How to Heal from Family Rejection (While Building Strength and Resilience)

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:09
Expert advice for coping and working through rejection trauma Family rejection may be one of the hardest things a person can go through. It's understandable to experience waves of hurt and grief, and these are feelings that don't go away...
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Family rejection may be one of the hardest things a person can go through. It's understandable to experience waves of hurt and grief, and these are feelings that don't go away overnight. If you're struggling with family rejection, know that you've made an important first step to heal by looking up ways to cope! There is a lot you can do to work through your feelings, accept what you can't change, and ultimately come out of the process stronger and more resilient than before.

This article is based on an interview with our clinical psychologist and published author, Asa Don Brown. Check out the full interview here.

Things You Should Know

  • Take time to acknowledge and feel your emotions. Then, clear your head by journaling about your feelings or taking a walk.
  • Repeat positive affirmations like, “I'm worthy of love and respect." Remind yourself that your family's rejection isn't related to your self-worth.
  • Talk to close friends who you trust to feel comforted and supported. Or, meet with a therapist to process and work through your feelings.

Give yourself time to process your feelings.

  1. Acknowledge your emotions and don't be afraid to cry.
    It can be really hard to look at feelings of sadness honestly, but avoiding your feelings won't make them go away. Listen to sad music, cry, and be honest with yourself about how you feel. Rejection hurts no matter who it is, and when you've been rejected by a family member, those feelings can be magnified. Know that it's okay to admit that you're sad, and might make the road to happiness a lot easier down the line.[1] [2]
    • Try not to linger on your feelings for too long, though. After listening to a few sad songs, turn off the music and go for a walk! You don't have to feel everything at once to get through this.[3]
    • As hard as it is, remind yourself that you can't control your family's behavior. You can, however, control how you respond to it. Focus on your own emotional growth to come out of the grieving process feeling resilient.[4]
    • Try to remember that your family's rejection isn't an indication of your self-worth.[5]
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Journal your emotions.

  1. Writing down your feelings can give you some clarity.
    You may feel a lot of different things about your family's rejection, including sadness, anger, and shock. Invest in a journal or notebook and use it to write down how you feel.[6] Take even just a couple of minutes each day to process. As you write, you'll hopefully understand your emotions a lot better.[7]
    • Use the journal to rebuild your self-esteem after the rejection. Family rejection really hurts. To prevent it from affecting your self-worth, write down all the things that you like about yourself. Next time you feel down, look at your list![8]
    • Journaling can also help you recognize certain triggers. Read through your old entries and take note of the days you felt especially sad. See what they all had in common, and look at what changes you can make to avoid those triggers.[9]

Repeat positive affirmations when you're feeling low.

  1. Remind yourself that you will get through this!
    Motivational phrases can be an easy but meaningful way to snap yourself out of a particularly rough place in life. Use phrases like "I'm worthy of love and respect," "I am a talented and beautiful person," and "I am strong and can get through anything." Even if you struggle to believe them at first, saying these phrases in your head or out loud can encourage you to see yourself and your situation in a positive light.[10]
    • Other positive affirmations you can use include "I'm capable of great things," "I deserve to be treated well," and "I love myself."
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Limit negative thinking as best you can.

  1. Don't let thoughts like
    It can be really hard not to blame yourself for this kind of rejection, but try not to let those thoughts take over.[11] Anytime you catch yourself being really down on yourself, reframe your thoughts from a more positive perspective. If you think something like, "I'll never be happy again," replace it with something positive. Try, "This is really hard, but I know I'll find happiness again in the future!"[12]
    • Thinking negatively can prevent you from finding happiness because you stop noticing the good things in life.[13]

Reframe the rejection as something positive.

  1. It may be healthier for you to not be in your family's life right now.
    This is especially true if you experienced emotional or physical abuse. These behaviors can leave lasting effects, and it may not be safe to forgive or reconnect. If you experienced a toxic or abusive family dynamic growing up, remind yourself that you're safer without them in your life. Look at their rejection as an opportunity to surround yourself with people that make you feel safe, respected, and loved.[14]
    • If you experienced any form of abuse, websites like and can provide additional resources to help and support you.
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Focus on self-care.

  1. Take care of yourself to recover from the rejection.
    Eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Get plenty of sleep (7-10 hours every night) so that you feel well-rested and ready to take on each day.[15] Exercise to destress and keep your body fit and strong. Take up new hobbies that enrich your life, like playing an instrument or joining a book club. All of these practices make your life feel like it's headed in a positive direction, even if you're dealing with the pain of family estrangement.[16]
    • Avoid turning to drugs or alcohol to feel better. They won't help in the long run and can leave you feeling worse than before.

Seek out close relationships elsewhere.

  1. People don't have to be your flesh and blood to be family.
    Make close friendships and seek out healthy, compassionate relationships with romantic partners. Choose friends and partners that make you feel safe, cared for, and loved! You want to surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself.[17]
    • Have a movie night with friends if you used to enjoy movie nights with your family. Invite your friends over for a family dinner. You can even spend holidays with a group of close friends!
    • To make new friends, try volunteering in your community, joining a local book club, or connecting with others online.
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Talk about how you feel with someone you trust.

  1. Call a friend or go over to their house to talk with them.
    Let them know about what you're experiencing and ask if you can get their advice or process what you're feeling with them. A good friend can give you words of support and remind you that there are people out there that love and care about you.[18]
    • If you still need help processing how you feel after talking with your friends or don't know a good person to talk to, talk to a professional instead. A therapist or counselor can give you strategies to cope.

Set boundaries if your family continues treating you poorly.

  1. It's possible that your family still communicates with you sometimes.
    If they treat you badly, tell them that their behavior is unacceptable. Next time they put you down, tell them how you feel. Say something like, "It hurts when you speak to me that way" or "I can't continue this conversation if you're going to treat me like that." If they don't respond with a change of behavior, it may be time to limit your contact with them for the sake of your emotional wellbeing.[19]
    • If they make you feel unsafe or don't respect your boundaries, it's okay to take communication with them off the table. As painful as it may be, going no contact might be the best decision for your safety and mental health.[20]
    • You don't have to make your decision immediately. If you're not sure how you feel, take some time to figure out the boundaries that will make you safest and happiest.[21]
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Work through your emotions with a counselor or therapist.

  1. A professional can give you specific strategies to recover.
    They can also give you an outside perspective, something that a trusted family friend may not be able to give. Search for a therapist or counselor in your area using websites like Look for a professional that specializes in family estrangement to find someone who can provide tools to process what you're feeling.[22]
    • Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to find the right therapist or counselor. If the first one you see isn't a good fit, don't get discouraged. Try to find another professional in your area that can be a better help to you!

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