Psychological pain in humans, especially grief and intense loneliness, may share some of the same neural pathways that elaborate physical pain – Dr Jaak Panksepp, Bowling Green State University, Ohio
"You cannot FEEL rejected" he said.
"Yes, I can" his partner countered.
"No, you cannot. Rejection is not a feeling. Feelings are things like sad, angry, scared. Rejection is not a feeling" he insisted.
"I disagree" she said.
"Suz, what do you think? Is rejection a feeling?" my friend asked.
"Erm, uh, I don't know I never really thought about it but I have felt it. Ha-ha." I responded.
"I am adamant about this" our male friend continued. "Look it up in any psych book. Rejection is not a feeling. It is in appropriate to say you feel rejected. It is better to say you were rejected and now you feel sad. That is the appropriate expression." adamant friend continued.
"Uh, huh. Can you pass the ketchup?" I asked.
This conversation happened nearly three years ago while I dined with some good friends. I understood my friends point from a purely textbook perspective but I also understand his partners point from an emotional point. I knew what she was suggesting.
Rejection, to me, is felt in my body. I carry it in my body. I am aware of this rejection feeling constantly. I feel rejected by my daughter. Maybe she hasn't rejected me but that is what it feels like and it goes beyond feeling sad about it emotionally. I carry this physical ache on a daily basis. It doesn't go away. Call it whatever you wish, what word suits your lifestyle or academic degree, but to me, rejection does cause physical pain. Is it residual? Secondary symptom? Perhaps. But I can FEEL it.
I felt it today. I am still feeling it. A male friend that I had become friendly with, deeply personal with, asked me out for a "date". We hadn't ever met in person although we had spoken many times on the phone, shared many pictures, emails, chat sessions. Since it seemed we might have mutual interest in meeting (or dating) we did just that.
After the date, I was anxious and wondering what he thought, how he felt, was there chemistry, would this go somewhere. I heard from him today. In very kind and uber creative words he essentially told me "You are a great gal but you are too fat for me. The relationship wont be going anywhere.".
I could debate his choice of words, the fact that he knew what I looked like before the official "go-see" but I wont. What I will state is that his rejection of me was FELT in my body. I gasped for air. I felt a bit weepy. My chest tightened. I felt sick.
Is rejection a feeling or does it cause feelings?
Was my body reacting to the rejection or did my mind create all those physical reactions as a result of the rejection? Again, is it a matter of cause and effect?
According to this article, rejection is felt physically. Individuals that were subjected to rejection scenarios registered activity in their brain. Is that then not a feeling?
Hmm, maybe. Maybe not. If I stub my toe, it hurts but the toe stubbing is not a feeling the result of the toe stubbing is. However, since rejection is not necessarily a physical act but more an emotional one, is that a good analogy? If you hurt my emotional self and not my toe, is it feeling or again an act that causes a reaction?
My personal votes are still out but consider me currently feeling rejected by this male friend and daily feeling something physically in relation to how my daughter needs to handle our reunion.