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How Do I Deal with Rejection?

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From the U.S.: When I was little, my sister, who was my best friend, would do things like start a club with her imaginary friend and exclude me from it. When we were older, at our church, there were plenty of people her age to hang out with. Since I had hung out with her my whole life, I was used to this age of person and I wanted to be friends with them, too. My sister had outgrown me, so she wanted to have these friends to herself. A new convert came into our church that was my age, but she was allowed to hang out with these older friends because they wanted her to have friends since she was new. Again I was excluded. Today, I feel these same feelings as I deal with people in life. As soon as I feel a little bit rejected (which I probably magnify) I exclude myself and then feel jealous and bitter toward them. How do I get over these childhood events so that it will not affect my relationships with people around me? Thank you!

How Do I Deal with Rejection?

Answered by on -


I’m so sorry you have been carrying these feelings for such a long time. I’m sorry no one helped you back when you were small. It’s likely that your sister wasn’t rejecting you so much as trying to claim herself. I gather that she is more than a couple of years older than you. That means she was at a different developmental stage and working on separating from her younger self — a self that was represented by you. The new kid was let into the group because she was exotic to them. She didn’t remind those older girls that they had just emerged from being a younger kid.

I’m glad you understand that you probably magnify the “rejections” you experience. Chances are, you are super-sensitive to the possibility. The answer to your discomfort lies within yourself, not in getting people not to “reject” you. If your self-esteem were more secure, you wouldn’t be so concerned with what other people think.

You can’t make other people change but you can work on you. I suggest you stop focusing on what happened when you were little. Nothing can change that. Instead — work on the present. Find things to do that make you feel good about yourself. Get involved with community service projects that make a difference. Find activities where other people who share your values hang out and do positive things. Knowing you are a good person who does good things will help you believe in your own self-worth. Once that is secure, I think you’ll be much less likely to get into that jealous and angry place.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Deal with Rejection?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How Do I Deal with Rejection?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 6 Nov 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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