FEAR OF REJECTION
Everybody faces rejection at some time in their life. Sometimes we are rejected for a job and occasionally we face a rejection in relationships. Most people just forget about the rejection and get on with their lives, looking for new and better opportunities.
But there are some who are taken aback by rejection and can’t accept the fact. After several rejections, these people acquire a fear of rejection, which prevents them from giving their best and results in still more rejection. So the fear of rejection develops into a vicious circle.
Many people who experience fear of rejection have had a troubled childhood. They did not feel loved by their parents or other family members, and an odious comparison with siblings or other children brought on a feeling of inadequacy.
Many of these children imitate the behavior of those who they admire in a misguided attempt to fulfill their parents’ expectations, resulting in them trying to discard their own personality and disguise themselves as someone else. They grow up to be adults with low self esteem and distorted personalities. This is clearly a wound in the Sovereign archetype.
Sufferers tend to exhibit a particular pattern of behavior. They are unwilling to communicate openly and hesitate to express their views. And if their views happen to be different from those of the ones they are trying to please, they find it difficult to disagree and keep their personal feelings hidden. This means putting their feelings into shadow, the part of ourselves we hide, repress and deny.
Fear of rejection in relationships often comes from previous rejections or failed relationships. Sufferers do not want to initiate a relationship for fear of being turned down. When in a relationship they tend to take it too seriously, too soon. Such overthinking is the area of personality controlled by the magician, the archetype otherwise known as the transformer.
This can be disturbing to the other person and result in a failed relationship. People with a fear of rejection are often manipulated by the people they try to please. In groups, they are always at the periphery and are not allowed within their inner circle.
Fear of rejection, like many other social phobias, can be overcome by positive action. Here are a few tips for overcoming the fear of rejection. Many sufferers have become conditioned to always trying to please others. So become aware of when you’re feeling this way and learn to say ‘no’ when people’s demands or requests seem unreasonable.
By saying ‘no’ you are respecting your own needs and boosting your self confidence. Also you will learn to understand and respect those occasions when people say no to you.
Learn how to please yourself and work out in advance your needs for the day and calculate how to achieve them. Don’t let yourself be sidetracked by others who ant to put their needs before yours. This will show you the way to feeling comfortable about saying ‘no’ to others if you feel the need.
Remember that you have a fundamental right to be happy. Don’t allow your feelings of self-worth be governed by whether or not you’re rejected by other people. If you face rejection, tell yourself to move on. If you are rejected for a job or experience any other form of rejection, simply move on and don’t take it personally. Start looking for other opportunities which may turn out better.
Always remember that if you hold back from interacting with people because of your fear of rejection, you miss out on the possibility of acceptance and all that it can bring. If you place yourself in a position where people can’t say ‘no’, then you don’t offer them the opportunity to say ‘yes’.
WOUNDING REJECTION AND SELF-CONFIDENCE
While working as a therapist, I have come across many men and women who have an extreme fear of rejection which has been based on the pain they have experienced when previous relationships have come to an end.
How ironic, do you not think, that we can be prevented from getting into a relationship because of our fear of what we may experience when it comes to an end?
And yet, where human relationships are concerned, such fear is far from uncommon. Would you believe it possible that a man or woman could refrain from engaging in a sexual relationship, simply because they feared rejection?
I suppose to some of you that may not come as a surprise, but perhaps those of you who find this a little disquieting may be reassured if I define “rejection” by means of a story about a client of mine.
One man who came to see me was so traumatized by his sexual experience that he had not sought out a relationship after his first disastrous experience with a woman at the age of 18.
Somewhat older than him, she had derided his sexual competence after he ejaculated within two minutes of intercourse starting. In fact, she told him to get out of her bed and get out of the house, and never to see her again.
This proved to be so traumatic for the man concerned, possibly because he felt shamed, but more likely because the sheer rejection was too much to cope with, and far too damaging for his self-esteem to be easily rebuilt, that he had never attempted to form a sexual relationship with a woman again — until he came to see me at the age of 37.
Now then, you begin to see the power of rejection?
I would define rejection as anything that severs connection between two or more people, no matter how tenuous; or anything which can leave your his self-esteem in tatters due to the way an individual had spoken to you, behaved towards you, or feels towards you.
After all, rejection is really, at its root, about the existential denial of another person’s right to be different to yourself, another person’s right to do whatever they are doing, another person’s right to be there, or another person’s right to have the characteristics that they have (such as premature or delayed ejaculation).
I know it’s a very sweeping and wide definition, but I believe it to be appropriate. When you think about it, one of the key factors in maintaining social order is to exclude those who have failed to comply with society’s system of control, its dictates, orders, legislation, and customs even.
You see this in many animal societies, particularly those which depend on a social existence for survival against predators: horses, for example, will exclude an individual from the herd for as long as it takes to modify its behavior. When re-admitted to the herd, the behavior of the excluded individual is very different. Very conforming.
So exclusion and rejection are powerful weapons that animals and humans use, unconsciously or consciously, against each other in the search for — well, what? Social dominance, social order, social exclusion?
So why, for example, would a woman in bed with the young man mentioned above, berate and deride him for his failure to sustain intercourse for longer than a few minutes?
Certainly this may have reflected a disappointment, but it’s an unkind and harsh way of expressing disappointment. Does this mean that rejection is sometimes the consequence of people’s inexperience, social ability or lack of social ability?
Might it be that when disappointment is expressed in such profound terms of rejection, that the real problem lies in the emotional in articulacy of the person who is wounding the other?
Yes, to some extent, certainly. But it also lies in the fact that person wounded is sensitive enough to be damaged by this rejection, and not strong enough to stand up and put a boundary in place which would consist, perhaps, of something like: “That is completely unacceptable; do not speak to me like that; I have no intention of seeing you ever again.”
This of course is something that comes from self-confidence and social experience, so we’re beginning to form a picture, perhaps, of people who feel rejection, or rather more accurately fear rejection, as those who may not be particularly self-confident, those who perhaps have weak boundaries, and those who have been wounded in childhood.
The problem is of course that in childhood there are many ways we can be wounded.
We are very sensitive as individuals by nature, and because of the need for social interaction, and in particular the need to be part of a group, it’s especially true that those of us who are brought up without consideration and respect will be very sensitive indeed to rejection.
Exclusion from the group is exclusion from many other things — not just internal values like appreciation and approval, but sometimes, at least, biologically and instinctually, exclusion from protection, survival and even existence itself.