Healing from Rejection Trauma

Overcoming and Living Well

Shirley J. Davis
5 min readFeb 27, 2022


Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Rejection often refers to the feelings of grief, sadness, or shame that someone feels when others do not accept them, including parents or others in their lives. Sometimes children feel rejected by their peers and suffer tremendously from anxiety and self-loathing. As a result, children who experience rejection trauma have a hard time relating to others as adults.

This article will focus on treatment for rejection trauma, giving you a better understanding of its neurology and how you can heal.


Rejection has a place in our lives and is believed to come from the need in ancient times to belong to a tribe or group. Not belonging or being rejected meant death. Many tribes or groups used ostracism to control the behaviors of their members. So, humanity developed the need and desire to be accepted, and when we face rejection, we are mortified.

Unfortunately, for many, being rejected leads to being afraid of further rejection, bringing problematic behavior to avoid it. People may isolate themselves or hold back from making connections with others because they are afraid of being rejected. Fear of rejection leads to loneliness and depression as we respond subconsciously to our need to be accepted into a group.

Fear of rejection often occurs with many mental health conditions, including social anxiety, borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, to name a few.

The Neurology of Rejection Trauma

Thanks to the amygdala, memories of rejection are stored via a complex process that occurs in the brain, which attaches meaning to experiences. If parents or peers reject a child, the pain of rejection gets reinforced to gain importance and meaning. The rejection turns into our predominant emotional story.

Research has shown that emotional pain is worse and results in more brain activity than remembering physical pain. For instance, it hurts much more to remember an event where your parent rejected you than to remember when you broke your leg. The leg healed up quickly and left few emotional scars, yet the memory of the rejection from your…



Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker/grant writer in the U.S. My passion is authoring information about mental health disorders, especially dissociative identity disorder..