Understanding Fear of Rejection: Signs, Effects, and Coping Strategies
The fear of rejection is real, and it can have a significant impact on one’s life. Quite often, people feel nervous when they know about the possibility of being rejected. For some people, this fear becomes a real problem because it gets very hard to manage.
All fears are rooted in certain psychological factors. In this article, we will think of where fear of rejection comes from and how to recognize it. We will also share a few tips that might help you overcome the fear of rejection.
What Causes Fear of Rejection
There’s nothing unnatural about the fear of rejection, it’s rather a normal human experience. We like to be accepted by other people, and it’s more than just our unwillingness to be alone.
The main reason why humans depend on social connections so much is that this mechanism helped our species evolve and survive. As a result, our brains are wired to immediately recognize rejection.
Moreover, researchers found out that the amygdala reacts to rejection somewhat similarly to life-threatening events.
So, if you’re afraid of public speaking or don’t meet new people because of a fear of rejection, the fear itself isn’t a problem — it’s just a natural reaction. What can be a problem, however, is the intensity of this fear, as well as its frequency.
The psychology of fear
Fear of rejection symptoms can be rooted in social anxiety because social anxiety fuels the fear of embarrassment and rejection while also creating difficulties with communication. The fear of rejection may also stem from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD may also cause rumination.
When it comes to the fear of rejection, trauma is another common underlying cause. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may trigger not only the fight-or-flight response but also the fawn response. Fawning is a term used to describe attempts to please others to avoid rejection or conflicts.
There might be different root causes in each particular case, and only a licensed counselor can tell you where your fear comes from. Fortunately, online counseling platforms allow you to talk to a counselor from your state with no need to leave your home and commute.
Signs of the Fear of Rejection
Fear of rejection may manifest itself in different ways. Quite often, it can be easy to notice because of the behavior aimed to hide this fear or compensate for it. Here are some of the most common signs.
● Pleasing others
There’s nothing wrong with taking care of the people you love, but sometimes, people take it too far, especially when they are afraid of rejection. In this case, a person may prioritize other people’s interests and desires, even if these may cause them discomfort or serious problems.
● Passive aggression
While passive aggression is rather something opposite to people-pleasing, it’s another common sign of the fear of rejection. The reason is that people often resort to passive aggression when they are afraid of showing their true selves.
● Excessive conformity
Being afraid of rejection, people may develop a very careful lifestyle, sticking to a set of strict rules and hiding their personality behind the imitation of traits and values demonstrated by others.
Obviously, the fear of rejection motivates people to avoid confrontations at any cost. As a result, it can stop a person from asking for what they want or doing what they need. It may also make a person ignore their needs and prevent them from achieving their goals.
Effects of the Fear of Rejection
The fear of rejection may negatively affect both your personal and professional life. People with a fear of rejection may constantly look for reassurance, develop self-esteem problems because of comparing themselves to others or become extremely jealous and suspicious.
This fear is a common roadblock when it comes to professional growth, which is impossible without job interviews and communication. It may cause anxiety when switching jobs so a person might be afraid to try a job with a higher salary or better benefits.
Obviously, the fear of rejection in love can have a severe negative impact on one’s relationship. For instance, a person may avoid emotional intimacy and keep all of their feelings to themselves. The fear of intimacy can be also accompanied by neediness and jealousy.
Ironically enough, the fear of rejection often leads to rejection. The reason is that it can cause significant damage to a person’s self-confidence.
Besides, the fear of rejection can fuel avoidant behavior and create a constant need for reassurance, having a negative impact on relationships and becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection
If the fear of rejection starts to influence the quality of your life, you should learn how to get over rejection and cope with this feeling so that it won’t influence your decisions and actions.
● Challenge your fears
When it comes to fears, one of the most common coping mechanisms is avoidance. Unfortunately, avoidant behavior may only increase the feeling of fear and the negative emotions associated with it.
● Work on your self-regulation
Self-regulation is your ability to understand and manage your emotions and actions. It can also help you overcome your fear of rejection. To do it, you should identify unhelpful thoughts that trigger your fear and change your way of thinking. This can be a difficult thing to do, but a licensed therapist can help you.
● Develop resilience
Training resilience is necessary if you want to learn how to get over rejection. It can help you move on after unpleasant experiences with renewed optimism and strength.
You can improve your resilience in many ways. For example, you may improve your self-confidence by improving your skills. You can also practice self-care and develop new connections to have social support.
● Don’t hesitate to ask for help
If you have a fear of rejection, you’re not alone. A licensed therapist or counselor can help you figure out what the root causes of the problem are and suggest effective coping practices that will work in your particular case.
Thanks to online therapy platforms like Calmerry, you don’t even need to commute, as they allow you to get all the necessary help from virtually anywhere. Depending on the nature of your problem, you can be matched with a therapist who specializes in self-esteem issues or opt for relationship counseling.
While the fear of rejection is a natural feeling, it can become overwhelming, having a negative impact on many areas of one’s life. We hope that this article will help you figure out whether or not you have a fear of rejection.
If you realize that this problem starts to impact the overall quality of your life, don’t hesitate to talk to a licensed therapist.