Relationship Blog

How Do You Handle Rejection in a Relationship?

how do you handle rejection

I was originally going to write about as rejection being something that we have total control over. That we can not feel rejected. That rejection is something in our mind that we can control. That in the past we may have been rejected and believed we had no control over how we felt, created some beliefs around this, and then viewed and felt rejection through this filter. Again all in our mind and if it is in our mind we can have control over it.

Then, in doing some research on rejection, I came across something that changed the way I viewed rejection and other emotional pain.

Did you know that by using MRI, scientists can observe the brain’s metabolic activity through changes in blood flow? This indicates which areas of the brain are being used.  One of the findings was that the same area of the brain that processes physical pain, also processes emotional pain. So when you stub your toe or when you feel emotional pain, it is registering and being processed by the same area of the brain. Fascinating.

The other interesting fact about the brain, is that the brain itself does not have any pain receptors. This is why doctors can open up someone’s head ( that bit needs local anaesthetic as the skin and surrounding tissue does have pain receptors), and once open can prod and poke the brain and the person does not feel any pain. Though the brain does not feel pain itself, we use our brain to detect pain.

So pain is something that is ‘experienced’ and processed in the brain. Have you ever done something where you cut yourself and not noticed to later?  Then later felt the pain. And sometimes the more you focus on it, the more painful it seems to get?

So, now let’s work with this. Many people I work with have experiences intense emotional pain typically when their relationship has ended not by their choice. Have you noticed the person that doesn’t end the relationship typically struggles the most?

The pain is real and I am going to suggest that it is being ‘experienced’ in your head. While it is being experienced with your neurons being fired off, it is creating a memory, associating it with other memories and possibly firing those off as well.

People living with chronic physical pain, can exhibit anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. I have found the same with people with chronic emotional pain. When we are in pain, we can get stressed.

If we are highly stressed or distressed we can get into survival mode, fight or flight. How our body prepares for this is that, breathing becomes shallow, muscles tighten, we can become overly sensitive to what’s happening around us. The sympathetic nervous system has kicked in.

Also, the mind often can not distinguish between reality and imagination or memory. This is why people who have lost limbs can still feel pain in the limb even when it is not there.

Savour some chocolate

When we see a reminder of the rejection, a text, email, see the person, go somewhere, memories flood back. Along with the memories associated emotions of past rejections. This time triggered by the mind, a thought. This sets the pineal gland to producing the hormones that generates the emotions in the body. Might be tightness in the chest, feeling sick in the stomach, headaches, nausea, sweats.

So we have this mind body connection. What is also true, is that while the mind affects the body, the body also affects the mind. I am sure you have had the experience of being sad, or down and then going for a walk, or exercising and feeling better.

Your body has a natural drug to help you feel better. Endorphins are the bodies natural opiate, the bodies feel good drug. So here are some ways to feel better about rejection and other emotional pain.

  1. Savour some dark chocolate. There a whole lot of goodies in the cacao in chocolate that can promote feeling good. Now I did saw savour for devour.
  2. My favourite is exercise, particularly group exercise. I love dancing. There is nothing like the combination if good music, good friendly company and activity to lift my spirits. Exercise also releases endorphins.
  3. Listen to music you love. Here I would suggest more upbeat music to lift your spirits.
  4. Now if the rejection is something other than being rejected by your partner, like a knock back or losing your job, then sex is a good option. Need I say more.
  5. Laughter is a good cure for a lot things. Get some laughter in, even if it is silly laughter you have to make up, it has been proven that it still has the same effect.
  6. Back to food, eat something hot and spicy. Let’s create some more pain for the body to deal with. This physical pain is then offset by the body’s reaction of producing endorphins.
  7. And lastly you can use aromas to lift your mood. Vanilla scent helps reduce anxiety and lavender is another good one to try.

These are all physical things you can do. Not only will they interrupt the thinking that maybe focusing on the pain and hurt of rejection, they stimulate the endorphins to make you feel better.

Now let’s come at it from the mind. Remember when I asked have you had the experience of cutting yourself and not noticing at the time. Where you put your attention with our mind is what you are going to experience. Focusing on the rejection and pain will keep you there. This is dumb logic. This is where there needs to be some strategies or serious will power in place to place your attention somewhere else.

A very powerful way to do this is to ask yourself some really good questions.

For example using the Sedona Method. Repeat these questions until the feeling is gone.

  • Could I let this feeling go? (It is good to name the feeling.)
  • Would I let this feeling go?
  • When?

Some more questions:

  • What do you want your life to look like?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What do you enjoy?
  • Who loves you?

All of these strategies take the focus off the rejection and place your attention on something more useful.

Now if for whatever reason you are fixated on the rejection, that you find it extremely difficult to do any of the above or come up with something of your own, then you may have a form of emotional addiction or attachment that is causing you so much pain. In my previous blog post: Hurt People, Hurt People in Relationships, I mentioned that “Unless pain and hurt from the past are resolved it will be carried into the next relationship.”

Here I suggest that you seek professional help. Someone who will accept you for who you are and work with you to move forward.

Life I believe is nothing more than a series of experiences, some pleasurable, some painful. We all have experiences to learn from. Learn the lesson and move forward. Life does not wait for us and we always have choice. You always have the choice to how you are going to react to what life presents to you.

So if you’ve got any questions regarding this blog or any aspect of your relaionship, why not take advantage of the complimentary 30-minute session I offer. Contact Me to see how I can help you have more healthier and happier relationships.  Until next time.

Marriage Counsellor and Relationship Counsellor - Keith Flynn

Keith Flynn BSc, Dip. Hyp.


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