Therapy – Feeling Rejection

Feelings of rejection were still hot topic at Friday’s group therapy. The previous week, the two Therapists were asking about the feelings that come up from Mum’s habitual silent treatment.

“What comes before the hurt and anger?” they asked.

th4S1DI9BBIt turns out there is no particular answer. Dr J was encouraging me to “observe the feelings” rejection invokes. This sounds like basic stuff, but it might as well be in telly-tubby-language.

This got me thinking about a child’s ability to identify feelings of rejection, if he never actually experiences connection. If everything you see appears in the same shade of red, how could you possibly describe red without a comparison with the other colours?

I love blogging because it can open doors to new and unexpected insights. I’m suddenly reminded of an incident that happened at the beginning of group. It feels rather pathetic and a touch embarrassing to admit, but the relevance to rejection makes the humiliation seem worthwhile.

On Friday morning, I arrived at the group therapy room two minutes early. Three other group members had tried to gain access shortly before me, but interrupted the Therapists having a meeting. Bear with me this really is going somewhere!

As group got underway, Dr J was explaining to everyone why they have a meeting prior to our session and if we could wait in the reception area until someone comes to fetch us. This is all straightforward enough, so what could be so triggering?

As Dr J was explaining this to the group, she only looked at the three members who stumbled across their meeting earlier, but she did not look in my direction once. As soon as regular discussions got underway, Dr J was making regular eye contact again, but it was too late, my mind was already on a slippery slope.

I know, I know, my inner child had his arms folded tightly, in a right old pouting huff.thVHU8XOQ0 The point to all this is, there have been countless Dr J’s before her, through school, in college, work and socially, those hypersensitive paranoid assumptions transpire as untrue, verging ridiculous, but they all seem to hold one key ingredient.

In the midst of those life-sucking moments, an inner battle ensues between my adult rational mind and a deep-seated need to withdraw to a place that feels incredibly dark and lonely. Something about it reminds me of childhood. In a blink of an eye, I feel… invisible… unimportant… unheard and disregarded… I feel… rejected.

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27 thoughts on “Therapy – Feeling Rejection

  1. kat

    i too have this reaction. i have so much anxiety over being heard, that i am already ready to encounter it. then, when it looks as though i might not be seen, i am immediately triggered to all those same feelings you described, finally ending with me feeling completely rejected and abandoned, and the feelings that go with that–anger and sadness, which i am left with until they dissolve.

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  2. myspokenheart

    Recognizing that feeling is a huge step. And recognizing that “those hypersensitive paranoid assumptions transpire as untrue, verging ridiculous…” is even bigger. You are making beautiful progress and it makes me so happy. I hope you are happy and even proud of yourself for pushing ahead when that emotional tunnel can be pretty dark and scary.

    (((HUGS))) Andrea

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  3. Priceless Joy

    Cat, I understand that feeling so well. That feeling of being ignored. What is even worse for me is being unvalidated. For instance, my brother’s dog bit my little dog’s eye and after taking her to the vet for treatment, her eye began getting smaller and smaller. I showed my mom how her eye was getting smaller and she denied seeing it. (However, it was obvious!) My sister-in-law walked into the room and immediately noticed Bria’s eye and remarked about it. THEN, my mom validated my sister-in-law. AAARRGGG!! My mom is the type that if she puts me down it makes her feel better about herself. When I was in the “claws” of my illness she made me feel “ashamed and unworthy” – as though I was a shame to the family. (I still have to deal with those two emotions because of her). Ooops…Sorry…. I got on a “gripe” train. LOL

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    1. Sharon Alison Butt

      A mother’s rejection and critism is so powerful in our lives. I hope you heal completely and it seems that you are doing so by correctly identifying why your mother acts in this way. It seems she has deep rooted insecurities of her own and unlike you, hasn’t learnt to deal with them. How very sad x

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      1. Priceless Joy

        Thank you very much for your kind and wise words. Yes, she does have insecurities. I honestly don’t think about all that much anymore. At least, I try not to think about it because I don’t want those negative feelings ruling my life. Again, thank you!!

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      2. Cat Post author

        She is not aware of them at all, Sharon, and that is what makes a lot of it feel more frustrating and, yes, I suppose it is sad.

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    2. Cat Post author

      Awe, the poor dog, Joy, but I have to admit, the image of your mum’s denial did make me chuckle. My own mother lives life in constant denial and it can be so difficult to deal with… that’s one of the reasons I opted out. I’m so glad you were able to climb out of the “claws” of depression, It sounds like your mother is rubbing her hands in glee because your depression is something she can use to put you down. If it wasn’t that it would be something else equally sensitive. We seem to parent our inner selves in much the same way as we were parented and that may well be why you still find yourself dealing with those two emotions. It’s like the criticisms are ingrained into our minds. Thank you so much for your comment 🙂

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  4. sensuousamberville

    We are social animals, we feel a need to be included with the group, to belong, even if it is to belong to the wrong group. Hence social pressures and bad choices often. But I am seeing a large difference in your posting, sensing, not just that your mood has changed, but your outlook and self analysis and justification for thoughts/actions has also changed. Understanding why a trigger can have an effect on you is a great tool to help lessen the impact of that trigger.

    Splitting is still powerful in you though, harder to justify and sort through.

    When feelings of rejection become strong, take a moment to sort them out, to see if you can justify them, perhaps to see the grey. I think you did this too though, the feeling of rejection will still be strong but if you can rate the likelihood of it… to being less likely, perhaps you can move past it in the moment, then wink at the therapist and stick your tongue out at the three that got in trouble. 😉

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Amber… I’m chuffed you picked up on the change. I’m still trying to grasp what exactly is happening, but I’m feeling a lot of transitions from the smallest “realisations.” The same issues are there (and a few new ones), but I’m viewing many of them from a slightly different angle. It feels weird and wonderful.

      Splitting and abandonment/rejection issues are a huge hurdle. It’s always easy to look in hindsight, but recognising the feelings in that moment is a challenge. Often I don’t even realise the feeling exists until much later. If recent weeks are anything to go by, then I feel confident of further progress. Meanwhile, I’m just enjoying learning new things from wonderful people like yourself 😉 Thank you

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      1. sensuousamberville

        You are healing, this is what is happening Cat. Splitting and fear of abandonment may continue to be strong, but you are learning to analyse those feelings, even in hindsight, soon hindsight will be moved closer to the trigger, so that the triggers impact is lessoned. Even in hindsight though, as with your experience at the group session, the impact was lessoned, rather than having it fester and grow over days you now look back at it and see the grey, that there was not really any rejection. this improves your mood. Lessons anxiety at returning, as you won’t feel out of sorts. I suspect that in the past, an issue like this could have caused you to drop group, as you pondered the moment and allowed the feelings to grow.

        Now you learn from it and grow stronger. Yay 🙂

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        1. Cat Post author

          There are a couple of things in the last few days that would’ve normally be stewing inside my mind and your comment just helped me realise that. Thanks, Amber 😉

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  5. Sharon Alison Butt

    It’s amazing how people’s reactions towards us hit a nerve and send our memory back years and years. It’s great that you could identify it and realise how it makes you react. Nothing to be ashamed of…we all do it but it’s only wise owls like you who bring it to the surface and deal with it.
    Oh, if only people realised that the things they don’t do is just as significant as the things they do.
    Holding back a smile, eye contact, affirmation, a thank you, a sorry, means so much, especially to the sensitive and wounded. Thank you for confirming this. Everyone craves to feel valued.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Sharon… I think the key to overcoming those memories of rejection is awareness. I hope my new realisation will help me deal with it better in future, but there are many years of habitual behaviour/feelings to work through. Thank you for understanding and commenting

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  6. bbbr

    Hi Cat,

    It`s looking like the group is really helping you to understand these feelings and where they come from. Rejection is a toughy.
    As I think you know, lots of the work we do in therapy is based in attachment (or lack of), so can relate lots to what you`ve written, here.

    Am so pleased to see that you`re recognising those feelings of being rejected come from then and don’t necessarily reflect now.

    Sending big amounts of ❤ your way.

    xxx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Group and my individual therapy are really helping to make sense and work through so much of the crap. My problem is complete detachment from the emotion in that particular moment. I won’t even realise I feel a certain way until afterwards, but at least I get it eventually 😉

      Thank you for commenting, it’s really nice to hear from you

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  7. mandy

    I only saw this and I’m glad it was when I am not rushed. As usual, your post showed me things I never thought about before, and takes a bit of assimilation. First though let me say, You sound different these days, Cat. So different. You’ve opened yourself to healing. It’s wonderful to witness.
    Here’s the first jolt I got : “thinking about a child’s ability to identify feelings of rejection, if he never actually experiences connection.” How many times have I wondered ‘when did I lose the ability to trust, to fear people, to know how to mother, to know how to feel safe in relationships?’ Your words explained it for me: I never did know those things because I never experienced them-ever.
    And next: “In a blink of an eye, I feel… invisible… unimportant… unheard and disregarded… I feel… rejected.” I’m so sad that you still go to that place of “hypersensitive paranoid assumptions”, yet it also brings a bit of relief to know I must be “normal” since even after all the work I do on my healing journey, I go to that place, too, in those situations. Those mistaken beliefs have led me to quit classes, groups I’ve tried to join . . .We must recognize our inner child and be easy on them. They went through a lot. It’s our job now to take care of them. Thank you so much, Cat. ❤

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    1. Cat Post author

      Sorry for the dealing in replying to this comment, Mandy. There is something that feels very different and I do hope it is because I am opening up to healing.
      I think early relationships reflect the ones we go on to have throughout our lives. I never did learn how to sustain a relationship or trust in “unconditional love” (not even sure that exists, but that’s a whole other story) but I do think we can relearn and the foundation to that change is, of course, awareness.
      That inner child can really take over our entire thought and emotional process. Sometimes we don’t even know why we want to skip classes, jobs or groups, we just cannot face them. There’s something very powerful that happens when we connect something from the subconscious/the distant past with a problem in the present moment.

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  8. LaTanya Davis

    This post really hit home with me. In particular, “a child’s ability to identify feelings of rejection. If everything they see is red, how can they describe red in comparison with other colors.” The child, especially a very young child, knows they’re being rejected, but they can’t describe it. The last sentence described rejection to a tee. “I feel… invisible… unimportant… unheard and disregarded… I feel… rejected,” one of the worse feelings in the world. Awareness and unlearning negative stuff is key to healing. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  9. Jill

    Hi,
    I understand your feelings of rejection but if you can try to anaylyze ‘why’ you felt that way, it might help. That therapist had no intention whatsoever of hurting you or anybody else, nor of triggering those feelings in you. Focus of something positive if that happens again and do let me know whether it helped.
    Thinking of you,

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