In our previous blog, we introduced the topic of rejection and its possible origins and effects. Rejection is a thread that often links people together, because we all have been rejected at least once in our lives. While it is a shared experience, its degree and occurrences are variable between people. No two rejection experiences are the same, yet these experiences tend to yield the same handicapping results, and in our opinion, follow a distinctive pattern. In order to move towards complete freedom from the impending effects of rejection, its pattern needs to be understood. We developed two cycles of rejection (please see Figures A & B below). Those who suffer with feelings of rejection are usually caught in this cycle.  This cycle does not represent the phases of rejection all across the board, as there are various cycles that are prominent, but rather it can be seen as one distinctive model.
The Rejection Cycle usually begins with Affirmation Hunger.  Affirmation hunger can be described as an intense desire for others to affirm you, recognize you, and tell you who you are.  Perhaps you lacked adequate affirmation as you developed through childhood which created this deficit.  So you spend your adulthood trying to find people to satisfy your craving.
The craving or hunger for affirmation is unbearable and reaches a peak, so you are driven to find someone to feed you, which leads to the next phase in the cycle, the Pursuit to Please.  In order to get affirmation, you have to do something worth being affirmed.  So you talk, act, and behave in ways that you believe will please others.  Your behavior is a means to an end because you are hoping to get something out of your attempt.
If you get the Affirmation that you are seeking by people-pleasing, your hunger becomes Temporarily Satisfied and you have positive feelings toward yourself and toward the individual who has affirmed you. You may cling to the person who affirmed you until you begin to want more from them. Because the feelings of satisfaction are short-lived, your hunger will re-surface when you least expect it and drive you into another futile search.  So the cycle continues. Figure A
If you do not get the affirmation that you are seeking, you feel Rejection.  Because you feel rejected you become overly-aware of your affirmation hunger.  You are Temporarily/Permanently Disatisfied and overwhelmed with negative emotions toward yourself and the person who rejected you. You may avoid that person temporarily until your hunger for them to affirm you consumes you and you begin the cycle again, starting at the Pursuit to Please.   Figure B
As you can see from both figures, whether you are affirmed or rejected, the cycle always takes you back to affirmation hunger. Stay tuned and we will tell you how to begin to break this cycle. In the mean time, here are some questions to ponder, so pull out your journals and get writing!
Identical twin sisters Lanelle and Leatisher Jackson, affectionately known as Nell and Tish, are both licensed professional counselors in the State of Ohio; treating children, adolescents, adults and families. For additional information, contact