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Book Jacket

240 pages
Jul 2004
Integrity Publishers

Who's Pushing Your Buttons?: Handling the Difficult People in Your Life

by Dr. John Townsend

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


This book is for those who have thought, "If I loved her (him) enough, she (he) would change." When dealing with challenging relationships, Dr. John Townsend and his frequent co-author Dr. Henry Cloud, have become the resource people often turn to. Who's Pushing Your Buttons is the latest in Townsend's toolbox for those desiring to deal with a difficult person in a healthy manner.

Engaging and conversational, this book speaks to those who have "tried everything" but their button-pusher continues to negatively affect them in ways others cannot. A button-pusher is not a relationship you can easily walk away from, or it may be one you don't want to walk away from. A button-pusher typically is someone who matters to you such as a spouse, a child, a parent, or a co-worker.

Townsend lists common mistakes people make in the dance with a button-pusher, including wondering if you are the crazy one, trying to reason with the unreasonable, enabling, nagging, threatening without follow-up, and reacting. These techniques leave you exhausted and frustrated.

Who's Pushing Your Buttons is a grace-based plan of instituting consequences with a goal of encouraging positive growth in both you and your button-pusher. According to Townsend, "Your button pusher may have been the trigger, or catalyst, that got you in touch with your need, hunger and brokenness, as is often the case."

Townsend recommends getting involved with supportive people who help you set and enforce appropriate consequences for negative behavior. "Consequences tend to be more productive when they are about loss of relationship. The reason for this is that, at the core of our being, we were designed by God to be relational creatures. Your button-pusher needs connection with people for many reasons. Relationship is a lifeline to our existence, and isolation is one of the most profound pains in existence. So when an attachment is jeopardized, it tends to get someone's attention," Townsend says, adding, "This is not true in every setting, as is sometimes the case with very detached or self-absorbed individuals, but as a rule it is the best place to start."

If this feels like you're doing all the hard work of having your buttons pushed and then instituting the boundaries for change, that's reality. Townsend explains, "Often, button-pushers never went through a childhood in which they received consistent, loving, strict and appropriate limits. Now they are three-year-olds in an adult body!"

Who's Pushing Your Buttons will be helpful for those whose button-pusher is willing to grow. I hope Townsend's next book is for those in relationship with "very detached or self-absorbed individuals." PeggySue Wells, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

In this insightful book, Dr. John Townsend introduces a revolutionary approach to resolving problems and moving ahead constructively with those difficult people in our lives.

Whos Pushing Your Buttons? takes an in-depth look at the "root" of why difficult people are the way they are, and assists with strategies to navigate these relationships in a way that maximizes change, growth and love between people. Most people have no idea how to reach out to, confront, negotiate with or set appropriate limits with their difficult person. Whos Pushing Your Buttons? provides both principles and practical help from a uniquely biblical perspective.