Occasionally in classes, Gary Douglas will be facilitating someone who turns out to be a yes butter. Watching the ease with which he works with the client has brought many people to a greater awareness of their yes butting and how any of us can change it.
So first of all, what is yesbutting? Have you ever had a friend ask you for advice then have a reason for why every suggestion you offer won’t work? This is yes butting. It goes something like this. She say’s: “Would you please help me? I don’t know what to do about my husband’s cheating and it’s tearing me up! I can’t sleep, I’m just a nervous wreck!” You say: “Why don’t you find a facilitator to help you all talk about it?” she says: On no, that won’t work, he will never go.” You say: What if you went just for yourself? She says: “What good will that do, he’s the one who’s cheating and besides I don’t have the money”. You say: “What about asking him for a separation until this gets worked out?” She says: “Oh, I could never do that, what would my family think?”
Do you get the idea? The purpose of yes butting is to prove that, the person’s “problem” is so great that it can defeat anyone’s suggestions as to what might create change, that the person is a truly a helpless victim, and that they have a right to their trauma/drama for all eternity. The bottom line is that they actually have no interest in changing or giving up their problem.
While the above is an obvious example, many of us have much more subtle ones operating in our lives. Is there something in your life you’ve decided you can’t change? Your body? Your money situation? Your relationships? It might be helpful to ask yourself if you are engaging in any yes butting around that topic. This is in no way about blame, it’s about bringing more awareness to a situation so that you CAN change it. If you find some yes butting, you might ask yourself questions like these: What is the value of holding on to this the way it is? Who am I being with this “problem? What am I unwilling to receive here that if I would receive it would allow ______to change with ease? What’s possible with _____that’s beyond anything I’ve ever imagined? Everything is changeable if we are willing to change it and are not vested in what that change looks like. Yes butting is one way that we resist change.
If you find yourself in the role of the friend who is being yes butted, the easiest thing to do is to acknowledge that the person doesn’t desire to change. You can say something like: “Wow, I don’t think I’m powerful enough to defeat all of your reasons why this can’t change.” Or, “Hey Sally, let me know when you actually desire to change this.” Or: Your problem is so great that if I had it I would probably check myself into a hospital.” Or you can simply do the unhuh, unhuh, unhuh, “Oh I’m so sorry I just remembered an appointment I have and I need to go now. The trick is to not get drawn into the other person’s universe and start believing that what they are presenting is true or real.
Most of us engage in yes butting at some point in our lives. It can be a wake up call to be more aware and to make changes, or it can be an excuse to stay stuck. It’s just a choice!