I know this will sound absolutely crazy, but throughout my life I’ve loved having people in my life that would reject me. Doesn’t that sound promising? Honestly, I didn’t even realize it until this last year. I just kept wondering why I would build these close friendships with people and I felt so super insecure and would take their garbage and beg for them to stay in my life. I was more attached to friendships that guaranteed rejection than my own husband. I know super winning with that formula. . .
So, let’s backtrack and walk through this. As a young child I was sexually abused. That sexual abuse continued on until this older person got married. I was at the wedding of this abuser and I remember feeling so abandoned and that I wasn’t enough and if I would have been better, cooperated more that he wouldn’t have needed to get married. Yes, that’s a magical answer for an 8 year old and getting older. He rejected me!
Then in my teenage years I was sexually abused my a male adult. He was married with children. It went on for awhile and then the situation that allowed him to be alone with me often was changed and so he wasn’t able to continue to sexually abuse me. Whenever he would come around he’d give me the look, he would give me a hug, rub my back and do things that didn’t seem so obvious of what things had happened between us. No one thought anything about how he treated me in public. He was gone. Abandoned. Occasionally I would see him and get a small fix, but it wasn’t the same. He rejected me! He didn’t find a way to be with me more.
I won’t go into all of the situations, but this pattern repeated itself over and over again for over 13 years with many abusers. I needed to live up to what they wanted or they would leave. They would threaten me and if I did exactly as they demanded I was enough and they would stay around, but if I slipped up they were gone and I was punished and over and over there was the REJECTION!
It was a blessing when I went on my mission and got out of these awful situation. Then I went on with my life, got married, had children and you know lived happily ever after, right? NOPE! I thought I was living this happily ever after by keeping so much inside and raising my family, having a husband who was super kind and loving to me, but I couldn’t receive that love very well. I was waiting for the rejection. I thought if I kept busy enough and we just kept going we wouldn’t have to have serious conversations and then he wouldn’t reject me. So, busy it was!
And as we know as parents there are times that our children reject us. They aren’t happy with our decisions, aren’t happy with us making them clean, the expectations, etc. So, I knew that rejection came with my boys. They are amazing boys and I’m super blessed, but honestly there was rejection going both ways. I didn’t know how to handle rejection without putting up my walls and shutting people out and pushing feelings deep down. So, unfortunately I gave my boys rejection too. I’m so grateful over the last two years that we’ve been able to heal that.
Over all of these years I had friends. Lots of people I served with. I was out in the community. Quite honestly mine and my family's lives were out in the public, very public. With all of the different leadership positions and things I was involved with I was definitely able to please many, but I was also faced with lots of rejection! LOTS!!! I was often told things wouldn’t work out, people didn’t like my direction and the list went on. Well, I have to say that due to my perfectionism and drive I was always able to make things work, but was definitely surrounded by rejection. That felt super familiar and honestly was something that felt pretty comfortable. I know, weird.
Just over two years ago I started counseling and eventually through the process most of my family was going to counseling. This is where we started recognizing the rejection that had come in my home. I didn’t know how to love, how to let people in close. I didn’t know how to work through emotions - didn’t really know how to cry. It was such a blessing to work through the rejection in our home and that has healed, but that wasn’t the end for me.
It’s AMAZING how we can attract what we are used to in our lives. I first typed what we want in our lives and you know what, that’s actually the truth. I wanted people in my life that would reject me. That was the most familiar and I didn’t get how to have close relationships that didn’t reject me. Sincerely, open hearted, close relationships. Rick and I were working on our relationship in a different way than a friendship and I was making progress and I was letting people in closer, but dang I seemed to always pick up a friend or two along the way that would guarantee rejection. WHAT? That seems ridiculous. Well, I didn’t even see it.
I thought they were just great friends and I was being blessed. I was being blessed with some amazing friends who have changed my life and I’m super grateful for them, but that one or two that I constantly had of rejection, wow! I would do the begging, I’m scared, please don’t leave me, what can I do better - just like when I was a child and a teenager. I wanted to be enough! I was sure these could be healthy relationships. That’s all I could see, was a healthy relationship. I’ve had different people come and go in my life that were in this category and each time I beat myself up. It was so painful to have them walk out of my life - why couldn’t I be enough???
About six months ago I went through this again. A friendship that I thought for sure would last. A friendship that I thought was good. A friendship that I put my heart into and never in a million years thought would fall apart. Well, I had just lost my dad and I was feeling all kinds of my younger feelings. It wasn’t my dad’s fault, I just missed him so much and couldn’t believe he left. Then within a week this friend left too. Oh my gosh! It killed me. I was so broken-hearted in so many different ways. I felt that a mudslide had covered me - in fact maybe an avalanche!
A few months ago as I was talking things through with my counselor he asked me if I saw a pattern in the people I was bringing into my life over and over again. I was like I don’t know. As we talked I realized that I was attracted to friendships, just those one or two, but I had to have someone in my life that would reject me. My boys didn’t, Rick didn’t and the list goes on. I have a strong foundation of people around me. Oh my gosh! I love REJECTION! It’s what I know. It’s what I’ve lived my whole life facing. Trying to be enough.
Gratefully I’ve been able to heal through those things. I’ve worked on recognizing rejection people - people who will be there to satisfy my rejection cravings. I’ve taken a deeper look at myself as to why I long for that. It’s safe! I know, what’s safe about that? It’s familiar to me. I know what to do with rejection. I don’t always know what to do with love, welcoming arms and being enough for people. I don’t always know what to do with safe, sincere relationships. BUT, now I do and I love it! It’s taken a ton of work and I still long for rejection at times, but that’s not what I deserve. I deserve so much better.
Yesterday I was at counseling and we were talking about things that I’m struggling with and working through and my counselor brought up those in my life that reject me and I stopped him and looked at him and said, “You know what? I don’t have anyone in my life right now that rejects me!” OH MY GOSH!!!! I hadn’t thought about that for awhile, but it felt so good to say that and to realize it’s a big change I’ve made in my life. I’m WINNING!!! I’m believing in myself and recognize that I deserve better than that. I don’t have to be rejected. It’s no longer comfortable or what’s familiar to me or what makes me happy. I don’t long for it. I love me! I love where I’m going and all of the work I’ve put in to recognize that I don’t deserve rejection anymore! It’s the best feeling!
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity