How to Keep People from Pushing Your Buttons

Опубликовал Admin
5-08-2019, 16:00
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Updated: August 4, 2019 Whether it’s your brother-in-law ranting about politics again or a coworker making a rude comment about your outfit, other people can really get under your skin from time to time. While you can’t really control how others behave, you can choose how you react when they push your buttons. If someone says or does something to set you off, take a moment to breathe and try to get a handle on your feelings. Once you’ve calmed down, try setting some boundaries with the person. It can also help in the long run to identify your buttons and reflect on where your feelings are coming from.

Managing Your Reactions in the Moment

  1. Take a few deep breaths when you start to get upset. If someone has just said or done something inconsiderate and you feel like you’re about to blow up, stop and take a few deep, slow breaths through your nose. Breathing deeply into your belly can help calm you and get your anger under control.
    • You may find it helpful to silently count to 5 as you breathe in and again as you breathe out.
  2. Try a quick grounding exercise if you feel overwhelmed. When your emotions are out of control, grounding yourself can help bring your focus back to the present moment. To ground yourself, simply choose something in your environment to focus on, preferably with as many of your senses as possible.
    • For example, you might reach into your pocket and feel your keys in your hand. Move them a little so you can hear them jingle.
    • You could also pay attention to the feeling of the floor beneath your feet, listen to the sounds around you, or look at an interesting object in front of you.
  3. Step out of the room for a minute to help yourself calm down. Sometimes the best way to break the tension of an angry moment is to step away for a bit. If you feel like you’re too upset to handle the situation appropriately, try leaving the room or even going for a brief walk.
    • You might say something like, “Excuse me, I just need a moment.”
  4. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Before you react to the other person, stop and assess your feelings. Think about not only what you feel, but why you are feeling that way. Putting a name to what you’re feeling and identifying the cause of your reaction can help you feel more in control of your emotions.
    • For example, instead of just thinking “Mom is so aggravating,” you might think to yourself, “I’m feeling really frustrated because Mom keeps asking when Ted and I are going to get married, even though I’ve told her I’m not ready to even think about marriage.”
    • This way, instead of just feeling generally mad at your mom, you can now focus on what specifically is bothering you—that she is crossing your boundaries by bringing up a topic you’ve already said you don’t want to discuss. Identifying the problem makes it easier to focus on solutions.
  5. Think about what to say before you respond. If someone’s pushing your buttons, you may be tempted to lash out and say the first hurtful thing that pops into your head. Giving in to those urges will probably only escalate the situation and make you feel worse, however. Instead, stop and consider what you really want to say.
    • Ask yourself, “Is what I want to say true? Is it necessary or appropriate to say this? Does it clearly express what I really think and feel?”

Setting Appropriate Boundaries

  1. Let the other person know how their actions affect you. If someone has said or done something to upset you, it’s possible that they aren’t even aware of it. Explain to them, as clearly and specifically as you can, what you are upset about and how you are feeling.
    • For example, you might say, “Fred, I feel really uncomfortable when you make comments about my weight like that.”
    • Avoid using language that sounds accusatory or attacks the other person (e.g., “You’re such a jerk!”). Instead, focus on their behavior and your own reactions to it (e.g., “It bothers me when you act like that.”).
  2. Explain what behaviors you aren’t willing to tolerate. When you’re setting boundaries with others, it’s important to be clear (with both other people and yourself) about what those boundaries are. Be specific and direct with the other person about what kind of behavior you expect from them.
    • For example, you might say, “My personal space is really important to me. Please don’t touch me without asking first.”
  3. Set clear consequences if they violate your boundaries. In addition to defining your boundaries, it’s important to be clear about what will happen if the other person doesn’t respect those boundaries. Define your consequences and be sure to follow through on them if you need to.
    • For instance, say something like, “If you continue to be late every time we get together, I won’t be able to meet up with you anymore.”
  4. Minimize contact with the person if it’s a recurring problem. If someone continues to push your buttons and violate your boundaries, it may be a good idea to avoid spending time with them. This is especially true if it seems like they’re intentionally trying to get under your skin. Minimize your time with the other person as much as possible, or cut off contact altogether if you have to.
    • If you have to be around the other person—e.g., if they’re a co-worker or a close relative—try to have someone else with you as much as possible. Be civil to the person, but don’t engage with them any more than you need to.

Being Aware of Your Buttons

  1. Make a list of things that set you off. If you feel like your buttons are easily pushed, take some time to think about what tends to upset you the most. Once you start identifying some triggers, it may be easier for you to prepare for the next time you encounter one of them.
    • For example, maybe you’re especially bothered by comments about your physical appearance, or you get really annoyed when your significant other looks at their phone while you’re talking to them.
  2. Try to identify the reasons why certain things upset you. Understanding why you are bothered by certain things can make it easier to control your reactions to those things. When you recognize that your feelings stem from somewhere inside you, you won’t feel so much like you’re at the mercy of the person pushing your buttons. Next time you feel like your buttons have been pushed, stop and think afterwards about where exactly those negative feelings are coming from.
    • For example, maybe you become really annoyed when your friend gets excited and talks over you. Thinking back, you might find that their interruptions remind you of how your big brother would never let you get a word in edgeways, so that you regularly felt unheard.
    • Once you identify the root causes of your feelings, try to recognize in the moment that you may be reacting to more than just the situation at hand. This can help you respond more appropriately to what’s actually happening.
  3. Familiarize yourself with how you feel when your buttons are pushed. Another way to feel more in control is to recognize the warning signs that you’re about to blow your stack. Next time someone pushes your buttons, try to tune in to exactly what you’re feeling. Once you learn to recognize those feelings, you can work on getting them under control before they get out of hand.
    • For example, you might notice that when you are getting really upset, you breathe rapidly and your shoulders get tense. Once you recognize those sensations, you can combat them by making a conscious effort to breathe deeply and relax your body.
  4. Practice meditation to help control stress. Meditating regularly can help you feel calmer overall, and can also help you become more self-aware. If you’re having a lot of trouble controlling your reactions when people push your buttons, meditation may help.
    • Try doing a simple mindful meditation exercise. Sit someplace quiet and comfortable and simply focus on your breathing for a while. Then, turn your attention to how you’re feeling, physically and emotionally. Don’t judge or analyze your feelings—just notice them.
    • You can also look for guided meditations online. Try to find one that specifically addresses coping with anger or frustration.
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