Suffering Rejection As Children & Adults can be devastating and should not be minimized or invalidated.
Before we can truly heal from emotional pain we must have a chance to express the hurt in a way that is acknowledged and validated. Crying is one healthy emotion. Letting go of hurt is a process much like the grieving process. If we have learned to shut down pain we are omitting the first step to healing. We must feel to heal. Then and only then can we move on to “our part” in injuries and neglect suffered as children or resentments that have stemmed from abuse and neglect. Often the only part we had to play in the core reason for our pain and addiction is that we were not taught a healthy emotional process. We therefore had to resort to unhealthy solutions.
Rejection should be acknowledged and worked through. There is much more to recovery than just staying sober. There is much more to working the Twelve Steps than just writing down resentments and finding our part in it.
We all have a life flow, a Spirit if you will that needs both nurturing and Love. Nurturing includes a validation of who we are and our right to be ourselves. When rejected at a young age by caregivers we shut down our life force in shame. And we hide who we really are.
Rejection can take many forms. It may be direct and obvious or indirect and subtle. (“Your brother is doing so well. Don’t you want to do well too?”) It may be all encompassing (“You can’t do anything right.” or focused on certain parts of our personality (“Stop being so curious about everything.”). It may be depriving (neglect) and distinctly lacking in emotional contact and nurturance or it may be dominating and controlling-suppressing our natural desires and over riding fundamental boundaries. It may be shaming and create within us a feeling of being “bad” or “defective”. Regardless of the form of rejection, we quickly learn that simply being ourselves will not get us the Love and acceptance that we so desperately need.
REJECTION-WHY AM I AN ADDICT?
Rejection injures our emotional healing process and our ability to express and release our pain. Without empathy, this impulse is stifled. In homes of deprivation, we cry out in vain because nobody is there to listen. This is nothing short of tragic. Dominating parents might say “I’ll give you something to cry about!” Maybe we are allowed to cry alone, but not to show our tears, and certainly not to protest against our parent’s wishes. Usually we don’t even know that we have been emotionally injured. Into adulthood we may admit we are addicts but never connect the dots to why we ended up so self-repulsed.
Hearing from our teachers that most of our natural impulsed are bad or wrong, we quickly learn to hide away these aspects of ourselves. We learn to hide away our pleasure as well as our pain; our thoughts as well as our feelings. All that brings a negative reaction from our caregivers is hidden away in order to try and get their Love.
Now we are susceptible to sexual molestation, drug addiction, or sick relationships we have not been taught what Love really is.
To survive the overwhelming pain of rejection and un-met childhood need, we shut down our life flow and shut off the pain. We do this through defense mechanisms that block or divert painful feelings and memories away from conscious awareness.
Defense mechanisms may come in the form of extreme behavior patterns, suck as over-eating, compulsive behavior self-sabotage, crisis creating, people pleasing, leaving before being left, rebellion, etc. Our defense behaviors serve two basic purposes: We either struggle to meet our unfulfilled needs through someone or something else or we deny our needs and detach from our pain.
The struggle defense is an unconscious attempt to correct the past. If we had to struggle to get our parent’s love, approval, help or understanding, we may re-create situations that elicit the same struggle and then strive for a different outcome. In some cases, we may get into abusive relationships similar to our childhood experience. Often we project our past feelings toward the care giver onto our partners.
Ever wonder why addicts relationship statistics are so sparse and unhealthy? We are not bad we just were not taught, shown how to love.
We are now in defense mode not just emotionally but also physically. We repress our breathing. Maybe our diaphragm expands when we exhale instead of expanding when we take breath in. We start by correcting our breathing. We learn deep breathing and deeply expand our bellies as we take air in.
PLEASE, we are in recovery, we mustn’t allow self or others to tell us to “get over it, it’s in the past.” It is not in the past emotional trauma is our core reason for using and needs to be processed.
Solutions to resentment.