Scientists have studied the brain, and have found that rejection lights up in the brain the same way that pain does. So, rejection causes a similar reaction in the body to physical pain. Of course we would try to avoid it. A synonym for rejection is abandonment. The word origin of abandon is “to subjugate, subdue, from surrender.” According to an on-line thesaurus, Etymologically, the word carries a sense of “put someone under someone else’s control.” Meaning “to give up absolutely.” The noun sense of “letting loose, surrender to natural impulses” is from abandon.
Interestingly, I was raised by an extremely controlling, what I would now call conditionally loving father. If I did not do what he wanted, I was literally rejected. As a young child, I quickly learned to adjust MYself to what he wanted, in order to experience what both he and I believed was love. I became addicted to this type of control, and when I was out of my father’s house, continued to control myself and others in this same fashion. Which ended me up in a divorce 20 years after I left my parent’s house, 20 years after their divorce.
I experience a LOT of resistance around surrender. I know that surrender is the key to my health, the key to my relationships, and the key to my happiness. Although, I find it extremely difficult to surrender and trust.
If the word abandon comes from letting loose and surrendering to natural impulses, and is related to being under someone’s control and power, it is no wonder that I struggle to surrender and give up control. I have become so addicted to control, and so familiar with it, that giving it up literally feels like rejection, or abandonment. To give up my worst enemy, is to feel my worst pain. I literally have to hurt myself to give up what is hurting me so I can be healed. It is the scariest experience. Learning to trust myself, and to not reject and abandon myself, in the process of abandoning and rejecting the control that I have always known to be safe and loving. As I transform, and begin to realize that “safe” is an illusion, and loving has nothing to do with conditions, I become paralyzed to give up my old beliefs in order to not experience rejection or abandonment.
As one of my clients says, “Pain reflects your level of commitment.” Time to get messy.