Whether you use ITunes, Pandora or some other streaming music service, we all create our own playlists of songs that put us in certain moods. Maybe you have one called Bang Your Head when you hit the gym or Fire for Two if you are looking to be romantic. However, it you have a significant other, for those special occasions, you are able to retrieve that playlist that contains all the hits that will surely get you into trouble. It’s called Hit Me with Your Best Shot! I’m talking about the playlist that when you hit that little sideways triangle, you are pushing the ignition button that will surely pump up the volume!
No one (in their right mind) deep down likes to or wants to push other people’s buttons but we do it. It’s almost like our brains go on autopilot when the moment arises and all the negatives come rushing to the forefront. You act like a complete 180 of yourself, maybe even regressing 10-20 years. Personally, my favorite playlist is called ‘Walk Away’ because anyone else around me can hear or see that I should really just close my mouth, take a deep breath or learn to walk away. In the moment, I don’t feel like I’m going on and on, I’m just trying to be heard. But as Jim Morrison sang, ‘When the music’s over, turn out the lights” meaning when the talking stops, that is your cue to not keep going.
Our brains are chemically activated. When we are in a state of annoyance or anger, those chemicals rush to push out the chemicals that would normally give us rationale or cool headedness. All logic goes out the window and our processing center does not have a chance to catch up to the words that spew out of our mouths, sometimes like venom. We know we do it, we say we will try to do better. I know I truly do mean it when I say that. I really want to be able to count to 3 or 10 before making a better choice instead of choosing to seal my fate. It takes practice, discipline and most importantly, self-awareness.
Button pushing can be present on many levels. Sometimes it is subtle and sometimes it is a planned tactic. Perhaps you are sarcastic but maybe too sarcastic. Maybe YOU think YOU are funny but if your audience is nervously laughing or your intended target is not amused, better find another line of work. None the less, what do you derive from it in the long run? Do you really feel better when you make someone else feel less comfortable around you, want to be out of your company or just plain feel bad about themselves?
Button pushing is neither funny nor fun. You are intentionally (or unintentionally) trying to get a reaction and make someone feel a certain way. It’s never good to be on the giving or receiving end of it either. Unfortunately, there are only so many times you can go to the ‘Break in Case of Emergency’ playlist to pull out your best apology. People won’t be so willing to listen or hear it because it seems like it’s on constant repeat. Recognize the situation you are in and do your best to cut it off at the pass, hit the pause or stop button altogether. Unless asked, opening your two ears more instead of less will usually put you in a better place. Make music with each other. Stop trying to create noise!
We are each made up of all these tiny little trigger points. Things that bother us, things that make us twinge inside. Sometimes we can hide them well and they only surface now and again, but other times, when someone knows us all too well, they can push these little trigger points; called buttons and all hell can break loose. We are each a combination of our past experiences and with that comes things that just gets under our skin. What’s your hot button? Self worth? Alcohol? Swearing? There’s something that makes you crazy and when that big red button is hit, there’s likely to be fireworks.
The bad part about having your own trigger points is that you have to be aware of them before they take over. Your significant other may or may not intentionally go after this weak spot and when that happens we feel threatened and violated, like they took the weakest link inside you and twisted it all up for their own gain, but sometimes it’s hit and they don’t even know they did it, because we didn’t even know that WAS a hot button.
Those who know us and can get into our head and have the ability to use those trigger points against us is where the trust begins to break down. We have exposed ourselves and the things that make us nuts and the thought of someone throwing it back at us like slinging mud is infuriating let alone just plain mean, but it happens. We have more power than we think in these types of situations. We have the power to react differently, or discover why exactly that makes us so crazy. When we become more aware of our own issues that get under our skin, we are better equipped with the coping skills to communicate using this against us is unacceptable. Hopefully that works, most times, in the heat of a moment, it doesn’t. That old wound is open to the air and stinging and there’s little you can do to calm that storm, but wait. Heeling takes time and with time comes a tiny scab that hopefully no one decides to rip off again.
So if you are full of these tiny buttons, discover what makes them tick and then the power is in your hands rather than someone else’s. If you are the mud slinger, figure out why you feel it necessary o go to the level of pulling off your significant other’s scabs. You don’t really want to see them bleed, so cut it out!