7 Useful Techniques for Overcoming Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

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Last Updated on

May 3rd, 2024 11:08 am

Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD) is an unfortunate reality of modern life. The internet and open communication have made everything easier than ever before, but it has also created a world where it’s easy to find people who don’t like you. Or at least your brain tells you they don’t, when reality paints a different picture.

Even if you spend every day working on improving your online presence, there will always be haters who are too quick to lash out at anything that doesn’t match their expectations. If you have a high degree of sensitivity to rejection, this can make it hard for you to support any kind of personal or professional connection. That’s especially true for anyone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

No matter what other people may think, social rejection can be debilitating. And, while easier said than done, there’s no point in letting the intense emotion take over your life. Here are some useful techniques for spotting the signs of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria and overcoming your emotional sensitivity.

Find Out What’s Causing Your Fear of Rejection

If you’re having trouble getting over your intense fear of rejection, it could be because you haven’t figured out exactly why you’re worried about being turned down. Often, several factors are at play that create a heightened emotional experience of rejection, exaggerating the symptoms of rejection.

You might think you just don’t like feeling alone, but there are deeper reasons behind your anxiety. Here are some things to consider:

• Do you believe that people won’t accept you?

• Are you concerned that others will see your behavior as needy or weak?

• Is your self-esteem defined by how much money you make?

• Do you feel anxious about making mistakes?

• Have you had a hard time trusting yourself and let bad memories get in the way?

There are many ways to explore what’s really behind your fears. For example, you could try writing down everything that makes you feel anxious when someone rejects you. Then you can look for patterns. Once you’ve identified the root cause of your concern, you’ll be able to work on addressing those issues.

Embrace Your Own Rejection-Sensitive Symptoms

It’s easy to fight against the feelings you have, but that’s one of the most unhealthy things you can do. Sometimes it’s okay and perfectly valid to feel irritated or have an emotional outburst.

Some moments of rejection are unavoidable. We all have shared experiences of rejection in some form every day. But even though we know that rejection occurs, so many of us often struggle to control our emotional response to rejection . We feel embarrassed, sad, angry, or ashamed because someone didn’t like our work, our ideas, or ourselves.

The problem is that we tend to deny that we are hurt by rejection. Instead of acknowledging that we are hurt, we persuade ourselves that we aren’t. As a result, we feel worse and worse.

In fact, there is evidence that suggests that telling ourselves “I’m fine,” or “it doesn’t bother me,” makes us feel better temporarily. Yet, saying those things won’t help you process what just happened. They’ll simply make you forget about the experience, brushing the emotional pain under the carpet.

Instead of denying your feelings, confirm them. When you acknowledge that you are upset, you give yourself permission to discuss the negative feelings. You’re able to start thinking about ways to cope with the situation and move forward.

Avoid Negative Self-Talk to Ease the Pain of Rejection

People with Rejection Densitive Dysphoria can be difficult to be around for neurotypical people, so it’s important to stay positive even when they’re frustrated. If you feel the need to lash out at someone you don’t know because they didn’t like your profile or pictures that you posted, don’t let them drag you down.

There will always be people in your life who don’t like what you do, and it doesn’t make any sense to let them take up your time and energy.

People pleasers need lots of self-control to keep themselves positive and make sure the cycle of rejection doesn’t kick in. But if it becomes too much for you, talk to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling.

Assess Your Priorities in Life

Whether it’s a comment on your online portfolio or a verbal rejection, don’t let the little things get to you. As a rejection sensitive-person, doesn’t matter what other people think about your work. If something is not technically perfect in their eyes (or yours), it doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.

You shouldn’t be disappointed in your work just because someone else has an opinion of how it should be done. Similarly, don’t let the fact that someone rejected you discourage you from going after those opportunities in life.

Get Physical and Improve Your Health

The most important advice that will help you overcome rejection sensitivity is to get physical. The health benefits of exerecise on mental health are well-documented.

Exercise and physical well-being do wonders for social anxiety as well as reducing the physical pain that often comes with RSD. The latter might sound counterproductive, but in fact our pain receptors are heightened by the rush of hormones that kick in whenever an experience of rejection occurs.

By improving your mental and physical health through exercise, your reactions to rejection will be less severe, often taking that sting of rejection away is the catalyst required to break the cycle of mental health issues.

Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Individuals

Take advantage of local meet-ups and community events where you can mix and mingle with other people in your area. If you have a social media presence that’s publicly accessible, find ways to engage with others. Make a photo album or start a blog about your experiences of loneliness and see if anyone responds positively.

Give Your Mental Health a Break from Social Media

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by rejection, it can be tempting to stay on social media or log on to your email. Even if you’re not looking for negative feedback, these forums are guaranteed to expose your feelings of inadequacy.

It’s important to take a break from social media and other online communities that hold a lot of weight. Social interactions require mental energy that needs to be replenished occasionally. Make sure you have some solo time when you can focus entirely on your well-being instead of spending time worrying about potential rejection and what others are thinking about you.

Steps to Tackle Your RSD Head-On

You know how it goes as an adult with RSD: If you don’t ask for something, you won’t ever get it. You’ll never get a job promotion, you’ll never get asked out on a date, you’ll never get into Harvard. So many people are afraid to ask for things because they think they’ll fail, and they’re afraid that failure will make them look weak.

But you know what? Rejection doesn’t mean that you’ve failed; it just means someone else didn’t say yes. And guess what? You can still succeed without asking anyone for anything.

Start by identifying your fears. Write down three fears about asking for something, and then rank them according to how much fear you feel around each of those things. For example, maybe your biggest fear is getting rejected during your next interview. Then write down every possible scenario where that could happen, including scenarios where you do everything perfectly and still end up being rejected anyway.

Now, go ahead and add some numbers to each scenario. Maybe you could imagine that the interviewer is really nice and asks you out for coffee, but she ends up saying no. Or maybe you could imagine that you show up to the interview wearing a suit and tie, but you forget to brush your hair and accidentally smell like cigarettes.

Now take that list and arrange it in order of the least scary scenario to most scary scenario. When you’re done, you should have a list of five items that scare you the most. Next, figure out what you’d actually like to accomplish by asking for that thing. Do you want to meet a potential employer? Get a raise? Go on a date? Whatever it is, write down your goal.

Finally, work backwards from your goal. What’s the easiest way to get closer to achieving that goal? Ask someone for help. If you have therapy or coaching, book in a session. Make a phone call, send a text, or have a conversation with your boss.

Don’t worry too much about whether you’ll get rejected. Just focus on making the call. Once you’ve taken that step, you’ve already done the hardest part!

Once you’ve got over your fear of rejection, keep track of your progress. Every day, log a few minutes doing whatever activity you need to do to get closer to your goal. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself feeling less anxious about asking for what you want.

Rejection Sensitive Disorder is Manageable

It can be hard to remember that you can overcome rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) by following these five simple steps. RSD is a condition that causes a person to feel anxious, depressed, or even suicidal when they are rejected. The article offers positive advice for overcoming rejection sensitivity, such as staying positive and not sweating the small stuff.

Of course, if you’re still struggling, always consider consulting a mental health professional who can offer advice tailored to your own personal circumstances. Especially where trauma is involved, seeking help to cope with experiences often leads to reduced symptoms of RSD as a result.

Keep reading for more inspiring content!


What is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoric Disorder (RSDD) is a relatively recently identified mental health condition. In fact, there are still many gaps in our understanding of what causes it and how to treat it effectively. But we do know that it happens to some degree in every human being, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, socioeconomic status, or educational background.

The term “rejection sensitive dysphoria” refers to the combination of intense feelings of rejection and criticism, along with the associated emotional regulation issues of distress and impairment caused by those feelings.

People with RSD experience strong negative emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, shame, fear, hopelessness, and loneliness when actual rejection occurs by someone they care about, such as in romantic relationships. These emotions cause them to feel physically ill, depressed, anxious, angry, guilty, ashamed, worthless, and afraid.

In addition to these emotionally painful reactions, people with RSD often suffer from cognitive distortions that make it difficult for them to see things objectively. This makes it hard for them to understand why they’re feeling as they do, and even harder to accept the feedback they receive.

What are the consequences of high rejection sensitivity?

The consequences of high rejection sensitivity can vary. It can make it hard to form relationships and feel confident about your personal appearance. It can also make it difficult to do in-person networking and make friends in real life.

While an increased sensitivity to rejection can make life difficult at times, there are ways to deal with emotional dysregulation and improve your overall emotional health.

First, accept that rejection is part of life and that everyone experiences it at some point. The second step is to learn how to deal with rejection so that you can move on from it and not take the comments or actions of others too personally. If you take this approach, you will be able to feel better about yourself and have more confidence in your abilities.

What are the causes of high rejection sensitivity?

There are some causes of rejection sensitivity, but the primary culprit is likely a lack of self-confidence. If you don’t have belief in yourself, it’s going to be difficult to persuade other people that you’re worthy of their time and attention.

To overcome this, you need to start by accepting yourself for who you are and what you can offer. Once you start to have belief in your own abilities, you should feel more confident interacting with other people, developing healthy relationships. This will enable you to lift your self-esteem out of the gut-wrenching pit it often finds itself in and lift that overwhelming feeling off your shoulders.

How can you reduce your rejection sensitivity?

One thing that can help is to become more aware of how rejection affects you, whether that’s social withdrawal or endlessly worrying about of all alternative possibilities that might happen, only to discover the actual outcome is positive.

As difficult as it may be, try to avoid people-pleasing behaviors and accept that there are some people who won’t like you or won’t want to know you. It’s not worth spending too much time worrying about what other people think.

If you put your energy into developing meaningful connections with the people who do matter, you’ll be far more likely to have lasting success in your life.

Check out our further reading about ADHD and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria to learn more!

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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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