When we feel snubbed by others, it is important to consider: Is feeling rejected your defense mechanism? Remember, in recent blogs, we have discussed the way we perceive our lives and the people in it. Today let’s take another look at perception as a defense mechanism, from the perspective of rejection.
Rejection can be a perception, sometimes real and other times completely fabricated by ourselves. This feeling may be intended toward us or toward someone or something else. Nonetheless, we perceive it as being directed toward us. In some situations, the rejection we feel is truly meant for us; we are being rejected by someone or a situation.
Other times it’s our interpretation. It’s an interpretation that we have adopted for the sole purpose of getting out of a situation that we don’t want to deal with. Often we use rejection as an alibi for enforcing our own personal agenda. We might use it as an excuse to become controlling, or to treat others unfairly. The opposite reaction is sublimation. According to psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., sublimation occurs when you take a negative experience like rejection and use that energy to fuel something productive—such as going for a run, clearing the house, or sitting down to write.
So how does this play out as a defense mechanism? Well, a defense mechanism is a self -protection mode, a shield like a tortoise shell. It is initiated when we are feeling vulnerable, weak, or tired and we have had enough of a situation. So how do we handle it? Sometimes we just shut down and go into feeling rejected mode. This allows us time to process something that we may or may not be aware of.
Sometimes this defense mechanism is our way of dismissing a relationship that we no longer want and don’t know how to get out of, get rid of, or discard. It could come from a fear of confronting someone or a situation. So we say, in the recesses of our minds, “I have been rejected by _____, therefore I want nothing to do with ____.” In actuality, you could be saying “I need to protect myself and bring my energy field in close to my body so I can regroup and see what is really bothering me.” This is a good time to ask yourself if you really just need a breather from said person or situation.
We typically see this behavior in family dynamics. A person may have difficulty seeing where they belong in the family or what their role really is. If they feel rejected and go into a defensive mode, then they are all clear. They don’t need to deal with holiday dinners, follow family rules, or help take care of an elderly parent. The list of benefits can go on and on for an individual.
So what are you feeling rejected about and how are you looking to create balance in your life in terms of how you have created your defense mechanism? Does this mechanism still work for you? If not, why? If so, how?
For more personalized navigation of rejection and your defense mechanisms, schedule a consultation with Rose today.
What To Remember:A perceived rejection might not be intentionally directed towards us.
Rejection is a defense mechanism that protects us from discomfort; the root cause is often fear.
Becoming aware of our defense mechanisms allows us to discard those that are ineffective.
- Depressed People Take Social Rejection Harder, Here’s Why. (n.d.). Retrieved from PsyBlog
- Rejection. (2015, November 5). Retrieved from GoodTherapy.org
- Weir, K. (2012, April). The pain of social rejection. Retrieved from American Psycological Association
- Whitbourne, S. K. (2011, October 22). The Essential Guide to Defense Mechanisms. Retrieved from Psychology Today
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