I’m a conflict-avoider so when people push my buttons I tend to not respond as a form of response. You know “just don’t give them what they want”. That might be ok the first time you experience a button being pushed. It is NOT ok after repeated button-pushing.
And it seems to me that chronic button-pushers are that way by nature and will continue to hit the button or tweak how they hit the button to draw a version of the response they want. In other words, they unknowingly train the person through a series of related button-pushing to manipulate the desired result. I say unknowingly because they are driven by the goal and doing whatever needs to be done to reach the goal. What I mean is they didn’t sit down and plan their training program. They just want a desired result and will not stop until they get it or find a way to get it.
The ongoing narrative where button pushing situations exist includes the button-pusher, the pushee, the stage and whatever the issue is that creates the button environment. A wife disgustingly screams from the kitchen “GARBAAAAAGE”. In disgust the husband gets up and takes the garbage out. That didn’t develope overnight. The husband and wife work and take care of the kids so life moves fast and both perceive there’s not time for negotiating. The wife is cooking and tells the husband it would be nice if he’d take the garbage out without her having to ask. He says he’s busy and has more important things to do. He tells the kids to take it out but they have homework and things to do. The wife is set on the husband taking the garbage out. The husband stops responding to the PLEASE so she changes to standing in front of him with hands on hips saying PLEASE take the garbage out. This will continue to change until both parties agree on “GARBAAAAAGE”. Button one is programmed on the husband speed dial.
Empyting the garbage is really inconsequential in life but you can bet if there was a button made for garbage there’s one for a series of relational stuff. The classic for women: we ask “what’s wrong?” and they reply “nothing”<—button. She needs to talk. A husband vacuuming, washing dishes/clothes, putting the kids to bed early(<—whole package of buttons) means one thing…sex. As a matter of fact, in the previous garbage example all the wife really needs to do is rip her shirt off in front of the husband and there’s a good chance she would never have to ask him to take the garbage out again. Seriously, ask any man…we will do whatever a woman asks if the payoff is sex. PERIOD. We are that simple…I digress.
The root cause for the neccessity of buttons is not dealing truthfully with each other. When a relationship allows a certain level of dishonest communication(buttons) the fuse is lit for a major explosion. Instead of being honest and say what you mean and mean what you say, we chose to manipulate. I think this is what James addresses in James 4:1-3. He starts off with the result: fights and quarrels. He says we don’t have because we don’t ask God and when we do ask we ask with wrong motives. I believe it’s the same in our relationships. Instead of asking for what we want, we dance around and manipulate one another until we get what we want and then nobody’s truly happy.
My experience is that God will not allow us to continue manipulating one another. The truth always comes out. Buttons are exposed for what they really are and then all hell breaks lose. But this is to clear the air for open and honest communication.
So what prompted me to write this was the realization that when my buttons are pushed, the right response is truth. Responding hastily in anger or not at all is the sign of a malfunctioning button.
This hit me after I recognized a button that someone was constantly pushing, I snapped, and erased the button. I was angry but held my tongue as I thought it through. After about an hour, I responded in anger because the button was pushed by using rudeness and I felt letting this person know it made me angry was appropriate. I felt free afterwards and was no longer angry. The guilty party assumed I would respond like I usually do and sulk for a few days but I told her “I’m good”. I said my piece and I’m done. She was somewhat shocked and I think it’s because she realized she had unknowingly built the button and also realized it was wrong and manipulative.
The bottomline is we are both free. And again, I refuse to read what I just typed and am going to publish NOW. PEACE!
Warning to those who like to push people’s buttons to manipulate them….one day that is going to light a fuse at the end of a bomb you are not wanting to see explode.