Kate was still in her mother’s womb when her father denied responsibility for her. Therefore, her paternity was under question even as an unborn child. He repeatedly told her mother that the baby she was carrying was not his. He accused her mother of sleeping with someone else because, to the best of his knowledge, it had been medically proven that he could not sire children. It did not matter to him that when the baby was born she had his eyes, his mouth and, as she grew, she had even his mannerisms. He remained adamant that she was not his child. People would tell Kate, “You look just like your mother”, but when she showed them a picture of her father, they marvelled at the resemblance saying, “But oh, you do look more like your father!” As she grew up, she sensed this rejection from her father and it didn’t matter that her mother expressed her love for her. And so Kate went through life fearful, full of worry, guilt and anxiety. She had a poor self-image and felt hopeless, defensive and distrustful. These feelings of inadequacy made her think that she was different, she did not fit in and, as a result, she gradually started keeping to herself and shunned the company of friends, preferring to be alone, reading, writing, and watching television.
“I knew something was wrong with me but did not know exactly what and how to deal with it,” she said. She remembered a particular occasion when after a fight with her mother, she cried out to God, “What is wrong with me?” She had asked this question repeatedly. As she watched a Christian program on television she heard the preacher talked about rejection and how it can affect a person’s life. She felt the need to do a little research on the topic and found a book on the root of rejection. In it: the author describes the symptoms of people suffering from rejection manifest, such as defensiveness, fear, escapism, perfectionism, being judgmental and so on.
Kate mentally assessed her own feelings and attitude and checked them off against the symptoms listed in the book and, as if a light bulb had come on in her head, she discovered her problem. She was suffering from rejection! “This is it. This is why I am the way I am,” she exclaimed. For a long time in her life, she felt that she was being rejected at every turn. She felt rejected too often as a child, craving acceptance from her father; as a woman, wanting to succeed in her career, in her relationship with friends and with the opposite sex. After any failed relationship with the opposite sex, she would emotionally shut down and recoil into her shell. As a defense mechanism, she had made an unconscious decision to reject people before they rejected her. She became reclusive.
One day, she looked around and realized that she had no relationships to show for her life. She was all alone.
God has given us an in-built desire to feel recognized, valued, and accepted for who we are. When this need is not met, it can result in us feeling rejected or rejecting others, ourselves, God, and people who genuinely love and care about us.
Some of life’s most painful feelings of rejection come from childhood experiences. Rejection suffered in the early years often sets the tone for a person’s entire life. Whenever someone that is significant in our lives – a parent, grandparent, or someone we hold in high esteem – rejects us, feelings of being unloved, unworthy, useless, or insignificant can arise. God never intended for us to struggle with feelings of low self-esteem or rejection. Instead, He wants us to understand that we have value and worth, not because of who we are, but because of who is in us – Jesus Christ.
Akim suffered rejection from his wife of ten years and found it difficult for many years to have a healthy relationship with another woman. His wife told him that he was not man enough for her and rebuffed his sexual advances. She treated him with such disdain that he indeed began to believe that he was worthless. Nothing he did pleased her. One day he got back from work earlier than his usual time and found her in bed with the gardener. They are divorced today, but not before damage had been done to Akim’s self-esteem.
Deal With The Roots
Every feeling of rejection has a root. Until the root is discovered and dealt with, you will not be able to change the way you behave and react to situations. Rejection will blight your view of life and people, stop you from living a full life; and can cripple you in your effort to take your rightful place as predestined by God.
Folasade had eyes only for older married men. She could not date a man who was less than ten years older than herself. In fact, if he was over fifty, greying, and had power and money, you can be sure that Folasade would be interested. For many years, she did not have a single young boyfriend. When she eventually dated single men, she had a compulsive need to please them and she would be so intense that she ended up scaring them away. In the end, she decided to stay with the older men who had money to meet her every need and want and power to get her anywhere.
Folasade’s preference for older men was because she never had the care and protection of her own biological father. He left home when she was a child. When she was in the arms of an older man, she felt she was in her father’s arms. Her compulsive need to please and her intensity in relationships with younger men stemmed from the fear to hold on to them – so that they would not leave her as her father did. A childhood rejection blighted her perceptions and values.
People suffering from rejection are prone to unexplainable moods, anger, self-pity, an unhealthy self-absorption and sometimes sexual promiscuity. Some act irrationally and are easily misunderstood – this could lead to further rejection from people. Their irrational behaviour is in fact not to offend, but a cry for attention and understanding. Usually, they are unaware that their behaviour and actions are offensive, so they are further hurt and bewildered when they are confronted with antagonism or criticism. Basically, they always feel that people are against them or want to “get them” – a reflection of an unhealthy self-absorption which stems from past rejections. Commonly, people with roots of rejection tend to be reclusive and unresponsive to love and affection. This is not because they do not desire love and affection, but because they do not know how to receive or give it to others.
Rejection Mars Effective Leadership
In the art of love and relationship, people suffering rejection need to be taught and trained. If they are not properly trained to give and receive love, they would never be able to interrelate with any person or group of people. But today, unfortunately, we have a lot of people with rejection issues in the roles of husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, CEO’s, presidents, senators, governors and sadly, even pastors and bishops.
A person with a root of rejection cannot be an effective leader or mentor of people. Their issues would always be a burden to the nation, the organizations they work for or have established themselves. The quality time that should be given to the vision and goals of the organization would be wasted on their issues. Like water and oil, such people do not make good team players. Mind you, not because they do not want to, but because they are unaware they have problems or they may be in denial. The only way to deal with issues of rejection is to subject oneself to an uncensored self-examination. If this is not done, one risks destroying a lot of relationships and ultimately ending up miserable.
How to Handle Rejection By Pastor Bimbo Odukoya