You have no doubt heard the term “button pushing”. Has anyone ever pushed your button? Button pushing is pretty common in personal relationships. Over time, we may learn exactly how to push our spouse’s button and act all innocent when they react. It is a strange kind of power over someone when it works. When a button is pushed you hear something like…
“See you are acting all unreasonable now;
I can’t talk to you when you are like this!”
Then, you go off and do what you wanted to all along. (Not that I have any personal experience with this…I’m just sayin’).
Button Pushing at Work
If we take the button pushing dynamic to work it is most commonly seen when a boss or co-worker is being difficult and a subordinate or peer wants to take them down a notch. Inferring “you don’t know what you are talking about” with a subtext of calling them ‘stupid’. Or, another button pushing maneuver is not responding immediately in order to point out “you might have authority over me but you can’t control me!” Button pushing definitely moves into passive aggressive territory.
To get your stress down and to make sure you are not handing others the power to push your button(s) here’s a suggested way to deactivate the button-pushing game when your buttons are showing:
The only way a belief can work on you is if you believe it too.
Here’s an example:
The reaction hits -- “No I am not stupid!!” You get defensive and run around gathering proof usually finding all your degrees, recalling your awards, engaging others to support your ‘not stupid’ stance to prove you are not stupid. But, if you are not stupid why are you reacting to the inference you are and trying to prove you are not? Who exactly are you trying to prove you are not stupid to?
It’s completely horrible and uncomfortable to be thought of as stupid so there is no way I am going to be considered that so I will defend myself.
Do you see how BIG THE BUTTON IS? Really easy to hit if you come off as a jerk and someone wants to push your button. The button is GIGANTIC! For them, it’s sport to hit the button and fun to watch the reaction, not much more than a game and to their way of thinking…innocent enough.
Deactivating your buttons by getting to know yourself and what your buttons are is powerful. It requires introspection and self-acceptance at an unprecedented level.
When my button is pushed I ask myself, “What was that?!” and then I talk myself down with “I” messages. For example I recently missed a deadline: “I feel caught not being accountable. I teach this stuff! I believe they think I’m a fraud because I am not perfectly accountable and expect wiggle room. Wait…what?! I was not accountable, I can own, act on and answer for what just happened without fault, blame or guilt. I don’t need to go into defensiveness I need to go into gratitude for the lesson and keep improving.”
So when your button gets pushed it’s an opportunity to be accountable for your growth and development.
Mastering your internal truth deactivates your buttons. It’s awesome!