Rejection or Awareness.  Mad Men

Spent some time yesterday with a young female client, 17 yrs., talking about all the rejection in her life, primarily from her parents.
Her mother committed suicide, her father is incarcerated, her grandparents blame her for her mother’s death, and on and on.    Tragic circumstances in this young person’s life for sure.  So, one by one we begin to look at these events in a different way to help her back on her way to good mental health.    She will survive and I believe live to be an old woman despite a very fragile beginning.     

Rejections seem to be the events we remember most and that we allow to determine much of the path that we take.    Rarely do we give as much emotional weight to the good memories.    We remember the boy that stood us up on our first date – not the one who brought the first flowers.     The times we didn’t get asked to dance rather than our discovery that we didn’t like to dance in the first place.    Awareness of our choices comes rather late in life, however, in my opinion never too late.      Some of us learn slower than others about how our own choices caused some of the events that we label as rejections.  

Some are as impaired by the memory of getting  stood up on a date  as is  the young woman whose mother committed suicide and left her stranded as a toddler.     What is of major importance to one may not affect another at all.    Whatever word or deed  has the power to make us feel useless, however small an act it may seem in the broad scheme of life, will impact our decision making in all areas of life for years to come.      

I was watching Mad Men a few nights ago and was impressed by the scene where the star has a brief sexual liaison with his secretary,and then the following day acted as though that event was of no meaning.    The rejection was powerful.  Being cast off as useless, a thing of no importance.   Even though this series is set in the fifties I believe those feelings of being used are still powerful.    We are more sexually free, however, the act is still one of major importance and we all want to be treated as “special”.  

We all want to be special  and even though we grow up to be rational beings and realize that we can’t be special all the time it is a state of being that seems necessary for good mental health.  Hopefully eventually we become special to ourselves and are not so buffeted by the actions of others.    That takes work, maturity and good genes in order to maintain the balance between the acceptance of reality and remaining sensitive to our own feelings and those of others.    
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