Rejection: Are You Good Enough?

Kimmel & Associates e-Letter

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates

Volume 7, Number 7

We are in mid-summer and hope that you have had some time to relax, vacation, and enjoy some time off. In this month of July, we celebrated Independence Day which is truly a remarkable holiday. Despite how much America is criticized, faulted, and complained about, it is still a great country with great opportunity. We need to keep in mind how our country was built on the ideals of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet we need to contribute to making our country strong. Many, many, many people have given and still give their lives to maintain these values and they should be honored. Independence Day is one of those days to do just that. Success will come to those who remember the sacrifices and the ideals and are willing to work hard to enjoy the benefits of our country.

In this July E-Letter, we present information about Rejection, our Ask the Doc question relates to lifestyle illnesses, and our email of the month is about truly not bright people. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. As always, we appreciate your questions and feedback.

Practice News

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s school placement for the next school year, this would be a good time to have them evaluated. Recent questions from parents have ranged from should their child be retained to whether they are gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at school. Our practice does different types of evaluations to help answer those questions and information about these evaluations can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel who would be happy to answer them.

Qualified Supervisor. Dr. Joel Kimmel has been certified by the State of Florida to supervise mental health counselors seeking supervision to meet the licensing requirements. If you or anyone you know needs a qualified supervisor to meet these requirements, contact Dr. Kimmel for further information.

Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. We have been certified by the Department of Children and Families, State of Florida, to offer the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Sometimes referred to as the Divorce Class, this 4 hour class is state mandated for divorcing parents of involved children. This course is intended to teach parents about the effects divorce has on children, to lessen the impact of difficult transitions, and to improve the ways they communicate with each other and their children. Our course is provided live and in small groups. Please contact our office at 954 755-2885 for further information.

Low cost counseling: Denise Champagne, M.S., is offering low cost counseling as a mental health intern. She is currently seeing patients and is available to take on new patients. This allows those individuals who cannot afford treatment to obtain it and allows her to get the required training. If you or someone you know is in need of counseling but just cannot afford it, please call the office and ask for Denise. All treatment provided by Denise will be reviewed and supervised by Dr. Kimmel.

Handouts from previous e-Letters can be found on our website. We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on rejection which is the deliberate exclusion of a person from an interaction, an activity, a relationship, or membership in a group. Rejection simply means that a person is just not wanted. However, most people tend to personalize rejection to mean that they are not good enough. In reality, it only means not being wanted in that activity. Rejection happens to everyone, no matter what their status, and is usually temporary.

The need for affiliation and belongingness is one of the fundamental human motivations described by Abraham Maslow. Most people find it difficult to be by themselves; usually people who isolate do so for emotional protection. Good mental health includes having meaningful relationships with others. However, in our culture, being accepted, being approved of, and being part of a defined group adds to a definition of whom that person is, their identity. Americans tends to be status conscious and those who are accepted by higher status groups (whatever the criteria are) feel more important and worthy. This is where the pain comes in.

People who are rejected tend to personalize that rejection beyond not just being included. They take it to mean that they are unworthy, undesirable, and unimportant. They question their own self-esteem and sense of self. Often they respond by trying harder to be included in the group by being compliant, by being people-pleasing, by corrupting their own personal values, and by becoming very adept at reading the social cues of acceptance. They often make acceptance the priority when meeting someone. Other people often react with aggressive behaviors. What happens when you defriend someone or don’t accept their invitation? People can become quite angry and can become passive-aggressive or aggressive especially if there is a history of peer rejection.

Psychologically, when people are frequently rejected, they tend to become depressed, lonely, and may have suicidal thoughts because of feeling worthless. They may find the rejection to be actually painful, such as being “broken hearted”. Research has shown that pain centers in the brain get activated when there is intense rejection. They may turn to substance abuse, self-injurious behaviors, or isolation. Sometimes, they may devalue themselves completely and engage in behaviors such as promiscuity just to be included. They tend to have low self-esteem and a poor sense of themselves. Some give up trying to be included. These individuals would and do benefit from psychotherapy.

Yet there is an upside to rejection. If one can see rejection simply as not being wanted, they can turn it to their own advantage. They can use it to learn about themselves. This is an opportunity to evaluate oneself and see if there is any merit to why one was rejected. Do you talk too much? Do you have bad personal hygiene? Are you too quiet? Are you afraid to speak up? Do you not offer your own opinion? You can determine the reasons why you were not wanted, evaluate them, and improve them. Finally, you can also ask yourself if you really wanted to be part of that group or were you just pursuing it because it was cool to be a member.

We offer the following information on Rejection:

“Don’t, don’t you want me? You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me.Don’t, don’t you want me? You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me.”— Human League

What to Know!

  • Rejection is the deliberate exclusion of a person from a relationship or interaction
  • It is painful since the need for belongingness is fundamental according to Maslow
  • While rejection is an inevitable part of life, it becomes significant: when it occurs to a person with a high need for acceptance, when it is consistent, and when it is frequent
  • Some people have rejection sensitivity which according to Karen Horney is a tendency to feel deep anxiety and humiliation at the slightest criticism and rebuff
  • People frequently personalize rejection taking it to mean that they are unworthy, unwanted, or incompetent
  • Being frequently rejected can lead to depression, loneliness, substance abuse, low self-esteem, suicide, submissiveness, and aggressive behaviors
  • Peer pressure which results from a fear of not being rejected by the group was found to be a factor in all but two of 15 cases of school shootings between 1995 and 2001
  • Rejected people can often become very cautious and fearful of expressing themselves for fear of being disapproved of by others  and find it hard to assert themselves
  • Rejected people often seek to be included with others and will pay more attention to social cues, act more likable, be more compliant, and conform to other people
  • Rejected people are constantly concerned with the reactions of others and have doubts about their own competence and self-worth
  • Common characteristics of rejected people include a shaky self-identity, unassertiveness, passive-aggressive behaviors, dishonesty with themselves, dependency, and having been told or feeling like they are second best
  • Rejection hurts not only emotionally but physically as research has shown that the areas of the brain that signify physical pain are active at moments of intense rejection
  • Rejection is mostly temporary and often done by people who probably don’t even know the person they are rejecting
  • Rejection can be beneficial in that it could motivate people to evaluate themselves, find others with common interests, and learn to improve their negative qualities

What to Do!

  • Accept that rejection is a normal part of life and it happens to everyone no matter who they are and what status they have
  • Don’t take it personally; put things into proper perspective
  • Rejection means only that one person was not interested in you and that others may be interested in you
  • Seek out healthy, positive contacts with others
  • Use rejection to your advantage by learning how you can make yourself better
  • Evaluate your behaviors and improve them where needed
  • Feel good about yourself for at least trying even though you were rejected
  • Seek professional help if being rejected leads into depression, isolation, substance abuse, suicidal thinking, loneliness, etc.

We Can Help!

Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates
5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101
Coral Springs, Florida 33067

As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

Ask the Doc

LW writes: I saw my doctor last week for my annual checkup. He said that I can no longer smoke cigarettes and must lose 20 pounds. He has been telling me that for years but now is much more serious. I know he is right but I find that having a cigarette every so often calms me down. Also, having that dessert makes me feel good especially after a tough day of work. I know I have to lose the weight. Any suggestions? 

Dr. Joel Kimmel replies: I’m glad that you agree with him and don’t need to be convinced he is correct. However, like most people, you are in denial about the importance of losing weight and taking care of your health. Obesity and cigarette smoking are two of the major causes of death in our society and significantly contribute to the high costs of health care.

The first step is to be honest with yourself. Do you truly believe that your health is being harmed by overeating and smoking? Do you believe that you will really die if you continue to smoke or that you will injure your heart if you continue to overeat? Are you just paying lip service to your doctor or are you taking this for real? Being honest with yourself and realizing you must stop and change these behaviors will ensure your success.

Losing weight and not smoking are not easy to do. We are constantly bombarded with ads the encourage us to escape from our daily stress through eating, buying things, taking drugs, and drinking alcohol. These messages go into our subconscious so that when we are feeling down, or stressed, or lonely, we are programmed to eat, drink, or shop.  For example, according to these ads, a party is just not a party without one or several beers. Recognizing that we get programmed to eat, smoke, and drink is just one step in controlling your impulses.

I also think that your excuses for smoking and overeating are just rationalizations. They are reasons you give to yourself to justify these bad behaviors. Looking at them realistically, does smoking really reduce your stress or does it just give you a time out from the stressful situation? Does having that dessert truly make you feel better or does it just give you a pleasant taste? If you can imagine that your 20 pounds is like a bowling ball you carry around with you wherever you go, you might decide to drop the weight. And if you can see how your lungs are turning black from the tar, you also might throw away your cigarettes quickly.

If you really want to lose weight, commit yourself to eating well and exercising regularly. Keep a daily food journal and watch what you eat. Give up desserts and high calorie foods. Consult a nutritionist for the best possible diet for you. But your commitment is key.

The same is true for cigarettes. This may be more difficult, however, because with cigarettes, there is also a physical addiction. Going cold turkey and stopping for just one day at a time may work. Committing to smoking one-half of what you smoke for the next week and then halve it again the following week will lead to cessation of smoking. Nicotine patches and prescription drugs may also help but it is best to consult your physician how best to stop smoking.

Good luck. I hope you take these suggestions seriously. Honesty with yourself and willingness to change these behaviors will greatly improve your health.

Email of the Month

We would like to thank TB for the following emails- you decide for yourself:


    AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it’s not Walter who’s lacking intelligence.
    Police in Oakland, CA spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, ‘Please come out and give yourself up.’
    An Illinois man, pretending to have a gun, kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines, wherein the kidnapper proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts!
    A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.
  5. DID I SAY THAT???
    Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn’t control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: ‘Give me all your money or I’ll shoot’, the man shouted, ‘That’s not what I said!’
    A man spoke frantically into the phone: ‘My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart’. ‘Is this her first child?’ the doctor asked. ‘No!’ the man shouted, ‘This is her husband!’
    In Modesto, CA, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun. Unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket.
    Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert an hour east of Bakersfield, CA, some folks new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get their brand new 22 foot boat going. It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power they applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they putted into a nearby marina, thinking someone there may be able to tell them what was wrong. A thorough topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition. The engine ran fine, the out-drive went up and down, and the propeller was the correct size and pitch. So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath. He came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard.Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer!

Please continue to send us your comments, questions, and favorite emails for our e-Letter.

Till August…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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Copyright © 2014 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates.