Pushing People's Buttons
As I start this article, I realize I've already written about this from a few
Probably the closest to this is my article “Who Has the RIGHT to Insult You?”
There is another one that touches on the area entitled “Instigator.”
There is a third article called “Control.”
Button Pushing Defined
In an online slang dictionary it's defined as “To Aggravate.”
Another source defines as “Draw a strong emotional reaction from someone,
especially anger or sexual arousal.”
Both those are correct.
Let me give a little more information and an example.
One of my grandchildren, when very young, stuck a pencil eraser into his ear.
After a trip to the emergency room, he was fine.
However if you mentioned “eraser head” to him, it would produce a “reactive
response” kind of like a knee jerk.
That meant the term “eraser head,” provoked stimulus response reaction. He
didn't have analytical control over his reaction.
Many people have “buttons” which were created by past experiences. By the
way, if you review your past and look for those buttons, you might remove
their power by just recognizing they are there!
Common Derogatory Words or Phrases
Saying someone is “stupid” or saying “I hate you!” will usually produce a
negative reaction. Notice I said “reaction”.
There are far too many of these insulting/belittling words and phrases to list
them all. The news media loves to use them to create upset.
A reaction is an unthinking action. A response could be unthinking or thinking.
An analytical response is one that is correct for all circumstances.
What Effect Do You Want To Create on Others?
If I walked up to someone very short, like a girl wearing high heels and and
said “Doesn't it suck to be so short?” I'd likely create an upset. Better to say to
the girl “You're looking very good today!”
When people say negative things about others, I generally ignore. There are
For example when I say “Bigpharma are psychotic criminals,” it's a fact that
should be known. But to say that country over there is bad, it's people are bad
or crazy, is not a fact but a generality.
Generalities are used to push buttons. Watch out for people that use
generalities in a negative manner.
When I say life is “grand,” that is a generality but it is not negative. In fact it is
also not true for everyone. It is a goal to work towards!
Do You Find Yourself Pushing Someone's Buttons
I met a young girl in the hospital a number of years ago. She had a broken
I talked with her. She told me about her boyfriend and how she upsets him.
I asked how and she said she pushes his buttons and hurts his feelings.
I asked her if that was what she wanted to do? NO it wasn't.
I asked if he did that to her, no he did not! She could see this made no sense
for her to push his buttons!
So I helped her understand what was going on.
Why She Was Doing What She Was Doing!
I asked her who treated her that way in the past. She recalled several people
that did that.
I had her take each person and remember every time they had pushed her
buttons. This took probably a half hour.
By the time we were done, she was laughing broadly! She realized she didn't
have to push people's buttons!
People most often treat others like they have been treated. But once you spot
that thoroughly you can simply change your method of dealing with your
friends and family.
You will all be happier!
I've given a little information here. If you liked what I've written, I suggest you
read my other related articles:
“Who Has the RIGHT to Insult You?”
©2006-2013 by Carl Watts/CarlWattsArtist.com 032013