What is your biggest fear? Spiders? Tornadoes? Clowns? Mine is rejection. Sometimes my fear of rejection gets so bad it interferes with my life. Recently I had my first job interview in a few years. It was a big deal. One part of me thinks it went well. I mean, every position I have worked has gone well. My employers and coworkers have always loved me. I work hard, and have plenty of good references. But that other part of me that fears rejection is coming up with all sorts of excuses. I have been a stay at home mom since the boys were born. I haven’t ever held a serious paid position. It’s been nearly a decade since I got my BA degree. I can’t work a lot of overtime because I am still the primary caregiver for our boys and we don’t have any family around to lean on for help. Who in their right mind would hire a longshot like me?
I’m getting really good at talking myself out of good situations. So good, in fact, that I feel like I’m starting to miss out on some great life experiences. I wanted to join a local quilting club, but when I went to the meeting I was reminded of how small the world was when one of the women sharing her awesome steampunk-inspired quilt mentioned “that nice couple who sells veggies at the market.” Yep. The mean couple who freak me out so much I can’t even look in their direction without having my heart race. I still try to go to that market as a customer, but I avoid them like the plague, do my visiting and purchasing quickly, and leave as soon as possible. I’ve still not received anything remotely like an apology or even a nice word from either of them. Now I don’t even want to go to the quilting club because there’s a possibility I’ll run into her there.
I’ve learned to stand up for myself a little, but it’s so hard finding that line – the one between sticking up for myself and becoming exactly the kind of bully I fear. I cross the line a lot. When I worked as a cashier, there was a man who constantly talked to my boobs and remarked on my skirts. It got so bad that I was considering going to management to see if I could work opposite shifts from him. But then one day I just snapped and half-yelled into his face that he was making me very uncomfortable. I stood up for myself, yes, but I immediately felt bad about it because… I yelled and made HIM uncomfortable. He avoided me from then on, so in a way what I did worked. To this day I feel like I should apologize, though. What is wrong with me that I fear rejection even from people who haven’t treated me well?
I fear it most from those I love. I am the kind of person that gives her all to friendships and family. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always try to believe the best of everyone until proven otherwise. I’ve been let down a lot. I’ve had family that I loved tell me that their dogs were more important than me and my kids. I’ve had family cut me out of their lives without even giving me a chance to tell my side of the story – instead, they’d rather believe some girl that no one knew until she married into our family recently. I’ve had family rail against me for my atheism, as if my non-belief made me a shameful addition to any family gathering. I’ve been told to stay away from family holidays. I’ve lost contact with almost every family member on my side and my husband’s side.
Yes, I’ll take the credit for my misdeeds that caused some of the rifts. I tend to come off as overbearing because I get really excited when I am included. I like being involved. I like helping. I like making new friends. I don’t have a cell, and don’t spend a lot of time on the phone, so I’ve been trying to navigate relationships on social media… but I swear sites like facebook are poison for my communication with others because so much of what I say gets misconstrued. I can’t understand how people keep real life friends when they know them on facebook because people seem to be at their worst on social media. I don’t get why facebook is a free pass for everyone to “bitch” openly about very personal matters, knock down people they supposedly love, and say the most awful things like making racist jokes or demeaning homosexuals. When I see people pulling that crap, I speak up. I don’t think it’s funny – it’s hurtful. Well… that ends up with me being ditched because I’m the bully for sticking up for the victims of these horrid people. No, I don’t really mean that. They aren’t horrid. Just some of the choices they make are horrid. Even after I point out bad behavior in another person, I still usually want to be their friend. I don’t know why, but I tend to give people as many chances as they need.
I have always had issues with rejection, but it’s become worse lately thanks to certain people in my life. For 26 years I had a brother I could talk to every now and then. A brother who told me he loved me a couple times a month. He stopped talking to me two years ago. It feels like he died two years ago. I took it hard. It wasn’t pretty. I’m still upset over all that happened, and I can’t see that these feelings of loss will ever go away. I played a part, and I readily acknowledge everything I did that was wrong. He won’t. Ever. He takes no responsibility. So it’s all on my shoulders. Every time I meet someone new I hold back a lot because I think, well, if my own brother can treat me like THAT… what can a friend do? So I lock my open heart inside a cage and don’t let it associate with other people. I even go so far as to reject others before they can reject me. Less hurt, right?
It doesn’t work. I need something in my life to fill the void so many loved ones have left, but I don’t know what. It has to be something real. Something meaningful. I think finding a hobby with other people would help. I think getting a job would help, too, so long as I wasn’t locked up in an office not interacting with others in a positive way. I’ve signed up to volunteer at the boys’ new school – that did wonders for me at their last school. I just need to break this rut I’ve been in recently where I can’t be free to be myself. Winter is coming, and I won’t have my garden and preserving and trips into town to distract me like I’ve had all summer.
I wish I had more friends. Friends who didn’t look down on me because of my atheism. Friends who accepted my little boy in pink. Friends who didn’t think I had gone off the deep end for wanting to live the country lifestyle. Friends who didn’t reject me for anything. I’m so tired of rejection. It’s not healthy to have so much of it thrown at me that I come to expect it – I don’t like living like this.
Anyone else go through something similar? How did you cope? How do you get over it, get past it? And for goodness sake, if you have the balls to come here and start spouting religious shit I will block your IP. I don’t need that – no one does. I’ve dealt with that enough from my in-laws and past friends. That’s part of the reason I constantly fear rejection, so don’t even try it. See? That’s me standing up for myself, and also me feeling rotten because in a way I’m just turning the rejection back around and I don’t like that I feel the need to do that.
My next blog will be more positive, I promise. I just had to get this off of my chest because it’s been weighing me down for a while.