Noone enjoys being rejected. It is universally unpleasant. Very often, it hurts. However, most people take the ups and downs of life with good grace, realizing they cannot win every battle and attain every desire.
For the person who suffers from fear of rejection, every interaction is a gamble that may end in wounded feelings and bad memories. For them, their phobia is overpowering and all-encompassing.
There is no Latin term for the fear of rejection. Yet it is a very common condition that afflicts many people.
Our attitude towards rejection often stems from our sense of self. If someone’s ego is fragile, they will let the opinion of other people affect their moods and alter their daily life. For those who are very sensitive, rejection can be harsh, and it can trigger periods of fierce self-loathing. These negative after-effects of rejection are a powerful trigger for this phobia.
Symptoms Of Fear Of Rejection
When the cycle of self-loathing and doubt surfaces after a painful rejection, the phobic person may feel depressed and anxious. They may suffer from sadness, general malaise, and lethargy. Hopelessness, changes in eating or sleep patterns, and even thoughts of suicide (suicidal ideation) can occur.
These symptoms can happen to children or adults. Age, race and income have no bearing on it. It is a human condition related to poor self-esteem. And sometimes it can come from the pain and longing of unrequited love, a feeling that is difficult to control. Rejection from someone we love deeply, in a romantic way, can be the most devastating of all.
Romantic Rejection In Literature and Film
The effects of fear of rejection are omnipresent in society. Talk shows, magazines, and website message boards are full of stories of romantic rejection. Bad breakups, divorces, and humiliating blind dates are all topics of fascination in our world. For centuries, people have risked rejection by showing their ardor for another person. The sting of rejection can last a very long time.
In literature, the fear of rejection and its outcome has been the catalyst for true masterpieces. In John Keats poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci (The Lovely Lady Without Pity, a knight pines for the woman of his dreams:
What can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
In films such as Gone With The Wind, the theme of rejection is explored as a central plot device. Throughout the film, Scarlett rejects Rhett Butler over and over again, in favor of Ashley Wilkes. In the end, she comes to realize she has made the wrong choice. But her repeated rejections of Rhett have left him drained of love for her. In the final scene, his rejection of her is absolute.
Fear Of Rejection Comes In Many Forms
There are many facets to this fear of rejection. It can occur in the workplace, with family members, or within the context of creative undertakings. As a novelist, I face rejection when submitting work. I have learned to develop a thicker skin, in order to achieve my ambitions without damaging my well-being.
Treatment For Fear Of Rejection
The strongest defense against this phobia is a strong sense of self. Inner confidence is the best weapon against the fear of rejection. To love oneself should be a goal for everyone who struggles with tension and anxiety where rejection is concerned.
Understanding that almost everyone experiences these troubled emotions is key. Talking to a therapist about feelings of low self-esteem will allow the phobic person to gain perspective and move forward in life. Finding the courage to open up to new experiences and opportunities will ease the pain of rejection. Successes come with repeated efforts, in most cases, and they will strengthen a fragile ego.
The feelings of depression that come with rejection can be treated with psychotherapy, and even anti-depressants. Getting at the heart of why rejection hurts so much will allow for growth and progress. Take steps to heal yourself from within and you will be able to share your self with others, even though you fear rejection.