Experiencing Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Rejection
Warning: Trigger Alert
The more you get rejected, the better you get at handling it.
~ Richard Phu, Dating Coach
That is a quote I posted on my Facebook Wingmam page. I noted that when I was in real estate sales I got rejected “a shit tonne.” An astute woman reminded me that business rejection and love rejection feel quite different, especially for those of us who suffer with fragile self-esteem from childhood trauma.
In business, we can brush off the brush offs by believing our product, service or knowledge simply isn’t required. But when it comes to romantic rejection, fuck, that sucks. We take it personally because it is personal. And, yes, I have been romantically rejected!
By why should it affect us?
Logic would tell us that we’re simply not the right match, it’s the wrong timing or the rejector doesn’t know what they’re missing out on. All possible truths! Regardless, for those with self-worth struggles, rejection hurts.
Ultimately, we don’t feel good enough because all of those shitty things that happened to us growing up, and sometimes growing old, have left a scar. The scar of feeling “not good enough.”
I understand. I empathize.
Trigger Zone …
It took me a long time to get over the feeling of shame of physical, sexual and emotional abuse from various adults in my single digit years, abandonment from my dad’s death when I was 12 years old, and worthlessness when my mom was suicidal thereafter. All this before I had a driver’s licence.
Other traumas happened in adulthood. I’ll save you the queasies, but they were equally as awful, and in my mid-20s, I thought suicide was my best option.
I went from barely surviving to thriving—but it didn’t happen overnight.
Nope, there were many messed-up years in numerous relationships with reacting and raging and having ridiculous fits and wondering if I was ever going to feel safe in life, never mind mentally healthy or … (crazy thought) happy.
In childhood, when people who we trust and/or love treat us poorly, or worse than poorly, we subconsciously create stories about why that is. And since we’re taught that adults are authority—parents, extended family, family friends, teachers, preachers—when they do terrible things to us, we automatically assume we are to blame. Thus begins the belief of not being good enough.
When we establish a belief system, we look for and only see the evidence that supports that belief.
We wind up in relationships—romantic or not—with people who feel familiar and who often have the good and bad qualities of those early authority figures who made the biggest impact on us. When that impact was traumatic, we choose poorly.
We are attracted to what is familiar, not to what is healthy.
The 5 Basic Steps to Get Over Childhood Trauma (and Adult Rejection)
- Awareness. Realizing we are kinda fucked up.
- Acceptance. Taking responsibility for becoming un-fucked up.
- A plan. Having a map that leads to Un-Fuckedup Ville.
- Action. Taking the steps to get there.
- Acknowledgement. We are doing the best we can and that’s ok.
Fucked up = Not feeling worthy or good enough.
A belief is a series of thoughts and thoughts can be changed. Therefore, change your thoughts = change your feelings = change your beliefs = change your actions = change your outcome (aka reaction to rejection)
I ain’t going to fib; it’s simple but not easy. Just like exercising, eating healthy, not binge drinking, getting to work on time to a job we loathe or whatever. We do those things because the outcome of not doing them is worse. They are “must-dos.”
So, if we want to say, “Fuck you, rejection,” or better yet not even care, then we must make feeling worthy a must-do.
Half of my WakeUP2Luv course is about how to be sexy, and the underlying goal is getting to a place of feeling worthy. Feelings = actions = outcome.
I won’t go over the entire 4-week self-study course—four modules plus weekly and daily homework—but this is a fundamental tidbit:
Everything we think or say is an affirmation. Choose carefully.
Now you’re aware of what’s possible—self-worth. You can choose to accept taking responsibility for your thoughts, or not; you can develop a plan on how to change your thought habits; you can take action by following your plan; and you can acknowledge that as long as you’re trying, you’re progressing.
Happiness is found in progressing more than in actually arriving at the destination.
I know from personal experience! That’s not to say I think that I’m perfect. I don’t, and I don’t need to. But I am good enough, and that’s good enough for me.
Takeaway from Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Rejection:
- Whatever we think, say or do, if we want to feel good enough to shrug off rejection, start by asking, “What would my best, most loveable self need to believe is true about me to feel good enough right now?” Start there and self-talk yourself into self-worth. #WakeUP2Luv
Disclaimer: I’m not a shrink. Nope, just a formerly fucked-up gal who figured out how to love herself and feel good enough—pretty damn good, great even.
What do you do to build yourself up? Give us your tips in the comments! #JustTheTip