Do securely attached feel rejection? Yes, they do. They don’t experience as many rejections in general but when they do, they handle rejection in a way that safe for themselves, safe for others and safe for the relationship.
One effect of early experience of attachment rejection through parents or caregivers is an enduring fear of being rejected. This fear, called rejection sensitivity, is defined as an anxious and fearful anticipation rejection, a tendency perceive rejection everywhere even in ambiguous situations, and overreacting to being rejected with intense negative feelings and behaviours.
Sensitivity to rejection is strongly associated with fear of abandonment and with anxious attachment and fearful avoidant attachment styles.
Individuals high in rejection sensitivity expect that others will reject them and approach relationships with hypervigilance and hypersensitivity to signs of potential rejection. While they show greater willingness to self-sacrifice in relationships, they frequently worry about the behavior of other people towards them and demonstrate less trusting behaviours that hurt the relationship. Some people take rejection sensitivity a step further by consciously or subconsciously rejecting others before they reject them, and unwittingly recycle the rejection they fear.
How do Securely Attached React To Rejection?
People with a secure attachment feel rejection but are not too concerned about it or hypervigilant to rejection cues. One explanation for a secure attachment low sensitivity to rejection is that unlike individuals with an anxious attachment and fearful avoidants who are anxious about being accepted or loved, securely attached appreciate their own self-worth and believe that others will be available, caring, and responsive.
The other explanation is that people with a secure attachment have self-empowering beliefs and cognitive and emotional resources which allow them to focus their attention on the positive aspects of the experience. Unlike who crave acceptance and harbour negative expectations about being able to cope with rejection effectively people with a secure attachment don’t dwell on feelings of shock, confusion, hurt, betrayal, anger, loneliness, humiliation, shame, guilt, disapproval, self-doubt, hopelessness and discouragement or lose themselves in victim spiral. Instead, securely attached use the experience to empower themselves to grow and become more resilient.
If you have anxious attachment and fearful avoidant attachment styles and are finding it hard to deal with rejection, these 10 things that people with a secure attachment style do to deal with rejection can help you deal better with the fear of abandonment, and even help you get your ex back.
1. Don’t take rejection personally
Rejection is not an evaluation of your self-worth or lovability. Your self-worth doesn’t depend on what someone else thinks of you, you’re self worth depends on what you think of you. It’s even possible that your ex rejected the “relationship” but thinks highly of you as a person.
2. Rejection is not always about you
Sometimes it’s about them. Sometimes it’s about it being the wrong person for you and sometimes the timing is wrong. And sometimes it just is. People fall out of love all the time. Relationships end all the time. People get rejected all the time. Rejection is part of life. Accept it as something that happens.
3. You’re not a victim because someone rejected you
When you interpret break-up rejection as unjustified hurt, you can’t help but feel angry and feel like a victim for being rejected. You may not like that someone doesn’t want to be with you and not approve of the way they ended the relationship or their reasons for it, but that doesn’t make you their victim. Accept that this is something they needed to do for themselves and not something they did to you.
4. There are no guarantees in relationships
Just like there are no guarantees in most things in life, there are no guarantees that someone you love will always love you back. This is a reality that you must accept especially when dealing with another human being, whether it be your partner, friend, sibling, parent, child or even a perfect stranger. The potential for rejection is and will always there.
5. Sometimes feelings are just feelings
Acknowledge your feelings but keep in mind that feelings are how you’re reacting to what you perceive and not necessary a reflection of reality. Instead of just focusing on how you feel disliked, not accepted, unwanted, unloved, betrayed, blindsided, rejected, abandoned etc., consider the facts of the situation and the triggers that led to what happened, and take time to process the experience instead of being so wound up about it.
6. Stop magnifying rejection
Repeatedly going over the whys, whats, hows, should’ves and could’ves etc., make rejection feel much bigger and much worse than it actually is. One of the most effective things you can do when your thoughts are spiraling out of control is to disrupt your thought cycles with thinking or doing something complex i.e. complex puzzle, challenging activity, recalling a forgotten name or memory etc.
7. Refrain from lashing out
Hurt people hurt people. When you feel rejected it’s tempting to lash out in some way and cause your ex (or others) as much pain as you feel. The emotional “release” you get is very fleeting. What lashing out at someone else for how you feel does is creates a cascade of emotional and mental consequences. Whatever anger you feel about the break-up, acknowledge it, let it flow through you and move you to positive rather than negative action.
8. Practice self-compassion and self-love
When you feel rejected, it can be very easy to get caught up in self-blame and personal failures. This is why it’s important to remember that everyone deals with break-up rejection even people who are securely attached and seem to have it together. Show yourself self-compassion and self-love, and comfort yourself like you would do with someone you love and care about.
9. See rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow
Break-up rejection is an opportunity not only to look back at the things you did wrong or could have done better and work on them, but also an opportunity to focus on your strengths. If you find yourself self-blaming try to figure out why. Is this something you need to work on to feel better about yourself and not for someone else?
10. Reach out for support if you need it
Talk to someone you can rely on to calm me down about feeling rejected and get another perspective of what’s going on and/or new tools for monitoring and controlling your emotional and behavioural reactions to rejection.
Rejection sensitivity is a self-fulfilling prophesy
No one looks forward to rejection but the more you fear rejection, the more likely you are to be rejected. Fear of rejection creates a feedback loop in which high sensitivity to rejection leads to alertness to rejection cues which leads to negative behaviours which lead to rejection which lead to decreased self-esteem which leads to high sensitivity to rejection. So do something about it instead of recreating the pain from past experiences of rejection over and over.