Being rejected hurts – for everyone – but when you’ve been in a relationship that involves a toxic, abusing narcissist, you may be even more sensitive to this kind of treatment than most people – and you may even find yourself doing everything you can to avoid it.
But what really happens is that you often end up over-extending yourself and getting very little in return. So how do you get over the need to be liked/accepted by everyone?
How do you get over the fear of rejection?
Well, let’s start here – why do we have such fear? In addition to the fact that we’ve been repeatedly rejected by our narcissists, there are very basic evolutionary reasons that rejection scares us so much.
See, there was a time when being rejected by the group could be life threatening. Imagine living thousands of years ago. People needed to rely on each other just to stay alive. That fear still resides within us, even though it’s no longer necessary.
So, how do we get over it?
Just because the fear of rejection is no longer useful doesn’t mean it’s easy to overcome. The fear of rejection is among the most influential of all fears. The fear of others judging you can be very limiting.
Try these strategies to let go of this fear and welcome greater confidence and joy into your daily life.
1. Consider the worst outcome that’s likely to happen. If you ask out that pretty woman, what is the worst likely outcome? Do you think she might say, “No”? Odds are that it won’t even be that bad. She’ll probably find an excuse to let you down gently. Then again, she might say “Yes!”
- If you try for that great job and don’t get it, what do you stand to lose? A few hours of your time?
- Interestingly, the scariest situations often have little to no risk, but a huge potential for something good to happen. What are you really risking?
2. Make of list of the positive potential outcomes. That beautiful stranger might turn out to be your soulmate. That new job might be the best job you’ve ever had. Make a list of everything good that might happen.
3. Take a deep breath. Your body can lead your emotions. Deep breathing oxygenates your blood and slows your heart rate. Deep breathing feels good. Focus on your breathing and remove your focus away from your fear.
4. Act anyway. Fear and discomfort are lousy excuses for not doing something, provided your life isn’t in danger. Your subconscious is lousy at judging the effects of emotional threats. You have nothing to lose. Allow your logic to overrule the uncomfortable feelings you’re experiencing. With practice, your body will adjust and stop making you feel bad.
5. Remember that the world tends to make erroneous rejections. Many college basketball teams rejected Larry Bird. Many bestselling novels were rejected numerous times before someone finally published them. Even the Beatles struggled to get a record deal. The fact is that fools who don’t know any better reject even the most talented people.
6. Examine previous rejections. Consider the times in your life that you’ve been rejected. Was it horrible? What did you experience? Now consider your successes. Was your greatest success worth the greatest rejection you’ve suffered? Of course it was.
7. The fear is the worst part. The rejection itself is much less painful than the anticipation of rejection. Keep your thoughts focused on a positive outcome. You can sneak around the fear of rejection and enjoy greater success.
8. Give yourself the opportunity to be wrong. Most of us are much worse at predicting the future than we think we are. Even if you’re quite sure you’ll be rejected, you’ll frequently be wrong. Instead of assuming you know the truth, prove yourself right or wrong by taking the leap. Let the world decide. Never assume you’ll fail. Prove it.
9. Use rejection as an opportunity for growth. When things don’t work out, you’ve been provided with an occasion to learn something valuable. What can you do better next time? What mistakes did you make?
Avoid allowing the fear of failure to control your actions. An exciting and fulfilling life requires risk and hope. Allow yourself to fail, but avoid allowing the belief of failure to paralyze you. You never know the outcome until you try. You might surprise yourself and end up enjoying the best thing that ever happened to you!
What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.