Several years ago I began to reflect on the countless number of times in my past life that I’d reacted negatively to the antics of another. It seems as if some people really have a knack for finding every pushable button we have and making sure to mash them regularly. To be able to recognize this skill set of the “button patrol members” as I like to call them is certainly an acquired ability all of its own. Subsequently, having the desire as well as the dexterity to control our own impulsive reactions in varied situations is more often than not something we gradually grow in to.
Have you ever asked yourself how a person can get you so angry, off-balance, or sad? How is it that people who aren’t even in your intimate circle manage to hone in on your weaknesses and know how to push these buttons too? Is the issue here the button pushers themselves or the person whose buttons are being pushed that we need to look at? How can we overcome the mix of emotions that lead to negative reactions based on these interactions? What must be done so that we no longer feed into the negativity elicited by those we may have to deal with on a regular basis?
Below are some simple tips that can help you whether you interact willingly or by chance with others who have these button-pusher type personalities. Sometimes you’ll find these people have become seasoned manipulators. However, oftentimes they are people like anyone else who are completely oblivious to the impact their own actions have on others.
· Know yourself — without knowing what makes you tick it is hard to pinpoint all of the things that have the potential to tick you off even if you are usually a very nice, even-tempered person. Identify what your hot buttons are and examine why they exist.
· Check your emotional health — have you been stressed, tired, or overwhelmed lately? These things can heighten sensibility to concerns that we may normally blow off or deem not worthy of emotional energy.
· Save the drama — try to take at least a 10 second time out to breathe BEFORE you end up responding to drama with drama. Your reaction may very well be the catalyst to send this person into overdrive and have them wanting to upset you even further on purpose.
· Recognize the pusher — What is this person’s story? Are they inherently a negative person? Are they simply having a bad day? Is something going on in their life and you just happen to be catching the brunt of it that day? Is their technique reminiscent of something from a traumatic time in your life whether in childhood or in your adult years.
· Look out for number one — Engaging in these behaviors with this person will ultimately make you feel bad about you. Words once said are impactful and the sting is never fully resolved even with an apology afterward.
· Forgive yourself — When you fall for this (and every now and again you will), don’t be too hard on yourself. It isn’t always easy to teach yourself new tricks. Even when you think you have it under control, you can’t control the angle at which the next button-pusher comes your way. Be patient. Learning new ways to control yourself takes time.
Just remember, as long as you have breath in your body you are a work in progress. A masterpiece always takes time and there are bound to be some mistakes along the way. Keep working, reflecting, and even journaling so that you will one day find your place of peace.