How to Keep People from Pushing Your Buttons by Albert Ellis
Today’s world can be pretty nutty. And not just at the global level (world events, the economy, social issues), but also in our day-to-day lives. In business, those who still have jobs after all the recent “downsizings” are working more hours. Competition, rapid response to opportunities, change, strategic redirection, risktaking, doing more with less, and economic constraints are the names of the game.
In our personal lives, both parents in most families work, lots of families break up and recombine as new families, there are zillions of “things” to get done with so little time. (Remember the bubble-bath commercial “Calgon, take me away!”? Fat chance.) The challenges and demands of marriage and parenting can be staggering—and, often, single people have at least as many pressures balancing work, friends, intimate relationships, social activities, and tasks.
It’s no wonder that in these times people and things alike can really push our buttons. It can be a person who pushes our buttons: a “know it all” colleague, an overly critical boss, a defensive supervisee, an insensitive spouse, a difficult child, a whiney friend, an indifferent service person, a negative relative. How many times have you heard people say, “I love my job, but my boss drives me nuts!”? Or, “You kids are making me crazy!”? Or, “I just hate it when he always… !”?
Sometimes “they” push our buttons on purpose, and at other times, though it’s not even intentional, we still get upset, defensive, hurt, or furious. Sometimes it’ s a “thing,” an event, a task, a decision, a deadline, a change, a crisis, a problem, or an uncertainty. Take for example changing careers, getting divorced or married, buying a house, going on a job interview, speaking in front of a group, traffic, boring meetings, mechanical breakdowns (car, washer, computer), or the babysitter doesn’t show up when you have show tickets.
Many of the most popular shows on TV (Roseanne, Coach, Seinfeld, Frazier, Fresh Prince, Married With Children) are examples of people pushing each other’s buttons constantly. And we can all relate to them. But it doesn’t have to be like that! We’re not suggesting that real life is like Ozzie and Harriet or Leave It to Beaver! Most of us, however, can do a lot better at not letting people and things get to us.
This book gives you specific, realistic ways to keep people and things from pushing your buttons. There’s no theoretical mumbo-jumbo and no touchy-feely psychology here—nor is this a shallow “positive-thinking quickie.” Rather, it is a very specific set of skills for directing how you preferably should react when people and things push your buttons. And it works! We have given over 10,000 presentations on these skills, all over the world. They are equally applicable in our work and in all our personal lives. The situations and circumstances maybe quite different, but the skills apply everywhere.
The goal of this book is to show you how you can live an active, alive, vigorous—even demanding—life and not be a casualty of your own efforts. We will give you a powerful set of skills so that your bosses, colleagues, supervisees, spouses, kids, parents, neighbors, friends, lovers, and other people you deal with day-to-day no longer push your buttons. Rarely do all these people get to us all the time, but most of us have let someone push our buttons sometime.
Life is short and precious. We want to help you to succeed at what you are doing and enjoy the trip. We will show you how to take control of your overreactions to the people and things that push your buttons.
Chapter 1 – How We Let People and Things Push Our Buttons
Chapter 2 – Nutty Beliefs We Use to Let Others Push Our Buttons
Chapter 3 – Realistic Preferences: A Powerful Alternative to the Nutty Thinking We Do That Upsets Us
Chapter 4 – Ten Nutty Beliefs That We Use to Let People and Situations Needlessly Push Our Buttons
Chapter 5 – How to Change Your Irrational Thinking: Four Steps to Success
Chapter 6 – How to Keep People and Things From Pushing Your Buttons on the Job
Chapter 7– Spouses: The Ultimate Button-Pushers
Chapter 8 – Parenting: The Penultimate Test
Chapter 9 – A Plethora of Button-Pushers
Chapter 10 – Go Get ’Em!