he could let go of his petty jealousy that makes him a bully. I no longer accept abuse from anyone in my life. I have the right to be who I am without being bullied for that stand.