When somebody continues to open our old wounds on purpose, they must be told that their behavior is no longer welcome.
We’ve all had our buttons pushed to the point where we feel we can’t take it any more, and chances are, we’ve all pushed somebody else’s buttons, with or without knowing it. The button pusher may not be conscious of what they’re doing, but in the end the buttons belong to us, and we are the ones who must deal with what comes up. The more we take responsibility for our own feelings and reactions, the less tender these buttons will be.
We’ve all had the experience of having someone snap at us, seemingly out of nowhere. This happens when we unconsciously push a button in someone else we didn’t even know was there. This can happen with a complete stranger and sometimes with a person we’ve known and been close to for years. We ourselves may have a relationship with someone whose buttons we secretly like to push. Buttons are just soft spots that have been touched one too many times, and they symbolize some pain that needs to be acknowledged and healed. This may be a wound from childhood, or some recent trauma, that we haven’t adequately tended. Whatever the case, when our buttons get pushed, the person who most needs our attention and caring is us, and blaming the button pusher only distracts us from finding a true resolution to our suffering.
At the same time, if someone continually opens our wounds so that they never have time to heal, we are well within our rights to set a boundary with that person. Compulsive button pushers, who seem to find pleasure or satisfaction in hurting us, are not welcome in our personal space. In the end, knowing where our buttons are enables us to do the work necessary to heal. Freedom comes when we deal with the pain behind the button, thus disconnecting our automatic reaction to being pushed.