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How to Heal Rejection, Betrayal, and Abandonment

Rejection from a trusted loved one often plants a seed of shame that separate us from who we truly are.

  1. Peace
    I've been reading the book Returning to Oneness, by Leslie Temple-Thurston and Brad Laughlin. It's a short read and I highly recommend it. It looks a lot at how rejection often causes a separation from love (who we truly are), and the birth of our "ego" (a false self, trying to protect from further hurt).

    "Rejection, betrayal, and abandonment are the emotions that the ego experiences after what we call the "fall", the apparent original disconnect and separation from source."

    Source, in this case, meaning unconditional love. It is the moment we believe that we are separate from that unconditional love, that we have some sort of inner-defectiveness we must hide, because of the painful rejection from a trusted loved one.

    From here, we build our entire lives around avoiding that intolerable feeling of rejection. Keeping busy, distracting ourselves, people-pleasing, isolation, excessive daydreaming, being overly nice, accomplishing, abusing substances, rescuing others, fantasizing about a knight in shining armor, perfectionism, carrying resentment, ruminating, obsessing over others, trying to control our surroundings - anything to keep our focus external, so the internal pain remains numbed out.

    "Somewhere deep in the recesses of our mind is the memory of a rejection that was more than we could bear, and continue to run away from."

    But inevitably, life continues to throw rejection at us. We see it as a betrayal ("Why me? Why is it never enough?"), but we are missing the whole point. Life isn't betraying us, it is re-activating those painful old feelings, so we can finally experience them and restore our connection to unconditional love. We cannot do this when we are dissociated from the feelings in our own body.

    The ego angrily seeks to blame and hate the source of rejection, rather than sit with the pain of rejection, and realize it is not even who we truly are. Instead we build thicker walls, distract ourselves even more, trying to escape that feeling even further.

    Life becomes about avoiding rejection and abandonment, which only leads to more of it. Because the only people who make you feel safe from rejection are people who have an extremely low barrier to entry. The people who idealize you, flatter you, "attach" quickly, obsess over you, immediately desire you, praise you above all others - the people who "love" you when they do not even know who you are.

    These people detach just as quickly as they "attach", so inevitably, the rejection cycle repeats itself and confirms the inner shame.

    To break out of this cycle, we need to be willing to slow down, put a pause on our external ego distractions / obsessions, and experience the original pain of rejection that lives in our body. This pain is very often numbed away, so it can take months of slowing down to begin un-numbing.

    Eventually the core shame will be experienced, and it will be unbearable. As awful as it feels, this is great progress! But it is not the end of the journey. Often times people just stop there and identify as the sad sympathetic story of betrayal or abandonment. But we can't just walk around all day saying we feel inadequate and rejected and unlovable and afraid of abandonment, seeking external validation that we're okay. That is still the ego talking.

    We must find the place through mindfulness (or prayer) where we discover this old message isn't even true. It is not who we are. There may be a part of yourself that screams "BUT WHAT IF IT IS! WHAT IF YOU'RE JUST SAYING THIS TO LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK!" This is the wounded part of you that desperately tries to cling to control, so it can prevent further rejection - which means it is still buying into the idea that the rejection was true. It still believes you are separate from unconditional love.

    If we keep asking unconditional love to help us - over and over again - it will. We will discover that it is always willing to help, always working to free us, always trying to bring us home. All we need to do is let it in. That is who we truly are.

    I've written a new book about long-term healing. Whole Again is now published! If you would like to be notified about future books, you can enter your email address below. This is not a mailing list. Just a one-time notification:

Article Author: Peace