A hurtful word, the cold attitude of a person around us and here we are, feeling rejected as a whole. Where does this pernicious feeling come from and how to deal with it?
Interview with Beatriz Gaillet, trainer in helping relations within the framework of the Youth with a Mission movement in Brussels.
Why does feeling rejected hurt so much?
In feelings of rejection or abandonment, the important thing is not the reality of the event, but how it was experienced by the person. Rejection and abandonment hurt because they affect identity, dignity and self-esteem.
“Tying ourselves to” in a relationship goes back to the womb and continues after birth. At any age, abandonment and rejection cause deep suffering because they carry the unconscious memories of the first abandonments and rejections, with all the emotions that accompanied them. The anger, hatred and jealousy experienced then join those experienced during the last rejection, which explains why certain separations in a couple, certain divorces can be so violent and persecuting.
In the face of rejection, protective mechanisms are put in place. What are the consequences ?
During multiple rejections experienced in childhood, two protections can be put in place to varying degrees: withdrawal and aggression.
In withdrawal, we have an attitude of self-pity, grief, shame, sadness or even self-hatred. We feel a feeling of inferiority, guilt and confidence in oneself and in others is impaired. As we need others to be loved, recognized, we can become "conciliatory" by becoming what others want us to be. It's hard to say no. Aggression and anger are hidden, so as not to be badly received or ignored. We forge an identity to please, at the cost of who we really are. We create a bubble of protection, a secure world of our own, from which we only leave to ensure daily life.
How to get out of rejection?
Coming out of rejection requires being able to face the suffering of the past. There is a time in life when you are ready to do it. Here, we can easily draw inspiration from the approach of Alcoholics Anonymous, adapted to rejection: one, I admit that I am powerless in the face of rejection and that I have lost control of my life. Two, I have come to believe that God can help me in this area. And three: I decide to turn my life and my will over to the care of God.
In a Christian helping relationship, we approach the wounds of rejection either from the past or from the present, under the gaze of God. For each trauma that resurfaces, it is important to express to Jesus the sufferings, emotions and needs of the time. Then you have to let him "come in" in this moment to heal him.
At what stage should forgiveness intervene?
Forgiveness is a process. It can take a long time. The starting point is the will to forgive. Another step is to recognize the defenses that we have chosen to protect ourselves. You have to learn to protect yourself in a fair way, without denying your personality as you do by being too conciliatory, without disrespecting either. Where our defenses have hurt others, it is also right to ask for forgiveness yourself.
There will also be work to be done on false beliefs regarding images of father, mother, child, relationships and God. Receiving a true image of God as a father on this journey allows us to have a better relationship with him and to enter more and more into his intimacy.
Find more articles on spiritual, the magazine that brings together Christian women from the French-speaking world.
Article originally published on October 19, 2021
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