Tag Archives: self worth

The Overwhelming Panic Of Rejection

I had never experienced it until I fell in love with my ex; overwhelming panic at the thought of losing him.

I had breakups in the past and been terribly sad and crying, but for some reason I absolutely panicked when he rejected me. We would have an argument over something insignificant that he would be relentlessly badgering me about; some accusation of wrong doing on my part, then he wouldn’t allow me to defend myself and walk away.

He twisted my words and refused to listen when I spoke from the heart.

I hadn’t always been able to speak my feelings and make myself understood. But I had taken college courses on communicating effectively because it was important to me that I could express myself clearly, without shame or anger.

I had been painfully shy and highly sensitive as a child and because I didn’t know how to express myself, I had cried alot. Crying had angered my father and I had been told, “You want something to cry about? I’ll give you something to cry about!” Or, “get out of my face if you’re going to cry!” I used to get headaches alot, had an ulcer at 10 yrs old and by the time I was 17, I had an eating disorder that I struggled with all through my 20’s.

I had been to counseling after my first marriage failed because I didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes. I knew I hadn’t been perfect, I wanted to understand myself better in order to be better.

By the time I met the narcissist, I was in my mid 40’s and felt, for the first time in my life; I was truly ready for a healthy love relationship. And the narc seemed to see and appreciate that fact about me. He used to say I was the first woman he had ever dated who was calm and rational. We could discuss anything. I understood him. He was 10 years younger than me and I felt he was rather naive. He was so enamoured with me, I feared I might hurt him and I told myself I had to be careful to not lead him on and not to hurt him. I was a very independent, self sufficient woman who was turned off by love sick puppies.

He wanted to see me all the time. He introduced me to all his friends, took me to meet his family, insisted I talk to his mother on the phone. He told me to answer his phone, gave me a house key, he arrived when he said he would and called if he was late. I had never met a man like him. When I got that uncomfortable feeling in my gut I told myself, it was because I wasn’t used to being treated so well. I thought I would be crazy to walk away from someone who loved me that much. I fought the urge to dump him.

Rejection doesn’t feel good, no matter who is rejecting you. You may not even like the person that much but the minute they reject you, you wonder, “Why would they reject me? What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong?”

Fear of rejection is normal but it can become immobilizing and all consuming when you rely on others to give you your self-worth. At times when you are consumed with the fear of rejection you need to step back and not act on your fears. When you feel that fear growing in your belly, that irrational need for their approval envelops you, instead of giving into it and panicking; take a walk, and give yourself time to think clearly and self counsel.

Some things to think about;

Is this rejection or does the person just need some alone time?

Are they going through something?

It’s not all about you. Are you being self centered?

Did you do anything that would have hurt the person? If you did, do you owe them an apology? Then, apologize.

If you don’t feel you did anything wrong, they are obviously angry with you, and you have tried to explain your position, yet they are still rejecting you. Respect their wishes and give them space. Some times a person needs time to process information and accept that they were wrong. You are not going to “fix” anything by forcing the other person to discuss the issue. You may be thinking, “but I can’t let it go until it’s resolved.” My answer to that is, “Yes you can. You have to practice self control, divert your mind, do something else. You are in control of your reactions, in fact; it’s the only thing you CAN control. You certainly can’t control another person.

What is the worst thing that can happen? They end the friendship and never tell you why. Right? So what? If that happens, the world will continue to spin, you will continue to live, nothing will change, you won’t be less valuable, YOU won’t be any different than you were yesterday. You might feel a little lonelier, but hopefully you have other friends, if not you can make more friends.

All we can do is be the best person we can be, not every one is going to like us, we have to accept we aren’t perfect, neither are our friends. But, if you are your authentic self, you will attract people into your life who genuinely like you for you.

I ran into an old friend the other day and they said, “I love running into you. You always seem so happy to see me, like running into me, made your day.”

I said, “Because I genuinely am happy to see you. Running into you always makes my day”. It was a “feel good” moment that kinda says it all. My world wouldn’t change if this person wasn’t in my life, I don’t see them very often, but I like them, I am happy they are my friend, I value them, I show them I value them, but my self worth is in no way connected to whether they like me or not.

Knowing Your Worth

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Ocassionally I have a woman come into the blog thinking the man they are in love with is a narcissist because he won’t commit. I have to tell them that just because a man won’t commit does not make them a narcissist. For one thing a narcissist is not that honest. There is nothing wrong with a man for not wanting a commitment. Maybe he should stop seeing a woman who he knows wants a commitment but if he is honest and the woman keeps coming around, screwing him, cooking for him etc even after he has repeatedly told her he will never commit, can you really blame him for taking what she is giving? She obviously doesn’t respect herself or her own boundaries, is it up to him to do it for her? I suppose he should but in reality very few men will. She would call him a narcissist and be angry either way for rejected her.
News flash!! Not everyone is going to love you.
The following is my reply to a woman asking me how she can break away from a man she has been seeing for 3 years who won’t commit and never pretended he ever would commit.

Jane, I am not a trained professional therapist so I am not qualified to counsel you, I can only give you my personal opinion. Plus, I know absolutely nothing about you, your past or how your personal relationships are and have been in the past.
I am guessing this is a pattern in your life, with all people; not just in romantic relationships.
I would guess that one or both your parents were critical or distant and no matter how hard you tried you were never able to win their love and approval, you were never “good enough”.
You were the “people pleaser”, the “fixer”, always doing for others and derived your self worth from the praise of others. Sacrificing your own well being, being a martyr, all in the name of being “loved”. But never learning that you were being used and taken advantage of, not loved.
Most narcissists are not as honest as this man, they profess total commitment but lead a double life, often having many women at one time, all believing he is committed to them and that is where the victim gets sucked in. If the narc would have been honest they would have left the relationship.
The fact that you stay knowing the truth tells me that you rely on other people to give you value.
It is human nature to want to be liked, in fact we tend to try harder to please people who don’t seen to like us. No one likes rejection.
But most people wont stick around to be rejected time and time again. You do not love this man, you have made him your “value gauge”. If you can make him commit then you have value, you are worthy, enough, loved.
The truth is; what he thinks of you has absolutely nothing to do with your value, worth or whether you are loveable.
He has every right to not want to commit, and he shouldn’t continue to sleep with you knowing you want a commitment but most men don’t do the right thing and if he tells you he will never commit and you keep coming around he’s going to take what you keep giving.
You are not the victim of a narcissist, you are a victim of your own inability to defend your boundaries.
You want to be loved and have worth but you have attached your self worth to being loved. Your value has absolutely NOTHING to do with who loves you. You are willing to give up your boundaries, what you stand for; in order to be loved and have value. But you fail to realize that in order to be loved you must be loved for who you are, not the pretzel you contort yourself into, not for the things you are willing to give up but for the things you stand up for. If you don’t respect yourself and who you are (boundaries define who you are) you won’t be respected by others. Respect is essential in any loving relationship, in any relationship period. If you don’t have boundaries and defend them how do you ever feel loved for who you are? How do you ever trust yourself to not be disrespected and used?
Loved based on how much you are willing to sacrifice is never real love, it is never secure and you never feel fulfilled and empowered. You always doubt it.
The way to ensure you don’t get involved with a narcissist is to stop dating until you stop deriving your self worth from a man and know your value without being told you have value. When you love yourself, for all your perceived “flaws”, and are willing to walk away from any man who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are, you will continue to get hurt.
I suggest you stop trying to figure out what the man wants, stop trying to be the woman you think the man wants and start looking at men from the perspective of; is this the type of man I want? Is this man worthy of MY love, is this man’s values in line with MY values? I think you need to find a good therapist who can help you do that.
I know it is scary to let go of this guy and be alone but until you can be comfortable alone and truly enjoy your own company you will repeat history.

When Will I Be My Old Self Again?

I hate to break it to you but you will never be your old self again, nor should you, for many good reasons. Here are a few reasons why you should take this opportunity to become the new and improved you.

1. Your old self got you into this mess in the first place, lets hope we all are wiser and stronger people for the experience. No experience in life is a waste as long as you learn and grow from it, don’t waste this chance to do some major personal growth.

2. Being naive and oblivious to the evils of the world gives us a false sense of security, and feeling secure is something everyone wants. We want to believe everyone has a good side, that bad things happen to other people, not us, evil people are in the movies and live somewhere else. We liked thinking we would be able to detect if someone was evil, we also used to believe in Santa Claus; but we all have to grow up and face reality some time.

3. Dwelling on the past and all you lost is only going to make you unhappy. Wishing things were different will only make you unhappy, you can’t change the past but you can change how you handle the future.

4. You can’t fix anyone else, you can’t change anyone else, but you have total control over how you live and if you live true to yourself and your core beliefs no one can ever make you feel guilty, less than, or that you don’t deserve to be happy.

5. No one, no matter how much you love them; has the right to expect you to compromise your principles or your well being. 

6. On the same note, to expect someone else to make you happy or feel valued is giving them too much responsiblity and pressure. I know I sure the hell don’t want the responsibility of someone else’s happiness and self worth.

7. It is not your fault you got sucked in by a narcissist because you didn’t know better, but now you do know better and need to figure out how to avoid it happening again. The scarest part for me was the thought that I had totally been a victim and had no control over what happened to me, it meant I had no control over it happening again. I HAD to find a way where I had control over what people did to me, I could not go the rest of my life helplessly reacting to life and the actions of others. 

(To not take some responsibility for it is setting yourself up for a life of fear and unhappiness. You are relying on luck to keep you safe and saying to yourself, “you are helpless to protect yourself”, then wonder why you keep getting hurt. There are women who go through life lamenting, “Why do I keep meeting assholes?” We all meet assholes, assholes are every where, the question should be, “Why do you stay with them?”)

8. Living true to your core values, having “deal breaker” boundaries, not sacrificing your happiness and security is NOT being selfish, it is being smart and it protects you from being a victim. Love is NOT sacrificing yourself, your values, your security, your morality. If someone says, “If you really loved me you would do this thing I ask.”  rephrase it and say, “If you really loved me you would not expect me to do something or accept something that I do not feel comfortable with.”

9. Some where along the way, during our upbringing, someone instilled in us that we are not complete or valueable without a partner in our life, that a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. That is straight bullshit!! 

I am not a man hater, I am not the least bit bitter or jaded about relationships, a relationship can be wonderful, sharing your life with someone can be fantastic, a shoulder to lean on when life gets you down, someone to share the good times and weather the bad times with. I liked being part of a “couple”,  when a relationship is healthy there is nothing better but there is nothing worse than feeling alone when you aren’t, or always having to fight for your right to feel a certain way, there is nothing comforting about having to snoop to see if your spouse is being faithful, you should be able to trust your partner’s word, you should be able to trust your partner’s promises, you should be able to trust your own recollection of events and not be told you are crazy or paranoid. None of those things are part of a healthy loving relationship, and if you stay with that person, you never will have a healthy relationship.

10. You owe it to yourself and any future partner to take the time now to heal present and past hurts, deal with that inner voice that says you are not good enough, learn to set boundaries, YOUR deal breaker boundaries, learn to listen to your gut, to block the negative shit we have been told about ourselves, learn how to live a true and honest life in every area of your life. Stop being what you have been told you should be and start being the person you are meant to be. I guarantee you that if you start living life true to your core self you will know your worth and no one will ever be able to make you feel less than again, you will have less and less self doubt, and you WILL find inner peace. 

I recommend taking at least a year or two after a narcissist to heal before dating. If the thought of that makes you feel panicked and anxious, then you most definitely need to take a couple of years. If you need to find a man because you think the clock is ticking and time is running out for you to have a child, or you feel you can’t support yourself, or you can’t survive without a man, or all your friends are married and you feel like odd man out, and especially if you find yourself trying to be the kind of woman the man wants instead of being honest with yourself and him and admitting early on when the man is not the kind of man you want in your life. Too many times women bend over backwards trying to be what the man wants and making excuses for his unacceptable behaviour because they just started dating and don’t want to appear demanding or bitchy. 

I have actually had women come into the blog complaining because a guy doesn’t treat her with respect and at the same time describe how he got blind drunk their first date, she slept with him on the first date and she has been concerned about his drink all along, he has a warped sense of humor and expects her to come to his place for sex and then leave. He has never pretended to be in love with her and she is calling him a narcissist. No, you are a door mat that won’t demand a man treat you with respect. I think it was Dr Phil, or Oprah that said, “We teach people how to treat us.” And it is the truth. We teach people how to treat us by what we accept, asking for respect is not the same as demanding respect and being prepared to walk if you don’t get it.

So, please don’t wish to be your old self ………… strive to be your best self and make it a life long journey