When we are brought up in dysfunctional homes, we start to think that we need to keep everyone pleased and happy in order to not be rejected. This often stems from the childhood emotional neglect that we received from our parents and caregivers. Not having the love, care and affection that we desired at an early age often affects adult relationships later in life. Rejection sensitivity is extremely common in Depression, anxiety and ADHD. In this type of sensitivity, we often misinterpret and overanalyse the reactions of others and think that something is wrong with us.
“You might assume that if someone doesn’t respond to your texts, that you must’ve done something wrong and are being ignored. You also might struggle in receiving feedback from peers, teachers or bosses. You fear and also anticipate that people will automatically reject you, resulting in avoidant behaviors or sometimes being excessively needy for reassurance. This can create a cycle in the individual to avoid others, which usually reinstates their belief that people don’t want to be around them. As you can imagine, this can cause a lot of added pressure and stress to even the smallest of human interaction,” wrote Therapist Andrea Evgeniou.
Here are a few signs of rejection sensitivity to watch out for:
Difficulty reading positive facial expressions: We fail to see the positive expressions and we are oversensitive to the angry and sad expressions in others, because we always feel that we are responsible for making someone feel bad or angry with us.
Introjection: We often experience the feeling of absorbing the negative emotions of others and making them our own. This can affect us extremely.
Overuse projection: We feel that the emotions that we are experiencing are the same way that the other person also perceived the event or a situation.
Resonating with sadness: We feel more at ease in resonating and relating to the sadness of others than their happiness.
Craving reassurance: We always crave reassurance in a relationship and are constantly in need of validation from others.
Hypervigilant to subtle cues of disapproval: We are extremely sensitive to the subtle cues of disapproval from others, making us feel more rejected.