Discussion Topic

Handling Rejection

Posted on 09/27/10, 09:23 am

First, rejection assigns blame; it is by assigning blame that your estranged child is able to feel absolved and free of any responsibility to work on the relationship or situation. *You* are the focus of rejection and the means by which the blame it assigns is expressed.

Your response to rejection is a CHOICE. You can stop a very ego damaging experience simply by choosing not to internalize the negative message you have received.

To avoid the harmful, long lasting effects of being rejected depends on your ability to understand the behavior of the individual who rejects, the way you choose to interpret the messages conveyed by rejection, and how you choose to integrate those messages into your sense of self.

To avoid internalizing your experience of rejection, you MUST make a choice to face your fears. As you share the emotions provoked by your experience, you will encounter others with similar stories - maybe worse. This is very vital in *turning the tide* of being rejected, suddenly your focus shifts from you, and what you may, or may not have done, to the knowledge that rejection is just an experience like any other negative experience. It is not about you, because if it was, there would not be so many others with similar stories, or worse.

Is rejection ever justified? Rejection begins with and ends by identifying the faults in the other party. It never acknowledges the strengths, the untapped potential, or change ability of the individual. It is not an expression of loyalty, and contributes nothing to a relationship except to absolve the person blaming from any responsibility to engage in problem solving or remain loyal.

For anyone dealing with rejection, it is frequently not what was done, but how it was done, what was said, and how the entire situation played out that ultimately results in that sense of unworthiness. To overcome feeling rejected, you must detach yourself from these memories of your experience and instead attach yourself to the reality of your unknown potential.

How do you stop feeling that you earned the rejection you received because of some fault in your personality, or deficiencies in your physical attributes, or because you could not be all you were expected to be? Here is a little exercise: jot down on a piece of paper, all the reasons for which you suspect, or maybe have even been told, that you were not worthy of love or acceptance. Which of these reasons detract from the uniqueness of who you are, the mysteries of your intrinsic gifts and talents, and most important, the potential you have for change? If your answer was *None,* then focus on your potential, not on the condemning messages of what you did or did not do. Be empowered today, knowing that you deserved that chance to evolve, to work on your potential.

Understanding the mechanisms of rejection and knowing that it is never, and I repeat, never warranted or earned are the most fundamental keys to safeguarding your self esteem and sense of self worth. This is a choice. You have to make a choice about how you are going to understand the messages of rejection you receive everyday, and how you are going to, or not going to, integrate these messages into your psyche.

Remember that facing your fears, expressing and sharing your experience, no matter how shameful, is vital in overcoming the aloneness that rejection creates and which sustains its impact.

Make a choice today to focus on the dynamic you and your untapped potential and you will be unscathed by any experiences of rejection.

Source: Claire Arene, MSW, LCSW.
Showing 1 - 10 of 14 Replies
  • Reply #1 09/27/10  11:49am
    Thank you! This was so helpful! Something I heard in my Al-Anon group was "Just because someone calls you a _________ doesn't mean you are a __________." We do have a choice about how we are going to understand the messages of rejection and how we are going to, or not going to, allow them to make us feel undeserving or unworthy of having the best life we can make for ourselves.

    So many of us have grown mentally, emotionally and spiritually since our estrangements that it is our adult childrens' loss that they do not know and appreciate the women we are today.
  • Reply #2 09/27/10  12:58pm
    Oh, good ole ego stomping rejection.Its one thing being dumped by a boyfriend, a longtime friend, and/or a husband. They can all be replaced. ha. But a child we brought into this world? Egads....a biggie, for sure. Even if we've opted not to put all our eggs in one basket and birthed a truckload of youngens, that "one" can throw ya for a loop I think one thing was because I always prided myself on the upbringing of my kidlets Not to say, I felt I was perfect...hell no. But I did the best in my heart of hearts at the time.It didnt matter that I could sew, write, tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue, (ok, I can't do that! ha)..It didnt matter that I had morals and a giving nature. It didnt matter that I let my children express themselves, but with a grip of what is right and wrong. It mattered at the time, that I had a child who....just didnt really value me any longer. What a punch in the gut that was. He might as well ripped my heart out with his bare hands...I'm sure it would have felt the same. I soon doubted everything about myself, God, and life. And while I was doing this all-over pity party, I didnt even take in consideration of those who did think I was still special...my other kids, my husband...etc...I was self absorbed with unfounded guilt and remorse over God knows what. ...It nearly killed me. Yah, I was the selfish one wasting the E.R. staff after taking too many pills, drinking too much alcohol, and had earlier attempted to load the clip in our gun. What a dummy. If I would have died, my hubby would have had to wash his own clothes and mow his own lawn. har. Ladies, dont let it get THAT bad. It is not in the cards, tho it may at times feel that way. No, I cant change my child, but I have a hella lot of living to do. He will live in his little world of anger, for whatever reason. He may let me have sniplets of his life entertwined in mine on occassion. I'll take what I can get. But I have two other children...and grandchildren, other family, friends, people that need me or will, but just dont know it yet. And the hubby will always need clean clothes...ha.
  • Reply #3 09/27/10  1:55pm
    lifeHisway and QF, these are very profound posts and I hope many members read them. QF your son will never know the pain he has brought on you and what could have happened. His actions could have caused his children to have a g/m who committed suicide. How very, very tragic. For everyone in this group you offer so much honesty and insight into the pain we all experience. Not many would admit they have felt suicidal, but I'll bet those emotions moved across their hearts in the beginning of estrangment. I know I felt my worthlessness often, in fact so deeply that I was nearly paralyzed in my actions wishing I wasn't on this earth to experience such from my own child. I wish there was a way we could reach out to all mothers who are unaware that such groups exist to offer them support as they sit alone not knowing their next move as they deal with their heartbreak.

  • Reply #4 09/27/10  2:31pm
    Lotuswhite, Thank you for your post. It's very insightful. It's going to take time for me to be able to accept that being rejected by my child is more about them than me. But I'm going to try doing the writing exercise suggested. I started today off with another rejection from my child regarding pictures of the cat. For heaven's sake! I know it's not about he cat pictures at all. (Thanks Ching). It's about my child having another opportunity to reject me. I gave her the opportunity by asking for these pictures. It's hard to accept that my child is looking for opportunities to reject me. But it is what it is. I also comtemplated suicide or if not suicide, wishing I no longer had to live. I feel at times I have no purpose anymore. I "failed" at my main task.
    When I really think about it, after prayer and meditation, I feel peaceful inside. I know that I tried to be the best mother I could. I never tried to hurt my children on purpose. It is their choice to be the way they are.
  • Reply #5 09/28/10  7:33am
    I have read this a couple of times now and I do feel so bad for those of you (and I will include my DH and my gf who both have at least semi-estranged children, by the children's choice, right now) whose child or children have rejected you, for whatever reason they had or think they had. I can never say that I know how you feel as I don't, and as I have never been blessed with having my own children, I never can know THAT pain.
    But I do know what it is like to be rejected by both parents, when I was a toddler.
    And even today - over 60 years later - it still hurts. Sure acceptance that there is nothing I did then or can to now to change what happened, has come, the pain still lingers.
    I have never understood how a mother could just throw away her little baby like mine did, to have someone else raise her, and just waft in and out of her life when SHE felt like being mummy dearest for a few hours or days.
    While it's too late for my dad (he died some 30+ years ago) and pretty much so for mum, I hope that one day YOUR children realise the mistake they are making and reconcile before it is too late.
  • Reply #6 09/28/10  10:09am
    Lotus thanks for starting this discussion, your words are very inspiring. Rejection from a child is the WORST pain I have ever felt. I lost my mother to spinal cancer at age 59, I lost a great love to divorce, my youngest brother has a terminal illness & none of those experience compare to the pain I choose to accept from my son. Yes, I said choose because you are right it is a choice on how we receive these messages from anyone that rejects/hurts us. I am trying so hard to let go of the pain I feel from losing my son but nothing seems to help. I will keep trying to find a way.
  • Reply #7 09/28/10  10:12am
    I needed this post today. I'm even writing in my book in a sequel where I feel I messed up with my daughter. She feels I failed her because I couldn't make it on my own financially. Well, with only a high school education, I did the best I could. As far as being a mom, I read everything I could get my hands on in order to be the very best I could be. I've always said no man could ever hurt me this way...like some of you said, they can be replaced, but those people we carried, gave birth to, nursed, kissed their boo boos, taught them manners, gave them fair discipline when needed and made certain they didn't grow up feeling less the way I did, wasn't enough. After my daughter helped me, if I spent one penny on absolutely anything for me...even if it cost $6, she went through the roof. Is that the real reason or something behind it. All my family and friends say it's not the real reason. They say it is misplaced anger at her daddy and me for not knowing he was a pedophile. Up until that point of us finding out, we got along beautifully. It was when I went back to college and he had constant access to them that this started happening. I never thought a parent could turn the kids on the other, but apparently he did. If no one reads my book except for my kids, they'll get all the answers they need about how I grew up and how I made certain to make a difference in their lives. My ED made a difference in my life alright. She nearly killed me as over a year ago, I didn't care if I awoke or not. I didn't want to wake up because the nightmare was still there. Instead of her being compassionate, she felt repulsed by my weakness of not being able to handle the situation as I finally reached such a low point. My mom told me before she died that she'd have to walk in my shoes before she'd truly get it. She'd have to wake up to the fact that her own husband, God forbide, was a pedophile and then see how she'd handle it. It would be easier for her because she has a college education and a great paying job and money in savings that my daddy left her; not me. What a great way to begin a new life in your twenties with $40,000 savings in your bank account and to make $36 an hour at work. She gives her daddy credit for giving her a great education. All my paychecks went to him as he handled the bills while I worked ten hours a day in my home daycare where he was doing things to the children while I was either in my paralyzed mom's room changing her diaper or putting her on the potty or while I was sick in bed with the flu or having my wisdom teeth cut out. I couldn't even go to the hospital when my son was there during the day because I HAD to keep the daycare open because we needed the money, so after I closed it after working it ten hours, then changing my mom, I'd go uup to the hospital and spend the night with my 3 year old son while his tonsils had absessed. I did have my aunt stay with the daycare kids when he had his tonsils taken out. I meant I was going to be there. My ex even TAUGHT my kids to make fun of me when I was trying to teach them manners. He was just a fool and I wanted them to have class; unlike him. Ugh. I'm sorry I got started and went on a rampage here. It just sucks and I've been doing so well, but these are our kids and we did the best we could and it doesn't seem to be good enough. I put my entire life into my kids as did you all. OK, I've got to get back to what I've been doing...something for me. I have to be thankful that I no longer have to endure emotional abuse from my ex nor my daughter. There are times I wish they had to live together, but I don't want my grandson around the pedophile. I'm too good a person for both of them. I'm glad I have the heart that I do and don't turn my back on those in need. She loaned her husband's brother $10,000 and he hasn't paid it back. I paid mine back, but still ahve $500 to give her for flight fees that SHE begged me to use even though I told her I couldn't afford it because SHE wanted me to fly home to visit after I Left because of HER. My blood pressure is going up, so I'd better stop and do the list. I was rejected by my daddy, but I felt I got over it because HE had a problem. I always wondered why he hated me. I feel my daughter has some of his traits and that's not good. She was such a sweet child. What the hell happened? Oh yeah, her PTA, Sunday school teaching daddy is a pedophile...that's what happened.
  • Reply #8 09/28/10  3:49pm
    I love this! I get assigned blame every time I walk into my house! Poor me. Maybe not for much longer though. Sometimes even a iron under stress breaks. Yep, I'm the focus of rejection. Who else? The list isn't much help to me because I know I don't deserve what I get, it is just when "I" decide it isn't worth it anymore that it will end.
    Do any of you have a brother who would like a well-used and put away dry recently separated girlfriend with baggage? Offers are being accepted at any time! The richest one who travels a lot will win.
  • Reply #9 09/29/10  10:11am
    karenmarie, I find it painful to read your response. Thank God you didn't follow through on your suicide. Personalities are all different as they should be since they are a bunch of genes bundled together having God knows what outcome. You have admitted you drank and you stopped. That is a huge achievement. You are to be proud of your success, so many can't fight it.

    I tell myself every day that I am here should any of my children need me. Now isn't that all we can be after they go out on their own and do not want us as their lifelong friend?
  • Reply #10 10/03/10  12:51pm
    rejection by our own kids most be the worst, i have come to execpt my ed does not love me like me or wont me now, so i dust my self off and move on one day at a time,4 years on im a stronger person, and her partner and family did not have to ability to break me, and my family tell me they are proud of the way i acted when being attaked.it execptance of what we cant change that lets us move on xxx


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