Reacting to the button pusher in your life from Emery Counseling
Back in the day, people used to write letters to each other. It would take 2-3 days or even a week before the message arrived. Knowing the time lapse that took place, I would imagine people might have taken a few moments to pen their thoughts. This would be especially true if they were angry about something.
The point is, I’m thinking there was probably more thought into the letters.

In the age of instant gratification where we can quickly write a cutting text, letter or social media post, I would like to encourage us to pause. I think it is something that we all know and are aware of, but when the infamous “button pusher” hits us just right, our inhibition goes out the window and the fingers fire up. You know who I mean, the annoying co-worker who throws you under the bus, the ex spouse, the unforgiving relative, I could go on and on.

I often see “button pushing” with divorced couples when they are dealing with issues regarding the children.
There is some emotional charge that often comes when the email is received. Perhaps your heart starts pounding the moment you see their name in your inbox. What is hard about these relationships is that one time, this person knew you really well. They have the power to push your buttons in a way other people might not be aware of. Remember you are in the business of raising your children. Try to treat these emails like business interactions. Keep to the facts and leave emotion out of the conversation.

What can we do to prevent the “button pusher” from affecting us so deeply?

  • Remember who you are. You do not need to prove yourself to this person if they are attacking you unfairly. Likely, their attack is more about pain or frustration they are feeling than it is about you. It is also important to remember who you are because often the “button pusher” might be trying to evoke an unpleasant side of you. Represent yourself well and prevent that from happening.


  • Does this email, text or comment warrant a response? If this person is trying to upset you, are you able to overlook it and just respond to what is needed? Or perhaps it may be best to ignore the email altogether.
  • Wait to hit send. You can write the email right away, but sit on it for 24 hours. Perhaps have a spouse, friend or co-worker proofread it first. Often times, if we respond too quickly, our emotions may cause us to write things we wouldn’t normally say or write. It may feel good to counter attack in the moment, however most of the time, it feels much worse after the fact.
Ultimately, let’s slow down.  Think twice before quickly responding. Wait until the emotional charge is gone and consider the intent of the sender, if the intent is likely to get a rise out of you, take charge of your emotions and decide for yourself if it is worth it. Perhaps if the “button pusher” sees they are not able to get a reaction from you, they will likely stop playing the game.

Dondi Gesick has availability at both our Stover office in Fort Collins as well as our Greeley location.