Over the years, I have experienced rejection trauma. I realized that trauma triggers can show up in several ways in a person’s life. It is important to understand that rejection is inevitable in the fallen world that we live in. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes rejection can be a good thing ( when something goes against your morals and values). However, rejection trauma if left unchecked, can have damaging effects on your life and your ability to properly heal.
What is rejection trauma?
Rejection trauma is trauma that originates from a time of being rejected in early childhood. This type of rejection is a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and is often accompanied with other underlying mental symptoms such as general anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsory disorder, disassociation, and attachment style issues. PTSD can also lead to C-PTSD ( chronic post-traumatic stress disorder) which is a type of trauma that occurs long-term because a person is not able to overcome the stressors that come with traumatic events. Hence, the name “post traumatic stress disorder.”
Signs of Rejection Trauma
- You may hyper-focus on others leaving you so you may engage in excessive people-pleasing
- Disassociate to protect yourself from feeling rejected again ( e.g., sabotage relationships)
- Intrusive or repetitive thoughts on the worst case scenario. You might have nightmares on these worst-case scenarios
- Fear or anxiety about feeling unworthy of love
- Difficulty trusting others in new relationships
- Refuse intimacy with others or being vulnerable because of fear of being dismissed, judged, or ridiculed
- loneliness which usually results from sabotaging relationships or misreading people’s true intentions
- Poor attachment styles: avoidant-dismissive, avoidant fearful, and anxious
Causes of Rejection Trauma
Abandonment or emotional neglect
Abandonment wounds usually starts in childhood when a parent fails to provide emotional nourishment or emotional support. Abandonment wounds can cause trust issues later in life and can cause you to sabotage your relationships because of the fear of being abandoned again in the future. As an adult child, you may fear having deep connections with other people, being vulnerable and showing your authentic self. When a child’s emotional identity is under-developed, the child may experience false coping mechanisms ( The 5 F’s: Fight, flight, freeze, flop, or friend).
Experiencing the loss of a love one can also trigger the feeling of abandonment. I felt the sting of rejection when my best friend past away a few years ago. It was a painful season for me to navigate through when she died.
Related post:How To Overcome Emotional Pain
Rejection soul wounds
Rejection wounds are wounds that make you feel forgotten and usually begins in the womb of a mother ( rejection in the womb). The mother may say things to completely erase their child’s existence from their life due to an unplanned pregnancy or lack of resources and support to raise the child. As an adult-child, feelings of not feeling loved, appreciated, or accepted may spring up to trouble the soul.
Overcome Rejection Trauma
Learn your triggers
During my healing journey, I realized that there were certain situations and sayings that triggered rejection trauma. When co-workers or a boss bullied or ridiculed me for my work performance, it caused me to stress-out about being rejected for my ideas or being seen for the way that I truly wanted to be seen- hardworking and worthy.
**Note: Keep in mind that your emotional identity has to be securely rooted in the love of Jesus Christ and not in your work performance, education, or people.
A dismissive attitude from a person leaving a room repeatedly and intentionally when you are speaking, an eye-roll, or “teasing comments” about the way you talk can also trigger rejection, especially if you want to be accepted for what you say.
Not everyone will accept your healing journey
Ignore comments from people that judge how you react to certain triggers. They are not in your shoes and will more than likely speak from their own ideals on healing. Be aware of statements such as the following:
- “Stop taking things so personally (invalidates your experience with rejection)
- ” Get over it!” ( which implies that your feelings are invalid or unworthy to be fussed over)
Communicate your feelings
Remember to move at your own pace of healing and give your self grace when you are being pessimistic ( thinking of worse case scenarios). The majority of the time, what you may perceive as rejection from another person, may just be that a person is having a bad day and is having trouble coping through the day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when necessary so that you are not making assumptions based on your experience with rejection.
Continue reading the trauma series: