What Happens When We Feel Rejected?

Rejection is a common theme for many of us. At some point in our lives we’ve felt rejected and then internalized that rejection. Many of us whose families separated or experienced any kind of loss developed deeply rooted fears of abandonment, especially if we were abandoned in one way or another, emotionally if not physically. When we feel abandoned and rejected, many of us take this to mean that we are somehow inadequate, unworthy, unlovable or undeserving. We start to reject ourselves, especially the parts of us that we think are bad, or wrong, or abnormal. We blame ourselves for our losses and traumatic experiences, and we expect people to keep rejecting us moving forward.

Self-rejection can take on many forms. It can mean avoiding the difficult aspects of ourselves that make us feel ashamed or embarrassed. We don’t want to face our addictions, our depression, our anxiety, our inner demons. We struggle with these things on our own, shutting ourselves off from other people. Or we try to escape into relationships that distract us from the parts of us we want to reject.

We attract things into our lives from the inside out. When we reject ourselves, we attract people and things into our lives that reflect that same rejection. We attract partners who reject us, who aren’t emotionally open with us, who make us feel abandoned. We attract circumstances that make us feel inadequate, that make us feel as though we’ve failed. Our self-rejection gets reflected in everything around us.

The rejected parts of us, the things we wish we could rid ourselves of, the aspects of our personalities we’re ashamed of, get relegated to the dark corners of our minds. We try to forget them, we resist them, but they continue to grow and fester. Only bringing them into the light and embracing them, allowing them, accepting them, can help us to make peace with them. When we feel we’ve been rejected, we don’t want to face these dark parts of ourselves. We feel they prove our unworthiness. We feel they’re evidence of our shortcomings, our inadequacies.

We all have a shadow side, elements of ourselves that we find challenging and painful. When we’ve been rejected, we take this to mean that these parts of ourselves are to blame for that rejection, so we reject ourselves further. The healing journey invites us to open our hearts to our pain and to stop rejecting ourselves, to give ourselves our love instead.

Recovery is an emotional healing process that involves self-acceptance. We can help. Our treatment programs include group and individual therapy, recovery meetings, and mindfulness-based relapse prevention. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.