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!Dealing with Rejection or Jealousy
Dealing with Rejection or Jealousy
As a child, your sister excluded you from activities and you were powerless to stop her. As an adult, things are different. You have more power now than you had as a child. You no longer have to tolerate exclusionary treatment from your sister or from anyone else.
According to your letter, your early life experiences are impacting your current social experiences. You are making assumptions about how you believe other people perceive you based on those early life experiences. You then deliberately and preemptively exclude yourself from situations because of your assumptions and subsequently feel resentment towards the people involved in those situations. You probably do this as a way to protect yourself from what you perceive as their inevitable rejection.
Faulty assumptions can lead to faulty behavior. You can correct this problem by realistically judging social situations. Try to judge social situations based upon what is true, not on what you fear may be true.
Psychologically healthy people are concerned about the accuracy of their thinking. They strive to ensure that their thinking is consistent with reality. Your concern about this issue shows that you care about your psychological health and wish to improve it. That is very encouraging. You would likely benefit from a cognitive therapist who can analyze these social situations and determine the accuracy of your thinking. Click on the “find help” tab, at the top of this page, to locate a cognitive therapist in your community. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle