Sunday, some age 9-12 neighbor kids ganged together and rejected a bigger, awkward tween boy.  While walking Miss Wendy, we witnessed his agony and rage at their behavior as they screamed and ran away, hurling insults at the kid, locking themselves in family SUV, sticking their tongues out, shouting, ‘Nah, nah, nah, nah, big goofball’ –and other, shocking language, their parents would surely have censored. The dog was visibly upset. It prompted a lot of memories from childhood, and thinking about a big topic: rejection.

‘LuAnn’ has a history of getting angry at people and cutting them off.  Out-right rejection.  This might be considered an immature way of dealing with interpersonal conflict, which resulted in escalating anger directed back towards her and her family.  The ‘rejected’ count included an older sibling, a sister-in-law, an uncle, various friends, additional kin, and even a child for a year or two.  Rejection is a form of emotional blackmail or emotional abuse.  One always wonders what led to this response; what made this the ‘go to’ way of dealing with disagreement.  The behavior is often exhibited in families, when it has become systemic.  LuAnn’s daughter behaves in exactly the same way, but fails to see it in herself, and won’t discuss it.  There are times when it is in a person’s best interest to step back from a relationship, a self-protective, last choice, when abuse or emotional trauma are too much to bear. After ‘Wayne’, an addict had stolen from nearly everyone he knew, no one wanted to see him again. He died alone, of an overdose, far from home, rejected by everyone, who had tried everything.

‘Todd’ was in a relationship with male partner for several years, completely estranged from the family who condemned his orientation and choice.  The rejection hurt especially bad coming from those who had professed to love him (but only on their terms), that he required extensive therapy. The media has featured many stories of teens feeling suicidal from the sting of rejection for expressing an alternative gender orientation.  Rejection can take many forms. Sometimes it manifests as angry outbursts from deep-seated emotional pain against the person or persons who caused it, or anyone who represents/reminds one of that person.  A person might harbor simmering hostility towards the abusive partner of a parent, and subsequently anyone who triggered that rage, unwittingly or not. Untreated, it can become toxic. Trauma can be involved on both sides of a seriously disrupted relationship. But it’s not hopeless. In the Home Alone Christmas movie, the elderly man’s relationship is restored with his children, and healing takes place.  The Prodigal Son is a well-known theme from ancient times, where the son returns to his father, apologizes and begs acceptance. That’s probably the exception rather than the rule; a standard for all time.

For ‘Lynette’, rejection moved to a symbolic form of revenge, cutting her ex-husband’s photos out of family pictures. Her transition age son shrugged and shook his head. ‘He’s still my dad,’ the teen said, with an odd look on his face. It was no accident he’d downloaded and listened to an old school (’89) rock song recently by Don Henley, ‘The Heart of the Matter’ [Hear it-   Knowing there would be holidays, graduation, wedding, and probably grand-children in the future made him sad, just thinking about what used to be and was to come.  Rejection is a complex topic.  There are ideas how to deal with differing aspects of rejection.

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About Communications

Communications and Social Media @ Sequel-Pomegranate Health Systems
This entry was posted in adolescent psychiatry, behavioral health, mental health, pediatric psychiatry, psychiatric care and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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