push someone's buttons
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (idiomatic) To do specific things to anger someone (less commonly, sexually arouse or otherwise elicit a strong reaction), especially intentionally or maliciously.
- You really knew how to push my buttons.
- Particularly used of actions that affect the recipient but not other people, such as bringing up a particular upsetting topic or performing an irritating activity.
- trigger (“to spark a response”)