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How to overcome the fear of rejection


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Hi all, I wonder if you could help.

It's occurred to me recently that I think I may have an overall fear of rejection, which I'm concerned has trickled into and ultimately ruined some of my 'relationships' in the past. I say that in loose terms as I have had experience of casual relationships also.

I find that in whatever kind of relationship I am in, I am very much a give give give give type of person, and I often find that I have an awful adrenaline rush when I feel like somebody may be about to leave me or is considering it. In the past, this has caused me to respond very emotionally when I've been concerned. I have tried to underpin moments in my past where this could come from, but I had parents who really only wanted the best for me and supported me down my paths. My parents did get divorced in 2014, but I can pinpoint moments where the fear of rejection may have occurred prior to that.

I always try to learn from any negative experience I have with a guy/whenever something doesn't work out, and I believe I have taken some good steps forward to address some of those things. I'd also like to mention that I don't necessarily experience this fear when I'm meeting someone (I don't have worries about whether or not anything will amount from something), only when there is an emotional/romantic connection there and something occurs where they could leave (like an argument, for example).

I love making people feel good, emotionally, physically, mentally, and I feel like I have a lot to give someone. My previous partner said that I show so much appreciation for people and things they do for me, and they always loved how giving I was. I'd really appreciate some tips on how to overcome the fear of rejection/abandonment when I'm in a situation where somebody could leave?

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Do you give give give without stopping to check or be aware that the situation might be inappropriate? Ie codependency? I think if you are self-aware and also are aware of whatever situation you are in (dating or otherwise) you may feel a bit less anxious overall. It sounds like general anxiety for loss or being out of touch or not in tune with your partner or the situation leading to the break down of a relationship. 

Not everyone will be as open or giving with love, appreciation or even information so it's good to stay cautious and let trust build over time.

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3 hours ago, artsygirl said:

don't necessarily experience this fear when I'm meeting someone (I don't have worries about whether or not anything will amount from something), only when there is an emotional/romantic connection there and something occurs where they could leave (like an argument, for example).

-Sadly, yes people do leave.  Break ups happen. As for 'arguments', that should not 'make them leave'.

You have deep fears all the time?  How has it ruined your past relations?

 

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Not sure how old you are but maybe just accept you will likely have 10-20 or more “relationships” before you marry or may never get married.  Stop holding on to guys like they are the last creatures on earth.  The next time you are in a relationship tell yourself they probably won’t be the one and enjoy the relationship for what it is.

Also, overly nice people finish last. Sorry to say, but it's true.  Learn to give to yourself first, then others. Clutching on to people and being overly nice are going to drive people away rather than attract them.

Maybe get a great group of female friends and strengthen relationships with family.  Sometimes those relationships are as or more sacred as those you will have with men.

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I think I am also like you ( very much a give give give give type of person ). You know if we would be like this then person next to us would be living very easily and wouldn't be giving same treat. I have also faced some weird phase in my teenager life where I wasn't even interested in some guys but they behaved like I had chasing them in first interaction. It hurt me that time and I never been seen them till now and never would. Whenever I flashback that I know they were ridiculous and thought themselves much important. And now it doesn't hurts me anymore because I don't consider it as a rejection. So basically I want to say you that if you given your everything to someone then it's their turn to pay back and if they are not then they doesn't deserves you. Not you but they will loose best. So just don't overthink and react on it. Let them go if they want. Surely they will regret one day. You will heal automatically by time, it's natural process. You can't think it as a rejection, it's a some kind stupid human nature which can't be changed. So you have to change the perception of your thinking. You are also a God's creation who has created everyone, so you are valuable!

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11 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

You have deep fears all the time?  How has it ruined your past relations?

 

Thank you, SooSad33. I wouldn't say fears all the time, it's more so if I have built some sort of connection/bond with this person i.e. in a relationship, heading towards a relationship, and then an argument occurs (for example) or I get the feeling they're going to/about to pull away. I've had lots of experience of people pulling away or leaving. Whilst I know that not everyone in my life will leave, when they grow distant or an argument starts, my first initial internal response is that they'll leave me. This then causes me to become very upset (whether in front of or away from the person). One of my friends once described me as being 'intense' behind my back. I'd just like to jump to this conclusion less

Edited by artsygirl
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It sounds like you have a lot to offer someone. It also seems like you have some anxiety and ruminating in overdrive.

While it's great to be open-hearted, make sure you are not overinvesting and artificially driving up thier value.

Of course the anxiety and obsessing and ruminating are best addressed with your physician and a referral to a therapist.

In the meantime. Step back, pace yourself, don't overinvest or undermine yourself just to be liked.

People will either like you...or not. Best to be aware that it's often a third,third,third proposition.

That means a third will just gel, hit it off great and automatically like you.

A third will be fine with you and like you well enough.

Then there's the third who simply won't take to you.

That third often has nothing to do with you. It's thier own stuff. 

This is why you never focus on this third. Instead you focus on the 2/3 who will like you and build on that.

 

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1 hour ago, artsygirl said:

Thank you, SooSad33. I wouldn't say fears all the time, it's more so if I have built some sort of connection/bond with this person i.e. in a relationship, heading towards a relationship, and then an argument occurs (for example) or I get the feeling they're going to/about to pull away. I've had lots of experience of people pulling away or leaving. Whilst I know that not everyone in my life will leave, when they grow distant or an argument starts, my first initial internal response is that they'll leave me. This then causes me to become very upset (whether in front of or away from the person). One of my friends once described me as being 'intense' behind my back. I'd just like to jump to this conclusion less

Some great advice here!  Just know -nothing "causes" you to become very upset -you don't control the fear, you do control the reaction.  Certainly you don't control the physical impulse when you're in true danger but yes you can control acting in an intense way or needy way -which is the impression it gives and that is often a huge turn off in a romantic relationship.  And -vicious cycle -the person then holds back/doesn't want to upset you lest you fear that the argument means bye bye. 

When my son was a toddler we let our friend take him on a three minute tour of her house we were visiting.  He left all smiles, returned hysterically crying because a minute in he realized he couldn't see us.  We of course reassured him but when he was older we did leave him with sitters and teachers, etc and once in awhile in tears -and I still left.  Because it was good for him to handle his emotions, he knew I was coming back, and that strengthened him.  You need to do the same -you need to practice feeling what you feel and then reacting in a way that is not self-absorbed. It's self-absorbed to act in a needy/clingy/upset way over every argument because you choose to let the fear dictate that "this is the end!! I'll never see him again!!

Everyone fears rejection in a romantic relationship.  So we balance how much we want to be romantically connected. How much we want to give of ourselves.  Being nice as in passive is not nice -it's done to get approval.  Having someone have to walk on eggshells around you isn't nice.  It's self-absorbed/selfish.  Fears are normal -I've suffered from a phobia.  I've had panic attacks over that phobia.  I get it.  I had to learn strategies and tools as to how to react to the particular fear.  If you want a romantic relationship that is healthy badly enough you will too.  I'd also suggest you stop telling yourself you're such a giving person - tell yourself you plan to give from a position of reasonable strength and confidence and you also plan to give the other person the space and peace to interact with you without fear of you going all "intense".  Good luck!!!

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30 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'd also suggest you stop telling yourself you're such a giving person - tell yourself you plan to give from a position of reasonable strength and confidence and you also plan to give the other person the space and peace to interact with you without fear of you going all "intense".  Good luck!!!

All of your response was great, Batya33, but I did particularly want to highlight this as something I'll definitely take forward! Thank you so much for your response and thoughts 🙂 

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I don't know what you mean by give, give, give. Just make sure you're not one of those people who regularly gushes over another, and puts them on a pedestal. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. 

Practice changing your mindset. If one argument means there will be a breakup, maybe think, "If the relationship is strong, it will withstand one argument. If it's weak and he walks away, then it means some other guy is my fate."

Make sure you're allowing time for a guy to reciprocate effort to continue gauging his interest. Don't be the one driving the train all the time and he's just along for the ride and letting you completely stoke the engine.

How about: He needs to treat me like the special person I am to stay in my life.

Get some books on positive self-talk. Take care.

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You have figured out when a relationship is very important to you is when these fears start to manifest themselves which is good.  This isn't a general fear, it is specific.  The more important the more fear.

  For the most part we all don't want our relationship to end (I am sure there are people right now hoping the next fight ends it for them) but that is a desire or want.  We want to be in a healthy committed relationship instead of turning it into a insecurity.  That is what this is really, you are insecure in relationships and the next argument makes you fear they will call it quits. 

  I am thinking this give give give thing you have going on is like spoiling a child so they will never throw a fit.  It works for a while but ultimately how much can you give to MAKE someone happy and want to stay with you?  Think about those young women that marry those creepily old men.  We all know why they marry them but eventually they leave because all the gifts, luxury and vacations wear off.  The creepy old dude buys increasingly more expensive things for her trying to get her to stay because he knows she really doesn't belong with him.  I don't believe these men don't belong with you but it seems you believe that somewhere in the back of your mind.  If you feel you are not good enough to be in the relationship then you will wear yourself out trying to reach that bar you set so high.  Being a giver is not a bad thing as long as it comes from a sense of value and strength in ones self.

  You are an extremely valuable woman that these men are lucky to have in their lives and until you believe that and see that what you bring to any relationship is special and has a huge value this fear will keep haunting you.  Self worth, self esteem and pride in yourself are good things to build up, once done this fear will disappear.

  If you find yourself in a relationship and see the balance becoming way off then it is time to step back and re-balance things.  If you are doing all the giving and he is just sitting back taking then stop and ask yourself why you keep giving with no reciprocation.  That should help you from getting to the fear stage.  It could be your give give give has kept these other relationships alive longer than they normally would have lasted and then you run out of ammo and the fear comes to the surface.

  I truly think you have a lot to offer someone in a relationship.  You are very reflective and thoughtful about yourself and trying to be the best version of yourself.  You are not selfish or narcissistic, you don't seem all full of yourself and they way you write you seem very genuine.  All awesome qualities so take some time to list all your good qualities and post it somewhere you can see it to remind yourself of your own value. 

Lost

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10 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

You have figured out when a relationship is very important to you is when these fears start to manifest themselves which is good.  This isn't a general fear, it is specific.  The more important the more fear.

  For the most part we all don't want our relationship to end (I am sure there are people right now hoping the next fight ends it for them) but that is a desire or want.  We want to be in a healthy committed relationship instead of turning it into a insecurity.  That is what this is really, you are insecure in relationships and the next argument makes you fear they will call it quits. 

  I am thinking this give give give thing you have going on is like spoiling a child so they will never throw a fit.  It works for a while but ultimately how much can you give to MAKE someone happy and want to stay with you?  Think about those young women that marry those creepily old men.  We all know why they marry them but eventually they leave because all the gifts, luxury and vacations wear off.  The creepy old dude buys increasingly more expensive things for her trying to get her to stay because he knows she really doesn't belong with him.  I don't believe these men don't belong with you but it seems you believe that somewhere in the back of your mind.  If you feel you are not good enough to be in the relationship then you will wear yourself out trying to reach that bar you set so high.  Being a giver is not a bad thing as long as it comes from a sense of value and strength in ones self.

  You are an extremely valuable woman that these men are lucky to have in their lives and until you believe that and see that what you bring to any relationship is special and has a huge value this fear will keep haunting you.  Self worth, self esteem and pride in yourself are good things to build up, once done this fear will disappear.

  If you find yourself in a relationship and see the balance becoming way off then it is time to step back and re-balance things.  If you are doing all the giving and he is just sitting back taking then stop and ask yourself why you keep giving with no reciprocation.  That should help you from getting to the fear stage.  It could be your give give give has kept these other relationships alive longer than they normally would have lasted and then you run out of ammo and the fear comes to the surface.

  I truly think you have a lot to offer someone in a relationship.  You are very reflective and thoughtful about yourself and trying to be the best version of yourself.  You are not selfish or narcissistic, you don't seem all full of yourself and they way you write you seem very genuine.  All awesome qualities so take some time to list all your good qualities and post it somewhere you can see it to remind yourself of your own value. 

Lost

Thank you so much, lostandhurt. This has definitely given me some food for thought. I think you are absolutely right, I really am trying to better myself, but thinking about the lack of reciprocation in some of my previous relationships has been an eye opener. I must make sure I am receiving equally.

I also want to thank you for your kind words in the last paragraph. I am really trying to better myself from each experience, and it's been helpful to receive that acknowledgement from my writing. Thank you again, take care 🙂 

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2 hours ago, artsygirl said:

I must make sure I am receiving equally.

So I think this is a losing battle and not necessary. If you have reasonable self esteem you will know when you are i in a balanced relationship. It doesn't need to be equal, no keeping score, equality is one of those abstract terms and especially when it comes to division of responsibilities - I don't focus on equal.  I focus on fair.  I do that by focusing on how I feel and I acknowledge when I feel resentful or taken advantage of and I figure out how to address that on an individual basis.  But if you have two people who want a healthy relationship, who are healthy in their own right then you'll communicate to maintain a balance. It might not be "equal" and you may be more of the giver at times and you may be the primary giver in certain areas and him in other areas and trying to figure out "equal" is a waste of time IMO.

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You have abandonment issues. Easy solution: There are helpful articles online you can look up and have a good read on. Help you understand, and help you work through it.

Edited by smackie9
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Good topic, Artsy! I've found it helpful to examine and take some comfort in how all relationships, including coworkers, classmates, friends and lovers, tend to 'normalize' over a course of time.

NO healthy person can maintain the high intensity that they start out with in a brand new relationship. Only anxious people-pleasers might try to keep that tap-dance going.

Everyone else RELAXES as they incorporate a not-so-new relationship into the normal course of their lives.

Does this mean mistreatment is acceptable? No. Does it mean that being taken for granted is acceptable? Well, to a certain degree, kinda.

A lack of fanfare is not the same thing as pulling away. Redirecting our focus beyond the initial 'love bubble' we create around a new person is not only fine, it's necessary. It's like the difference between a vacation romance and partnering in REAL life.

Real life intrudes. In fact, if we've been holding up walls to real life to maintain an intense focus on a new lover, it comes crashing back with late bills to pay and stuff to take care of that can no longer be delayed.

So make room for this natural occurrence in your relationships and remind yourself that sometimes the hardest thing to do in order to learn someone else's natural rhythms and patterns is...nothing.

Head high, read my sig, and write more if it helps. 

 

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