Why Are We Hooked on Rejection?


Why Are We Hooked on Rejection?
Expert psychologist Dr. Lisa Firestone talks about why so many people are hooked on rejection.

This explains why, in a break-up, instead of just feeling the sadness of losing someone important to us, we are so often determined to turn the rejection against ourselves. Our critical inner voice, which may have been quieted while we were basking in the affections of someone we cared for, is now there to coldly say “I told you so.” Just as our positive sense of self is there to lift us through dark times, our inner critic is there to drag us through the mud. Which side of ourselves we choose to go with can mean the difference between living a rich and fulfilling life and holding ourselves back from true happiness every step of the way.

To get through a rejection or any painful occurrence in our life — the loss of a job, the inconsistency of a friend, the disappointment of a family member — we need to stand up to our critical inner voice. We can do this by first identifying when this voice is creeping into our thinking. When does a thought like, “I really miss him” become “I will never meet anyone like him. No one will ever love me?” To help us catch on to this cruel internal dialogue without blindly believing every word it utters, it’s helpful to think of our thoughts in the third person. Would we ever let someone talk to us the way we are shouting at ourselves? Moreover, would we ever tolerate someone speaking to a friend of ours the way our critical inner voice speaks to us?


We have to catch on the moment our anger turns against us. When your thoughts switch from, “I hate her for leaving me” to “Of course she left me. I’m nobody,” you can bet that your inner critic is now at work. The more we listen to it and indulge in its doctrines, the weaker and worse we feel. When you sense that voice seeping in, take a moment to write down your thoughts in the third person. Use “you” instead of “me” statements (i.e. “Of course she left you. You’re nobody.”) Think about what this voice sounds like to you. Is it familiar? Where could it be coming from? Then, respond to that voice with the compassion of a friend. You may write statements like, “I am not worthless. I’m a good person and a good choice. I deserve to be loved.”

The more we can identify when we are turning against ourselves rather than just feeling the pain of difficult events, the better off we will be in the long run. We can learn to cleanly separate our current feelings from the old pain and insults we carry with us. We can learn to treat rejection as a loss of a person we valued without losing a sense of our own value.

This article was originally published at PsychAlive . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Lisa Firestone


Dr. Lisa Firestone PhD

Director of Research and Education

The Glendon Association



(805) 681-0415 x216

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression, Family Support, Parenting, Stress Management
Other Articles/News by Dr. Lisa Firestone:

7 Reasons Most People Fear Love


Around this time last year, Virgin Mobile USA proclaimed Feb. 13 to be “National Breakup Day.” They did so after conducting a survey in which 59 percent of people said that if they were looking to end their relationship, they would hypothetically do so before Valentine’s Day to save money. The beginning of the year is often said to see a spike ... Read more

Creating Loving Relationships: A Weekend Workshop Retreat


Description: This workshop will explore the actions that go into making love last. Participants will learn techniques to identify and challenge the ways they defend themselves and create barriers to genuine intimacy and explore methods to challenge their fear of intimacy. Mindfulness exercises will be practiced throughout the weekend. Open to Individuals ... Read more

It's Not You, It's Me: Turning A Breakup Excuse Into Love Advice


Anyone who's done their share of dating has probably been on one side or the other of the, "it's not you, it's me" routine. These five common words, which strive for compassion, in reality just leave our exes confused and puzzling over what went wrong. No one buys this explanation... and why should they? After all, most perpetrators of the ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Must-see Videos
Most Popular