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Rejection Sensitivity

What is rejection sensitivity?
       Do you sometimes become really upset by negative comments directed towards you? Are there certain situations that cause critical comments to affect you more than others?

      Many people don't care much about the feelings of others. This insensitivity leads them to inflict harsh criticism, and frequently undeserved negativity when the intention of the person who delivers the criticism was well intended.

     Negative criticism and rejection are commonly experienced in school, on the job, in the pursuit of your career, in social activities, and in family relationships etc.

     If negative criticism and rejection are unavoidable in all stages of life from childhood through retirement. It helps to overcome the sensitivity of dealing with such situations!

     Are you a quiet, shy, and intensely private person? Have you tried to be strong, assertive person who has many friends and is considered social, but it never seems to work?  Deep inside yourself a voice says that you are the only one responsible and only you can initiate the changes. Sadly too many individuals   actually make any changes because they seem to lack the capacity, desire, and persistence to reinvent them self.

What causes rejection sensitivity?

Rejection sensitivity is a psychological condition characterized by over sensitivity
to rejection. Typically this condition appears in people who display various
conditions like borderline personality disorder. It should not be trivialized
as it can be
extremely debilitating for people who suffer from it.

     To overcome rejection sensitivity you first need to know what causes it.  Causes of rejection sensitivity include:
  • Being a needy person: An individual is more likely to be sensitive to rejection if they also are in need of that specify form of assistance. 
  • Transferring the blame of rejection:  People feel bad after a rejection may attempt to transfer the blame to the person who rejected them instead of taking a long hard look at themselves as being responsible for the rejection.
  • Having no other options: Another reason that can make you very sensitive to rejection is having no other options. The business man who owns multiple businesses will feel bad if one business fails, but he will not feel as bad as the business man who has only one business and it fails.
  • The rejection opens an existing emotional wound: An individual usually has been previously been emotional wounded and therefore is sensitive to minor rebuffs which is perceived as a major rejection. Those individuals who have a low self image become sensitive to rejection because each negative communication is believed to be associated with their self image.
Overcoming sensitivity of being rejected
     The following suggestions offer possible solutions of what you can do:
  • Heal your emotional wounds: The less emotional wounds you have the less sensitive to rejection you will become.
  • Researching other options: "Always find options you need to learn how to stop being helpless and how to be unstoppable" is harder to accomplish then to say.
  • Never acknowledge a rejection: When someone has rejected you, a letter, email, facebook posting or face to face confrontation to tell them that they are wrong only confirms to them that they made the correct decision. However, by being persistent and working hard, even if you did it years, will prove them wrong.

      Follow these suggestions and you will become much less sensitive to rejections because you have faced your problems and eliminated or mitigated them.

Relevant Publications:

Downey, G., Mougios, V., Ayduk, O., London, B., & Shoda, Yuichi (2004). Rejection sensitivity and the defensive motivational system: Insights from the startle response to rejection cues. Psychological Science, 15 (10) 668-673.

Mendoza-Denton, R., Downey, G., Purdie, V., Davis, A., & Pietrzak, J. (2002). Sensitivity to status-based rejection: Implications for African American students college experience. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 83, 896-918.

Downey, G., & Feldman, S.I. (1996). Implications of Rejection Sensitivity for Intimate Relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 1327-1343.

Recommended Reading:

The Highly Sensitive Person   April 13, 2010   Elaine Aron is the author of The Highly Sensitive Person and The Highly Sensitive Child, as well as The Highly Sensitive Person Workbook.

Jim Hallowes' Traits of highly sensitive people   Insights into how to successfully navigate the unique situations and challenges that arise for people with the trait of high sensitivity and the people in their lives.

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy, and Impact on  Oct. 18, 2011 ... Free psychological article: Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy, and ... " Individuals who are rejection-sensitive are more likely to perceive rejection where none exists.

Transforming Rejection Sensitivity  Dec. 1, 2009 ... Our culture is becoming more rejection-sensitive, writes Carlin Flora in Psychology Today.


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The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
Healthy Relationships

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