My oldest has been stirring the pot, so to speak, since birth. He really pushes my (and my husband's and his brother's) buttons and always has.
How do we handle it? Well, the check I write for preschool is about the most important line item in our budget. The next important line item in our budget is MY THERAPY!
His personality is intense and persistent and he does need to be coached when his behavior is out of bounds, but I've personally found it beneficial for my parenting to learn why certain things cause me to emotionally go off the deep end. And, therapy is a safe place to talk about how much my kid drives me completely bonkers without judgment. (My therapist has 2 boys who are a few years older than mine, so she's receptive with recent experience.)
What else? Oh, I build in times of the day to really connect with my son. I try to spend some time each day doing things he values. This isn't puzzles or craft time, but usually some fiercely active pretend play. Or, we'll go outside to do competitive-style activities - race to the other end of the basketball court, kicking the ball as far as we can, that sort of thing. Also, I lie down with him as he falls asleep each night. For him, once the lights are down and the distractions removed, he can talk about more calmly about the day. Each day, I ask about his favorite parts and the things he found challenging. And, I briefly go over what he did during the day to help his family. When he's just fallen asleep and I see his beautiful angel face, recharging for the next day's work of global domination, I can remember how innocent he is. He is not my adversary - he's my baby.
And, here's my favorite: Sometimes I look at him and notice how small he is. And, I think about how tough it must be to be such a frustrated person with no control over his life.
Some days are okay and some are horrible. And, about once a month, we have a mostly good day. I really appreciate the good days.
ALL THAT SAID - if my son was being verbally or physically abusive, I would find ways to put an end to that. Respect is a two way street and calling mom "stupid" at 4 doesn't fly in my house. It sounds like it's time to revisit how you are responding to him and how you are possibly encouraging his behavior. Does he get your attention certain ways? Is he taking out his frustration about life on you or is everyone in his path of conflict? The book "Playful Parenting" provided me some good ideas for how to diffuse conflict, and it helped me learn how to anticipate it so I could redirect the energy. I also don't do reminders. It's put on your shoes when I ask or you go barefoot. He tested that one! Once! He knows I mean what I say when I say it and that helps keep the power struggles down. He still pushes, but I'm like a rock. He gets lots of opportunity to choose throughout the day and to exercise his growing skill set, so when I lay down the law, thassit!
Sorry to write a book. Now I know why I don't post much - everything I write is 20 pages long and I sound like an idiot!