where are your Buttons?

English: Red button.

English: Red button. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Madeline Laughs

I think everyone probably knows where their buttons are. It just might take a little bit of soul searching to figure out exactly how to keep them from being pushed. Don’t know where yours are yet? Just keep reading.

Do you recognize that feeling you get when something happens that makes you feel just a twinge of discomfort? Your heart rate goes up a notch? Your mouth might get a little dry? Sometimes you have this overwhelming desire to start screaming expletives? You feel like punching the wall?

That, my friend, is a great big button!

And it’s being pushed!

People in your life that push your buttons generally do not like you, but they love pushing your buttons. It gets them off in a big way. If they can get you to dance like one of those push the bottom marionettes, then you just made their day. It’s not their fault, really. They can’t help the way they are, but you can do something about the way you are.

You will probably always have an emotional button that can be pushed, but the beauty of it being yours, is that you don’t have to let everyone know where it is. It’s also a good idea to work on taking the power out of your button.This is not something you’ll learn how to do overnight. Practice makes perfect though. Each time you take a few simple steps before the button takes the plunge, it will get easier to walk away from the stress every time it happens from that point on.

Where is your button? And how do you figure out what sets it off?

You hear the word “trigger” a lot lately as the new it-term for describing people’s emotional states. That’s what you’re looking for. You want to know what triggers you into destructive and unhealthy behavior. What is it that magically raises your blood pressure to the point of being angry and defensive? It could be a number of things all at once, or it could just be one very large trigger. Only you know how to find the answer because, believe it or not, YOU are in control of everything that happens once the button-depressing-twinge makes itself known.

I know you’ve heard people say they count to ten before they respond to a provocation. Ten is a good number, but I’m going to suggest you wait as long as you possibly can and that would be a whole lot longer than it takes to count to ten. While you’re waiting you might want to ask yourself some questions just to explore and clarify exactly what kind of outcome you’d be happy with.

1. What bothers you about the situation? Are you being reasonable? How would you react if you were in their shoes?

2. What do you expect the other person to do in order to make you feel comfortable? Is your expectation reasonable? Is it something you would be willing to do yourself?

3. Are you okay with walking away from the situation with nothing gained? Is this a person you would be okay with losing as a friend?

4. What will this cost you? If this is a work situation, will it cost you your job? Is it worth that much to you? If you lose this person as a friend, are you willing to put up with the possibility of gossip? Back stabbing? Losing other friends?

Every time your button gets pushed you must take a step back and breath. You must take stock of exactly why you feel the way you do and what you can do to alleviate the stress for yourself, and anyone else involved. You owe it to yourself to take this time and seriously consider the pros and the cons of taking the bait and possibly getting hooked, one more time.

A good friend told me that no matter what happens, I would be better off learning to shrug my shoulders. Just try it right now and see how it feels. Go ahead. Shrug them right now. Make the “I have no idea what you mean” face now and try a shrug. Raise your eyebrows and try to look as innocent as you can muster. “Who? Me?” Cock your head to the side. Now try it all at one time. Really get into it! Work it!

See how much better that feels?

Even if your button has been pushed hard enough to jam it into place, never give them the satisfaction! Shrug your shoulders and pretend that you have no idea what they’re talking about. Then walk away and work on why your button got pushed and how you can prevent this the next time it happens.

Shrugging was the best advice I ever got because it really does work. Her explanation is that the people that push our buttons can continue to push them once they have learned where they are. If you’re shrugging and walking away, well, that spoils their fun and after some time they will just give up on trying to aggravate you in the future.

So keep on shrugging my friend, and once you make your escape from the button pusher, work on flipping the trigger to the off position for that emotional button for good.


About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to where are your Buttons?

  1. Regyna Longlank says:

    It’s ok to get triggered and not deal with it too. Meaning just walking away. In Rangers we call this kicking it sideways. If there is a situation that’s pushing your buttons you won’t be effective as a mediator. So you kick it sideways to your partner. Or another Ranger. You don’t have to act like it didn’t happen. It’s a normal reaction. Honor it in whatever way works for you.


    • I like this idea. We could kick things to each other and if it’s something we really don’t like we could just kick it until it got tired of being kicked back and forth and just went away. Life would be so much simpler. Miss you!!


  2. Regyna Longlank says:

    Ha! I like that idea. Gives a whole new meaning to we’re just kicking it!


  3. Pingback: June | Online Counselling College

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