What You Should Do When People Push Your Buttons

It doesn’t matter how evolved, patient, or emotionally mature you may be.

People are going to push your buttons.

Some people in your life are master button-pushers. They know exactly what to say or do to transform you from a calm and happy person into a seething, mouth-frothing maniac.

Quite often the best button-pushers are the people closest to you — your spouse, romantic partner, children, and close friends. But other people can push your buttons too — often without event knowing what they are doing. Until you bite their little heads off. Then they totally get it.

What are those damned buttons anyway, and why are they so sensitive to pressure? These buttons are emotionally volatile, reactive places within us that cause us to have negative feelings of frustration or anger — often out of proportion to the offense.

I probably don’t have to explain this to you. You’ve felt it many times before.

  • Someone makes an off-hand remark, and it causes you to bristle or feel wounded.
  • A friend forgets to call you or include you in something, and you immediately want to give her a piece of your mind.
  • Your spouse suggests you didn’t follow through on a promise or intimates you didn’t do something the way he or she would have done it, and you are ready to threaten divorce.
  • Your mother remarks on how you are disciplining your children or maintaining your home, and you want to scream at her about your miserable childhood.

Whether or not the offending party made an intentional jab to get a rise out of you or it was a remark made in complete innocence, the sting is painful and your urge to retaliate is overwhelming.

Immediately your mind starts forming zingers to launch over to the other side. “How dare they suggest that? Who do they think they are? I’ll set them straight and make them feel like a dog’s breakfast while I’m at it. They certainly deserve it.”

Of course this reaction can create a full-blown counter-attack, often devolving into name-calling, below-the-belt barbs, stand-offs, pouting, shouting, hurt feelings, mistrust, and longstanding misunderstandings. Or sometimes we say nothing in our wounded state, but wait for the opportunity to retaliate with passive-aggressive behaviors. “I’ll get you my pretty. And your little dog too!”

None of us are immune from this — not psychologists, coaches, mentors, self-help gurus, monks, rabbis, nor ministers. I’m embarrassed to admit the number of times I’ve sat in my car or lingered in the shower, plotting my evil little plans to set someone straight. It isn’t a pretty quality.

By the very nature of being human, we have wounded places — buttons that hurt when pushed. And it takes a lot of restraint and self-awareness to deal with button-pushing in a healthy, positive way.

The benefits of allowing a button to be pushed without anger or retribution far outweigh the momentary pleasure of lettin’ em have it.

If you can just wait a minute or two before you say anything or before you text back or shoot off a nasty email, you will be so, so thankful you did.

Because once the dust settles, no one (who is generally peaceable and mature) likes the fallout of conflict. It takes far more effort to clean up the mess than it does to prevent it.

So when you are in the moment, when that button has been pushed and steam is hissing from your ears, what can you do to prevent yourself from responding poorly?

Here are 4 things to do when people push your buttons:

1. Just breathe.

When the words have been spoken, or typed, or texted — breathe. Count to 100. Walk away. Excuse yourself from the room. Do whatever you can to create time and space between the comment and your immediate feelings.

Your feelings will calm down, and you need time to insert a filter between your brain and your mouth (or fingers). This is the most crucial strategy to implement. If you can’t do this, the damage is done, and it will be much harder to set things straight.

2. Look within.

You’re not going to like this. I know I don’t. But those little buttons are really all about you, even if the pusher intentionally and with forethought pushed the heck out of them. They are places where something is going on inside of you — some place of insecurity, fear, low self-esteem, or unmet needs.

You need to take a good hard look at those buttons and ask yourself why they are so sensitive. What is the root cause of your hair-trigger feelings and what can you do to heal them? Talk to a counselor or friend or someone who can see you from an unemotional perspective. As you build your self-esteem and confidence in these areas, they won’t be nearly as painful.

3. Practice peace.

Before you encounter your next button-pushing episode, make a conscious decision about the person you want to be. You have the power to be a peacemaker in this world by seeking to rise above your emotional reactions.

Practice detaching from ego-based thoughts and strive to connect to a vision of your higher self. I’m not saying this is easy, but if you plant the seed in your psyche now, before anyone pushes your buttons, it will help you stand firm when you want to overreact.

4. Establish boundaries.

Sometimes there are people in our lives who take perverse pleasure in watching us squirm or lose control. It makes them feel better to make us feel bad. These are usually people to let go of in your life if you can. They drain you of energy and joy.

Some people will bottle up an issue and, knowing our vulnerabilities, will go for the jugular in order to make a point or stir the pot. If this happens with people you love and want to keep in your life, then you need to kindly but firmly establish your boundaries  and nip the behavior in the bud.

If you have entrusted them with your vulnerabilities, it is a betrayal to use those against you, even in a so-called joking manner. But don’t launch back with a barb. Ask for their support and love to help you heal instead. Let them know you expect open communication, not jabs and back-handed remarks.

When a button is pushed for you, try to view it as an opportunity for self-awareness, healing, honesty, and growth. Our closest relationships allow us great opportunities for learning more about ourselves and who we want to become. Conflict and hurt are inevitable, but you can teach yourself how you wish to behave the next time someone pushes your buttons.

Have people pushed your buttons in the past? How have you handled it? Please share your thoughts and strategies in the comments.

Some people in your life are master button-pushers. They know exactly what to say or do to transform you from a calm and happy person into a seething, mouth-frothing maniac.

74 thoughts on “What You Should Do When People Push Your Buttons”

  1. I have a friend that pushes a button every time I see her and always, from what I can tell, unintentionally. I know that there is something in her behaviour that I identify with and this scares me. Thanks for the reminder not to ignore the message I’m getting.

    • Hi Charlene,
      Aside from trying to understand what you identify with in her behavior, I think it would be good to have an honest conversation with your friend. A true friend doesn’t intentionally push buttons. I would ask her to stop, and if she doesn’t, it might be time to reevaluate the friendship.

    • except for me and my boss. we are friends, too, and push each others buttons all day. On purpose. LOL

  2. Dear Barrie,
    Your post shows up just in the right moment: My partner in life is a specialist in hurting my feelings by ignoring them. He just informed me by the way, that his ex-wife stayed in our holiday-apartment a couple of months ago. I got furious about that, which he couldn’t understand. There is to say, that I never met this woman since I know my partner – which is five years now. It’s not me who avoids a get to know. What hurts me the most is, that he doesn’t see, what she’s doing; that she was just noisy and wanted to mark her presence in the place, where we spend our romantic “getaways”. I just sent him an email asking, if he would promise me, not to let her go there anymore, if I would ask him to… After sending the email, I got your newsletter… But anyway, I have to know… Am I wrong? Do I overreact? Thanks for all your positive inputs.

    • Hi Chris,
      Thank you for sharing your story here. I am so sorry you are having this difficulty with your partner. If something your partner is doing is really bothering you, the two of you should be able to talk about it in a loving and supportive way. If that’s not happening, maybe the intervention of a counselor would help you. If your partner truly is an expert at ignoring your feelings and has no intention of changing, you need to consider if this is the best person to have in your life.

  3. Thanks for your inspiring articles, Barrie. I get so much out of them and they help me cope with daily challenges. Button pushing is something I often have trouble with, even with my husband and kids who know how to get me going. Sometimes I can brush it off with humour, other times I want to explode.

    Thanks for the reminder that it all stems from my inner feelings about myself related to insecurity and low self esteem. When I’m feeling up about myself and confident, I’m so much more able to handle it.

    • Hi Cathy,
      You are so welcome — I’m so glad I can help you with daily challenges. Maybe you can have a calm conversation with your family and ask them to stop pushing your particularly sensitive buttons. If you tell them how and why it bothers you, perhaps they will think twice the next time a finger is poised over one of your buttons.

    • Thank you so much Linda! I really appreciate your sharing it. You are so right about practicing peace.It’s hard when those darned emotions get in the way. 🙂

    • Those “darned” emotions surface fast, passing by at the speed of a race car, but they are not outside the purvue of our metaphorical rear-view mirror. We can put our foot on the brake and ask what it is in one’s comment that pushes our buttons, or what in our conscience makes us push others’ buttons. Then, thinking about it calmly, I ask whether there’s any truth in the person’s comments or my motives for being the button-pusher…or whether I detect a perception that may be inaccurate…or a motive less than pure…I change in me what I can…I try to persuade whom I can…sometimes, I sadly watch relationships go by the wayside, or blossom…

    • I have been trying to apply the brakes with my husband since 2001, he started his revolt to everyone that year, The revolt started with a real bang with four men being put in a critical care unite for trying to put him in his place, The front door exploded into my face the next few seconds and I was informed if I ever locked him out to be hurt again I would also be going.

      The last two years have been like standing in front of a runaway locomotive, No compromise, no waiting on a future time everything is now, he does not wait for anything. it ended up with his father being hit sop hard by his son it broke his neck, when I could not reach a compromise to wait three more years for the next vacation to include him. he said he was done waiting after 33 years, his father took exception.
      I have lost all my friends now unless I get my husband out of my life, one of the things he refused to wait any longer on was sex after 31 years without, I was supposed to go to a political fund raiser with his fathers best friend, My husband put his foot down, more than hard with me trying to negotiate the way things were going to happen that evening, I said he should pick a place and we would meet with his mother father and anyone else in my circle that would come and calm my husband down, he refused the negotiation, said he was the only dog in the hunt, and from then on it was his way no compromise or promises taken and no prisoners either. He raped me a few minutes later. Nothing has gone the way anyone wanted from my husband since, if they cross him he destroys them, if they interfere he interferes with them, A number of people have been hurt badly in both family situations, and when he made them angry enough to try direct action he reduces them to bloody piles.

      My father always told me when you can no longer negotiate its time to set defenses. My husband over5whelms all defenses and overruns them.

      I have always been fearful of going against what people wanted, I had hoped my husband would eventually understand, He does not!

      He wont forgive me, he wont allow what happened before to continue, and to many are now watchi8ng over their shoulder to make sure they are not in his target sights.
      I know we abused him for many decades, he might have the right to demand his life back, but does he have to do it so hard and fast. making everyone angry with me because I can no longer control him? They must know I am even more of a target and I could lose everything including the one good thing out of the last two years, My and my husbands son. He has made it clear if I try and get around him one more time I will leave without our son because I am bi polar.
      Any suggestions, should I just put my head down and be the wife my husband requires, or should I do as his father wants and defy him, putting him in his place, I know defiance is the one way out of the life I have built.

  4. Greetings Barry,

    Great post, as usual useful advice written in a way that I can feel the soft heart beneath it.

    What helped me a great deal, was my exposure to the 4 basic personalities categorized by Tony Alessandra as
    Each of them respond to situations differently
    Understanding this gave me a different perspective why people act the way they do.

    All the best

    • Hi Pinny,
      You are absolutely right — our personalities have so much to do with how we react. Some people feel things so much more deeply while others let it fall of their backs like water on a duck. Perspective always helps us manage our reactions to others. Great point!

  5. People push your buttons because they know they can, regardless of whether they’re aware of it. What they’re looking for is a negative reaction; they want you damaged and on the defensive, for whatever reason. I’ve come across a lot of button pushers in my life; the day I realized that their “opinions” were worthless, because I was the one to decide my own worth, is the day I no longer had buttons for them to push. Treat them with the contempt they deserve — and that’s all they deserve.

    • Hi Alexis,
      That is quite true for some button pushers. But I do think there are people who say things unknowingly that can stir the pot. I’ve had very well-meaning people say something to me that made me bristle. But in those cases, it was more about me than them. Intentional button pushers who do it out of meanness are deserving of contempt, but also compassion. If your pleasure is causing someone pain, that is quite sad.

  6. Its crazy, because I have been putting up with two at work that seem to just cause me a lot of grief , but I am trying to pray and remember kind words, thoughts and actions. Its not always easy, as I have become quite angry, and I am trying to remember that alot of time there are underlying reasons that people take a jab at someone, and part of it could be their own unhappiness at events in their lives, and see you being happy and becoming more content, they have a tendency to try to take it away, and I think its usually unintentional or subconscious, not always a conscious thing.

    I think anyways, I can’t always get my thoughts out the way I want them to be read. 🙂

    • Hi Annie,
      I’m so sorry you are dealing with difficult people at work. With some people, it helps to ask them to stop, especially if it’s unintentional. With others, they see that request as an invitation to push your buttons even more. When a button-pusher gets no reaction, eventually they will grow tired and stop. I think your strategy is a good one. Just smile and breathe. Give them no push-back. Their words are just words — nothing more.

    • Yes it is difficult Roman. If you can find just one little strategy to put between your feelings and reactions, it will buy you time to let the feelings pass and analyze the reasons behind them. It definitely takes practice!

  7. I just had such an incident with my ex-boyfriend. I know he does not intend to hurt me, but I do feel sometimes some blame in his voice and that just reminds me of my previous relationship which I initiated to end also.

    • Hi Melinda,
      I’m sure any conversations with an ex-boyfriend are going to be tinged with anger and blame until he has time to heal. Anger is often a cover for pain.

  8. For me, I either look inside or outside. If I am over-working, I am more irritable (buttons more sensitive). Taking on less or taking time out for myself makes my buttons less easier to penetrate.

    Or, how do I not take it so personally? I look outside and see that the “rub” usually means more about the person doing the “rubbing” than it does about me. Maybe they are anxious, lonely, having relationship conflict of their own. Who knows, but let them keep the “emotional rub” by not absorbing as much of it.

    • Hi Marci,
      Oh you are so right — when we are tired or stressed , our buttons are extra, extra sensitive! And yes, sometimes it is very clear that the issue is completely about the other person. Compassion is a great “tool” for maintaining your cool. (Didn’t mean to rhyme there, but it works!)

  9. Hi Barrie,
    Very useful post!
    My reaction when people push my buttons depends on whether it is intentional or not. If it is intentional, then I try not to react in a way they expect me to. After a couple of times, they are likely to stop trying to push my buttons as they are not able to unsettle me and get a reaction that would give them satisfaction!
    If it is unintentional, then I try to look within and figure out why it makes me feel so.

    • You are doing exactly the right things Gaori. When you don’t give the button-pusher the reaction they are expecting, it definitely throws them off — and keeps the situation from devolving. And you are so smart to look at your own reactions and try to understand them. That is the starting point of personal growth. 🙂

  10. My hubby is a button-pusher extraordinaire. “Teasing” and “picking on” are just other ways of saying the same thing. He’s looking for the reaction. I do not understand why someone needs to get that reaction. He doesn’t do it to people that he really doesn’t like. His father used to get a perverse kind of pleasure when he picked on me until I managed to get my emotions under control and quit responding at all to him. I haven’t quite gotten a handle on them when my husband does it. I’ve come to the conclusion that when someone teases you and then follows it immediately with a “just kidding” that there is always a little bit of truth behind the teasing. It doesn’t speak very kindly of the person who is doing the teasing/button pushing. DH is an expert at dishing it out but God forbid if you give it right back to him. He can’t take it. We’ve been married 28 years so this is obviously only one aspect of his personality (or I’d be history) but it is not an endearing one.

    • Hi, I completely relate with you. I have to a point where I feel like my husband wants me to look bad and after the anger the sadness overwhelms me to why he needs to do this to me…

      He says it is a joke to others, while he is really calmly implying things about me that are inaccurate and involved times in our marriage where he was unfaithful. So at a time when he was rebuilding trust with me I was of course cautious – he now implies I was controlling. When in fact we both know what the truth was…

      Your article depicts exactly how it is…his seemingly calm ways but I am the one who is seething at my mouth in reaction…

  11. You have helpfull comments.
    Two faced people are not worth your time.
    Ill mannered behavior should be discounted.
    Peace be upon us.

  12. My father pushes buttons in a way to get a rise out people. Then when the victim reacts he gets passive aggressive and he acts annoyed!!!! Sick.

  13. I am married to man, who thinks he is “It” He is very intelligent and not very understanding of my needs,
    I have tried to talk to him about our lack of intimacy, him showing me any attention. I feel ignored a lot of the time around him.
    He works very long hours at his job, he just got a promotion, and it is a bit demanding. and at times he does more work at home.
    He either really doesn’t care about my feelings or doesn’t know how to deal with them.
    I am at wits end because I cannot get him to understand how I feel or what I want.
    Sometimes when I need to talk about my problem, he turns the conversation back to his self.
    What can I do to make things better or just forget it and go on doing without.

    • Hi Diane,
      I think you may need to speak to him in a way that gets his attention. I would suggest you tell him you need counseling, and if he refuses, then time apart. A period of separation might get his attention. Lack of intimacy and connection is a relationship killer. Your feelings and longing for intimacy will eventually show up in some other unhealthy way like depression, anxiety, or attraction to someone else.

  14. I turn into a raging maniac when my partner pushes my buttons and don’t know what to duo about our. Afterwards I feel shame and guilt. I really breast myself up. I do asmuch as I can for her but it just doesn’t seem like it’s ever good enough. I hate that I want to hurt her with my words asmuch as she has hurt me. I don’t know how to just let things roll off my back when her and her family have emotionally abused me for the past six years. I just want to feel like myself again. I need her to giveme space but she refuses. It is one unhealthy cycle!!!

    • Hi Stacy,
      I think this is a situation that definitely calls for counseling. I hope you and your partner will work together to seek help for a very unhealthy cycle. It doesn’t have to be this way.

  15. Hi Barrie!
    I’m new to your articles and I’m so glad I found this one now. My friend of the last few years has been a real pain. She’s always pushing my buttons on purpose. I know this because she has told me so. Says she loves making me mad. Even yesterday I asked her the simplest question. We’re buying each other xmas gifts and since she already bought mine, I asked her how much she spent so I know what our limit is. She said she couldn’t remember. She also said she bought it online. So when I suggested that she check her account orders, she just laughed and told me to spend whatever and it’ll be fine. Well, I don’t want to spend too much or too little. So, I asked her to at least give me an estimate and she laughed again and told me I was cute. I didn’t respond but I wanted to flip out. She’s always patronizing me and I don’t really know what to do. I’ve asked her before to stop trying to get a rise out of me because it’s rude and it stresses me out. Her response is always the same: But you’re so cute when you’re mad. I just don’t know what to do anymore. When she’s being a happy person we have a great time but that’s not very often. And I know I’m not perfect, I need to work on myself. I’m really sorry for the rant. I just don’t want to lose my friend but I know I can’t do this anymore.

    • Hi Lauren,
      Someone who is intentionally trying to push your buttons is not being a real friend. But if there is enough good in the friendship that you want to maintain it, I would suggest you stop responding and reacting when she says something to get a rise out of you. She enjoys seeing you react, so if you give her nothing, eventually she’ll tire of trying to push your buttons.

  16. My boss and I have some fundamental disagreements. The boss is in over her head and doesn’t know what she is doing and I have tried many times to explain certain basic truths but she will not listen. Because of this, the boss is trying to make life difficult for me; as in surprise reviews, making me do things she knows I disagree with etc. This is all done in a very confrontational, mean spirited way. I have tried to respect her authority and make requested changes, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I am not sure anything can salvage the situation but I would appreciate your input.

  17. Thanks for the article Barrie. My “button-pusher” is my 22 yr old son, who has come back to live with me (temporarily, I hope!) while doing a work-study program. We have always had problems communicating, and I do tend to fly off the handle with the things he does and says. It’s not always easy, but I have SO found that if I stay come and do not react, things just automatically straighten themselves out. Things are just so much simpler if I can only stay calm… and not preach and/or start pitching the zingers in order to make him feel guilty or bad about what he has said. It only makes things worse when I do that. Thanks for the reminder…

  18. My cousin that I stay with every school holidays really likes to push my buttons we were born 2 days apart witch makes it even harder.if I’m in my room she comes in and won’t get out but if I ever did anything like that to her she would tell on me and I would get in trouble

  19. My husband of 20+ years enjoys pushing my buttons. He will keep pushing until I blow up. I have learned to deactivate most of the buttons and to keep my cool when he does it. The problem is as I deactivate more of them and keep my cool, he presses harder and some times gets mean with his remarks. I have asked him why he does it and his replies have been “Because our relationship would be boring if I didn’t.” “Because I can.” “I always have you aren’t fun any more.”

  20. I have to work with the boss’s wife you trys to push my buttons and provoke me often. I do get mad and I repress it because I have to work. She’s awful and I’m pretty sure by the symptoms she is an narcissistic person. I have worked with her for almost two years and it becomes more apparent when time goes on. She is jealous of my skills and now the fact I am also taking classes to better myself and hopefully to find a better job! I have never seen someone think she is and tries so hard to be important. She’s rude and when she gets the chance she says something and I never handle it the way I intend to because I am and always have been an over-reactor. I am a sensitive person and I know that is a weakness. I do try to ignore her but that is just another reaction. She’s the bosses wife with no class! What would you do?

  21. Hi Barrie,

    I came across your post and it has helped me alot. But Im worrying now if my current boyfriend provokes me on purpose. When he will do something that bothers me or rubs me the way I will askhim to stop. But he never does! The remarks, jokes, and gestures just get worse. It even gets so bad that he laughs when I begin to get upset. After Im upset and I go crazy, he blames me for responding to him in that way. What should I do? Im really confused.

  22. I have issues with a husband’s niece who is 18. I see her once a year for a month when we visit his family, and she is either jealous or frustrated that her uncle doesn’t spend much time with her after he married me. She pushes my buttons. I tried to be considerate of the situation, but she got to me where I would panic whenever we are in the same room. She says really inappropriate things and doesn’t act normal around anyone. I am dreading having to be in the same room and witness her horrible behavior all over again. Any suggestions?

  23. I have a friend who I live with that spends his time trying to make angry he tells me that I shouldmt have anything because I live I’m his home. Even though I pay rent. He also spends his time insulting the things I like . I also notice that he gets very upset when I buy something axample I bought a used truck and all he kept saying about it is negative things about it and about me.

  24. My mother pushes my buttons. She always professes innocence, but I cannot see that she is not aware of my reaction to her bad behaviour. She says very inappropriate things that hurt, and worst of all, she flies into rages over very small things which, in public, causes me huge embarrassment. In private, I have to say her little temper tantrums are still extremely upsetting to me. Maybe it stems from my childhood, and always feeling that she was ready to blow up (over being late, or not being able to find something in her incredibly cluttered house… undoubtedly why I’m so OCD about organization and planning ahead for everything). I do love her, but it’s challenging spending time with her because she can upset me by her behaviour, and telling her she has hurt my feelings, or is embarrassing me, or that she should lower her voice and not be so upset, only seems to escalate the behavour for the moment, but then she calms down and acts like nothing happened, while my nerves are on edge for the whole day afterwards, and in need of therapy!

  25. Hi Barrie my mother is continuously pushing my buttons. I have assignments and finals in less than a month and I am in my 3rd year of Uni and life is a little tough right now. I’m currently in the midst of my study break and I really want to get good grades so that I can get a scholarship to a medical school so that I can get off the financial worries off my Dad’s chest. But despite studying for 12 hours a day and helping my Mother out with chores around the house she always finds reason to start yaking about how bad of a person I am and all I do is eat and I never help out and that I’m the reason she and my Dad will die and stuff like this. I try to ignore this but it does not stop I try to talk to her when she is calm she does not want to listen. I was admitted to the hospital cause she refused to let me eat due me being fat according to her standards. She came to the hospital and saw me eating my lunch and the first thing she does is take away the food and start lecturing about how fat and ugly I am. I do not know why she does all these to me. At first I thought that I was always in the wrong and that I am a bad person but then again she made me a prisoner, especially during my high school days. Even if I was top in my grade she never let me go out and hang out with my friends. To her I was always the cause of any family trouble even though I NEVER speak to any of my relatives who are staying in Asia. I’m tired of her crap and she is a great person she cooks and takes care of both my Dad and me but she strains on my physical appearance too much and everything is always about her. How she feels, what she wants. She does not care about my Dad’s nor my feelings and it’s really annoying me. I want to become a good person. I want to make my parents proud but my Mother is being a real pain and she keeps making me lose my temper.

    • Her awful and abusive treatment of you is really because she doesnt like herself and she is taking it out on you.you do not deserve to be treated the way you describe by anyone ever. Do not let her behavior form yours or make you belueve what she says. Ignore her and her abuse move out if you can.talk to your dad if possible. Try to get her to go to family therapy and you go to therapy by yourself for sure. Make sure you do that no matter what. Your a good person that is obvious from your post and beauty really does come from inside some one whom is typically beautiful but then opens their mouth and a lot of negative mean things come pouring out imeadiately becomes very ugly. Someone whom may be more uncommon not as flashy looking opens their mouth and positive funny kind words come out and suddenly any quirks they may have turn into charmingly cuteness or exotic beauty or pretty and kind all types of looks are beautiful to all kinds of people hollywood beauty is boring and fake. Someone must have been very mean and abusive to your mom and that taught her to do these things to you . Break the cycle change your family line you are going to end up a success in medicine you are already beautiful and you deserve just as much happiness and love as anyone on the planet. Dont let your mom form your opinion about you!trust me i know ive been 80lbs over weight more than once in my adult life and once i stayed big for 3-4yrs but i had a boyfriend he liked girls that were big and bigger!he was a great guy with his own business and all that good stuff. Ive been skinny winne to and had a horrid boyfriend at the time. My mom has always been there for me and i am now a mother i could never treat my son that way. Your mom has profound self esteem issues and needs therapy and you need therapy to help you communicate with your mom to help you get to a place inlife where your happy and nobody not even your mom is able to abuse you,even if that means not being around your mom often. Help your dad get help to he needs to be treated fairly and kindly as well. Your mom will be much happier if she changes her ways to. Its a win win for everyone in your famiy. Best of luck . Thanx for reading hope it helps in some way in anyway!

  26. I don’t know how to handle the situation every time my friends teased me in front of my ex boyfriend about our previous relationship.. They even pushing my button and I get pissed of it. I don’t know how to responce to them because I know I still have the feelings for my ex boyfriend but I want to move on because I was hurt a lot .

    • Talk to your friends whenyour ex is not around! Explain to them how humiliated, awkward and sad it makes you feel when they talk about you and your ex’s relationship past present or future. Ask them to please stop right away and to never do it again. Its not friendly behavior its meant to make you feel dumb and uncomfortable at the very least if they are truly good friends then they will do what you ask immeadiatly. If they dont they arent very good friends.
      Find out if any of them have feelings for your ex.make sure none of your friends are trying to date your ex and thats why they are making fun if you, because its not morally right for them to move forward with that kind of thing. If you truly have feeling for your ex tell them – find out if there is any chance for the relationship to start up again but remember why you broke up and whether those reasons are still present or if it was in haste. Talk to your mom your dad an aunt or uncle or someone else thats knows at least you well and maybe the ex also and ask for their opinion, its true that with age comes wisdom. From my experience of forty one years of life :getting back together after a real break up usually ends in another break up fr the same reasons. Be careful with your precious heart not just anyone deserves your love it is sacred,remember that there is only one you tha t s how extremely special and unique you are and shold be treated.you are a queen.The rule among men and woman is that you DO NOT NO MATTER WHAT DATE A FRIENDS EX, unless you are 110% sure they are ok with it, and you know they are because #1.) you have asked them three times over a period of three months,and asked seriously when its just the two of you. #2.)Its been at lease six months but really you should wait three years. #3.) You feelings are very very strong and have been for years and you believe the ex in question feels the same way #4.)you believe your friend is waywayway over the ex #5.)the ex and your friend are ok with one another (no animousity or grudges)

  27. It was a great article and helped me to calm down. There is a running joke on me in my office team. Once I commented on something which I was not aware of, since then they have started making fun of me saying that I am so dumb. And I try to ignore it, but lately it is getting on my nerves. As the the people who make fun of me are dumber than me.

    I don’t know how to react in this situation as it happens everyday and I have to work with these people. One of them is my boss.

  28. Hi,
    Tonight I was feeling really good when a singer came on TV. He would have started singing about 40 yrs ago but I think he is still good. He has a new album out and is doing a tour. I was actually going to suggest we go to see him when my partner started to go on about how his voice wasn’t good any more and it was disgraceful that what was being charged for concerts and that people were stupid to be paying money for them. I felt really upset and retaliated by saying it would be better than listening to somebody drunk singing in a pub. I still feel really upset and he is acting as if nothing was said. I am sitting here thinking I’ll get you back for that.

  29. My adult daughter has two children with a man who has a violent past. We were worried about the abuse of their children and did everything we could to get those children help, including employing the assistance of the courts. The judge dismissed the case yesterday. At the end, we found out that she married the man, when his attorney announced it to the court. They were married day before yesterday. There are so many emotions going on. Thank you for your post. I’ve been searching ways to find peace and let it go.

  30. People who deliberately push your buttons just to see a negative reaction from you shouldn’t be kept in your life. Why waste time to try to train them to behave differently? Most people won’t behave in this manner. I’m ok with folks who may do annoying things unintentionally. No one is perfect. but those who make calculated jabs at me are toxic, regardless of whether or not it “hurts”. I can tell where they are coming from and I discard people like that immediately once I realize it. Plus if you continue to pretend you’re ok with it, they’ll just push harder and harder.

    “You’re not going to like this. I know I don’t. But those little buttons are really all about you, even if the pusher intentionally and with forethought pushed the heck out of them. They are places where something is going on inside of you — some place of insecurity, fear, low self-esteem, or unmet needs.”

    I actually think it’s more about the button pusher than it is about me, though sometimes they aim at what they may think your “hot spots are”. But deliberate button pushers feel envy, insecurity or feel unhappy about themselves and want to bring it on to you

    • While I agree that reacting to button pushers often means something is going on inside me and hence my reaction I also really agree with Anais that deliberate button pushers feel envy, insecurity or are unhappy and that is why they want to cause upset in others.

      Glad I found this blog as it has not helped confirm I have a situation I need to deal with rather than hope it just fades away.

    • I am married to someone who gets great pleasure in saying, doing things that annoy me. I will not “react” right away then the behavior or words continue until my buttons are activated. What !! I do see how it s any fault of mine when i ve told him that what he is doing is annoying or upsetting.
      His reaction, it s so much fun to get you going.
      I m sorry but this attitude shows complete lack of respect and or love ~ he acts like a pre teen then when I react after his gales of laughter, he acts as though I am aggressor.
      I m certain this a form of abuse and do not want to live the rest of my life with someone who never grew up.

  31. My husband told me that I have NEVER done anything for him after 25 years of marriage. I have children from another relationship my husband bashes me for it. I am not sure what to do other then cry my eyes out as he tends to believe himself perfection in the flesh.

  32. My partner likes to verbally pull me down when he is tired. Using things I have told him I always bite I hate the way I react but he calls me old and don’t trust me then a few hours later he is nice by then Iv had enough
    I go away from him I spend time on my own for up to two days sometimes I’m just sick of it I really am one thing I get from him is he loves me but should he not be supporting me instead of pulling me down I’m ready to walk away. Is love enough?

  33. coming in regards to my daughter she always has everything nice to say about her dad and post wonderful pictures I cannot even get a text out of her she’s constantly putting him on a pedestal and putting me down on the ground and then says I’m making a big deal out of it it hurts my feeling when she says oh pS By the way mom I love you in the other side of things she’s posting pictures of her dad and how wonderful he is can’t help but feel jealous and hurt when she said that’s my problem I don’t know what to do or say anymore I’m just ready to wash my hands of the whole thing.

  34. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 years. I guess I should have noticed that all the signs were there even before I moved in with him. It makes me feel stupid bc I was in an abusive marriage for ten years. We live in his parents back yard in a one bedroom house. His dad is always standing by our house trying to listen. They make us keep an intercom over here so they can talk to us whenever they want. His mom has made it her mission to let me know that I’m a bad parent. She’s very rude. She doesn’t want me around for any family get togethers. I’ve actually caught her whispering bad things about me to my 2 year old daughter. The funny thing until now is that I thought that it was just her I had to worry about. I kept telling myself that my boyfriend doesn’t take up for me bc that’s his mom. Its almost like I woke up one day and th fog cleared. I’m the one who’s always doing the apologizing. Ive caught him and his parents saying things about me behind my back. I have been with him for 4 years and he has never taken any blame for his actions. He tells me if I was a better person he wouldn’t have to drink smoke or wAtch porn all the time. It almost feels like the whole family is deliberately trying to make me lose my mind. I’m learning to ignore her but why didn’t I see until now that he is always pushing my buttons until I start screaming. I actually went and got on depression medicine bc they all convinced me it was me. I’ve noticed lately that when he sets me off I catch him smiling like he thinks it’s funny. I’ve also seen his dad do the same thing. Even though I know deep down that they are responsible for their own actions I still feel like it’s all my fault. I desperately want out but now I have two children. He doesn’t know how to be honest either. He lies to me about things that he doesn’t even have to lie about. I just don’t get it. I quit talking to what little friends I had and if I leave without telling him mom and dad then they call him while he’s at work and tell him what time I left and what me and the kids was wearing. There is no privacy over here. They monitor my phone calls. I know I wrote a lot. I just feel so lost and can use some advice.

    • I would suggest visiting social services and ask for counselling, they might be able to help you keep your children and your sanity…and help you leave that situation with your children.

  35. What I can’t understand is why others make excuses for these button pushers. I’ve been told for 4 years that it’s the medicine that makes my boyfriends mom act like that. I call bs. I’ve seen the satisfied look on her face. She knows what she’s doing. I’m even told she’s been like that her whole life that you just have to look over her. Uh no bc I’ve seen her talk bad about ppl bc they don’t live like her. The problem is that she knows there is always going to be someone making excuses and taking up for her when she acts like that. Same goes for my boyfriend. No matter what he does I always have his parents in my face telling me I will always be worse than him. In their eyes I’m trash bc my mom and dad couldn’t raise me with the best of everything. Anyways like us said stop making excuses for these ppl.

  36. My sister just pushed my button today. She will bring up the way I looked during a relationship I had many years ago, and she makes me feel like I look terrible now in comparison. What didn’t help was that I had told my mom, and she said NOTHING! I don’t know why my sister will do this occasionally but she rarely if ever gives me any compliments, and yet she will bring up a time in my life that is long since gone. The man involved was not a great guy, he was a habitual cheater, and even though I was initially devastated by our breakup, I ended up breaking up with him during a second go-round. It’s over and I’m good with it. I don’t even have bitterness towards him, I can remember many times with him that were wonderful and I’m good with all of it. All I struggle with is that my sister can NEVER let it go. She’ll say: “Remember when you were dating (insert name) and you were so vibrant?” Our family finds it difficult to openly discuss problems like these but I got off the phone asap, I couldn’t stand talking to her for a second more.

  37. Just want to know what to do when it’s your spouse who is always trying (purposely) to push your buttons? I have tried the whole take a breath thing….have ignored his rude comments and tried to turn the situation around by switching the subject or making light of all of it. The problem is that he just won’t quit! There have been times where this has gone on for days! I get to the point where I tell him that I’ve had enough and that I just can’t take his comments anymore, but low and behold that just gets him going more. It will finally reach the point with me where I fire back and then he claims I’m being too sensitive. Sometimes I feel as if he gets great joy out of doing this. He doesn’t quit until he gets a reaction out of me. I have tried to talk to him about it and he says he doesn’t know why he does it….he just has to. He told me to tell him when it’s getting too much for me and I’ve done this, but then he gets angry when I do! My question is this….what do I do now?

  38. idk wut to do barrie im in a relationship been together like 10+ yrs , i know hardships will come and go but her negativeness is starting to get to me its like everyone hates her and noone cares about her as she says. her emotions is like a light switch one moment shes yelling at us then just like that she starts laughing, like me in the meantime im still trying to control myself from her two minute mood swing, most of my friends dont come around because they dont want to be yelled at by her its getting out of hand . she is supposed to be taking anti depressent pills but never takes em. i sometimes dread her coming back from work .. ill be going to college soon after summer,, taking all of them with me but im so scared that she is going to leave me to balance my kids and school work on my own ..

  39. I am in a situation where my partner thinks I overreact about every thing. The truth is I have my moments when I get upset over what seems to be the littlest things. What hurts is that when my partner would lash out and get jealous a lot I would listen and be there.. But now that I do it (and I have more than enough reason to not trust) I am over reacting and it’s annoying. I do not purposely try to start an argument. I want to be happy and I want my partner to be happy. He makes me feel bad for being upset over things that haunt me and have been haunting me for the past year. I have been cheated on by him a couple of times and he gets mad when I still get sketched out. The crazy part is that he too gets extremely jealous and purposely tried to push my buttons or make me feel like I am doing wrong. I have never done anything to make him uncomfortable or believe I’m seeing someone else. I don’t know what to do when he purposely tries to get a rise out of me. I think he likes to see me cry over him. Sometimes I think about it and the only thing I can come up with is when I cry it shows I love him? When I try to talk to him about it and come to him very peacefully he tells me he doesn’t want to hear it and I’m wasting my time trying to talk to him because he just simply does not care. Then when we are doing better he says he only said those things because he was mad. But this happens over and over again. This morning we got into another argument over the same thing. Everyone tells me I need to leave him like it’s that simple. It is not. I cry every single night about this. I have to go to the bathroom and cry because he gets annoyed when I do it in front of him. I feel like a loser.

  40. This site was vary help full. But I’m really tired of a hole school bulling me they all push you butens. I’m really tired of it. They just walk on me. The most common one is that they all think that they can beat me up well they can but they think that and it really hurts me the most when my good close friend dose it. And one method I try to do is just listen to music to start the heeling like pain by three days grace, and riot. But it happens to much that I just bottle it all up in side and just keep it there. But in side I think I should stand up right there and now but I’m like a stone wall so they keep pushing my buttons. And the final one is that they make fun of my family like my dad he died when I was five so they use that to therefore a.v and I’m just sick of it. I don’t have enough self conscious and or control and self system. Plz some body help out a 13 almost 14 I’ll be 14 April 19 and no one coming to my party and that is just sad for me there are two possibilities one kill my self or get help o ya a third like I all ways do exclude my self from the world
    So some one help me

  41. Here is my problem. I have a partner that is constantly pushing my buttons! She does it intentionally! I don’t know why. Some people say I have low levels of OCD. I can’t stand drawers open or things left open. I have my own tooth paste for that reason. I scrub my pots and pans daily because I can’t stand them dirty. Etc. Etc. Etc. Most of my issues are in the kitchen. Things put in the wrong place kind of get to me. Most the time I don’t say anything about it hoping that she will stop! Last month she left a drawer open every single day for me to wake up to!! I have confronted her about this and we end up not speaking for the rest of the day. Why is she doing this??? We have been together for 25 years now. I am just at a loss!

  42. Hey there. I have a friend and she says things that are just unnecessary and pretty disrespectful about my friends that she doesn’t like. Every thing I say, she belittles it and always says she’s done one bigger. She seems to make a point of hurting me and saying things that she knows really hurt my feelings, though I can’t tell if its on purpose. She’s always upset with me at random times then we’re back as friends. I’m kinda running out of patience. Help. I’m gonna bite her head off.

  43. Hi. I am grieving the loss of my husband and after saying no to a loved one, they didn’t like that answer and proceeded to insist I give a different one, one they wanted. I was polite, then after several attempts to change my mind, I exploded. I couldn’t control my anger, and it scared me. How can I prevent that next time?


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