The Dance of Connection

Rescuing women and men from the quicksand of difficult relationships.

How You Can Escape the Pain of Rejection

Rejection sucks. No one intentionally signs up for it, or escapes it, for that matter. Here's my deep thoughts and best advice. Read More

I respond to rejection by

I respond to rejection by saying "your loss" and I respond to critisism by saying "you are entitled to your wrong opinion" works most of the time but if it is something serious I quietly digest critisism and use it to learn and change. With rejection you have no choice but to move on but you have a degree of control of how long you allow the pain to last.

Difficulty with Rejection and Related Therapies

I greatly appreciate the message you've shared, and wanted to thank you for reaching out to those who are suffering from rejection. I am still, nearly eight months after a breakup, unable to get past this. I'm seeing a therapist who specializes in CBT and ACT, and am also reading a book about the subject. My feelings of inadequacy and despair have essentially remained constant, and efforts to adopt the mindfulness-instructed approach of observing negative thoughts and letting them drift away is not working. Those self-loathing voices are very loud, and they do not "move on" when I try to dispassionately observe them.

I am still convinced the person who rejected me is ideal, and that my life is better with her than without her. I do not believe that I will find anyone remotely as compelling as she was, and I'm old enough to have dated a substantial number of women before her, so this is a belief based on legitimate life experience. So the suggestion to get out there again, take risks, and accept rejection as part of that seems less than fun, as I know that even with success there will only be compromise and a match with someone I consider inferior to the person with whom I'm hoping to reunite. And that, in turn, makes the rejection more profoundly painful, something that is not dissipating with time. What can I do?

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Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is best known for her work on marriage and family relationships and the psychology of women. Her book The Dance of Anger has recently been reissued.

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