How to Overcome Rejection Issues (Part One)

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Buying into the lie

When you look at the world today, especially the celebrity world; everybody wants to be the next Rihanna, Beyoncé , Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, Drake or the next biggest thing. The media bombards us with images of beautiful people, in exotic beautiful places. These subliminal messages convince people into believing that in order to be successful in life, we have to look like this, or have this, or be doing that.

But when we view those images and compare ourselves, it seems like we fall short of the ideal. Many people already feel insecure about themselves on the inside and now they are made to feel even worse about their physical appearance. Some people even go to the extent of having major reconstructive plastic surgery to look like their idols, believing the lie.

If you don’t know who you really are and your purpose you want to become other people. I believe there is an identity crisis in the world today.

Some people may say, well, there’s nothing wrong with being like someone else, to aspire to do great things. It’s true there’s nothing wrong with admiring someone who seems to have made it, and you have aspirations to be just as successful if not more. There doesn’t seem to anything wrong with that. But there’s everything wrong with wanting to be like someone else because you don’t like who you are.

Why does Rejection hurt?

So where do rejections come from? Or rather why do we respond to rejection in such a negative manner ? Why can’t we just get on with life, why does it affect us so much? Because rejection affects the way we think about ourselves. The way we think about ourselves will influence our behaviour, which in turn, affects everything we do in life.

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In order to solve any problem/issue, one needs to go to the root. With my experience in counselling people with behavioural issues, the common practice is to investigate their past, the first occurrence or the beginning and start of the problem. What occurred in their past that caused the current behavioural patterns? Like for example you ask how their childhood was and if there was anything that happened in their childhood, or was there anything that happened in their life that made them feel less than, inferior, or the first occurrence of a some form of rejection in their lives. Most issues with rejection do stem from childhood but not always. Some stem from teenage years, maybe from bullying or pressure to conform etc and also adulthood.

So probably, from the first occurrences of rejection/abandonment/abuse, there would have been this thought implanted in their mind that they were not good enough. And that thought would have continued going through their mind and if something happened that was similar to the earlier sense of rejection, that thought or lie would arise again, almost to justify those initial thoughts,’I told you you are useless’. So a person who has been sexually abused or abandoned/rejected as a child will have this thought implanted in their mind that no one will ever want them, no one will ever desire them, or love them. So they withdraw from people thinking they’re unloveable.

Or some who have the same thoughts will cling to every person, every relationship, whether it’s toxic or not and their thoughts will be ‘I will do whatever I can, be whatever you want so that you will love me. Even though I’m unloveable , I will make you love me’, the same thoughts/ lies manifests itself differently in different people and different situations.

So the person has continued to believe that thought as the truth. It’s like a seed that has been planted in their mind and their thinking has caused the seed to grow and grow into a large oak tree till it permeates their whole existence and destroys their life. How do you destroy a tree? You chop it down from its roots, you up root the tree. That thought, or lie begins to affect the way they think about themselves, it begins to affect the way they interact with people, it begins to affect the way they live their life. Get rid of the roots so it doesn’t grow again.

So the root started from the seed that’s had been planted, those thoughts that have been able to grow. Uproot the thoughts that says your useless, unwanted, undesirable, uproot feelings of worthlessness, uselessness, feelings of not belonging, of not fitting in, feeling like an outsider, feelings of insecurity, feeling unloveable, uncared for, not wanted, unappreciated, despised, feelings of shame.

Signs and Symptoms of People Dealing with Rejection Issues (Part Two)

(Contd from Signs and Symptoms of People dealing with Rejection Issues (Part One) )

3. People dealing with rejection issues can be extremely defensive, they don’t like to be corrected, they always have a comeback, always have to have the last word. They are extremely competitive and can be jealous of other people’s achievements, and are never satisfied with where they are in life. Because they want to be bigger and better than everybody else, as then they will receive acceptance, approval and validation. They believe their identity is wrapped up in their performance which explains their extremely driven nature. They are high achievers. Like I said before, they go out of their way to please people and when it’s not reciprocated they withdraw feeling used and abused. Then they meet new friends or reconcile with old ones and the cycle of ‘cleaving and leaving’ continues.

4. Some people with rejection issues do not trust anyone. They keep everyone at arms length, they create a wall of resistance and they don’t let anyone through, or let anyone into their heart for fear of being hurt. They do not have really intimate relationships because of fear of rejection. They relate to people on a superficial level, they withdraw from anything too deep. If it starts to get intense, they will do a runner, that is they leave the relationship. It’s like I’ll leave you before you leave me. They’re always pushing people away, they don’t want to be hurt, they don’t want to be rejected. It’s too painful for them and it reminds them of the past hurts.

5.This person is always angry, angry with people, angry with life. There is a deep rooted resentment and bitterness that comes up when there is some form of conflict with someone. They go from 0 to 100 at the slightest perceived provocation. Or they will engineer conflict so that they can verbally or physically attack someone. It’s almost like they want to hurt someone as much as they are hurting. They also rebel against authority and do not like to conform to societies rules. They are extremely opinionated, and they don’t have patience with others who express views contrary to their own. They misread or misrepresent intentions, that is, someone may say something and they will feel you’re attacking or saying something demeaning about them. I remember a friend of mine who was complaining about a person in her church, who was always offended with whatever topic she was preaching, because she thought the pastor was referring or talking about her. My friend had spent time with this person to help her work through her problems, but it seems like she was still struggling with some issues.

6. These people are quiet and sensitive, they hold things in and don’t speak out. They never speak their mind because they don’t want to be judged or rejected by anybody. If someone does something to them, they will hold it in and not say anything, they will hold the resentment in until someone does something trivial to them and then they let it all out- like an avalanche. Very judgemental and they judge themselves a lot. For example, if they say hello to someone and the person didn’t reply, they begin to think, and think, and think about what they did to that person, they won’t let it go ( I used to be like this!) in their mind, they will think about the last time they talked to that person, ‘maybe I was rude, or wasn’t listening that’s why she didn’t greet me?’ Maybe the person didn’t even hear the greeting at all or was distracted by someone else that’s why she didn’t respond.

All these symptoms have to do with a faulty belief system. What you believe about yourself, you will eventually become. Proverbs 23:7. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. This is what the bible says, what it means is that the way you think about yourself is what you will eventually become. These people have believed a lie and it is affecting their life, their relationships, their career. So how can a person overcome the obstacles and hindrances that rejection brings? I would like to address that in my next blog. Stay tuned!

Signs and Symptoms of People dealing with Rejection Issues (Part One)

We all go through rejection at some point in our lives. Whether it was not being chosen for the school netball/basketball team, or not selected for an interview or being rejected by a boy/girl we like. For some people it’s really not a big deal at all, life goes on, we just shrug our shoulders and say to ourselves,’ oh, well, never mind, better luck next time’ and we move on with our lives. But unfortunately there are some people that rejection affects very very deeply, it impacts on their whole life in a really big way. For some it is so soul destroying and devastating it has lead to broken relationships, addictions and even suicide.

Why? Because at some point in their lives they received rejection or were involved in some form of traumatic experience at a very vulnerable point in their lives; and it imprinted itself in their innermost being and so they have believed the ‘lie’ that they’re not good enough, unwanted and unloveable (I know this is a really deep subject, I just feel I’ve got to talk about it because I know some people close to me and some people who I’ve talked to who are really going through this, or have gone through it).

This rejection (or spirit of rejection) leads to feelings of worthlessness, uselessness, feelings of not belonging, of not fitting in, feeling like an outsider, feelings of insecurity, feeling unloveable, uncared for, not wanted, unappreciated, despised, feelings of shame. People who have been sexually molested and abused also seem to carry these rejection issues.

As a pastoral counsellor, I have listened and counselled many people, and I’ve found that if you go to the root of most of people’s issues, a lot of the times, it can be traced back to some rejection/abandonment or neglect that happened in the past.

From my experience, (not all symptoms are exhibited in one person, but many of them can be) here are the signs that someone is suffering from rejection issues:

1. They are very possessive and clingy. When they’re in a relationship, they are extremely clingy, they’re always suspicious of their partner seeing someone else. Some times you can be suspicious of your partner if you’ve experienced cheating in the past. But I think this goes way deeper than that. There may not have been any cheating at all, but because they’re so insecure, they believe something that is not there. They want to know where their partner is at all times, who they’re talking to on the phone and why they’re staring at that girl/guy? Suspicious of members of opposite sex around their partner. Very insecure people, scared that their partner will leave them for someone one else.

I know a few people who were like this and all of them, when they were young, their father left their mother or their father was non existent in their lives. So they grew up without a father figure in their life. They thought it was because their father didn’t love them and that’s why he left and they don’t have a father because they’re unloveable. When they were at school other children talked about their father but they could not because they didn’t have a father figure in their life, so that made them feel left out, not belonging ( I guess that was their first sense of not belonging.) So when they were older, ( most especially women) they became very insecure and felt like every male would leave them, just like their father did, because they believe they are unloveable. And because their behaviour is so suffocating, their partner will eventually leave because nobody can tolerate this kind of behaviour which will reenforce their belief that they are unlovable, and not wanted.

2. They go over and above and beyond for people, especially new friends or acquaintances.They do this for approval and affirmation from others. They feel that they have to go the extra mile so that thy can be accepted and not rejected. It’s almost like they feel that they have to work for love (something like that). The thing with that is that it can be quite exhausting for them to keep it up all the time. They are perfectionists and they are very performance-driven. They have this manic drive to excel at everything, there is nothing wrong with that in itself, but the reason – the motive. The real motive for their drive is their need for acceptance and approval from their peers. It’s like they have to prove to everyone they are not useless, because they don’t want to be rejected.

(Part Two continued tomorrow)