General Question

shadling21's avatar

How do you get rid of "fear of rejection"?

Asked by shadling21 (6491points) March 22nd, 2010

My relationship of nine months is going swell, but the fear that he’ll reject me is still strong. How do I get rid of it? How do I focus on other things? It’s causing me considerable emotional turmoil and alienating the SO.

Have you ever dealt with this fear?

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36 Answers

FishGutsDale's avatar

He’s already accepted you. What rejection are you afraid of?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@FishGutsDale: You’ve never heard of “breaking up”?

FishGutsDale's avatar

But worrying about it before it happens?

shadling21's avatar

Yeah. I worry about it, even though there is no reason to. That’s what makes it irrational.

I think back to grade eight, when a boy broke my heart after telling me that he loved me. Stuff like that makes it hard to trust people.

@La_chica_gomela Do you understand this fear, then?

Pandora's avatar

By realizing you have nothing to gain and everything to loose if you mistrust him. Lets say you are right and he leaves you. Are you going to let your fear be the reason he leaves. People eventually get tired of trying to prove others wrong and he will grow tired and prove you right. So would you rather be right or happy.

elenuial's avatar

Some people try beer. It usually works out poorly for them.

You could try talking to him. Open and honest communication has always worked best for me. I think I’m an outlier, though…

FishGutsDale's avatar

@elenuial yep you are. I think you had it with beer.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@shadling21: Of course!!

I deal with it by talking about it honestly with my SO. When I’m feeling unsteady or scared I just tell him, and then he’s able to reassure me of how much he loves me, and we talk about all the uncertainties of life, and we always both promise each other to do our best.

Talking about it doesn’t “get rid of” the fear of losing each other, but it helps put things in perspective.. Fear of the unknown (or in this case specifically fear of rejection) usually doesn’t go away completely. Of course there will always be moments of insecurity, but that’s life.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Sounds like you might not be ready for a relationship if you’re bringing old issues into it.

Some people try to find the right person. Some people try to become the right person.

Best to become the right person first yourself. Then the right person for you will naturally come along.

ninjacolin's avatar

“I think back to grade eight, when a boy broke my heart after telling me that he loved me. Stuff like that makes it hard to trust people.”

i find this laughable. if that helps at all.

j0ey's avatar

This is a different fear of rejection….But when I am afraid to ask someone out, I often think, “If someone asks me out, even If I don’t fancy them, and I say no, I’m still flattered. And its not because there is anything wrong with them, its just that they don’t have what I want.”

Thinking this usually takes the fear of rejection away….sure they might say no, but you will make someone else feel good about themselves in the process, everyone likes to know they are wanted.

But I know this is not really the same thing as what you are asking…I haven’t experienced fear of rejection in a relationship before….Maybe you just need to relax and live in the “now” and don’t look into the future….and make sure you don’t mind read, people often think they are better at this than what they are. Maybe you thinking he might leave you, is just a reflection of your own belief that you dont deserve him?...I dont know.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ninjacolin Yes quite laughable indeed. Grow up @shadling21 please.

shadling21's avatar

@ninjacolin @RealEyesRealizeRealLies Thank you for your support. Of course, “that helps” immensely.

shadling21's avatar

Let’s be clear. I got over that stupid eighth grade boy long ago. I’m just pointing out that little things like that make it really tough to trust people. I’m also pointing out that I’ve had the experience of someone saying that they loved me, then taking it back.

shadling21's avatar

@Pandora – That’s some great advice.

augustlan's avatar

It’s a toughie, girl. In a larger sense, I lived with fear of… well, everything – for a long, long, time. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the next terrible thing to come around the corner (including the possibility of being left). It’s a terrible way to live! I don’t have an easy answer for you, but therapy and medication helped me immensely. FWIW, you’re a great person and shouldn’t have to live with this fear.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Every swollen relationship will naturally and eventually ended up like that. Rejection for small issue is inappropriate. It doesn’t matter if he rejects you. You can still find another much better guy anyway.

Roby's avatar

Never been able to get over ‘fear of rejection’. It became inevitable in any relationship that I would be rejected. It was so bad that many times I would get the attitude…why even try…and I didn’t for the most part.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@Doctor_D: What is a “swollen relationship”?

shadling21's avatar

@augustlan Thank you for those kind words. I’m open to therapy, but only if this continues after talking more with the boyfriend. Things are looking up – at first he really didn’t get what I was talking about, but I think he’s having similar feelings that could help him relate. My mom says that this fear usually comes from one side of the relationship. Do you think this is true?

@Roby That’s horrible! I’m sorry to hear that your relationships haven’t gone well. I hope that you can get over your fear, too.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@La_chica_gomela Swollen relationship = Inharmonious/bad relationship (ups! I used metaphorical words).

augustlan's avatar

@shadling21 I don’t really know if it’s usually one-sided, but I do think some people are just more prone to ‘worry in advance’. Which steals time and joy from the pleasures of today! Good luck, sweetie. :D

Idknown's avatar

@shadling21 Hands down – improve yourself. I see so many people go on the defensive side. Why? Why not go offensive? Why are we always ‘bracing ourselves’ for the worst instead of ‘forging ahead’ for the best?

It’s this negative thinking that will bring you down regardless of the outcome of your relationship.

You need more self confidence – that’s how you lose this fear of rejection. My current girlfriend will ‘likely’ break up with me soon. But I’m okay with that for two reasons: 1. I realize we might not be right for each other anyway. 2. I am a person of worth, and in demand. It won’t take me long to find another. So until we part, I am perfectly enjoying my time with her and not worrying. Being all I can be and all that I am. And if in the end she does let me go – I have no regrets, and that’s her loss.

Bring your self worth up. I never get jealous or have these fears because I am in firm belief that I’m the best thing that’s happened to them (and I strive to be just that). And if I am not the best thing to happen to them… that’s not good enough for ME (not them). Believe you are the best thing to happen to him, and that he’d be a fool to leave you. And get on with life.

If he does leave you – guess what? That only opens up for you to find a better match and be the best thing for the right person.

Hope that helps.

ninjacolin's avatar

“I’m also pointing out that I’ve had the experience of AN EIGHT GRADER saying that they loved me, then taking it back.”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ninjacolin You’ve made your point friend. I agree. But we must back off and let her embrace that pain in the way that she chooses, and not in the way we judge her for it.

ninjacolin's avatar

no no, i’m not judging her. I’m altering the significance of that event in her memory. she brought it up because it holds an uncomfortable measure of significance in her life. and she’s asking for help on how to lessen that measure. well, this is it.

being dumped in grade 8 was something that happened… in grade 8. it’s not something she’s experiencing this moment. not only is it the past, it’s also the typical past for children. it ought to have no bearing on her present in a significant way.

these opinions of mine and yours and most everyone elses’ are the opinions she needs to learn and share in order to be more like us who are untroubled by the people who dumped us in grade 8. i didn’t even remember that i was dumped in grade 8 until she brought this up! it just held no significance in my life (still doesn’t, by the way)

also, for the troubles she’s experiencing with these memories, it’s a little absurd to suggest that she’s “choosing” to experiencing these memories willingly, don’t you think? “choice” has nothing to do with it. if she could choose, she would choose not to have fear of rejection, obviously.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Agreed, except for the part about choosing. In a sense, she’s choosing to allow fear to rule the day rather than thinking.

Fear is an emotion. It is a reaction to a cause.

Thinking is a process. It is an action to a thought.

There is a vast chasm between cause/reaction and thought/action. We are thinking creatures. We need not be the step children of cause/reaction when we can instead command thought/action.

ninjacolin's avatar

by the way, the reason i made that second comment above was because she defended the idea. so, i had to point out that her defending it wasn’t helping her. paraphrased the conversation went thusly:

“i was dumped in grade 8!”
“that was the past”
“but it was horrible! you’re not helping!”
“geeze, lady, i said get over it already!”

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies no way.. why would anyone freely choose to harm themselves? this is a silly idea.

ninjacolin's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies said: “There is a vast chasm between cause/reaction and thought/action. We are thinking creatures. We need not be the step children of cause/reaction when we can instead command thought/action.”

I like this almost! It’s just a little inaccurate. Technically:

We need to be the step children of cause/reaction whenever we aren’t aware enough to perform thought/action.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ninjacolin “why would anyone freely choose to harm themselves?”

Because some people enjoy Martyrdom. They find great comfort in the pain brought forth by addiction or abuse. It’s not right, but it is the case.

I tend to break the world up into two categories, that being Martyrs and Litigants. Martyrs can’t get over the pain, because the pain is actually a foundational comfort to their lives. Litigants can’t stop dishing out the pain to others, because it is a source of their controlling identities, and they would be lost without it.

And yes, we need to be “sensitive” to the emotions of cause/reaction. But we would do well to understand that they do not control us. We control them, and we do this with thought/action.

shadling21's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You’re right, I’m letting fear control my actions. That’s why it’s interfering with my work.

I used to be a highly rational, emotionless person. Now that I’m dating my SO (and taking birth control pills), I find myself overcome with various emotions (positive AND negative). I’m actually enjoying figuring out what’s causing these emotions – it’s like a puzzle. I feel more alive than ever, too. I love and live passionately. At the same, I miss the strength that I once had to stand up to small things. I think that one day I’ll return to my former state, but for now, I don’t see any problem in exploring my emotional side. It’s helping me relate to people in a new way and informs my future actions.

I don’t really agree with your view of Martyrs vs Litigants. Rather, I think there is a range on which Martyrs and Litigants stand. It seems to me that there are people that aren’t martyrs that don’t inflect pain upon others. Can’t there be a healthy alternative?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Martyrs don’t inflict abuse on others, Litigants do. Martyrs hold on to their pain as a source of comfort. It helps define their identity. Martyrs, like yourself, are claiming themselves as victim. This admonishes them from taking responsibility for their own actions, decisions, and behavioral traits. Martyrs say “It’s not my fault. I am a victim.” And by saying that, they intend to justify holding on to their fear, anger, jealousy, spite, whatever their pain is.

Martyrs find great comfort in this. So much so that it’s hard to release. In effect, if your relationship goes bad, it will be a self fulfilling prophesy, and one that you can feel justified in proclaiming your Martyrdom further as a helpless victim of societal and cultural evils. It’s no different than an alcoholic being afraid of leaving the bottle, or an addict afraid of dropping the pipe. The fear of what would happen prevents life from being lived, and so, the deception owns you.

The fear comes in two forms. The obvious is a fear of losing what you have (losing your perceived comfort). The not so obvious fear, is the fear of failing in life if you do lose your perceived comfort. For the moment one releases themselves from Martyrdom, they cannot claim themselves as victim any longer. They must stand and face the world upon the merit of the choices they make in life. It’s much safer to hide behind the stanchion of Victim, than it is to accept the possibility of making a mistake by their own hand.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m back to work now but shall return.

shadling21's avatar

Your observations about the world are keen, but I still disagree. There must be people who aren’t Martyrs OR Litigants. People who don’t accept pain so readily, but who also don’t inflict pain on others. Maybe if you spoke about the two in terms of power and control, I’d be more able to accept the dichotomy that you’ve presented.

Where did you get these ideas? What is this worldview based off of?

Also, are you then saying that if I want to get over this fear, I need to become an inflictor of pain?

shadling21's avatar

@Idknown I like what you wrote about self-improvement. I do think that I’m improving my boyfriend’s life every day that I see him. It’s when I don’t see him that I worry. But you’re right – he’d be a fool to reject me. I will continue to prove that to him, and trust that he’s a smart guy that will remember me during the off-season.

@ALL Thanks for the responses. Especially the ones that weren’t so quick to judge.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@shadling21

I see what you mean now. Only those who are suffering deceptive disorders are Martyrs and Litigants. You can definitely free yourself from being either one. That is the path to wholeness. It is the pathway to living in Truth.

This world view is my own. It presented itself during a time of great tragedy, where I found that I was both Martyr and Litigant myself.

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