If you are reading this, you probably tried at least one way to preventing yourself to react when your partner pushes your buttons.
Maybe even dig dip into the cause and hurt beyond your emotional triggers.
I did too.
The most surprising discovery about them in my relationship was,
that I learn many valuable process and steps but did not know that I need to combine them.
Only after I connect them and used them in proper order, they start to help me with being free of emotional triggers in my relationship.
If you are still having problems with reacting, try approaching this differently than learning another way how not to react.
Three uncommon ways to deal with upset when significant other pushes your buttons:
1. Instead of trying to calm yourself down try to release your trigger (fear and anger of being abandoned, unappreciated) that came up.
2. Run an experiment and challenge yourself for 1 week to act as if it is not a big deal.
3. Try simple exercise of reversing the buttons being pushed
Instead of trying to calm yourself down – release your trigger
You can try to stay calm when your partner upset you or you could do this instead
(that will actually remove the cause for upset)
When your partner pushes your buttons, upset you, one of the most common advice (that you probably used with more or less success) is
TO CALM DOWN.
But is this really good advice?
Let’s look what happened when s/he is late and you are waiting (again) and your anger or hurt rise up in your body together with thoughts about being abandoned and unappreciated.
You try to calm down with breathing, focusing on something in your hand, trying to redirect your thoughts. You use whatever you could remember to soothe yourself and not to explode.
With that you show yourself and your body that there is something wrong with being upset.
While that could be effective way to soothe yourself, it will do nothing to remove the cause of upset, the stored-up body memories that triggered you in the first place.
The next time that s/he will be late you will be upset and angry again and with years you will be more and more desperate and maybe even given up on your relationship feeling more and more unappreciated and invisible.
Instead of trying to calm yourself down try to release your trigger (fear and anger of being abandoned, unappreciated) that came up.
Here is what is working for me.
4 simple steps to release the trigger when your partner pushes your buttons.
1. First, I need to feel safe (because body go into fight-flight-freeze response because it thinks that I am in danger) in my body and in the place that I am in.
Because nobody want’s to be in the home that is not safe.
Simply sense your physical body in relation to the environment.
if you’re sitting, just notice the contact between your butt and the chair. If your back is against a chair, sense the pressure and contact you make with your back and the seat. Do not change anything, just feel.
If your feet are on the ground, simply pay attention to the pressure of each foot. Same goes for it you’re standing.
Then find something soft or alive (like plant or pet) and touch it.
2. Only when I feel safe, I could move my awareness into sensation in my body and starting to move back into my body.
3. Then I need to release the buildup energy of upset, anger, hurt. That is the time when I am connected with the energy of anger and upset in my body. Without previous steps I would just vent and nothing will be released
4. And only after that I use something to soothe myself with focusing on feeling of love and joy in my heart to put my heart and mind in sync.
What happen when your heart and mind are in sync (another name for that is heart coherence)?
When you’re feeling positive emotions, like sincere appreciation, care, compassion or love, your heart rhythm shifts into a more harmonious and coherent pattern, reflecting the emotional balance you feel inside. Your heart sends coherent signals to the brain and the brain synchronizes to the heart’s coherent rhythm.
You could find more about that in studies about heart coherence
Run an experiment -Challenge yourself for 1 week to act as if it is not a big deal.
When your partner pushes your buttons and upset you, act as if it is not a big deal.
Take that as experiment.
Experiment to see if your expectation are creating a resistance in your partner.
Discover if your expectations are preventing your partner to do for you
what you want or hope to get.
My friend Vlasta always expected her spouse to help her with chores around the house. And he always found something more important to do. But when she tried that approach and started to act as if she enjoy doing it alone, the atmosphere in the house changed, it lightens up the mood in the house and her spouse suddenly (I admit, it wasn’t so sudden) spending less and less time outside the house and even start to help her.
Challenge yourself for 1 week or 1 day per week for a moth to do that.
First choose one trigger for the experiment.
What triggers you?
What do you expect or want or hope for in your relationship and don’t get it?
What kind of behavior, actions, words?
Are you willing to do the experiment and see if that could (even slightly) change,
if you act as if it is not a big deal and instead of reacting
do something to show your partner how much you love him (her)?
You could still feel upset and anger, just do not show it openly.
I expect him to do his chores around the house and when I am acting as if this is not a big deal I do them willingly every Monday with the help of uplifting music in background.
I expect her to be on time and honors our agreements and when she doesn’t, I am acting like it is not a big deal and hug her and say to her how happy I am that nothing happened to her and that she is here.
I hope my partner would be more affectionate and when I am acting as if, I shower him with my affections and I also do small things for me that made me feel appreciated and loved.
If you have difficulty doing that this could help you:
Answer the following questions (you could write them down or even record yourself)
How would your partner behave if he or she would do what you expect, want or hope about your particular trigger?
If your partner was that way, how would you behave? How would you treat him? Be as specific as you can. Close your eyes and imagine that, feel that.
3. Continue with imagining some actions or behaviors you would take if you felt this way. How would you treat your partner? How would you show your appreciation to your partner?
Try simple exercise of reversing the buttons being pushed
Try this simple exercise.
Try completing the following sentence (at least 5 times)
Do not judge anything that you write down as good or bad, helpful or destructive. Just state it as it is for you.
When my partner ________ I
When my partner ignores me and spaces out, I withdraw from her because I feel hurt.
When my partner is late, I get upset and yell at her.
When my partner doesn’t do his chores, I do it myself.
When my partner criticized me, I feel distant and sad and leave the room.
The next step is REVERSE each sentence.
Here are examples:
When I withdraw and feel hurt, my partner ignores me and spaces out.
When I am upset and yell at her, my partner came home late.
When I do it myself, my partner doesn’t do his chores.
When I feel distant and sad and leave the house, my partner criticized me.
The point here is to see that you oftentimes believe that you REACT to your partner’s behavior. She is the cause.
But your partner believe that she reacts to your behavior and that YOU are the CAUSE.
When at least one of you can see that, you could stop blaming your partner or expecting her to change.
That is the first, but a huge step in stepping back from a reactive mode.
To notice what is really going on when your partner pushes your buttons and upset you.
To observe the role, you are playing in this drama from your partner perspective.