What Pushes Your Buttons?

(Last week I wrote The Control Epidemic and to be completely honest the content of that blog didn’t even really come close to being what I thought it would be, so I decided to do a whole other blog on what I actually wanted to write last week, so these two blogs kind of go together. Oh and I have no clue if all of that made sense or not. 🙂 )

You know how the smallest thing can cause major reactions?

Like the guy you accidentally cut off this morning as you drove to work. It seemed like a minor incident to you but not so much for him and he lets you know by blaring his horn, tailgating you for the next mile, then he speeds past you only to slam on the brakes right in front of you.

Then he leaves and you can only assume he feels better about himself after he let you know how he feels about your careless driving.

Except I think we all know he probably doesn’t feel very good about his actions, quite possibly he even regrets them.

Have you ever wondered tho, what made him react so aggressively to such a small thing?

Maybe he was just having a bad day and that was the final straw, that was the thing that made him finally lose his cool.

I think it’s safe to assume tho that the real issue runs a little deeper, actually I think it runs a lot deeper.

You probably have had those moments in your life, I think it’s safe to say that most (all?) humans have them.

Your day is going quite fine and then the smallest thing can happen and suddenly you find yourself snapping at the offender or the offense and honestly you have no idea why you had such huge reaction to such a small thing.

They call it the ‘Flight, Fight or Freeze mode.’ (We’ll call it FFFM for short.)

When you are physically under attack, like if your house is on fire and you’re still inside, you will react instinctively and logical thinking will often leave, it’s as if every part of your body is suddenly on high alert, your instincts will take over and you will react in one of three ways…

You will fight,you will flee or you will freeze.

This is why people do crazy things in a moment of panic and if the situation is bad enough, your brain will literally shut down on you and you will be operating fully in FFFM.

Here’s the part that is fascinating to me.

When we are under attack emotionally, our bodies and mind enter the exact same fight, flight or freeze mode as it will in a moment of physical attack.

Another interesting fact is this: Our subconscious minds hold information that we don’t realize is there.

So, if someone was hurt deeply as a child or even a newborn, they might not remember the actual event but this will still be programmed in their subconscious mind and the smallest thing like a scent, a feeling or even the sound of a persons voice that resembles something about this painful event will trigger this person to react in FFFM.

Another thing that often sends people into FFFM is when their self control is stepped on.

Ok, so when you were a child, your parents basically controlled you, I mean it is after all their job right? 🙂

Sometimes though, parents take it to far and they control their kids in a negative, harsh or unfair way which then results in the child feeling like their self control is being stepped on or doesn’t matter.

For more on this read The Control Epidemic.

Remember, no one can control you, but if you have a parent who tried to, you will probably have triggers that don’t make a whole lot of sense to you unless you already traced it back to your childhood and realized that when my parent did ‘this’, it made me feel like ‘this’ and that is why I react so strongly to similar scenarios.

Ok, I feel like I am talking in circles so here’s a hypothetical example.

Maybe your parent yelled at you a lot, maybe it wasn’t even really negative words but they often used their loud and stern ‘get it done’ voice. This didn’t seem to bother your brother or sister, they just went with flow and even soon cultivated loud and demanding voices of their own.

But you… you were the tenderhearted one and you hated loud, demanding voices and every single time that voice was used on you, you shriveled up a little on the inside and after awhile you automatically went into FFFM which means if you are a fighter, you probably ended up talking back to you parent, if you’re runner, you probably took yourself as far away from that person as possible, and if you freeze in tense situations, you probably quietly took it, without responding but on the inside the wall around your heart was being built higher and higher.

Your mind has now fully recognized any loud, demanding voice as a threat, which basically means you will view any person with a loud demanding voice, that you ever meet, at any time in your life, as a threat.

If this pain has never been dealt with, you will find yourself entering FFFM even now, it doesn’t matter if you are 20, 60 or even a hundred years old. If this pain has not been dealt with you will still enter FFFM every single time you meet someone with a loud demanding voice.

Interesting, isn’t it?

This will even play a role in the way you parent your kids. If you have a child who will yell at you if she doesn’t get her way, you will probably find yourself entering FFFM.

What is your trigger?

What is it that people (sometimes even your own children) do or say that makes your blood pressure rise, your heart skip a beat with frustration, what puts every fiber of your being on edge. You snap at them, or avoid them because your mind has just recognized them as a threat to the control you have over your own life.

They literally become a threat in your subconscious mind and they probably have absolutely no idea.

Now for some good news. 🙂

What makes you snap? What pushes your buttons?

If you think about it, you will probably find a pattern.

Maybe you feel uptight every time someone disrespects you and if you trace it back to your childhood you might find that your parents didn’t respect you as an individual person with feelings and an opinion of your own in the way they parented.

This is the part where you need to use caution, the goal of getting to the root of it, is NOT so you can tell your parents how messed up their parenting was, it is NOT so you can hold a grudge against them for the way they hurt you, it’s not even so you can go tell them you forgive them, although forgiveness is actually the end goal.

Chances are they have no idea they even hurt you so why stir up trouble? (However sometimes, you may need to talk to them about in order to find healing and be able to move past it.)

Talk to God about it first though and forgive your parents, move past it. Move forward and don’t look back.


You can’t relive the past but you can enter the future with a passion to make a difference.

So, here’s to hoping you find FREEDOM through understanding a bit about the FFFM. 🙂

(And that my friends is the blog that was supposed to written under the title The Control Epidemic but somehow that blog kind of had a mind of it’s own and ended up telling a different story.)  🙂



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