Related Resources

For Rejection Issues

A Self Havening Guided Meditation to Heal Negative Self Beliefs

In this Self-Havening meditation, Dr. Kate Truitt guides us through a self-havening exercise to heal our negative self beliefs. As always, she asks us to engage in calm, havening touch and gentle, controlled breathing. Then she invites us to notice one of the less than kind things we repetitively think about ourselves. Once we’ve found it, she asks us to bring our attention fully to it. How does this label affect us? Where does it live in our body?

Dr. Kate asks us to imagine that there’s a path or a staircase in front of us. Waiting at the end of that path are three pets, friends, or people that are important or special to us. What color is this path? What does the ground feel like? Is the sky above us or is there a ceiling? We start walking toward those three entities while engaging in slow, controlled breaths. Once we reach them, Dr. Kate asks us to notice what is it that happens within us when we are close to these special entities? Why did we choose them?

Ruminating on a Painful Conversation? Here's Why and How to Stop it!

In this psychoeducational video, Dr. Kate Truitt explains that the reason we cycle our thoughts through a difficult interaction is because our brain is deciphering what happened in that experience. Our brain will expend the same amount of energy on people we care about and people we dislike. Often when we’re ruminating on a conversation with someone we don’t like it’s because a trigger from our past has been activated in the present moment.

She asks us to notice an interaction that didn’t go as well as we wanted with someone we don’t really like. Then she asks us to zoom out from that moment and notice the human we are interacting with. Who is this person? What is it about this human that causes us to dislike them? Do they remind us of ourselves or someone we knew in the past? Dr. Kate explains that when someone is taking our power, there’s a lot of exciting stuff to dig into for self-awareness and insight and guides us through an exercise to dig in and find personal empowerment.

How Your Past Relationships Impact Your Present: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In this psychoeducation video, Dr. Kate Truitt explains that our relationships with other people play a large role in defining how we view ourselves and our capacity to function in the world around us. If we’re had loving caretakers, then we might internalize a sense of feeling safe in the world. If we’ve had neglectful caretakers, then our brain develops ways of pursuing the world to make sense of our early experiences.

Next, she discusses how this can show up: deep anxiety, insecurity, fearlessness about abandonment, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, or not feeling worthy enough. These beliefs can stay with us for a long time, and sometimes can feel like they take on a life of their own.

In interpersonal relationships, we’re much more likely to be triggered because that’s typically where the belief systems initially come from. Dr. Kate explains that we can start stepping back and taking space to change how we are in our day to day lives. It can be helpful to utilize CPR for the Amygdala, breath work, and journaling exercises.

Starting to understand these critical components is so helpful in being able to unpack and find opportunities for healing. We can change our experience in each moment by taking self-healing steps and developing intentional awareness about where our beliefs stem from.

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria: Understanding is the First Step to Healing

By Dr. Kate Truitt

Rejection is difficult for anyone to experience, but some people undergo it with much greater intensity than most others. If that is the case for you, it may be that you are experiencing what is known as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD), a type of emotional reactivity that arises when you are fearful about the possibility of being rejected or are feeling rejected by someone that matters to you.

Understanding rejcection sensitive dysphoria

Rejection is difficult for anyone to experience, but some people undergo it with much greater intensity than most others. If that is the case for you, it may be that you are experiencing what is known as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD), a type of emotional reactivity that arises when you are fearful about the possibility of being rejected or are feeling rejected by someone that matters to you.

The first part in that explanation of RSD is very important in understanding the complexities of RSD. Our brains are designed to create frameworks of the world that will keep us safe. If we’ve experienced deeply painful rejection in our past then we may end navigating our world within a framework where we anticipate rejection. This is especially true of people who experience RSD.

Living in this type of brain can make you feel “crazy.” During times when rejection is acutely expected, huge emotional swings can occur. Some may react with anger or rage toward the person who has rejected them. Others will fall into deep despair and sadness or even a felt sense of, “I can’t go on this way.” Others may react with “fawning” behaviors—responding by appeasing another or others, even at the expense of their own self-worth, in order to avoid being rejected.

RSD is part a chemical imbalance and is usually tied to one or two developmental experiences: navigating the world with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or living with developmental trauma.

ADHD and RSD

When we are neurodivergent in any way—differing in mental or neurological function from what is considered normal, as is the case with ADHD—we are often considered “different” by others. The brain activity in person living with ADHD affects attention, the ability to be physically calm, and self-control. In some ways that can be a superpower but in other ways it makes us more vulnerable to being rejected, abandoned, and hurt.

Developmental Trauma and RSD

One type of developmental trauma comes from growing up in an environment where rejection repeatedly threatens a person’s sense of safety in the world. When a person’s brain develops in this kind of atmosphere, they learn to give away their own needs and boundaries in order to ensure someone else is happy or OK, resulting in the fawning behaviors mentioned before. This is a type of dissociation—separation from self in order to survive. When we look at that neurobiologically it is our brain’s recognition that we need other people to survive and be safe, so we react in order to maintain that attachment.

As children we are highly dependent on our caregivers. If we have volatile, chaotic caregivers we’ll learn to assess their moods, body postures, and tone, so that we can adjust our behaviors proactively and intentionally to ensure they are happy. When people are chaotic and volatile there is not room for a child to have a developing sense of self. Instead, we are mirroring their nervous systems in order to be in alignment with what is going on so we can endeavor to keep them calm and grounded, and therefore, keep us safe. Phew! That’s a lot of work! Failing in our endeavors can have quite terrifying consequences. We can eventually begin to engage in these behaviors subconsciously, especially as these survival mechanisms ride along with us into our adult lives. As people become more sensitive to these cues, they can begin to become oversensitive to them–causing them to misread the facial and bodily expressions of intentions of others as harbingers of rejection.

Questions to Ask Around Feelings of Rejection

RSD can wreak havoc on our emotional world and impair our ability to function. If you are experiencing extreme sensitivity to feelings of rejection, or simply not engaging in your social world the way you would like to because you’re fearful of rejection, you might be struggling with RSD. If you are experiencing or have been diagnosed with ADHD, social phobia, panic disorder, or borderline personality disorder, there are three questions that you should ask yourself:

  1. Do you avoid situations because you are fearful that you will be rejected by the people who are there?
  2. If a friend or a loved one someone calls you out of the blue, do you automatically assume it’s because you’ve done something wrong?
  3. Do you anticipate rejection when moving into a new relationship with a friend, colleague, or loved one or perhaps even avoid developing new relationships because of that anticipation?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, and especially if you answered yes to more than one, you might be struggling with RSD. As I mentioned before, it does not mean that you are “crazy,” but it can be crazy-making. That is normal to feel. We do like to give ourselves labels and call ourselves names when we don’t understand why something is happening to us.

Understanding is A Start Toward Healing

It’s important to understand that RSD is a neurological experience wherein someone feels the pain of rejection (or the anticipation of rejection) at a much deeper and much more painful level than most other people do. So, if you answered yes to any of those questions above, it might be worth investigating and perhaps finding someone with whom you can do some healing work.

If you notice that in a moment of rejection or fearfulness about rejection that you become sad or angry, it can be very helpful to practice some self-havening to take care of your brain and your body. The first video in the sidebar to this article titled, “A Self Havening Guided Meditation to Heal Negative Self Beliefs,” can help in these situations because they are often accompanied by a rush of less than kind things we repetitively think about ourselves. The next two videos can also be helpful because these moments are also often filled with rumination on conversations we have had with people, and the roots of RSD often lie in relationships far back in our past.

RSD is a painful way to live, and it doesn’t have to be your truth. The more we understand what is going on in our brains and our bodies the more we are empowered to take steps and make change.