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Tag: hurt

September 22, 2014

I recently came across this article on the American Psychology Association website that discussed the pain of rejection. In the article the author discussed research studies that have shown how painful rejection from certain groups and social classes are to people in general.

My response to the article is straight forward, rejection by itself is not painful. What makes rejection painful is our interpretations of rejection. If you are raised to believe that you must always be accepted by others, or that it is bad for others to reject you, then naturally you are going to experience emotional pain whenever you experience rejection because you believe something bad and terrible is happening to you.

What I have found with people who struggle with dealing with rejection is that they usually lack a healthy narrative regarding their sense of identity. Often, the worse the person’s fear of rejection is, the more scarce his or her sense of identity is.

So what do I mean by a sense of identity? A sense of identity can be described as a person’s concept of what beliefs and values he or she adheres to combined with his or her heritage. I have noticed that people who have a solid grasp of what their beliefs and values are have no issues accepting others rejection of them. People who don’t have a solid grasp or understanding of what their beliefs and values are, more likely to give into social pressure to conform to certain trends or fads.

The problem with societal trends, is that in other to fit into that particular group practicing the trend, you have to conform to certain attributes that are our of your control to change and are often based on vanity. So if you find yourself struggling to deal with rejection, there is a high likelihood that you have bought into an artificial narrative created by someones who did not have you in mind. You may have bought into this narrative because you admired the people who practiced the narrative, and there is nothing wrong with that, however in the absence of a solid sense of self, you find yourself dependent on others to define who you are. This is an impossible feat, because the only one who can define and accept you unconditionally is you. This means that in the absence of self acceptance is self rejection, and your experiences of rejection from others will only serve as a reminder of your rejection of self.

When we first come into the world, the first people we socialize with are our parents. Our parents and guardians are tasked with accepting us unconditionally, thereby role modeling for us unconditionally self acceptance, as you can imagine there are a number of things that could go wrong with this process. The reality is that parents who don’t have a strong and healthy sense of self, have very little to teach and pass on to their children in regards to the formation of a healthy identity. I have also noticed that parents who have not passed on a healthy narrative to their children, are often strong advocates for discouraging any and all types of rejection in society.

People who have been fortunate to have developed a healthy sense of identity in their younger years, their experiences of being rejected are not only few and far in between, but not painful. The reason for this is because of the phenomenon that there is someone for everyone. Even when faced as a minority in a certain environments, people who are genuinely accepting of themselves, often will establish relationships with like minded people.

For clients who have had little experience in living out a healthy narrative, I guide them through the formation of healthy narrative that embodies a dignified sense of identity. So what does a healthy narrative look like? In my next post I will discuss what a healthy narrative consists of.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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January 20, 2014

In this blog, I  often discuss how to use logic in addressing and solving problems we encounter in our daily lives, however no amount of logic or rational can deliver you from your emotional wounds.

Emotional wounds are wounds inflicted on us during our early childhood years, which we suppressed as a defense mechanism due to fear of abandonment and our instinctual need to bond with our families of origin. Our suppression of our wounds were understandably used as defense mechanisms until they outlasted their usefulness once we came out of childhood.

Healing of cut finger, five images isolate on white

Everyone has a different emotional wound, and a common one I encounter in my practice is not feeling loved enough, if at all. For people who endured emotional and physical abuse from their guardians, not feeling loved enough became the theme of their lives.

For people who felt unloved during their childhood, they tended to suppress their true feelings and worked harder at bonding with their target oppressor or antagonist guardian or rebel frequently and lash out at their target oppressor or antagonist guardian. This manifests itself in  adulthood in two primary ways. The first way is through the habitual and sometimes failed attempts to bond with someone who is emotional unavailable and/or abusive. The other way, on the other end of the spectrum are people who isolate from meaningful social contact and habitually seek out confrontations.

In both cases you have people who habitually play out the roles they played in their childhood to survive abuse, which doesn’t work in their adulthood, because they have the ability to place themselves in abusive relationships and subsequently remove themselves from such  relationships.

So how do people heal from emotional wounds? The first step is recognizing your emotional wounds. While most people have developed a blind spot towards recognizing their emotional wounds, the reality is that, emotional wounds can easily be detected by looking at the difficulties you frequently experience in your life, particularly in relationships. If you simply started writing down all the types of difficulties you experience, you will notice a pattern, and that pattern is usually a reflection of the difficulty you endured during your childhood years.

The next step is to imagine yourself as having overcome your emotional wounds. Specifically, what life would be like if scabs of your emotional wounds are no longer reopened by the triggers. Heck, imagine if there are no more scabs to open, hence no more emotional wounds, what would that look like? For example, if your emotional wounds involves you experiencing a fear of rejection, what would it feel like if you took a risk that involved the possibility of experiencing rejection, and then you got rejected and you did not mind? What would life feel like in the absence of your emotional wounds?

By visualizing your feelings, you now have a good idea of what steps to take towards realizing the life you deserve where you are happy and thriving. Using a narrative, to document what your life would be like, is a very effective method, as you inevitably stumble upon specific actions to realize with your new life.

This is not an easy process, and certainly not a one time deal. It is a practice that must be done on a daily basis. If you find addressing your emotional wounds on your own to be significantly overwhelming, establishing a relationship with a good therapist is be a good investment, as it increases and speeds up the likelihood of your recovery.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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