Friday, August 6, 2010

Button Pushers - The Otherside of the Story

Do you have Button Pushers in your life? You know, the ones that are close to you, know where your weak spots are and they push at those tender spots until it hurts and it makes you insane in frustration and sometimes anger? I’m going to be honest here and you may not like what I’m about to say but you react to button pushing because of your own wounds inside. Can you really blame the button pushers when maybe you ought to take a look at the state of your own spirit and give some time and attention to those weak and wounded spots? Sometimes the button pushers are very adept at stepping right into those places where we feel inferior and then go out of their way with derogatory comments and/or take actions that leave us feeling put down. Did you know they do this because they might enjoy conflict, they too are wounded and misery does love company?

So, there is a way to deal with button pushers. And it does NOT involve looking for and exposing their own weakness. I’ll let you in on a little secret. They can only spot our weaknesses because they are weak there too. So, to lash out at them, to set them straight or attempt to save face honestly does nothing but give them an adrenaline fix. Heck, maybe you enjoy the adrenaline fix of the conflict and want to lash back out, that’s your prerogative but at the end of the day, it doesn’t get you anywhere unless you are willing to take a look inside of you, understand your reactions and work with your Maker, a trusted counselor or friend to heal your own weaknesses. Our egos, the wounded parts at least, are the genesis of all that is dramatic, conflict-filled and frustrating in this world. If we stopped for a moment to consider why the conflict exists (maybe we are looking for external validation that we are good or we are okay), we might be able to not only move our buttons but remove them and peacefully come to a place where the opinions of others do not in any way threaten us or make us feel less than who we really are.

No one likes to be exposed and those who are out there attempting to create conflict for you have their own issues. It’s not your job to be their guru and set them straight at every turn. Set boundaries to protect yourself including setting boundaries within your own reactions. Protect yourself in the most healthy of ways by keeping your focus on your own weakest points and strengthening those instead of getting back at the button pushers by exposing them like they exposed you. I grew up with a button pusher, several actually. Growing up was often filled with conflict and a fight to protect yourself emotionally speaking. I would be valid in my anger with these people. I would be valid in my attempts to expose their wounds and pain like they always took pleasure in exposing mine. But, that will not bring me to a place of forgiveness and a place of forgiveness is the only way I can give myself protection, peace and serenity which I now value way more than being right.

I don’t fight with the know it alls any more. If someone wants to expose their own lack of knowledge by claiming supreme intelligence on an issue, that really isn’t my problem. They can expose their own ignorance and learn from the experience without my interference. Its not my job to teach them they are ignorant, hurtful or off-based in any way. It’s my job to maintain my center, choose to act in conflicting situations and protect myself by remaining true to myself. I vowed a long time ago to refuse to let the button pushers make me like them. I see the pain they are in and how much pleasure they take in extracting pain from others. They do it mostly unconsciously and like any true addict they will get their fix in the name of love, caring and brutal honesty. But even brutal honesty is still brutally abusive without the appropriate tact in delivery of kind and caring messages. They will have you feeling guilty for not understanding the great pains and sacrifices they have made to bring your short-comings to your attention while you sit there seething in anger and sometimes even guilt.

So, hmmm, button pushers. You do have options based on the level of challenge these people create in your life. Know this, you have the right to terminate any conversation in which you feel you are being emotionally abused or put down. You do not have to defend yourself, validate your position or explain. Simply state, this conversation is getting you nowhere and end it. You have the right to terminate relationships with people who refuse to respect boundaries that you set. If these people truly love you, they’ll get the message and attempt to modify their behavior. If they don’t, you can walk away and I do not care who they are to you. You have the right to be surrounded by loving, kind and compassionate people. If your family is not that to you, you can find a soul family who will give you loving, kind and compassionate support.

I think of conflict as I’ve described above as “unworthy battles.” Unworthy battles are pointless to fight and I don’t care what someone says to me, I will not fight an unworthy battle. I look to my Maker to guide me and to help me trust myself that I am a good and honest person, worthy of respect and dignity. I trust that with Divine Guidance, I will handle conflict in a loving and compassionate way that will not create more toxic negative energy for me and I even pray that the adrenaline addicted person in my midst finds healing so they can one day stop deriving pleasure from my pain or the pain of others and live a happier life.

These choices I make as I have described above are not easy. I have wounded places within also that most immediately desire to react and get even. I am so very human and sometimes even more so than others. But, I learned a long time ago that I do not have to react. I can instead choose my actions, what I will take to heart and what I will allow myself to think about me. I do not need the validation of the outside world, my family or friends even if I love them! The only validation I need is my own and the validation I receive daily from my Maker. It’s true what they say, all of the answers lie within. Look within to know what is right. Get comfortable with who you are inside your own skin and next time the button pushers come at you, see their actions for what they are—show them something no one ever has—compassion, self-respect and self-kindness. Blessings!

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