Rejection is defined by Cambridge dictionary is:
The act of refusing to accept, use, or believe someone or something:
The government's rejection of the plans is a setback for us.
It is also the act of refusing to be involved with another, in business, friendship and romantic relationships.
Rejection can make you feel:
It can cause great pain. It creates a wound as deep as a knife piercing your heart. When I am using tarot cards, the three of swords is a good depiction.
It demonstrates the pain, almost betrayal feeling of the rejection. Good therapy has this to say about rejection, “According to research, the same brain pathways that are activated by physical pain are also activated by social pain, or rejection. Receptor systems in the brain also release natural painkillers (opioids) when an individual experiences social pain, the same as when physical pain is experienced.: (1) As far as the tarot goes, even though the depiction is severe there is an understanding that it is temporary, or this too shall pass. It is an event not a destination.
It now has a psychological name, Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is an intense emotional response caused by the perception that you have disappointed others in your life and that, because of that disappointment, they have withdrawn their love, approval, or respect. (2)
In real life the pain can feel unbearable. When I first got sober and had a disappointment in a friendship my sponsor told me to sit through the pain, don’t act on anything, talk to friends, and write about it. She also said if I did that, it would never be that bad again. She was right. I have experienced pain or rejection, but now I understand it and it is not as deep as it was the first time in sobriety.
It can cause symptoms like those experienced with PTSD. Rejection can lead to depression, especially in adolescence. The trauma can affect people psychologically. Children who feel rejected by one or both parents can find it difficult to succeed with relationships and in life generally. The fear they have of being rejected can trigger a response in which they refuse to be vulnerable. They will not want to risk rejection. OR….
It can also create a catch 22 pattern. This occurs when a person fears rejection and unwittingly sets up the situations that create it. It is evidenced a person gets involved with someone who is unavailable or falls in love too quickly. Then when the inevitable situation arises where they perceive rejection, it reaffirms their worst fears. It creates feelings of unworthiness, leading to behaviors that are destructive. An example of this is going from one bad relationship to another, hoping this one will save you, or be your soulmate. When really you are creating the same situations over and over. For a brief period in the beginning of a new relationships you have hope. This time will be different, then something happens, you feel rejected, and the process starts over again. Scientist Albert Einstein stated, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (2)
Eating disorders and self-harming behaviors like cutting can also manifest from rejection. It can also aggravate situations that result in extreme anxiety. Abuse in intimate relationships can result from rejection or just the fear of rejection. People have murdered other people, fearing they would be rejected.
Now that I have said all that there is a solution. I am a spiritual person, so my solutions are spiritual in nature. In this case it is self-love, or the desire for self-preservation. We are after all spiritual beings having a human experience. I will go into self-love more in-depth in another video. This video will reveal my journey of self-love in this situation based on my work in recovery within a 12-step program.
As I stated the first time, I encountered my “peak rejection” experience in the first three months of my sobriety. It was not someone I was in love with but slightly dependent on. I had a confidant in those early difficult days. I spoke with him nightly; I came to rely on him. The relationship was plutonic, and I was ok with that. Until he suggested he was not really liking sobriety and he was going to start drinking again. I was so devastated and feared losing his company. I was not well put together myself at that point. I felt as if I would die, like it was a knife pierced my heart. I thought perhaps I should go drink with him. Luckily, I called my sponsor, and she pulled me down to earth. Basically saying, “You are going to give up your sobriety for a guy you don’t know well, that wants to go drink?”. I realized how absurd it sounded and asked what I could do about it. What could I do about this horrible thing that was killing me? She gave me the following suggestions:
- First sit still and do nothing-tell that to a squirming mass of nerves
- Go to an AA meeting and talk about it
- Call people and talk about it
- Write about it
- Get enough sleep and eat well
- Pray and meditate
She said the feelings would not kill me, and once I went all the way through them, they would never be that deep or scaring again. The most profound suggestion for me was to sit through the feelings and experience them. Like I said I thought they would kill me. Every day got easier, I never heard from him again, and I stayed sober. Though I have experienced great pain in sobriety it has never been that deep, and I have always known what to do with it.
There is another issue besides the ones I outlined, an emotional one. I call it the Hook of rejection. Have you ever dated anyone and thought, they are o.k. but I am not that interested, or you have just plain taken their inventory? Then they break the relationship off, “I am sorry I am not feeling it.” Suddenly you feel rejection, disbelief, and outrage, when at first you didn’t even care for them. You say things, I was just starting to care for him/her. You feel ‘not good enough’ and feel as if you want to keep the relationship going. That rejection creates an illusionary hook that makes the person more desirable. You may here yourself say, “If he/she just knew who I really am, or I will show her/him.” I have read for people that become despondent over situations like these. It affects their self-esteem creating almost a victim mentality. No one will ever get me or love me…. That is extreme but I have seen it happen. So, when the person you don’t like says its not working. Say thank you and move on. They have created space for someone you will like and whom with you will be able to develop a meaningful relationship.
One of the greatest things I got out of that experience is that feelings cannot kill you, I am capable of living through them, recovering and going on with life. This sounds a little dramatic I know, but I have spoke to men and women who are sure the feelings will kill them, and they must act on them. So, they call or text the beloveds 30 times or more in a day. The stalk their beloved’s social media pages, sleep with people they don’t like, spend money they don’t have and various other self-destructive behaviors. Then they still feel bad and have created worse issues for themselves and the people around them. Again, there is real recovery. I personally did not formally date until I was 9 months sober, so by that time I healed the wound and was not dragging it around with me. Before recovery this was my normal pattern of behavior.
There are more complex spiritual issues around some of these behaviors. These are my experiences in reading people for the last 25 years, and in my own recovery. For me when I drank, I was a flight person. You know flight or fight? I would sabotage or leave relationships when they looked like they were going south. Because my thinking was so distorted, that seemed to happen frequently in my estimation. So, me sitting still through real painful feelings did lead to recovery. I am a spiritual reader, so if you would like to talk to me about these or other issues, connect with at the link below.
- Staff, (2021), Rejection, Good Therapy, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/rejection
- Dodson, William M.D., L.F-APA, (2019), [Self-Test] Could You Have Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria? Attitude Mag, https://www.additudemag.com/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria-adhd-symptom-test/
- Tweed, Carter, (2019), Einstein’s insanity quote, alternate memories, https://www.alternatememories.com/historical-events/people/einsteins-insanity-quote
- Photo one- Rider Waite Tarot can be purchased at angelicvisions-healing.com
- Staff, (2021), Rejection, Cambridge Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridg