Sunday, June 5, 2011

The pain of rejection

I've talked before about how I feel rejection acutely, and how this may be explained by our need to be social.

New evidence indicates that unlike most emotions, the brain interprets feelings of rejection the same way it interprets physical pain. From the New York Times, discussing findings of Social Rejection Shares Somatosensory Representations With Physical Pain,” by Ethan F. Kross, Marc G. Berman, Walter Mischel, Edward E. Smith and Tor D. Wager; from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
New research suggests that the same areas in the brain that signify physical pain are activated at moments of intense social loss.

Previous research had shown that while social rejection hurt, it did not activate parts of the brain associated with physical distress. But this team found that when the emotional pain was awful enough, those parts of the brain were affected as well, and in equal part. According to the authors, the emotional pain simulated in previous experiments (being told a stranger dislikes them, looking at rejection-themed paintings) wasn’t powerful enough to elicit a true-to-life response. “We were shocked because no prior research had demonstrated this same connection,” Dr. Kross said.

What the team doesn’t yet know is what region of the body feels the physical pain or whether it’s diffused.
I wouldn't be surprised if anger/rage was also somewhat unique, and possibly some other emotions that sociopaths seem to feel quite well, at least in comparison to others.


  1. "No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such a thing physically possible, thatn that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all members thereof. If no one turned round when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met 'cut us dead,' and acted as if we were non-existing things, a kind of rage and impotent despair would ere long well up in us, from which the cruelest bodily torture would be a relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to be unworthy of attention at all."

  2. i never get rejected cos i reject first an if faggots say they dont see me i spit in there face cos i know there lying cos im the only kid with a mohawk an if they say there not staring at me when i say they are i punch them for that to

    1. I like this guy lol

    2. You seem like an interesting individual. The one and only kid with a mohawk.

  3. rejection is my kryptonite.... it is the thing that puts me out of my mind, its the poison pill.

    that said i have to care if i am rejected.... the average jane or joe rejecting me means little, but when i perceive a rejection real or not from my significant other i fly into blind rage.

    1. this is so true for me too, it is like poison

  4. I have a friend who flies off in blind rages in public, gets over himself real quick while others are freaked out, and that is his form of vetting you for when it really matters. Forget the blind red rage. It's the white heat that is dangerous. That's the rage to watch. The white rage. Watch for that, people. That is when to start heading for the fucking hills.

  5. JABP, it's paranoia to perceive rejection before it has occurred, isn't it?

  6. but paranoia is often your internal instincts telling you what someone feels about you despite their pretending. if you are not a crazy, schizo person, then yes,always trust your instincts.

    i presume by white meat rage, you are imply the rage that is simmering and boiling underneath but well hiden? yes, that's very dangerous, those are the type of people that hate your guts but still hang with you and smile at your troubles internally, the people who pretend to be your out for those

  7. I've always been of the opinion that emotional and physical pain are linked and would activate some of the same areas in the brain.

    Somato sensorical pain seems to be how all emotional pain is interpreted. How would you describe the 'feeling' called pain if not by how it affects your body?

    Are you saying, M.E., that you feel actual physical pain when you experience the emotional pain from a situation where you were rejected by someone?

    Isn't it more a discomfort, such as tightening of the muscles, maybe it gets hard to breath, and maybe a slight pain in the stomach?

    If this describes how you feel in these situations, then you feel exactly the way I feel when I get really angry.
    And when I get really angry there's always some aspect of rejection involved: I don't get my way!

    But it surprises me that it would be about social rejection specifically, unless we're talking about social rejection on a very wide "diffuse" level.

    When I was a kid I used to become absolutely enraged at times when I was faced with social rejection. - I actually had to face it a lot and no doubt even more than most psychopathic individuals, simply because I was rejected before I had a chance to be anti-social in that the whole area knew I was from an orphanage and therefore rejected me in advance.

    I wish I could blame all my antisocial traits on the fact, but these - and other emotional "abnormalities" such as have since become widely associated with psychopaths' expressions of their 'psychopathy to be' during early childhood - had already been well established at the orphanage.

    It wasn't all the time or every time I experienced rejection that it provoked a reaction in me. It had a lot to with whether I had invested time and energy in working the person who ended up rejecting me. That has always been the one thing I have problems accepting.

    With most people it really doesn't touch me one way or another how they look at me. For me there's no doubt about what I really have an issue with is loss of control, not loss of a person.

    But then, we have a difference in this respect, M.E., which you mention in the article about S and F, I think it is titled 'Ruining People'. You say there that "I actually really like people!". Maybe this is the real reason why this particular kind of experience hits you harder than it does f.x. me.

    Rage seems to be one of the emotions (or is that a feeling?) that Sociopaths, Psychopaths and AsPD'ers know the best.

    It seems there is a group who have decided to take a preference in sex. Likewise are there some who seem to be all about gourmet foods. Then there're those who only focus on wealth and money.

    But everybody seem to tend to not have much of the "parent instinct".

    I think I'll comment on your article 'Emotional Appendixes' at the page where it's published. There're more aspects in it that deserves attention, and I'll rather do that in a combined comment.

  8. Baumeister:

    "if every person we met 'cut us dead,' and acted as if we were non-existing things, a kind of rage and impotent despair would ere long well up in us, from which the cruelest bodily torture would be a relief;"

    This was how I was treated for a great deal during my childhood. I wasn't a subject for cruelty or teasing, many of the other kids feared me.

    But "the cruelest bodily torture would be a relief;" is far from how I felt about it. It's so over-dramatized I can't relate at all.

    That's my immediate reaction. But then I got to think about how some kids actually commit suicide because of things like this. I remember meeting such kids in my own childhood. So I guess your words may not be so far out after all.


    "cos i know there lying cos im the only kid with a mohawk"

    No, you know they're lying cause they wouldn't be able to tell you they didn't see you if they really didn't see you! They'd be walking into you and you'd have an excuse to punch their living daylights out, yes? ;)


    "rejection is my kryptonite.... it is the thing that puts me out of my mind, its the poison pill."

    It's a poison pill you can use too! The better you are at it, the more others will think twice before rejecting you.
    Still, no one is immune to being rejected, of course. We all go through that once or twice in our lives.

  9. "i presume by white meat rage, you are imply the rage that is simmering and boiling underneath but well hiden? yes, that's very dangerous, those are the type of people that hate your guts but still hang with you and smile at your troubles internally, the people who pretend to be your out for those"

    I love keeping my enemy's close for this reason.

    Rejection only matters when you invest time and effort which is why the average joe or jane rejecting holds little value.

  10. embrace rejection and nothing can stop you, so it's been said

    that picture looks painful

  11. i think we're hardwired to avoid rejection from way back when it was a matter of survival.

    rejection used to bother me until i realized that it wasn't all about me. reject me or accept me, just don't crowd me.

  12. Hmmm, in many ways I'm hardened to rejection. When I was overloaded with it as a teenager something inside me short-circuited which has allowed me to shrug it off ever since.

    That's not to say rejection is a pleasant feeling, or a neutral feeling, but I’ve learned to neutralise my reaction to it before it causes me significant emotional pain.

    It's a similar process to stopping physical pain by self-hypnosis, although it’s easier to maintain in the moment, and possible to maintain indefinitely.

    I can only remember raging twice, and both times were a result of hormonal imbalances and sensory overload. The break with reality, emotionless clarity, and delusion of super-human strength was quite startling to experience.

    However I'm prone to meltdowns, which are possibly similar in some ways, but involve falling apart not felling another person.

  13. But "the cruelest bodily torture would be a relief;" is far from how I felt about it. It's so over-dramatized I can't relate at all.

    That's my immediate reaction. But then I got to think about how some kids actually commit suicide because of things like this.

    School shooters, too: existential rage.

    But it's not the psychopathic ones who feel like this - it's typically their buddy.

  14. What is this thing called 'rejection'?

    As a sculpted, chiselled God well versed in the dark arts of seduction I know not of what you speak.

    Women want me and men want to be me: that no one will ever possess me makes their longing all the more exquisite.

    JC, feral child, are you still on a crusade to become my poetic muse?

  15. UKan be bombasticJune 5, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Good God, Zeric. What a pile of steaming, pretentious drivel. JC would be well advised to veto your grandiloquent tosh.

  16. Zeric, I want you... to lick my balls. Fortunately, I can reach them myself whilst you poeticize.

  17. r u a sociapath dog

  18. Zeric the dark arts poet bitten by the UKan and his talking dog. Yes, it is fun to never be fully possessed. Then you can never feel rejection. Afraid to take the risk?

  19. Oh, come now, Soulful: I can hardly be said to be afraid of rejection.

    I adore the way a goddess makes me feel when she's making me feel the way I want her to. But do I adore the goddess? No.

    Ergo, I possess, but I will never be possessed.

  20. You do not posses the software for adoration. Perhaps you are even faking it about yourself. Could your self admiration be a smokescreen or is it mental "cogito ergo sum" masturbation?

  21. My, my! The original mental masturbator...mentally masturbates.

    I possess the software for pleasure, Soulful. Who are you to tell me who I am?

    Your poppycock is a mere projection of your own fictitious self.

    Who are YOU, madam? And what is YOUR self-conceit a facade for?

    I do believe you're M.E., casting yourself among the great unwashed, greedily soliciting applause from us all.

  22. As I believe you are Notable disguising yourself as some Byronic muse muncher!

    My self-conceit is a card I play. I have many in my deck and I choose the right one well. Some are strong cards and others humble.

    I am taking a break from mental masturbation. I am finding pleasure in other full bodied pursuits.

    I did not claim you had not the software for pleasure. Adoration requires a superior wiring. And your poppycock is just a candied pop-porn.

  23. Oh, please: I have no need to hide myself behind a conjured Byronic hero, M.E. - here, off-stage, I drop my mask and expose my urgent greed.

    Your self-conceit is too direct to be a strong card, and being as feeble as you are at hiding your true identity, I can only guess that you're forever playing the weak hand Mother Nature dealt you.

    Were you a true sociopath you would never take a break from mental masturbation! Never! That, and the comment about your 'superior wiring', has confirmed my long-held suspicions that you're not a sociopath at all - you're an Aspie.

  24. It's hilarious you think I am M.E., dear Notable Zeric, PuppetMaster! And your urgent greed for admiration far exceeds the laps I swim in this shark infested tropical paradise.

    My conceit is playful! In the real world they hunt you down for arrogance. And I keep long relationships because I can manipulate my boredom levels without having to pull too many destructive maneuvers on my core attachments. Its a bold and smart move, by the way.

    Actually, its the hardest thing I've ever done, taking a break from mental masturbation. I dare you to try it. The present moment has its bounty.

    True sociopath? What is a true republican, or sex toy? Am I defined by taking destructive opportunities? If I blackmail my congresswoman with with pictures of her galavanting with her sex toy do I win a prize? If I add to the ills of this earth do I gain in intelligence, power and merit $$$?

    And you pull the "true sociopath" card with the "aspie" insult. I am not a label. I am a capricious female.

    I like you. You have spunk when you are challenged.

  25. Are we just acting out a comedic tragedy?

    And the plot line theme is rejection?

    How is the skin thickness there Zeric? I am holding up just fine. Perhaps we need to bring in the trolls. Perhaps some rum and a pirate's ditty?

  26. Or perhaps I have been tricked (how divine) . . . Zeric is actually M.E. Only the shadow knows . . . .

  27. Oh dear, M.E. The pirate analogy strikes again!

    My skin is thick, dear - and gleams golden from the sun.

    You, on the other-hand, are taking unnecessary umbrage at my comments. What a prickly Aspie you are!

    We're all slaves to our neurological wiring, but for God's sake woman, get some basic social skills.

    No, we're not acting out a play - we're having a conversation.

    Furthermore, a ten-year old could tell you that threatening to unleash the big guns over small issues is a dreadfully poor way to resolve a conflict.

    Now you've REALLY shown us who, and what, you are.

  28. Much better, dear.

    You Aspies are such fast learners.

  29. How fun. But there is nothing to be gained or lost in this "conflict".

    Rejection only truly hurts because it is a reflection of one's failure as a sociopath. A lack of self-mastery.

    How could you be rejected when the other party has a strict set of morals, emotions, likes, dislikes. They are a constant and you are water capable of enveloping whichever shape they are. Yet to have such distinct advantages and all the power in the world to control and manipulate someone you still get rejected?

    Well that is a failure on your own part.

  30. Saving face Zeric-san?

    Oh, your social skills are dire.

    No, my little cherry blossom, I'm not 'saving face.'

    I'm flattering you for recognising your folly in threatening to unleash the trolls and - quelle horreur – 'pirate ditties' as penance for my not bowing down before your Aspie greatness.

    Such unyielding thinking!

    You're NOT our glorious leader, you're a retarded pretender to the sociopath throne, and your readers deserve to know the truth.

  31. rj can u turn into liquid metal to

  32. Jc, i am a t-1000 yes.

  33. Zeric all great wars (did you see my past mentions that M.E. is raising an army) has many generals. Otherwise who would fill the officer's club. And there are always those who shoot for the top of the virtual pile. Go ahead plant your flag and we will have a picnic. Anyway I know you are Note because of how you salivate between your words when you dominate. I respect you. Notice I do not resort to name calling.

    Reality check.

    M.E. runs this blog. We read and post like honest little robots. Or like dishonest little liars. Either way its a wonderful forum for getting things off your chest without worrying about people saying "how digesting!" Or a forum to help others deal with the complexities of living in a world with human predators. The next post illustrates this banter is perhaps raising our collective intelligence.

    And that my dear is a healing service on this injured unyielding thinking planet. Many great solutions arise like Black Swans. Therefore, based on past innovations and salvations, I say the future looks bright.

  34. FFS, it's obvious you two are the same person- shut the fuck up! you're polluting the comments section with your anime-inspired fuckery.

  35. A demonstration of rejection I dare say.

    Apparently I suck at rejection (at least superficially). People see me as a "such an open nonjudgmental person". Sometimes I think I allow and even encourage others to flood me with their banal obsessions to suppress the repulsion and boredom that inevitably creeps in with time and familiarity.

  36. i like this post because it makes e think of my own "impression management." It is almost like I am "walking on eggshells" around myself.

  37. I even try it own for size to see how it feels to be filled with enthusiasm and conviction about something,..anything. I do that well judging from the minimal number of rejections. I am my own trickster as well my exit strategist.

  38. that is a lonely stupid existence, 50 %. no one cares deeply for the trickster. he/she must take off the mask.

  39. That perspective doesn't apply to the likes of me. The only tears I've shed are the tears of self generated grief. It felt real,..almost. To be deeply regarded, by people whose esteem you do not care about is creepy and suffocating. I'd rather be the creepy suffocateur..

  40. That is also a stupid existence. You sound like a fool, 50%

  41. What good are any of you? People have no use for you except to laugh. at your insecurity. You are alone in your misery.

  42. is the creepy suffocateur "happy"


  43. I don't feel insecure. I just am. I don't feel unhappy. FIY, I too have deep doubts about the sense of security, happiness and errors of ways of most people, but I don't seem to care or see the point in sharing as much as you do. I despise you as much as you despise me so where do we start?

  44. I despise you as much as you despise me so where do we start?

    who do you despise, 50% ?

  45. I read the NY Times article about the research and they said that previous studies on rejection did not show this phenomenon because the rejection those studies measured was not intense enough. For this version of the study, they studied people who had just experienced a very serious break-up with a significant other. The researcher said that he thinks perhaps previous studies did not study "intense" social rejection, which addresses the issue about "average joes and janes." So if you don't really care too much about the person who is rejecting you, you aren't going to suffer pain. The pain response is only when it's someone you really care about.

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