Surprising Facts About Rejection Sensitivity
Welcome back to savvy psychologist August. I'm your host Dr J. Boop every week I'll help you meet life's challenges with evidence based research a sympathetic ear and zero judgment. Remember the first time you ask someone out whether it was a middle school or well into adulthood I bet it was at least a little. Bit Nerve racking what if they say no worse what if they make fun of you or show pity would if they make it seem like it was ridiculous even for you to ask these hypothetical nightmare scenarios make even the bravest of US fear rejection but in general. We don't walk around around expecting people to reject us. We're also not constantly on the lookout for clues that rejection is about to happen but for some people L. Rejection appears to be around every corner. They anxiously expect readily perceive an intensely react to rejection or possible rejection psychologists call this high rejection sensitivity rejection sensitivity might seem like a phase that all middle schoolers go through as they awkwardly navigate. Puberty trying to figure out more adults like social relationships but turns and so it can happen to people of all ages and it's not the same thing as being just a little shy or emotionally sensitive. There are specific ways days that our brains and bodies behave when we're highly sensitive to rejection and they're often very real consequences so let's let's talk about what neuroscientists and psychologists have learned about rejection sensitivity including some clues into how to maybe get over for it or get out from under it so first thing to know. Is that your body and brain physically manifest rejection sensitivity like every psychological phenomenon rejection sensitivity has a place in the brain. What may surprise you is how much and how specifically it takes on on shape in our biology? So first of all. Everyone's brain response to rejection. During brain imaging study participants emotion processing brain areas. Where activated when they looked at pictures showing rejection compared to when they looked at pictures showing acceptance or just random abstract shapes the brains of participants with high rejection sensitivity didn't activate the cognitive control areas as much as their pierce? It's not that the brains of less rejection sensitive people were immune to rejection cues is just that they were better able to regulate accumulate. Those cues and keep them from running rampant in the brain for rejection sensitive people. It's not just that their brains respond more to unpleasantness. In this in general its rejection specifically that lights. Those neural fireworks different brain. Imaging studies show that only pictures. Church of disapproving faces and not of angry or disgusted faces activated their emotional threat processing brain areas. And then when it comes to the body we can see that highly sensitive people are physically more on the lookout for rejection too in another study people also also looked at pictures some of which showed rejection scenes and then they got puffs of air in there is to see how much they startled highly rejection sensitive. People startled more rotter viewing rejection images. So this shows that the idea of rejection makes her body's automatically glee shift into a higher defensive mode so we know that rejection sensitivity very much activates the body for defense and and we also know that it's associated with more than just social anxiety. So when we think of people who are sensitive to rejection we probably think of someone who's who's socially anxious perhaps someone who is shy afraid of public speaking or nervous about making the first move in social situations and rejection sensitivity is indeed associated with social anxiety now may be less obvious that rejection sensitivity is also also more common among people who have other psychological disorders including eating disorders body dismore via ADHD borderline in personality disorder and Impulse Control Disorders like online gaming addiction. This doesn't mean obviously in the someone with high rejection sensitivity tippety necessarily has these disorders. It's just that among those who do experience these issues rejection sensitivity seems to play a role for example if someone is already socially anxious their level of rejection sensitivity can drive their irrational thoughts about their body now. These thoughts can snowball and become severe enough that they end up being bodied Disorder so then. How does this play out in daily life while another thing we know about rejection sensitivity is that it feeds a vicious cycle that makes you actually more rejected? So that's the toughest thing about rejection sensitivity. It feeds itself. Think about this if someone is always on the lookout for rejection and has a bigger physical and emotional reaction to rejection cues. They're more likely to be tense. Defensive Sad angry or withdrawn on would you rather hang out with someone like this or with someone more relaxed and more able to have fun. This is a vicious cycle that highly rejection action sensitive. People find themselves in the more they're sensitive the more they illicit actual rejection from others and that fulfils a rejection PROPHEC- see and leads to more rejections sensitivity. One study tested this vicious cycle hypothesis. The researchers found that among couples Relationships involving highly rejection sensitive people were more likely to have broken up a year later. They also found that rejection sensitive of women specifically and gauge more negative behaviors after relationship conflict such as being hostile denying responsibility possibility putting their partner down or making negative assumptions about their partner. The partners in turn become angrier than the partners of women who are low on rejection sensitivity. This shows how conflict can more easily escalate if one partner is sensitive to rejection. So how about for men. How do men act when they are highly rejection sensitive and they're in a relationship conflicts?