Many of the issues we have with our self-esteem or why we stay in a dubious relationship or why we struggle to move past something, are tied into where we feel that we’ve been dismissed, knocked back, or turned down as if we’re not ‘up to standard’. The problem is though, it’s actually us that makes the so-called rejection far bigger than what it may actually be by rejecting ourselves through the act of making a judgement about us based on a perspective gained from a shady experience or just from flat out dodgy thinking.
We make things about us when if we rein our egos in and look at what we’re truly upset about instead of just going “I am rejected” and “I’m not good enough”, we can learn something about the person and the situation.
If you read my last post on Getting Stuck On ‘Connection’ & Why I’m Working On Letting Go (Again), you’ll know that ‘technically’ I’m dealing with rejection or at least it would have been if I operated with my old thinking of “I’m not good enough for my father to try” and “I’m not good enough for my father to be around” as if something about me scared him into being the original Mr Unavailable in my life.
While doing my daily scribbling in my notebook, I don’t know what prompted me but I wrote “Reasons I could feel rejected” and started the following list:
1. Always made himself out to be regretful about us not being in our lives yet managed to ‘create’ a mystery half-sister…. that he didn’t inform me about until five minutes before he sprung her on me at a christening.
2. He just doesn’t try. He feels OK with disappointing me but will kow-tow to others to the point of it being painfully obvious. Note: my post When Someone Thinks That It’s Okay To Keep Disappointing You…But Not Others. Er, No It’s Not is actually inspired by my 35 years of being considered in such admiration and eager for his attention and his love that I’ll always let it slide by
3. He just doesn’t try. He avoided speaking to a relative about comments made to my mother about us (his children) and claimed that if they said it, it would have been for good reasons to protect ‘the family’ which actually meant him, siblings, parents…
4. He has used us numerous times and disappointed. Note that when I say ‘us’, I mean my now husband and I where he has really mucked us around often to feather his own nest or to avoid disappointing others, which we put a stop to a few years back.
5. He’s stopped making an effort with his grandchildren. (My youngest Nia who has att-i-tude pretends she doesn’t know him when she does see him which admittedly is extremely funny).
6. He’s scarily disloyal. While insisting that he’s loyal.
7. The sense of entitlement and lack of pride surrounding me getting married. Note this caused an incredible amount of stress and upset.
8. He has never truly apologised for anything. He apologises and then seals it off with an excuse.
I was about to write #9 and plough on with my list, when it came to me and I amended the title of my list to:
“Reasons I could feel rejected – but none of these things have anything to do with me“.
All of this stuff and more says more about him and not really anything about me. Writing out your own list can help you to see where you’re disappointed and where that disappointment has come from and to make a clear distinction between that and rejection which is not the same thing. You can also make a clear distinction between you and the other person.
With some people you think “OK, they’ve used up all of their disappointment chips. I don’t think they could surprise me” and then whoomp there it is. Here’s the hilarious thing – I actually figured this disappointment wouldn’t happen because all of the other disappointments would preempt the situation!
Every day I hear from people who struggle to get past a rejection because they’ve made what someone else was or did (or failed to) all about them.
It. Is. Not. About. You.
Is the rejection really about your value as a person? NO. The two things are entirely unrelated.
I should point out as well – I was a child when all of this started and after blaming myself for a long time, I know that I am not to blame. That’s ridiculous. If you’re blaming you for your own parents, you need to admit the ridiculousness of blaming yourself into your evidence and overturn your conviction. You.Were.A.Child. They didn’t act on your ‘worth’; they acted on their own issues. Don’t take away their responsibilities.
When people don’t meet your expectations, it might be (if this is an adult relationship), be because those expectations had a shaky (or non-existent) foundation but ultimately, people are motivated by their own thought process which includes their own fears, beliefs, attitudes, baggage etc. It’s not about you being a failure as a person or not being good enough to change them; they opt into or out of what suits them at the time. They have their own pattern of thinking and behaviour.
Their own feelings of shame can also prevent them from stepping outside of their comfort zone. They may feel that it’s too much water under the bridge – better to have a clean slate with someone else who will blow smoke up their bum or never ask questions than to have to face the product or the consequences of their own ‘mismanagement’. Or they just know who the hell they are – someone who disappoints you. They predict in advance that they’re not going to live up to your expectations and if you’ve made your feelings and expectations clear, it may leave them with nowhere to go.
You might think “If they loved me they’d change” and feel rejected but really, the fact that they haven’t changed is about their own beliefs and values. Where is the rejection of you? Who they are doesn’t work for you but they may be happy getting by on that. That’s still not about you. They have their own agenda which isn’t in sync with yours.
People don’t change because of your feelings and expectations for them.
Sure, it’d be handy, but better that they change due to their own feelings and expectations. Unfortunately as you may have experienced yourself, there are a number of things that can get in the way changing and sometimes it can appear easier to take the path of least resistance. If that’s what they’re doing, that’s still not about you.
Focusing on rejection causes you to feel that you’ve had them take away something that you could have had, as if you being up to standard and being ‘motivating’ enough would have created a different outcome. This is just a lie that hurts you and is self-rejection. What I can assure you of is that you’re not such a disappointment of a person that you ‘make’ people mistreat you. When you can step back enough to see why this has really happened (and not put it all on you), you can lift the weight of it off you and move forward.