About Rejection and the Fear of It

The rejection we perceive in childhood or early adulthood is often followed by our own subtle or overt rejection of family of origin, milieu of origin, identity of origin, country of origin, and human society

Family of Origin

Rejection may be first experienced, then practiced. An insecure or fearful attachment to the family of origin because of poor care, neglect, or abuse may be the cause for the child’s first experience of rejection and the feeling of being unimportant, unwanted, unloved, “wrong” for the place, the situation, the family. This feeling of being only partially acceptable or wholly unacceptable to the family of origin creates discomfort and impedes the development of a positive self-image. The child becomes an isolated teen, an uncomfortable young adult, and an insecure adult. The individual may seek to compensate by becoming aggressive, bullying others, ingesting alcohol or other mind-altering substances, seeking power, relaxation, comfort, and ultimately acceptance by any means. Partial or complete withdrawal from close, intimate relationship may also occur, whereby now the individual exhibits toward others the subtle or overt rejection he or she originally felt. Sometimes this is clearly visible in the person’s rejectionist behaviors, e.g., acting out, bullying, manipulating, etc. However, often it is well hidden and can only be inferred or uncovered in psychoanalysis.

Milieu of Origin

The choices that the individual makes early in life may be a direct consequence of perceiving rejection within a particular milieu, i.e., the person’s social environment. The young person may move out of the family of origin sooner than expected, often because of ongoing conflict with family members. There may also be a feeling of not fitting well in the milieu of origin, i.e., in one’s neighborhood, school, peer group, town, or geographic region. This feeling of extraneity, and its resulting rejectionist behaviors, can extend to religious background (with rejectionist behaviors such as militant atheism, intense secularism), political system (violent activism, terrorism), family business (firm refusal to follow in the family footsteps), social status (real or feigned rejection of wealth and power), and to the culture in which the person spent his or her formative years.

Identity of Origin

Withdrawing from relationships, the difficulties in creating and maintaining them, or their forced absence are inherently contrary to the innate social propensities of human beings, and this will cause the individual to compensate for the loss of human connection. In a sense, the individual will continue to try to become acceptable, important, wanted, and loved. This can be accomplished in several ways, some of which have better outcomes than others. Among the better ways in which an individual is able to overcome the fear of rejection and improve his or her self-image are joining a group or becoming very proficient in a creative or productive art or skill, including the performing arts. In essence, acting is the taking on of a different identity and it can work very effectively at giving the individual a safe way to temporarily step out of their own private self and into a more acceptable public image. It does not represent a cure, as it is well known that entertainers may be able to play positive roles extremely well but may continue to have difficulties in personal relationships and with being just themselves.

Country of Origin

In recent years, there has been a growing phenomenon among certain strata of the population which goes under the name of globalization. Far from being simply an economic or political phenomenon, globalization appears to also serve as a means to reject one’s own origins in favor of a “citizenship of the world.” In this view, local relationships appear to the globalist as limiting, outmoded, constrictive and, most important of all, rejecting. When acting on the assumption that belonging to a specific national culture is inherently narrow-minded and dystopian, all fears of rejection, of being unimportant, unwanted, unloved, “wrong” for their own place, the situation, the people, the country appear to be somewhat exorcized. Love of country, love of family, love of one’s origins are rejected in favor of globalism, based on the overriding belief that anywhere else must be a better place, that somewhere else there is a better quality of people, and that happiness can only be achieved by blurring or even destroying all ties to one’s own origins. The roots of these beliefs can often be found, albeit not always, in one’s difficult formative years.

Pathological Rejection of Human Society

The ultimate antidote against the awful perception of being rejected, unloved, and unwanted is to reject society itself. Even when the formative years are not especially difficult, an antisocial personality can develop seemingly without cause. Some individuals appear to be born with certain genetic, temperamental, and personality traits that automatically set them apart for the average population. Without any causative event, they have difficulty in communicating with people, understanding others, interpreting and managing emotions. A number of diagnosable mental health disorders can account for their dysfunctional impulses. Under the pressure of these impulses, antisocial individuals either reject society by fleeing it, or reject it by fighting it. Generally, there is little that can be done to change an adult individual’s antisocial personality or temperament, save for confinement or powerful “dampening” drugs that can temporarily mitigate their worst impulses.