Tonight I shared an article on Facebook about the things women do to avoid being attacked by men making advances on them. It offered a lot of food for thought and so I shared it. The article I shared was this, To Men I Love, About Men Who Scare Me.
After reading and sharing that article, Facebook showed me similar articles. I followed this link next. These 14 Women Were Brutally Attacked for Rejecting Men — Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
Both articles were great and all so true. Even though the subject matter and need to write them in the first place is horrible, I’m glad these people are sharing.
The second article is specifically about rejection though, and I was surprised to see that there were no stories of what happens when a man rejects a woman. No links, no mention. And while I completely understand the title is indicative of women specifically, this picture is much larger. The mentality of, “You’ve rejected me, so therefore I will punish you,” is a huge problem that needs to be addressed on all sides. Not just with men’s treatment of women.
I feel part of the issue and difference here is when a woman rejects a man, the repercussions are instant. Good men will honor her rejection and move on without issue. Bad men will not. Some will badmouth, others threaten, and some even resort to physical violence. Whether that be hitting the woman, punching a wall close by, and so forth. This makes women afraid. As it should. And it’s not okay behavior in any way. It is also in the moment.
Most men I know have never feared walking to their car at night after leaving a bar because that crazy stalker is following them. I’m not saying every case, but most. Yet no matter where I am at night, I’m always watching my surroundings. If I’m alone, I worry when I see a man or men. Even when they are just walking. This isn’t because I’m simply paranoid, it’s because I’ve been harassed so many times in my life that I know there is risk. I know to have my key handy to defend myself should I need to.
Yet with all this said, there is another side of this.
Most women I know have never feared being accused of rape down the road because they rejected a man. They’ve not feared that a man will go to the police and say, “She beat me up.” But so many men I know have had to fear this because at some point or another, an accusation came after rejecting a woman. Especially if it’s a breakup type rejection.
This is because so many women don’t react in that moment. Their reactions come later and are thought out, calculated, and often out for blood. I’ve seen no less aggression from women aimed toward men after rejection than I have men. The major difference is in the manner in which they do it.
While actual rape and physical violence is terrible, I also see false allegations as terrible as well. These things damage people.
I watched Atonement the other night with the hubby and we quite enjoyed it. The fact that one lie affected so many lives in such an impactful and negative manner was hard to watch. No harder than watching a women being raped, but it was difficult to see what happens when innocent people are accused.
I had to wonder if rejection is really so terrible, or if it’s just an excuse. I had my opinion, which was, “We all experience rejection and most of us don’t resort to violence and revenge. Therefore, get the fuck over it.” I know it’s harsh, but it’s what I do. I feel it, then move on.
Then something nagged at me, and that was this inner feeling that I wasn’t being honest with myself. While I’d never take action to harm someone, there is a part of me that can’t wait for karma to catch up with them. Or I might fantasize about humiliating that person how they made me feel humiliated. And this is when I realized that even if I’ve not taken action, those are the thoughts that lead to violence, aggression, and revenge.
“I’ll show you!”
Even when it’s an employer (which has mostly been the case for me) the thought of, “I’ll show you,” is always there. Even if the ‘showing’ portion is me making something better of myself and showing them what a mistake it was to let me go.
This seems silly when I look at it, but the feelings are real.
I decided to do a bit more research into rejection and why it makes people act so poorly. I found an article, 10 Surprising Facts About Rejection, that blew me away. Not only does rejection lower our IQ in that moment, but the article says this, “Rejection creates surges of anger and aggression. In 2001, the Surgeon General of the U.S. issued a report stating that rejection was a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership. Countless studies have demonstrated that even mild rejections lead people to take out their aggression on innocent bystanders.”
This was not the answer I thought I’d find. The article goes on to explain where the root of rejection comes from, how it meant a death sentence back when we were rejected from our tribe. It speaks on many issues around rejection and I highly suggest the read.
Finally, the article says there are ways of dealing with rejection.
While it links to the author’s book on coping with rejection, I think there are some simple things we can remember…
We all experience rejection. Every single one of us, and we’ll continue to experience it throughout our lives. We can see it for what it is and ask ourselves if we’ve done anything to cause the rejection, or we can simply accept it and move forward. We don’t have to let it lead us to violence. Nor do we need to let it lead us to revenge. That’s our choice. We decide how we handle it. Rejection isn’t an excuse to inflict harm on another.
I did find it interesting that when I searched on rejection, thousands of websites came up talking about it. Sharing about how hard it is on us. Yet when I searched on ‘dealing with rejection’, only one website came up. The rest were entire books dedicated to working with and overcoming rejection. This tells me that while it’s easy to recognize there are issues resulting from being rejected, healing that and learning to deal with rejection from a sound and healthy place of mind is much more complex.
It’s time we good men and women work towards holding those bad responders to a higher level of accountability. There will never be an excuse (despite our natural inclination toward it according to Guy Winch Ph.D.) to resort to violence and/or revenge. We are responsible for what we do.
We are responsible for how we choose to respond.
I’m thankful to have read all these amazing articles tonight, and I appreciate these people sharing their stories. This is an issue that needs addressing and much more acknowledgement than it currently gets. For men and women alike.
We should feel safe—all of us—to say no without fear of repercussions.
*rejected image by Ali Farid on freeimages.com*