Rejection, and the Power of a Moment
Why am I attracted to people who reject me?
Why am I attracted to people who reject me? Why do I feel the need to prove myself, and make them see me in a different light?Why does it become so important to me to convince them that I am a good person with good intentions? What about my feelings towards the person rejecting me? Do I even like them? Is there a connection between us that is worth my energy? I don’t ask those questions. I am only focussed on me and my feelings of being rejected. I need this person to accept me so that I feel better! I give them the power over my emotions and ultimately over me. Why do I do this? I feel like I am a strong woman in most aspects of my life, so why do I anxiously run around seeking approval when I feel rejected?
But I was alone!
I guess I have to look back to my childhood to find the root of this feeling. I grew up in an abusive household, where my main focus was walking the fine line of living my life and keeping my parents happy enough so that I wouldn’t be the recipient of their anger. This meant keeping my questions to myself, and mostly staying silent about what was going on around me. I mastered this skill long enough to get my college education and start my own life. When I moved out on my own, I distanced myself from my parents. I wanted to be free from their judgement. I wanted to be able to have my own opinions without being criticized. I wanted to be able to ask questions without being silenced. And I did feel an amazing sense of freedom out on my own, and it felt good. But I was alone. And as much as I resented my parents, I still wanted them to notice me. I wanted them to be proud of me. I wanted them to care. Why was this so important to me? I knew who they were because I had spent the first 20 years of my life with them. My parents were self involved people that used their children to meet their own needs. Why did I expect them to all of a sudden change and be happy for me and interested in my life? They were not happy people. And I started to see that they were creating their own unhappiness.
Because I needed my parents as a child
But this was the way it had always been with them, so why did I expect them to change? Maybe because now that I was out in the world, I was exposed to different ways to handle life. Ways that seemed kinder, made more sense to me, and in my opinion, seemed like a better way to live. I thought that maybe my parents didn’t know that there was another way, and if they just learned about it then they would be happier. I loved them. But my love for them made it hurt all the more. Somehow I believed that if they could just see the good in me and the world around them that it would erase all my past childhood hurt. Somehow I believed that if they could just see me for who I really was that the past would become just a huge misunderstanding. And in that moment, we would all hug and accept each other, and be a family. So, for this reason, I kept the hope alive in me that somehow they were on my side, that a small part of both of them believed in me. Maybe I held onto this hope to make myself feel better. Maybe I held onto this hope so that I wasn’t so lonely. Maybe I had learned as a child that hope was an invaluable emotion to have in order to survive. Because the feeling of rejection as a child was like death, and my imagination needed to fill in the blanks to make it bearable. Because I needed my parents as a child. I needed food and shelter, and their affection and attention. When they rejected me I wasn’t emotionally equipped to handle the feelings that came up for me, so I would instead use all of my energy to try and convince them to accept me. To try and convince them that I was a good person with good intentions. I realize now that I was never going to convince them of anything, and that this was just my defense mechanism so that I didn’t have to see the truth.
And the truth was that my parents didn’t have an interest in me beyond what I could do for them. The truth was that my parents would never be proud of me because they didn’t even see the real me. The truth was that my parents didn’t care enough about me to get to know me as a child or an adult. The truth was that when I found my own voice and starting living my own life, my parents didn’t notice me, they ignored me. I couldn’t accept these truths, they were too painful. But in not accepting the truth and holding onto hope into adulthood, I gave them exactly what they wanted. I gave them power over me. In seeing the truth, I can heal the hurt of my past rather than using all my energy to try and make it different. I don’t have to try and convince anyone to accept me anymore.
I can take my power back
If I am feeling rejected now, I can just feel it. It is after all, just a feeling. It is not the end of the world, and it no longer threatens my survival. As a child my defense mechanisms didn’t allow me to take a moment to see the truth as it would have emotionally devastated me, and I am truly grateful for my resourcefulness and survival skills. But now I can take that moment. I can breathe before I react and look at the reality of a situation. And with that breath and in that moment, I can take my power back.