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Fear of rejection

(65 Posts)
MawBroon Sun 15-Apr-18 10:40:54

Am I just over sensitive? Sometimes I find it very hard to ask for help (or indeed offer) or suggest coffee/lunch etc in case somebody says “No”.
I think it has got worse sinc I lost Paw - woman on her own? But this reluctance bothers me.
Even things I am paying for, booking kennels, gardening, I find myself asking as if it is a favour (!)
So what is the worst that can happen? I know it’s not necessarily a personal rejection, but it still gets in the way.
So, practical strategies, or a kick up the fundament please?

Teetime Sun 15-Apr-18 10:47:25

Well what I do is pretend I am someone else more confident than me. I knew someone called Mary (not real name) who could always manage these situations with aplomb but without any kind of aggressiveness just very assertive so I did what Mary would do. Also one boss that I had when she picked this up in my appraisal earlier in my career said one word 'ACT'. It works not 100% but it certainly works. Good Luck. flowers

Luckygirl Sun 15-Apr-18 10:54:40

I think that we are all like this in one degree or another, but we are better/worse at covering it up. I do think teetime's advice is good.

I expect that it feels more pronounced when you are on your own as the answer matters more - e.g. when asking someone to lunch.

My OH is the same and when he speaks to a plumber about coming out to mend something it is almost "I wonder if you would mind awfully doing me the favour of coming to look at X?" I tease him and say "How do you think this guy earns his living? - we are paying him!!!"

Good luck with overcoming this - I a sure you will

Tippy22 Sun 15-Apr-18 10:58:47

Oh how I sympathise with you Maw. I tell myself why am I still like this after having a job I was good at and bringing up two decent well-educated daughters virtually on my own but I still feel humble and expect rejection . A friend who said she felt the same said it's a sort of comfort thing, you expect rejection and aren't surprised if it happens (which is rarely the case) and are so pleased when you don't get knocked back (which is more likely).

Panache Sun 15-Apr-18 11:03:24

MawBroon you have now touched upon the great elephant that has haunted me through out my now rather long life...........and the sad fact is,however much I have worked at overcoming rejection I seem to find it in far too many areas of my life and it truly is wearing me down.............more so now as my health is at rock bottom and I have far too much time on my hands so simply tend to go through past hurtful times with a tooth pick.

Without wishing to hog your posting I will briefly put you in the picture as to why I postively quake at any rejection.
At the age of just 10 weeks I was totally abandoned by my well to do parents whom had a farm and son,this obviously was the root of my insecurities.
My so called "Father" years later refused to visit me when I was once on my death bed in Hospital,on his death all his estate and monies went to other members, I had not a penny.
He never contributed one penny to my upkeep from that first 10 weeks of life.
My first husband abandoned me after a 4 month time in Hospital,having gambled away all our savings losing us our first little home well as losing a husband of course
My sister whom I met only 50 years later, chose friends at her Wedding whilst both my husband and I were not even invited.
That seriously hurt as we had I thought become close sisters.
The list goes on and on and believe you me,there is nothing pleasant about it.
Yes I have fought long and hard through immensely trying circumstances...........4 bouts of cancer at 42 and continuous big health issues since.
Losing our opportunity to move into a Retirement Apartment TWICE has most recently set me back yet again.
Where ever I turn rejection seems to slap me in the face.

I think probably in your case you are highly over sensitive having lost your beloved OH.......quite recently I believe....and so every single area of your life you question as you obviously are a very proud lady.
I have no answers, but please know I do understand and feel for you.I can but hope it all gets better as you again learn to strengthen your stance on life.

MawBroon Sun 15-Apr-18 11:17:23

Oh Panache flowers you put my worries in the shade.
Thinking about it, I was always able to ask/demand/ “kick ass “ as necessary on Paw’s behalf - no fear of being turned down there, it’s always easier on somebody else's behalf.
I wonder if it is to do with not having somebody else to think about, it has only been 5 months and I am not used to being a “free agent”.

Anniebach Sun 15-Apr-18 11:23:35

I have for over forty years had to speak up for myself , never a problem until last year, criticism was rained down on me and squashed me. Last week the refuge collectors left the wheelie bin plonk in front of the front door, I have a baby gate there in case the dogs do a runner, so bin against baby gate, I couldn't open the gate, phone refuge dept and started with - I hope it's alright to ring you but ! Phoned HMRC for brother and started with ' I hope I haven't rung at a very busy time'. Phone chemist for repeat script, ' sorry to bother you but' . I am so angry with myself .

Your confidence will return Maw, it's the change from 'we' to 'me' . My love x

Situpstraight Sun 15-Apr-18 11:27:17

MAW I think it’s possibly yet another stage of grief, your world is out of kilter and finding yourself having to deal with things without the backup and support of your DH.

I don’t think we realise how much we rely on our OHs until we lose them.

It doesn’t take much to lose our confidence and I’m sure you will get yours back very soon.

Be patient and kind to yourself.

Meanwhile here’s some flowers to cheer you up💐💐

Jalima1108 Sun 15-Apr-18 11:37:27

It must be very difficult to try to cope with everything on your own after bereavement - we may think we are 'copers' but finding the confidence to tackle everything on your own must be very difficult. Not having anyone there who can talk through things with you makes it hard.


Perhaps trying to show confidence will mean that you will not be treated as 'a mere woman' and have tradespeople trying to pull the wool over your eyes (which I am sure you won't let them do, but they may think they could iyswim).

If your friends can't make coffee, lunch, etc, it's not a rejection - it's because they can't make that day and I'm sure that real friends will be able to make an alternative date, just have a few earmarked in the diary to suggest.

kittylester Sun 15-Apr-18 12:16:31

I suspect it is not having Paw in the background! Even if you have done it all lately there is something comforting about knowing someone is on your side - so another part of grieving as sus says.

But, we know you are strong and will come through this.

Eglantine21 Sun 15-Apr-18 12:20:38

If most of the people you know are still twosomes or very involved with family you can feel the odd one out after losing your partner. Things like suggesting lunch with a friend or even with family carry with them a feeling that people might say yes when actually it’s not convenient just because you are now a sort of “poor relation”.

I hated to be pitied or be seen as an obligation so I very much went through what you are going through now. It is a stage. For me it lasted about a year until a major holiday disaster meant I sued the firm responsible and hey presto my confidence was back!

Only dealing with officialdom though. I’m still a hesitant wimp when it comes to inviting people or imposing myself on them.

Are you being over sensitive.? Of course. You have lost your life partner. Everything hurts flowers

Oldwoman70 Sun 15-Apr-18 12:32:34

Like others I also find it hard asking for help or even ringing someone for a chat or invite for coffee. Yet when DH was ill I had no problem speaking up if I thought he wasn't getting the treatment he needed.

I don't ring friends as I always think they are probably too busy and I don't want to interrupt them, as a result, of course people think I am stand offish and don't ring me - it's a vicious circle.

KatyK Sun 15-Apr-18 13:08:01

I'm like that too Maw It's not just you. I am worst with my daughter. She has lots of friends and things going on and every time I suggest we do something together she is always busy, broke or something. I have stopped asking now as I feel so hurt. I know lots of people who are always having get togethers/celebrations. We don't really as I assume no one would come. My DH is always telling me to contact people but I always think no one would want to see me (which I know isn't true really as I have quite a few ladies who I meet up with for lunch etc). I also do that 'is it convenient/are you busy/I can call back' thing when I ring people. Never mind - the meek shall inherit the earth (that's if it's OK with everyone else) smile

Jane10 Sun 15-Apr-18 13:49:28

There's nothing wrong with asking nicely. I know from friends who work in call centres (not sales ones) that people who call and ask nicely for help with eg energy bills or Internet problems are far more likely to be given more friendly attention and help. The, 'I wonder if,' approach can work very well.
However, you can still unleash your dragon persona if required but they don't need to know that.
It's sad to hear that so many of you fear rejection. I agree with you others that MawBroon is still coming to terms with a rather different life. I'm sure that every one of us would love to meet up with her for coffee. And cake. And lunch. And a glass of wine. And - well any excuse for a blether. Any chance of coming up to see us all here in Edinburgh?

Elrel Sun 15-Apr-18 14:02:00

Maw, and others who feel like this - there must be so many of us who are similar.
I've felt better in shops etc. since I read (on GN?) the best way to approach a counter with a query, especially if complaining. 'I hope you can help me' preferably with a smile.
But what do I know? I have far too many days when I don't get out. After chatting to people I often think I've talked too much and said stupid things. Sometimes I have!
The companionship on here is much appreciated 💐

Grannybags Sun 15-Apr-18 14:04:13

I was so surprised to read your post MawBroon You always come across as a strong, confidant person.

I agree it seems to be easier to ask/demand for other people, especially family but when it comes to me I'm a bit 'that's ok you go first' (unless I'm really worked up!)

I'm also bad at picking up the phone, saying it's too early, lunch time, too late etc. feeling I'd be interrupting something more important than me.

As others have said I'm sure you're still getting used to only having to think of yourself and things will get easier in time

janeainsworth Sun 15-Apr-18 14:12:42

Dear maw, This doesn’t sound like you. I usually try to guess the author of a thread before I open it and you were the last person I would have thought of, in this instance.
I think when you have had someone for 50 years to run things past, to tell you when you’re over-reacting, to reassure you in a difficult situation that it’s not your fault, to generally boost your self-esteem in immeasurable little ways, and just to keep you on an even keel, being on your own must be so so hard.
Tell yourself, in the case of inviting people for coffee or lunch or whatever, that the other person will be delighted to see you. You would be pleased if they invited you, wouldn’t you? If they say no, there will be a good reason and they will probably suggest another time. And don’t forget Marje Proops’ timeless advice to the person who was worried that they were never invited to parties - ‘Do you ever give any?’ smile
In the case of professional services, tell yourself you’re just as entitled to those as anyone else.
I hope you feel better soon flowers

grannyqueenie Sun 15-Apr-18 14:14:25

You’ve done so much with Paw as well as for him in more recent times, so experience points to you being a capable and strong woman but you probably don’t feel like you are right now.
Many of us have feelings of insecurity, myself included, that most of the time we manage to manage/conceal/navigate around. But I think when we’re laid bare, as it were, by a major life event/trauma like a bereavement it exposes, exacerbates and highlights all our tender spots. I know that’s what relocating miles from my home of over 30 years did to me - and I chose to do it, goodness knows how I’d be if my old boy wasn’t at my side. You didn’t chose the path you’re on now and hoped it wouldn’t be so, please be kind to yourself as you go. Find your moments to be brave and allow yourself to hunker down when you need to. x 💐

loopyloo Sun 15-Apr-18 14:19:13

Dear Mawbroon, so sorry you feel like this. If you can make it to our next meeting at Redbridge do come. We would love to see you!

annodomini Sun 15-Apr-18 14:34:20

So many of these posts ring true for me. I had a happy and secure childhood (despite the war) but at the age of 6, I was taken into hospital, very poorly, with pneumonia and my parents were not allowed to visit, though once they were able to see me through the window. I was a shy child though I didn't make the connection until much later. When I was going through the wounding experience of divorce, I was sitting in the car at traffic lights with tears flowing down my cheeks when suddenly I was a child under red blankets, against big white pillows - right back to that time in hospital. I realised at once, that my fear of rejection went all the way back, thirty years, to my separation from my parents and all my extended family. With the help of a counselling course I was able to understand myself better and began to build my life as a single mum, teacher (mainly of adults) and local politician. I was able to speak in public and make my case forcibly on committees, all too often being made chairman of this and that. My confidence took a big knock when the college where I taught had a round of redundancies and I lost the job I loved - my students were upset too. And I was still a year away from my official retirement age. However, I was still able to take the Ramblers holidays I had enjoyed since the divorce. I moved when I downsized. A group I joined all knew each other well, and although they welcomed me and were very helpful when I had surgery, I have never felt able to break into their circle of friendship. There's the fear of rejection raising its head again. Now, having read this thread, I know I'm not alone. Thank you, everyone. xx

chicken Sun 15-Apr-18 16:53:50

This is all so familiar to me too, Maw. After being bottom of the heap at school ( youngest in class, hopeless at sport and too academic) I had no self confidence and married for security, hiding behind OH, not being able to have any belief that other people might want to know me. Now in my much later years, I can cope OK on the surface but still have to psych myself up to make those phone calls, make those contacts, make the first move at social events. I don't think there's any magic bullet. I think that you have to don a façade of confidence over that quivering jelly and become an actor--and give yourself a round of applause after the performance. Remember the Julie Andrews song--"Whenever I feel afraid".

M0nica Sun 15-Apr-18 17:13:29

Maw, I think this is do more to the great change you have had recently, like walking around after an earthquake, and grief. I am sure it will pass with time.

chicken with few exceptions, you are acting like almost every other confident person in the world. Starting off worried and nervous but putting a good face on it. If you remember that every time you are faced with someone whose confidence feels overwhelming that underneath they are feeling, or used to feel, just like you, your confidence too will improve in leaps and bounds

On the general subject of rejection, I think rejection is part of the normal thread of life, we reject things and are rejected in our turn. Obviously some rejections may be devastating , but mostly they aren't and often being prepared for it enables one to take all kinds of risks. The best jobs I got were the ones I thought I had least chance of getting, but my reaction as I posted the application was, always 'well the worst they can do is reject me.' except of course they didn't.

DD is wanting to change her career at the moment and is sending out job applications for anything she thinks she can do, whether obviously qualified or not on the same basis. The first two applications resulted in interviews.

I am encouraging my 10 year old GD to adopt the same attitude to life. Essentially nothing venture, nothing win.

lemongrove Sun 15-Apr-18 21:00:24

Am sure this stage will pass Maw but at the moment almost anything will sap your confidence, it’s only natural.
Start in small ways, think about what you will say before ringing somebody, even write it down if it will help?flowers

silverdarlings Sun 15-Apr-18 21:19:48

That's what I do Maw--write it down before ringing --
as it was "cheeky" to ask for any thing when I was growing up.++++

Iam64 Sun 15-Apr-18 22:21:14

Maw, reading your opening post reminded me how often we may appear together sailing along, smooth as a swan on water, whilst we’re paddling like fury under the water so we can stay afloat.
Bereavement, especially after a long time caring for the deceased love one, rocks our foundations, you have got on with it for so long, no wonder you feel a little uncertain about life.
Be gentle with yourself. X