What’s behind our buttons?

By Val Boyko • December 23rd, 2010

We’ve been talking about our buttons and how mothers and daughters are really good at identifying them and pushing each others. I was dipping into John Welwood’s book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships as I was thinking about the buttons that we have.

John Welwood talks about the wounding of our heart that takes place when we are very young. This is when we realize that our mother/parents cannot love us unconditionally and cannot meet all our needs. It’s when we cry and noone comes, or when we want comfort and there’s noone there. We suddenly become insecure and very fearful about not being fully loved.  This leads to what he calls the mood of unlove. When we don’t feel fully loved  as we are …. or appreciated, accepted, respected, acknowledged, valued …. the mood of unlove shows up.

He’s talking about buttons and our deepest need when he writes:

“The mood of unlove often shows up in the form of sudden emotional flare ups in reaction to any hint of being slighted or badly treated. It’s as if a reservoir of distrust and resentment were ready and waiting to be released, which the tiniest incident can trigger. Even caring and compassionate people often carry within them a fair share of  unlove and righteous grievance, which can suddenly erupt under certain circumstances.”

So when Mom makes a comment about the way we look or do things, we don’t feel fully loved and the wound of our heart opens up along with the mood of unlove. Our automatic reactions are ways we protect ourselves from feeling unloved. But the hurt will be there until we acknowledge and embrace it, and learn to fully love ourselves.

Helping to understand where our buttons come from and becoming conscious of them will help us get a new perspective and start to let go of the hold they have on our unconscious reactions.

Could it be that simple … that all we want is to feel fully loved … really?

What do you think?



Lovely sharp publish. By no means believed that it was this straightforward. Extolment to you!


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