By Dr. Margaret Paul
February 08, 2010
The fear of rejection is a huge issue in relationships. For some, the fear is so huge that it stops them from being in a relationship. For others, it plagues them throughout their relationships and causes much anxiety.
Rejection is a part of life, and learning to lovingly manage it is very important to our wellbeing.
To help you learn to move beyond the fear of rejection, I would like to help you see who a person is rejecting when they reject you. Are they rejecting your wounded self or your core Self?
Your wounded self is the self you created when you were growing up to protect yourself from pain. This is the ego - the part of us filled with fear and false beliefs, and many ways of trying to get love and avoid pain. This is the part of us that gives ourselves up, or gets angry, blaming, or critical, or turns to various addictions, or is resistant, or is numbed out or withdrawn.
The wounded self in all of us is not lovable. No one falls in love with our wounded self. No one even really likes our wounded self.
Your core Self is who you really are - who GOD created rather than who YOU created. This is your true Self, your essence. This is the part of all of us that is inherently lovable and loving. This is who someone falls in love with.
When you have been rejected, which part of you is being rejected?
If you have been your wounded self a lot in a relationship - people-pleasing by giving yourself up, getting angry, judgmental and blaming, withdrawing, turning to various addictions, and/or being highly resistant, then it is very likely that you are being rejected for your wounded self. You are not being rejected for who you really are, but for choosing to be controlling rather than loving. We all need to accept that if we choose to be our wounded self most of the time in a relationship, there is a good possibility that we will be rejected.
However, if you have been your core Self for much of the relationship, then it is very important to not take rejection personally, as it is not about you at all - it is about the other person's fear of intimacy.
In most relationships, two people get together at their common level of woundedness - i.e., they are equally in their wounded self, equally self-abandoning. If, at some point in the relationship, you open to learning and healing, and learn to take responsibility for yourself and be more in your core Self, your partner might be threatened by this. It is very important that if your partner rejects you for your growth, you not take this personally. This is not about anything being wrong with you - it is about your partner not wanting to learn and grow.
On the other hand, if your partner is the one learning and growing, and you choose not to learn and grow, and your partner leaves the relationship, it is not because there is anything inherently wrong with you. There is never anything wrong with the core Self. But if you choose to stay stuck in your wounded self and your partner leaves, it is because he or she is rejecting your wounded self, not your core Self, and your wounded self is NOT who you really are.
Next time you are rejected, look inside and see who is being rejected - your wounded self or your core Self? If someone reject you for your wounded self, then take it as an opportunity to learn and heal. If someone rejects you for your core Self, then good riddance! This person would never have supported you in being all that you are.
portereliz - Hampton - 02/09/2010 08:31 AM
Rejection is something I have struggled with all of my life; in particular blaming, lashing out,and abandoning myself when others do not care to be around me or leave after an initial period of getting to know me. For a long time, I have felt that there is something inherently wrong with me and I have searched for answers for many years to try and understand what that something is so that I can understand it and change it. I find that by accepting the definitions that have been shared in this work for IC and LA, I am moving away from this destructive thinking. I have found a way to frame these questions about myself, in a loving and compassionate way. It feels good to know that I can choose to accept myself, in love, and that I can learn, grow, and not take rejection as a sign of my own worthlessness. Instead, I strive to see rejection as a message that their is work to be done. Work in the form of accepting and loving myself or understanding that the other person choosing to move away from me, is their choice and not something inherently wrong with me.
kmacmill - 02/09/2010 08:42 AM
Margaret, is this a bit different in a parent/child relationship? I'm sure that many of us were actively rejected/punished/humiliated when we were in our wounded selves as children. Need we, as adults, take responsibility now for the fact that we were acting out in a wounded way as children and thereby created the rejection? That doesn't feel very good...not sure if I am misunderstanding.
portereliz - Hampton - 02/09/2010 10:42 AM
Great question,kmacmill! I have often struggled with how to deal with my parent's rejection of me and how to frame it.
Perplexed - Victoria - 02/09/2010 01:21 PM
This article shows me more than most others about the value of looking at things from the IB perspective. Without separating the self into wounded and core components, it would be very difficult to make these points clear.
mlfournier - Hampden - 02/09/2010 06:59 PM
"In most relationships, two people get together at their common level of woundedness - i.e., they are equally in their wounded self, equally self-abandoning. If, at some point in the relationship, you open to learning and healing, and learn to take responsibility for yourself and be more in your core Self, your partner might be threatened by this. It is very important that if your partner rejects you for your growth, you not take this personally. This is not about anything being wrong with you - it is about your partner not wanting to learn and grow."
Dr. Margaret: I just love this paragraph and the one above it. I found it very freeing and spiritually uplifting. It explains things very clearly about what is happening in my relationship. I really believe that all will be well, however, to know that "it is not about me", makes me so light-hearted I could just fly free as a bird.
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 02/09/2010 07:00 PM
Kim, ideally, parents offer their children unconditional love, regardless of whether they are acting out of their WS. But unfortunately, there are many many wounded parents who reject their children - both their core self and their wounded self. As children we NEVER created the rejection. Even as adults, if someone rejects us for our WS, it is still the other person who chooses to be rejecting rather than accepting. We do not CREATE another rejecting us, but if we choose to be our WS rather than our IC/LA, rejection is more likely.
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 02/09/2010 07:03 PM
mifournier, Perplexed, portereliz, I'm glad to hear that this article is helpful to you! Jody, it is always heartbreaking to be rejected for taking loving care of ourselves.
kmacmill - 02/10/2010 04:24 AM
Thank you for your answer Margaret. That helps a lot. It makes me realize that even when the contrary is spelled out in black and white, I still automatically steer into the pit of perceiving rejection as my fault. Think I'll get a permanent tattoo "I NEVER created the rejection". :)
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 02/10/2010 06:05 AM
Kim, just as someone cannot make you reject them, as they have no control over whether you choose to be an accepting person or a rejecting person, you cannot make someone reject you - you have no control over who they choose to be. However, when we choose to be angry, blaming, invasive or withdrawn, others may not want to be around us. But even this isn't rejection - it is them taking care of themselves. They just don't want to be around our wounded selves.
Phyllis - St. Louis - 02/10/2010 07:19 AM
Someone who works for me read this column and he asked me if it was true that I did ot like him when he was in his WS, which for him at times is when I can see that he is beating himself up and his energy gets dark. I told him that when I see him doing this, I just feel compassion for him. I don't stop seeing his essence. I don't dislike or reject him, but it certainly does not make me want to hang out with him in this painful energy. On the other hand, when doing sessions with clients who are in their WS and want my help in moving into a loving space, this same compassion leads me to go into sacred space and deeply open to my guidance about how to help them heal.
kmacmill - 02/10/2010 08:30 AM
"But even this isn't rejection - it is them taking care of themselves." OK...in adult relationships, it feels better to think about it this way. I know people can still reject from a wounded place, but if I see it as them not knowing any other way to take care of themselves, that helps me. This topic is stirring up a lot for me!
Kate - Adelaide - 02/10/2010 01:04 PM
Same for me Kim. I've always thought one of my biggest challenges was this fear of failure that I have never found a way to manage. Now I realise that underneath that fear is a much bigger fear of rejection. I can relate it back to my childhood and the false belief that my parents would reject me if I couldn't 'perform' for them. My WS has developed all sorts of protections in anticipation of rejection so she can stay one step ahead. I am realising how much energy gets wasted in that process ... and how much loneliness ... and how much disconnection.
Perplexed - Victoria - 02/10/2010 05:41 PM
Phyllis, I really like what you said. I can't help but wonder hpw your response might change if were to address the scenario of being married to the person who had the tendency to revert to their WS?
flowerpot - 02/11/2010 09:41 AM
"I don't stop seeing his essence. I don't dislike or reject him, but it certainly does not make me want to hang out with him in this painful energy" - this is so helpful for me Phyllis, helps me immensely with a situation with a friend who is in a negative place at the moment. I've been afraid that my not wanting to be with her meant that our friendship might be over, or that I'm not a 'good enough' friend. But your words here open up a much looser, broader viewpoint - thank you!
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 02/11/2010 11:15 AM
Perplexed, most people do revert to their WS when they are afraid, especially if they have not done Inner Bonding. Your responsibility is to take loving care of yourself when your partner is in her WS - which might mean not being around her if her energy is negative - and enjoy being with her when she is open. Your challenge is also to not revert to your WS in the face of her WS.
Allan - 02/11/2010 06:58 PM
'However, if you have been your core Self for much of the relationship, then it is very important to not take rejection personally, as it is not about you at all - it is about the other person's fear of intimacy.'
I believe this was the situation in my last relationship.
Or even if there are other reasons, I don't take it personally, as it is not about me. But the thing which hurts the most, and makes it very difficult to move trough my heartbreak is the sudden withdrawal of my partner, out of nowhere, even though it felt as if we were really heading off in positive direction, including in intimacy. Didn't get a single answer to my messages anymore, nor any explanation or whatsoever. This is just so hard for my IC to deal with, for various reasons, though it's not an uncommon pattern in my relationships. It happened before as well. It just slows down the process enormously. I've been reflecting on it for a while now, turned to my guidance, etc. and came up with some things, but still looking for some key-answers, I suppose.
kmacmill - 02/12/2010 07:22 AM
Allan, do you think any little part of you is ruminating on what happened, why your partner did it, trying to understand, etc. Are you putting any little bit of your thoughts and energy on the other person? If you are, this would definitely slow down the process. The more attention you can put on your little boy's hurt and bewilderment and just be with that without reference to the other person, the faster you will feel better. It's not fun, but it is actually less excruciating.
kmacmill - 02/13/2010 10:50 AM
Margaret...There's another angle here that I am wondering about. Is it possible to "reject" someone simply because you don't feel a connection with that person? Can I be completely open hearted and experience the other's essence often enough, but still not want to be in a relationship with that person?
This is all hypothetical as I imagine a person would have to do a lot of healing to be certain you are in this very open hearted state and not just being fooled by a wounded self.
Dr.Margaret - Berthoud - 02/13/2010 06:18 PM
Yes, of course. You can be completely open hearted and feel no connection with that person at all. We don't connect with everyone, even if we feel their essence. In fact, this is very common, and we need to honor it. It is not that we "reject" the person, but that we just don't resonate with them on a frequency level. Their essence frequency and your essence frequency don't resonate.
kmacmill - 02/15/2010 03:28 PM
Thanks Margaret. I am starting to understand this better from my personal experience.
Allan - 02/15/2010 07:24 PM
Yes Kim, you're right, this is exactly what is going on. The difficulty is focusing on my own hurt heart, because I have a very deep rooted core shamed WS which takes responsibility for other's feelings and actions toward me. That was the way I survived my child abuse/abandonment, and how I didn't need to cope with the resulting painful feelings which I couldn't handle then. It's my second nature. That's why I have to tell my IC a thousand times a day that it's not responsible, and it works for a while, but after a while my WS takes over again and goes into self torture because after all it is because 'I am bad, wrong, a failure, etc.' that others reject me.
Phyllis - St. Louis - 02/15/2010 07:27 PM
I think resonance is two mutual. It is probably not likely that someone will feel a strong resonance with you and that you will not feel any resonance with them. Probably neither of you will feel a connection.
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