Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Why Do I Still Have Feelings For Someone Who Rejected Me?

This blog post is about the psychology of your personality. We have 7 key reasons why we still have feelings for someone who rejected us, and these reasons usually work together.

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Short answer: The reason is that you have some psychological and emotional mechanisms/habits that make you get attached to people who hurt you, reject you, or disrespect you. These mechanisms are related to your self-image and the state of your ego. Usually, they are pathological and learned through life. With real will – these habits can be changed.

An explanation of why you still have feelings for someone who rejected you.

What kind of feelings do you have? Do you want that person even more because they rejected you? Or do you feel hurt? Perhaps you’re falling even more in love with that person. Does knowing that you’ve lost them make you desperate? Hysterical? Or something else.

Different feelings stem from other sources, and addressing those sources is crucial. So:

  1. If you’re rejected, and because of that, you want that person even more or find yourself falling deeper in love with them. If they fascinate you even more since you can’t have them – these feelings fall into the category of idealizing that person. Masochism and a negative self-image are involved as well.
  2. If knowing that you’ve lost them makes you feel desperate or hysterical, this isn’t about that person but rather about your inability to handle loss or cope with negative emotions.
  3. If you feel diminished and belittled by this event or develop a negative self-image, it falls under ego injuries.

There may be a few more different ones, and when someone is rejected, all of these instances might occur simultaneously.

Can a Person Who Rejected You Change Their Mind

A beautiful woman thinking

Attachment to someone comes from our internal needs, not from that person. You want evidence?

You can deeply love someone at first and then, after some time, think they’re the most worthless person in the world. Or you can reject someone and then, after some time, find yourself attracted to them.

We might say it’s because those people changed. Still, as a psychologist, I assert it’s not so much about their external changes but rather our internal ones.

Why We Are In Love With Someone – Psychological Explanation

What to do to stop having feelings for someone who rejected you

… therefore, to feel better, it’s necessary to work more on ourselves than to rely on external factors (that the person will change their mind, disappoint you, etc.).

There is not much point in waiting for someone to disappoint us. This is rarely a reason to reject someone emotionally. We find justifications and rational reasons for why they did what they did, and we hold them in high regard in our minds. Read more about why we do this in this text.

Attractive man thinking

So, waiting for them to make a mistake is futile. We should turn inward and search for why we’re attached to someone.

Firstly, it’s necessary to recognize the desires at work within us. This isn’t entirely easy to recognize, but it’s thorough and effective healing. Moreover, this approach will likely resolve similar tendencies (general idealization of people, the need to be belittled, you’ll become stronger when experiencing unpleasant emotions, etc.).

As Carl Gustav Jung said: Until we make our unconscious conscious, it will direct our life, and we will call it fate.

Sources of feelings when someone rejects you

1. Person Who Rejected You Has Become Even More Attractive To You

You might consider whether it’s a tendency towards feeling inferior, masochism, or a repeating pattern from childhood. The background is that when people reject you, they become unique to you. The act of them not wanting you makes them unique—nothing else (even if they might be exceptional people).

If their exceptionalism has suddenly increased since they don’t want you, it means it’s not about them but what they’ve done to you. Rejected you.

Man and woman in toxic relationship

I personally suspect a pattern learned in life (maybe in childhood with parents) where someone important to you has rejected you. In that case, there’s an idealization of people who reject you.

In short, this people are important to me – they reject me – therefore, that’s how it will look in my life. People who reject me will be important to me.

This is obviously resolved by untangling these instances. If they reject you – they’re just rejecting you. That doesn’t make them important or exceptional. Important and exceptional people can become so in 10 different ways. And they can also want you.

However, repeating patterns (especially in our formative years) become ingrained in us and part of our being, so they must be deconstructed.

7 reasons why people who rejected you come back

2. If You “Enjoy” Suffering, You May Have Masochistic Tendencies.

I emphasize that this is very difficult to recognize and admit to oneself, but it’s also very apparent.

Do not skip this option as: This is not me, it hurts me a lot when I suffer.
No one said you actually enjoyed suffering. But it is possible that a part of you, which was once used to being rejected, is suffering and wants the affection of the person who rejects it, getting its own. That part of you is “happy” because it has recognized what is happening to you as love.

A bit of Jung again:

“Like plants, so men also grow, some in the light, others in the shadows. There are many who need the shadows and not the light.” C.G.Jung

Person feels remorse and guilt

If you are doing something that makes you extra sad or otherwise in life you are leaning towards it (like indulge with a particular passion in listening to sad songs). If a significant part of your life is devoted to suffering for that person, or you might even provoke events in which you’ll be rejected or make the breakup the event of your life—consider whether you’re inclined towards masochism.

From: Dr. Robert Hamm about masochism.

  • Chooses people and situations that lead to disappointment, failure, or mistreatment, even though better options are available.
  • Rejects help from others.
  • Responds to achievements and good fortune with depression or guilt.
  • Incites anger or rejection from others, then feels hurt or humiliated.
  • A reluctance to admit they are enjoying themselves.
  • Fails to accomplish tasks crucial to achieving objectives despite being able to do so, such as helping others instead.
  • Uninterested in people who treat them well.
  • Engages in excessive, unsolicited self-sacrifice.
A beautiful woman Still Have Feelings For Someone Who Rejected Her

Considering that the definition of masochism is deriving pleasure from suffering, masochism is classified as a personality disorder. A psychologist can help you with masochistic tendencies (smaller or larger).

Of course, the need for masochism can be divided into different levels, so it needs to be dealt with by either a good psychotherapist or a clinical psychologist. It depends on how strong your need is.

But the good news is that realizing we have a tendency to be masochists is already a significant part of the repair process. So, you’re on the right track.

Also, it’s possible to retain this tendency as long as you remain functional because it’s still about enjoyment… even in suffering.

This isn’t a recommendation but an observation.

Can a Person Who Rejected You Change Their Mind

3. Having Too Positive an Opinion of That Person- Idealization

We maintain people as ideals in our minds for various reasons.

  1. If that person is ideal – I am ideal. That person likes or does things that I value – if I consider that person to be ideal – that means that I am ideal.
  2. Perhaps you idealize that person because, in childhood, you didn’t learn to attribute both positive and negative qualities to the same person; they could only have one or the other.
  3. You may think that you’ll gain that person’s love through idealization. If a person realizes how wonderful they are to you, they might love you for it.
  4. Also, the purpose of idealization is to distract oneself from painful experiences of rejection, self-examination, etc.
Man and woman

This is a simplified story of idealization, but if you can’t shake the impression that that person is exceptional, you must address your reasons for maintaining that perception.

The fact is, people are both good and bad. Some have more good qualities, others more bad. When someone rejects you, holding onto their positive traits and maintaining that person as the ideal only hurts you. That’s why it’s helpful (and necessary) to understand your reasons for doing so and work on that tendency until you resolve it and heal yourself from that person.

2 Psychological Reasons Behind Obsession After Rejection

4. Having Too Negative an Opinion of Yourself

This is a typical reason people “cling” to those who’ve rejected them. They consider themselves unworthy. Because of this, when someone rejects them:

They want that person to change their mind and see them as worthy.

  • In this case, the resolution again doesn’t lie with that person. If that person takes you back and you already have a negative opinion of yourself, your opinion won’t change. It will remain the same, with the addition of apprehension: “If this person rejected me once, it means they see me as bad. They’re just in a better mood now, so I’m lucky. But as soon as they see me again or have a reason to reject me, they’ll do it again.” So, you live in a state of apprehension.

Unconsciously, one feels recognized in such a relationship (I think I’m not worthy, and they see that. So they see me correctly). 

  • This stems from previous experiences that led someone to develop a negative opinion of themselves. Whether someone made fun of them or a particular event crushed them. Maybe after that, the situation was accompanied by a snowball effect of one event after another as evidence that, they were worthless. In any case, due to past experiences, a person thinks of themselves as worthless.

If they don’t accept you: your bad cycle continues (as you can see, there is no relationship). Until they accept you

But if that person accepts you: It means that they no longer see you the way you see yourself. So the relationship must fail.

This is like a catch 22.

Handsome man standing

Now, if this is your problem, it can’t be solved with that person’s help. Because if that person accepts you again, they’re no longer someone who sees you as you are. They already told/showed it to you once, and you will always doubt it.

And if they continue to reject you, then the problem can’t be solved because it maintains that image within you.

Make no mistake, here we’re talking about unconscious mechanisms (for all those scratching their heads and asking, “Wait. Are you saying I want to be seen as bad? I don’t want that!”).

Read more about the conscious and unconscious/subconscious here.

But the only way to really solve this problem is to change your self-image and then harmonize the people around you. People who see you as valuable will stay and you can build good relationships with them. People who don’t see you as valuable will no longer fit into your self-image, and must fall away, which means no more hanging around with the wrong people.

5. Character Traits: You’re Unable to Lose or Deal With Negative Emotions.

Ghosted woman

You may have never experienced negative emotions in life (no, inconvenience does not count. Under negative emotions, we count those that have taught you that it is normal to lose), or you may not have experienced them as an adult… or losing is not an option for you. Whatever the case, it’s about a character who needs to learn to cope with this.

Negative emotions are very unpleasant, but they’re even more challenging for people who aren’t trained to handle them. It’s like immunity. If you’ve never encountered a bacterium or virus, your body doesn’t have immunity to fight it. It needs to develop it. If you haven’t emotionally experienced many injuries, you must build immunity.

Therefore, after this experience, as uncomfortable as it may be (it’s painful when you get sick with a virus for the first time but…), you’ll emerge from it more resilient. Probably rejection from someone will never be able to defeat you again. It might hurt and be very unpleasant, but you won’t experience defeat.

How to stop obsessing over rejection

6. Ego Injury

Black couple breaking up

The ego doesn’t like being told that we’re wrong. It knows us and knows that we’re great. Even people in the worst condition have an ego that occasionally tells them: You’re good, you’re smart, and you see this better than others. Maintaining the ego uses various mechanisms.

However, from time to time, significant ego injuries occur (someone tells us we’re not great), and the ego can’t bear it if it’s fragile. And it can only be fragile if:

1. The person thinks better of themselves than they should (they’re not realistic). (It’s narcissistically immature).

  • This is controversial and contradictory to what I wrote below. But it’s not related to this topic; I’m just explaining why people experience ego injury.

2. They’re already wounded, so that wound is open.

3. The combination of these two factors is the worst. If we resolve this through these two factors, it means that a person needs to keep themselves at a decent level.

You’re excellent. But you’re not so incredible that people can’t reject you. After all, maybe you’re even better than that person thinks, but they don’t see you well. In any case:

  1. You need to think about yourself that you are great, but also need to work on all aspects to become that. Then you won’t have to fool yourself.
  2. You should make an effort throughout your life to heal earlier wounds. These wounds heal through self-understanding, self-belief, boosting self-confidence, and in therapy.

Why do I want someone who doesn’t want me?

7. This State Keeps You From Moving Forward.

A beautiful woman is sad

Ah, this isn’t a popular topic. But people love to get stuck in certain emotions or thoughts that prevent them from moving forward. Because who knows what’s ahead.

I frequently have clients in this situation who come to me with love-related problems only to learn later that they have a difficult task ahead of them:

  • Starting a business
  • Moving
  • Studying for exams
  • Changing jobs
  • Dealing with a family member
  • Changing something in their lives, etc.

And since it’s tough to do these things because they’re significant, strenuous, and demanding (and often you don’t even know where to start), it’s much easier to get stuck in thoughts about some person. Because, you see, those thoughts are so consuming that there’s no energy left for other things, and voila, the day goes by. After all, it’s a good excuse for oneself and others (the breakup hurts too much, so I’m unable to move forward).

I call this secondary pain. We chose it because it’s consuming, but the first one is tough to face.

Like a gambler who argues with his wife, it’s much easier to deal with the argument with the wife than to face his addiction.

Attractive man sitting

If you recognize that this is why you’re being troubled by the partner who rejected you – do I need to tell you that the only way is to start doing that difficult thing?

Because… you can’t escape what’s ahead of you. Of course, you can, but it will always be there if you don’t want to discard it.

If you don’t discard it, it will always stand there watching you, and you’ll have an additional problem:

  • Things that need to be done are not done, and because of this, the opinion of you is wors. They also bother you.
  • You’ve wasted time mourning for that person (which isn’t a bad excuse, as I said)
  • You still need to resolve that person within yourself (a bonus problem, but smaller).

So, the solution isn’t to postpone or deceive yourself, but to face the big thing. At the end of that road, you’ll be proud of yourself and have your big solution, but that person will be insignificant because you’re in a better place.

What Is The Best Way to handle Rejection

In conclusion:

The essence is that if you still have feelings for someone who rejected you, it’s solvable, but not with magic words, not by that person accepting you again, not by a miracle happening, but by recognizing what’s at stake and then working on it. That’s how thorough, significant, and meaningful change happens. That’s how change occurs as quickly as possible.

Or you can wait for a miracle. Who knows- It may happen.

I am sending you hugs. Dee.

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