How to respond when people try to push your buttons or wind you up

I think we’ve all experienced this where someone is purposely trying to push our buttons. Then they turn around and they try and they play the innocent victim. 

The best way to respond to a situation like this is not to give the person the response that they’re looking for. 

Don’t get upset, that’s what they want. Instead, use a polite comeback that lets them know that their behaviour is not acceptable.

And once you can see how they are trying to manipulate you, and you’re prepared, they will no longer hold any power over you.


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I shared this screenshot about a narcissist who purposely tried to wind you up in a Facebook group and it resonated with a lot of people, and had 191 likes. 

A relative used to do this to me all the time in public. She would even have a sly smile as she gained satisfaction from publicly humiliating and hurting me.

People who push buttons are looking for a reaction from you

The term “dog-whistling” gave me a lot of clarity about the game that this person plays. From now on, I will be able to easily identify when someone has this kind of behaviour.

It is like the person is trying to poke you with a stick to see how upset they can get you. 

Don’t give them the satisfaction!

10 things you can say when people are trying to wind you up or push your buttons

1. If you’re waiting for me to care it’s gonna be a while.

2. Don’t push me to the point that I don’t care. Even I have my limits.

3. Enough already! Do I need to duct tape your mouth today?

4. Honestly, you remind me of a migraine.

5. I  need to cancel my subscription to your issues. 

6. I’m not going to let your negativity bring me down.

7. I have not time to engage in drama or negativity.

8. I’m sorry, but I don’t find your behaviour amusing.

9. We need to end this conversation now.

10. I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is a productive conversation.

The best thing about it is that you can always be prepared for people who try to push your buttons, and expect it from them!

people who try to push your buttons
Photo courtesy of @understandingthenarc

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Do you have a tip for dealing with people who push buttons that you think people should know about? Leave it in the comments below.

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