When Did That Deep Fear of Rejection Set In?
You’d be Surprised!
I once thought we were born with all kinds of fears because I remember being very small and feeling extreme fear over anything that crawled fast, especially bugs. I’ve heard many parents say that their children have irrational fears for which there is no justification.
Sometime ago, I learned that we are only born with two fears, fear of falling and fear of loud noises, and all other fears are learned. However, new science is now showing that it may be possible that fears can be passed down through generations. A study conducted by Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, published in the Natural Neuroscience Journal in 2013, involved conditioning mice to fear cherry blossom aroma, which fear later showed up in the second and third generation of these conditioned mice, although later generations have never been directly exposed to the aroma. Scientists are now considering that feelings and emotions can be passed down through generations in both animals and humans.
Through my own work with clients, I became convinced that we are born with a fear of rejection. I have witnessed many clients, while in a deeper level of consciousness during a hypnotic session, express how they felt unloved, unwanted, lonely, sad, shameful or unworthy. When I would ask the client to take me to the first time they felt these feelings, they would take me as far back as the high chair, the crib and even the womb stages of life. Further inquiry led to details of how they felt rejected by their mom or other primary caregiver. I found this to be fascinating and my clients were quite surprised as well.
One of my clients felt rejected because she was crying for a long time in her crib and her mom didn’t come to get her. When I asked where her mom was, she said “doing things in the house. Everything is more important than me”. Another client felt rejected because she could hear her parents arguing while she was in the womb. When I ask what they were arguing about, she said “dad doesn’t want me to be born”. Could we be making this stuff up while in a deeper state of consciousness? Could these be false memories created by the imagination? Sylvia Browne, spiritual psychic and teacher, in her book My Guide, Myself, says everyone chooses a particular “Life Theme” before incarnating to this planet and further claims that the theme of rejection or alienation is experienced in childhood and then becomes accelerated with entry into school and subsequent involvement in relationships.
In a more scientific view, it is said that from birth to about the age of seven, we are considered to be in the imprint stage of life. This means we absorb everything in our environment. However, as we are absorbing everything, we are also trying to make sense of it the best way we know how. As infants and small children, we do not have the cognitive ability to understand our environment, we simply use our imagination. As we are working hard in our mind to figure things out, we also attach feelings to each experience.
If your mom or dad is holding you, while singing a tune that is pleasant to your ears, then you may attach the feelings of love and safety to being held or hearing that tune because physical and emotional needs are being met and the experience gave you good feelings. However, if a baby is crying from the crib for several minutes before the baby’s caregiver comes to his or her rescue, the baby may start using his or her imagination to figure out why no one is responding to his or her needs. Although several minutes may seem like a short time to a caregiver, to an infant it can feel like eternity, as infants have no concept of time.
When a caregiver attends to a crying infant, the infant usually starts to calm down. However, during the time they are in need of attention and no one is there, their imagination is working. While the infant cries out, all kinds of anxious feelings start to emerge. The longer the caregiver takes to get to the infant, the more time the infant gets to use their imagination to assess their environment and create their perception of it. If the environment appears to be empty of the physical or emotional need of the child, the child starts to feel a sense of rejection. Not only do we absorb everything in our surroundings during the imprint stage of life, we create our own unique perception of our environment based on how we feel about it.
Newborns and young children are solely dependent on their primary caregivers to provide them with everything they need for survival. This includes providing them with all the emotional support they need to feel loved, wanted, worthy, connected, belonging and safe. Young children, especially infants, do not understand that there is more happening in their caregiver’s life besides the dependent child’s needs. It is quite unlikely that an infant could understand that mom could not get to the crying baby quickly because she was in the basement switching the laundry and did not hear the cries until she went upstairs. This lapse of time could leave a baby feeling neglected and unwanted. Now mom runs to the baby and picks the baby up, but, while holding the baby, the phone rings and mom is now juggling baby and a phone call. Sounds like a typical day of motherhood to me. Now, since mom is engaged in the call, baby is still not getting the direct and focused attention the baby needs, so the baby’s perception of the situation causes feelings of rejection to deepen. Since the baby doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to form words, let alone express how he or she feels at that moment, the feelings of rejection get suppressed. Anything that you need to express, but can’t, will get suppressed. When suppressed feelings remain buried inside of us, they anchor in the body like sore wounds that become more painful over time.
As the infant grows into toddler, he is she is still holding onto those feelings of rejection. However, the child is not consciously aware that there are feelings inside of them that need expression, but yet, the subconscious mind is very aware of these feelings. The subconscious mind, in its duty to protect the child from further rejection, tries to heal the child’s rejection wounds by leading the child into situations where the child could gain approval. Sometimes the child will receive the approval they are looking for, which causes a temporary fix of self-acceptance, but those feelings of rejection will keep popping up from the subconscious mind, causing the child to continuously seek approval. The need for approval never gets satisfied because the underlying fear of rejection causes the child to unconsciously expect rejection. When rejection is expected, the child will feel rejected easily. For example, if a child is already harboring feelings of rejection from the crib, and then at age 3 gives a drawing he or she did to mom and mom says “I’ll look at it in a minute because I have to make a call first”, the child will perceive this experience as the picture is unimportant and therefore, the child is unimportant.
As the child moves from toddler to teenage to adult, there will be many feelings of rejection because it will be expected. There will also be many times the child will seek approval in unconscious ways to heal the wounds inside. The child will take these feelings and unconscious efforts to heal those wounds right into adulthood. Each time the rejection is felt, the bigger the wound becomes. Feelings of rejection can lead to feelings of abandonment, unworthiness, shame, guilt, loneliness, sadness and even depression. The bigger the wound, the more the child seeks healing through others. Unfortunately, you cannot heal feelings of rejection through any person outside of yourself. You can only heal those childhood wounds by accepting them as valid expressions of your true self. This healing can only take place when you stop maintaining the wounds with more bandages and you allow the wounds to breathe through expression of your shattered heart. The first step towards healing childhood wounds is honoring that little child who innocently created these feelings of rejection in the first place.
The following meditation will help you get started on healing your past wounds that seem to grow stronger with each scenario that causes you to feel slighted or rejected. Do this meditation on a daily basis before bedtime. It will help your heart open up a little more with each practice, so you can get inside there to feel where the pain is. When you can become aware of your pain, you can heal it with kind and loving thoughts of self-approval.
If possible, record this mediation on a phone or other recorder for playback, allowing ample time in between each phrase so you can repeat the phrase to your inner child.
Inner Child Healing Meditation
Get comfortable where no one will disturb you for about 10 minutes (keep tissues nearby)
Take three deep breaths in, filling up the belly, and on each exhale, as the belly collapses, allow yourself to go deeper into your body
Drop completely out of your head and feel into your heart space by placing your hand over your heart, allowing each breath to keep you fully connected to your heart space
Say the following phrases to that wounded child that lives inside of you:
- I’m sorry for neglecting you for so long
- I am here for you now
- I know you are doing the best you can
- Your feelings are important to me
- I will listen without judgment or shame
- You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone
- You are perfect the way you are
- I will always be here with you
- You are safe here in my heart
- Always know that I love you
Your inner child has been seeking approval for a long time. The only one in this world that can make that wounded inner child feel loved and safe is you. The more you practice this inner child healing meditation, the less you will seek approval outside of yourself and the less you will fear rejection from others.