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I have major rejection issues.

When I was a very small child, my father left, and I only saw him sporadically throughout my growing up years. He lived on the other side of the country, and so I used to fly out for one week every summer--if he was around. Sometimes those summer visits didn't happen.

I always felt like there was something wrong with me because my father didn't seem to want to be with me. Other friends I had whose parents were divorced coped better, it seemed to me, because they at least saw their dads on the weekends. I didn't.

When I was seven, my mother got together with a new man who was wonderful. He loved me, and we had such fun together. He had a dog, so now I had a dog, and I felt like we were a real family. But when they broke up when I was 14, that man asked to cut off contact with me, because he felt like it would be too emotionally difficult.

I think partly because of both of these incidents, I went through my teen years letting friends walk all over me. I didn't really stand up for myself; I let everyone else set the terms of our relationship, because I so wanted people to like me. That often meant I was annoying to be around, because I was really clingy, but other people decided how often we would be together, what we would do, and when our relationship would end.

When I finally met a man I was sure I would marry, and we became engaged, he broke up with me, too. He later came crawling back, and we did marry, but I went into that marriage with such rejection issues.

I know some of you have worse pasts than mine, but I tell all that story to say that now the littlest rejection can send me into a funk.

Yesterday I "tweeted" a link to an article on what's okay to do in the bedroom. It was a good article, and most people who follow me on Twitter are Christians.

Well, two individuals who are atheists replied and called me all sorts of bad things. I laughed it off and blocked them, for a few hours later I was out in the car, driving my daughter somewhere, and realized I was in a funk. And I couldn't figure out why. And after thinking about it, I realized it was related to those silly tweets. It felt like an arrow had hit me.

Why? I completely agreed with the article I linked to. I wasn't sorry. I didn't think I was wrong. I don't agree with those tweeters' world view, and I don't agree with the way they communicate. I do not respect them in the least. So why did it bother me that they thought I was silly? After all, we're told in the Bible that we will be laughed at and jeered at--and worse--because we follow Jesus, and when we do get laughed at, we're to consider it a badge of honour.

I know all that intellectually, and after praying, I settled down about those two. But I do have this streak in me that makes it difficult to function well when I know people are annoyed at me, even if I wouldn't have done anything differently because I think I was right. It's one of the reasons I find committee work hard, because invariably you tick off somebody, and most others aren't afraid to let you know when they're annoyed at you (which I find really strange, because I hardly ever tell anyone when they annoy me. I guess I just don't think about it. My main bent is to get people to like me, not to figure out if I like them).

I am much better than I used to be, but I find it still a struggle, and something I have to take daily to God in prayer. I can deal with disagreements with my family, because I know they'll get resolved. But when it's merely acquaintances, or co-workers, or even strangers through hate mail, I feel all horrible when people are mad at me.

It may be natural, but it's wrong, because we're to please God, and not men, and we're to concentrate on doing what He wants, and not what others want. I shouldn't take it to heart like I do. But it is a struggle I have, and so I continue to pray through it, and tell myself that it's okay when people are mad at me--if they're mad for the right reasons.

Do any of you struggle with this? How do you handle it?

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At 9:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Sheila, I can just so relate to this. I just cannot cope with people not liking me - even if it's not my fault. My whole life (and I'm 52!) has been blighted by this problem. If that sounds over-dramatic, I'm sorry. But I'm just stating how it is and has been for me. I do not go out to work because of recent health issues, but even when my health returns to full strength, I know that my 'nerves' can't cope with all the 'nasty' people out there. Just one sarcastic or nasty remark reduces me to tears. And then I'm in mental pain for days. I still have nightmares relating to a workplace bully that I encountered in my last job three years ago. I spent ten years on anti-depressants before I met my husband and now at last I'm off medication. However, my daughter-in-law snubs my husband and I in any way she can and it hurts so very much. I've tried to improve things by turning the other cheek and being the one prepared to go the extra mile, but nothing works. We rarely see our son and grandson (18 months old), in fact our grandson doesn't even recognise us. I suppose part of my problem relates to childhood bullying by my mother - I don't want to go into that, but suffice it to say that other family members have commented on the way I was treated, so I know I wasn't over-sensitive. But I can't do anything about that. I prayed a quick, desperate prayer yesterday that God would give me a bible verse to hang onto when I'm cut and hurt by people I love and perhaps He'll use this blog post to provide it.
I feel so miserable about this weakness in my nature. Without my husband loving and supporting me, I really feel that sometimes life would be just too hard to cope with. I thank God daily that I married such a caring, loving Christian man who loves me so much.

P.S. I wasn't quite sure what you meant by a 'funk' - in England I think it would mean a sulky mood / temper tantrum. Myself I do sometimes get aggreived, but I always end up very depressed and anxious.


At 11:42 AM , Blogger jaybird7 said…

Sheila, 'rejection,' people-pleasing,' - yeah, I can relate. I can relate to the point where i resigned from my church because I was in emotional turmoil due to 'trying to please people.'

But in the last seven months, I have been graced with much healing. How? By re-learning the essence of grace and letting the Spirit teach me: Grace is a gift which means, I am God's beloved and he delights in me. I do not need to earn God's approval.

To quote Jon Walker: "God doesn't love me because I'm the best kid in the class, or I try really hard. God loves me because he loves me."

Letting the Holy Spirit graft this into my soul means I am more confidant. Letting the Holy Spirit teach me this has turned my world upside-down and ultimately, right-side up.

John 13 tells of Jesus in the Upper Room with his disciples. He tells them he's going to be betrayed by one of them. Picture this scene: John, the one whom Jesus loved, leans back onto the chest of his Lord. So - since Jesus is God-in-the-flesh; since Jesus is 'Immanuel' - God-with-us - this means John was resting his head in such a way that he was listening to the heart beat of God.

I am undone by this thought. I have been healed by this thought.

Knowing that I am God's beloved and and come and rest my head on his chest and listen to his heart beat means I no longer care - as much as I used to, any way - about whether I have someone else's approval.

I have God's approval. That's what matters most. And God's approval is not based on earning his love. I am already his beloved.

And God delights in me.


At 11:44 AM , Blogger Amy said…

Oh my gosh! I have struggled with this so much! Thank you, because this exact issue has been on my heart off and on over the past year, especially here recently.

I think this was sort of an answer to a prayer for guidance on thus issue. I really do. :) Love how something on one person's mind can be on another person's mind, and it is used to be helpful.


At 11:50 AM , Blogger Sheila said…


Thanks for your thoughtful comments! I think you inadvertently answered Anonymous' request for some great Bible verses to go along with this problem.

I totally agree--healing comes by realizing that we don't need to earn Jesus' approval. He loves us, and He delights in us. I often come back to Zephaniah 3:17: He will rejoice over you with singing. If that's how God feels about us, then what does it matter if others don't feel the same way?

It comes from this misunderstanding that others are supposed to like us. No, they're not. Many people don't exhibit Christ-like behaviour, and so naturally they will be put off by us to a certain extent. That's okay.

And Anonymous, I'm so sorry you're having such a problem with your family. But God has given you a wonderful husband, and perhaps as you keep praying and keep resting in God's love and your husband's love, you'll be able to really feel that acceptance in your heart!

That's what I keep coming back to--that I am trying to please God, not men, and that He rejoices over me with singing.


At 11:53 AM , Blogger Nylse said…

Yes I struggle with this in varying degrees. I think it was Bill cosby that said something along the lines about everyone not always liking you, so dont worry about it....
it's a truth based in the Bible...everyone cant and wont like me; they wont always like my response; even though it bothers me temporarily, i'm ok with it especially if i'm just stating a viewpoint that's not common. if however i have inadvertently hurt someone and i'm rejected, i do feel bad and do what i can to fix it. i grew duck feathers a long time alot of things i've learned to let roll off my back.


At 3:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I just found this blog and am reading through some of the articles and posts. I have suffered with this issue myself over the years and I believe I am mostly healed. The biggest help to me has been through my fiancée. I had prayed for a man exactly like him for years and when I was finally content in the Lord and gave that desire to Him; he sent the mightiest man of God I have ever known. It's been through his love, kindness, strength and directness with me that I have been able to see the love of our Heavenly Father. Now, at times, I still get bothered when the things mentioned (in the posts)happen but I am able to see that I have value and I am loved by the creator of all, who is in me. Instead of thinking of the negative, I think on good things as in Philippians 4-1 So, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, my dear friends, keep standing firm in union with the Lord. 2 I beg Evodia and I beg Syntyche to agree with each other in union with the Lord. 3 I also request you, loyal Syzygus, to help these women; for they have worked hard proclaiming the Good News with me, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers whose names are in the Book of Life. 4 Rejoice in union with the Lord always! I will say it again: rejoice! 5 Let everyone see how reasonable and gentle you are. The Lord is near! 6 Don't worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. 7 Then God's shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua. 8 In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy. 9 Keep doing what you have learned and received from me, what you have heard and seen me doing; then the God who gives shalom will be with you.
In Joshua 1 we see 3 times in the first 10 verses that we are not to be afraid but to be strong and bold!
I hope this wasn't too long. The Lord Bless you, Shalom (Peace)

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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