On a daily basis we offer counselling and therapy to patients at JEMS Foundation. One of the common denominators we see is the root cause of rejection that often stems from the breakdown of family among other areas. Rejection must be confronted with for recovery. Scientists have studied rejection and learned that it’s not so different from physical pain. In an MRI scan, the brain will show the same sort of neurological response after rejection as it does when experiencing physical pain, such as breaking a bone. This response is most likely due to our past experience with natural selection during our hunter-gatherer days. We’ve almost always lived in social groups. But when a person was deemed a detriment to the group, they were excluded and sent away. However, it wasn’t likely that a human would survive on his own 1.5 million years ago. So the brain would send pain signals to the body to alert someone of danger when they were about to be ostracized. It’s actually a pretty useful trait. There’s no doubt that we can survive on our own today, yet we still experience the same brain responses after rejection. So our reluctance to deal with it is completely understandable
- KEEP CALM
People are likely to get angry when they are rejected but that won’t solve anything. Men are very likely to respond with anger because it’s one of the few emotions that is deemed “masculine” by society. Substance abuse makes the response even worse because it takes away our rationalization abilities. In recovery, we can learn to remain calm and try to understand why the rejection occurred rather than getting angry that it happened at all.
- SEE ALL SIDES
Sometimes rejection has nothing to do with us and has everything to do with outside factors. So, let’s go back to the girl at the party. You asked her out and she said no. But it might not have had anything to do with you. She might have just gotten out of another relationship and just doesn’t want to date at all. Don’t put added stress and grief on yourself without entertaining all aspects of the situation.
- BE PATIENT
Understand that it might take a while for people to see your change. Your friends and family might have lost a lot of trust in you during your addiction struggle. Therefore, they might still say no when you ask to borrow something like money. Even though you’re now in recovery, they might still not trust you to not use the money to relapse if they have past experience with you doing so. But don’t get discouraged. You’ll be the first to see a change in yourself and everyone else will follow. It just takes time.