Are you Rejection Sensitive ?

All of us have felt rejected in small or big ways in our social life, it is an inevitable part of human relationships.

Examples are in every poem,many stories, paintings and most forms of art.
Art is a sublimation of a need to be validated or affirmed. It is a mature expression.And a mature ego defense against hurt.

When a child wears a new dress or makes a drawing or dances and is severely reprimanded for it,being told it is ugly,imperfect or out of place or context the child feels rejected. Chances are he or she won’t attempt to do the act,some stubborn artists (For whom it is like breathing) persist, but may never showcase it like Emily Dickinson whose 1500 or more short verses were discovered posthumously.

Many persons are not so sensitive to being rejected for their work (Repeated failures in an exam/interviews/process of learning ) but are highly sensitive to being rejected in the co-construction of a social role or failing to prove a social ability. Examples are,not being invited to a party / outing with friends . Or being held up on a date or being rejected as a mate in a sexual partnership.

Rejection usually leads to shame in vulnerable individuals. Inner experience of one self as an unattractive social agent / incompetent worker can be devastating to such individuals. They indulge in self blame for not being liked or wanted by the other person.

Self esteem is a complex construct including body self esteem , work related self esteem , social self esteem, sexual self esteem, moral self esteem , all dimensions of personality have a separate component of esteem. It is not a homogenous entity.

Rejection sensitivity can be associated with a body image disturbance. When many perfectionists find them selves as not so perfect physically and feel that their big nose, short neck , receding hairline, squint, One less finger or big mole is the root cause for being isolated socially, though it is they who are isolating themselves and not others! Body dysmorphic disorder of thinking one self to be too fat or too thin or too black oan even cost lives by unnecessary plastic surgeries or other dangerous invasive procedures.There are instances of being bullied for the one feature that you are conscious about, especially in childhood when you are most vulnerable, people could laugh at your stammer, being chubby , being short , or even your name! And actually induce a body dysmorphic disorder, as you are too small to know people who treat you badly are bad , it did not happen because you were bad.

What others think of me Versus What I think of my self seem to merge in the rejection sensitive persons , who can easily reject them selves when a significant other rejects them. Or they become extremely hostile and devalue the person who is rejecting them,which is equally pathological. Their self worth needs constant affirmation by others in their social sphere.And become people pleasers.

Many individuals who are abused sexually or emotionally or even physically tend to suffer from low self esteem and hence are very sensitive to rejection.
Some of the survivors of abuse feel humiliated by unwanted sexual attention as though they some how caused it, they take pathological responsibility for it,at the same time feel very insulted when excluded socially.

In Conclusion , it is important to recognize
. We all can not get the approval of everyone for any action at any given time
. If we failed at something,an interview ,or a job ,or publication ,there is always a next time.
. If one special girl did not accept your proposal may be she was already taken , may be she finds her self inadequate, or may be it is okay to not be wanted by the person we so badly want. To each his own.
. Very often the person who is rejecting you is doing so due to their own insecurities, including jealousy, diffidence or intolerance towards out of the box thinking or lateral thinking that many creative individuals possess. Sadly most creative individuals are also rejection sensitive.

As you pass through life , you do understand that falling in love was the magic…
Your ability to get fascinated or to be in awe of another is a form of innocence and you will deprive yourself of it , if you unleash an inner Taliban of self criticism. And the person who rejected had no clue how many beautiful things or works of art can be born when one sublimates that instinct or hurt and harness it as creativity or charity.
Being rejected is not as bad as losing the ability to love or connect with others.

Rejection sensitivity can give you a false sense of self protection , when it actually turns you away from people , love and connectivity. And even as you reject others as a reaction , you are hurting yourself.

Neurobiologically ability to develop inner warmth , compassion towards oneself , resensitizing oneself stimulates inner endogeneous opioids and improves health decreases pain sensitivity.
De-shaming , compassionate mind training are the strategies to tackle rejection sensitivity.

3 thoughts on “Are you Rejection Sensitive ?

  1. enjoyed reading this, not just because it truthfully/logically analyzes and provides solutions to a fundamental human problem, but that it suggests “being rejected is not as bad as losing the ability to love and connect with others.” this is the key thing – what do you do when you evetually find that one person who doesn’t reject you. if you do not have the ability to love and connect with that person, the rejection you face, having imagined you are loved (but don’t realize you couldn’t love back or connect), is more painful. balanced, intelligent post.


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