Why Rejection Is So Painful : An Evolutionary Explanation.

Due to the forces of evolution, our brains have developed, first and foremost, to keep us alive, irrespective of whether the emotions that drive us to do cause us pleasure or pain ; in this sense, the process of evolution is entirely indifferent as to whether or not we are happy ; indeed, his is why our brains have a negative bias : to help ensure our survival, our brains are wired to focus on threats, dangers and that which can harm us rather than on more positive things (which could seduce us into a state of dangerous complacency and vulnerability). The principle at play here is that it’s better to be in an unpleasant state of anxiety and fear, but alive, than it is to be in a state of peace and serenity whilst being gobbled up by a lion.

One of the main operations of our brains to evolve in order to help ensure our survival is the ability to detect threat. This is because, in the case of our ancestors, such threats were frequently life endangering (such as being attacked by a wild animal, as alluded to above).

Today, however, the threats we tend to encounter are very rarely life threatening. However, because evolution is such a glacially slow process, our brains have not had time to readjust to this fact and, therefore, will still respond to certain threats that would have been life threatening to our ancestors as if they are STILL life endangering today.

herd mentaliy

One threat that was life endangering to our ancestors was social rejection ; this is because living in groups made it more likely we would survive and, of course, it logically follows from this, if we were rejected from the group (and even more so if they were rejected by our parents when young) we would be at greater risk of death.

So, the crucial point is that our modern day brains react to rejection by significant others today as our ancestors’ brains did in the distant past i.e. as if the rejection were life-threatening. That is why, say, rejection by a parent or partner can drive us to despair or even suicide (the latter response is particularly ironic as, in such a case, our death would be brought about, ultimately, by an overly assiduous survival instinct).

In objective terms, then, we over-react to rejection in the modern day due to a trick our mind is playing on us that has its origin in millions of years of evolutionary history. It must be recognized, nevertheless, that for many of us, this is cold comfort indeed.

Overcome Fear Of Rejection | Self Hypnosis Downloads

You may also like to read :

The Long-Term Effects Of Parental Rejection

Childhood Trauma : Coping With Rejection

Childhood Rejection Leading To Possessive Behavior In Adult Relationships

BPD Sufferers May Avoid Mentalization Due To Parental Rejection

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Childhood Trauma And Workplace Performance

The negative effects of childhood trauma can also seriously impair our work performance as adults. Some obvious examples include:

  • low academic achievement.
  • alcoholism.
  • drug addiction.
  • anger management problems (which may lead to conflict in relations with colleagues and the boss).
  • relationship problems (including marital and family difficulties), depression, anxiety, headaches, somatic symptoms (such as back pain and irritable bowel syndrome).

Indeed, research published in the Permanent Journal reported that, in the United States, back pain alone is thought to cost businesses just short of 30 billion dollars per year and depression is thought to cost it about 44 billion dollars per year.

Childhood Trauma And Workplace Performance 1

However, it is not possible, from these figures, to ascertain what percentage of the above referred to cases back pain and the above referred to cases of depression is directly linked to the adverse effects of childhood trauma.

From these findings, however, it is reasonable to conclude that educating employees about how adverse childhood trauma may have negatively impacted upon their lives is very important as it may allow them to seek more relevant, trauma-informed, treatments and therapies for their difficulties, thus increasing their chances of successful recovery. And, in order for such education to be implemented effectively, business owners, too, need to learn about the possible harmful effects of unresolved childhood trauma on their employees and, therefore, on their business.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Stress Contagion : Study On Effects Of Maternal Stress On Babies

Obviously I do not remember being a baby, and, because of this, I have often been concerned about how my mother’s ever dramatically fluctuating emotional states and bouts of hysteria may have had on my psyvhological development. The study I describe below would seem to justify that concern.

The study to which I refer was conducted by Waters et al., 2014 (at the University of California, San Francisco) suggests that a mother’s stress is contagious when she is interacting with her infant in a way that can affect the baby’s physiological reactivity.

In other words, according to the study, babies can pick up on, and attune to, the mother’s anxious state and, as a result of this, display physical symptoms of stress themselves that mirror her symptoms.

This transmission of the mother’s emotions to her baby is also sometimes referred to as ’emotional synchronicity.’

This reciprocal response can not only adversely affect the baby in the short term, but in the long term, too.


70 mothers were involved in the study together with their one-year-old babies.

The mothers were then split into 3 groups by the researchers :

The preliminary part of the experiment involved the mothers in each of the three groups having to give a 5 minute speech in front of two evaluators and then undertake a 5 minute ‘question and answer’ session.

GROUP ONE : This group was provided with POSITIVE feedback by the evaluators.

GROUP TWO : This group was provided with NEGATIVE feedback by the evaluators.

GROUP THREE : This group were not provided with any feedback by the evaluators.

Stress Contagion : Study On Effects Of Maternal Stress On Babies 2

Results :

After the mothers had given their speeches, undertaken their ‘question and answer’ session and received (or not received, as in the case of GROUP 3) their feedback they were reunited with their babies. At this stage, too, both mothers and their babies had their heart rate monitored.

As predicted, it was found that the mothers in GROUP 2 (who had received the NEGATIVE FEEDBACK) had significantly higher levels of stess (as measured by self report and heart monitor indications) than the mothers in GROUP 1 and GROUP 3.

Also as predicted, it was found that the babies reunited with the GROUP 2 mothers themselves showed higher levels of stress as measured by their heart monitors compared to the babies reunited with mothers from GROUPS 1 and 3. Furthermore, the higher the levels of stress measured in the GROUP 2 mothers, the higher the levels of their babies stress tended to be.

This supports the hypothesis that maternal stress is transmitted to their babies and, as such, can be described as CONTAGIOUS.

Conclusion :

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this study is that if even a mother’s stress that has been generated by a relatively trivial event such as, in this experiment, receiving negative feedbak for a speech, can significantly adversely affect the baby at a physiological level, what effects can much more intense and chronic states of anxiety and stress in the mother have on the baby? Future research should help to answer this question although, clearly, it would be entirely unethical for researchers to experimentally induce such states in mothers making it more difficult to investigate,

Of cousrse, a certain amount of maternal stress is inevitable and normal but it is when maternal stress reaches toxic levels and / or is chronic that it can start to adversely affect the baby’s development, including his or her brain development.



David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Childhood Trauma And Its Link To Adult Chronic Pain.


The rehabilitatiion specialist, Dr John Sarno (Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University, theorized that a significant amount of chronic pain reported to doctors is connected to repressed rage, often stemming from a traumatic childhood. In other words, he believed that, often, pain is a physical manifestation of underlying, deeply rooted emotional and psychological problems (it is also theorized that pent up anger and rage towards one’s parents, and then redirected inwardly against oneself, is sometimes a predominant cause of depression).

He also believed that the way to treat such pain was to explain to the patient, and get him / her to understand and accept, it’s genuine origin (i..e the aforementioned emotional and psychological problems.

In particular, Sarno believed that individuals who were at especially high risk of developing this kind of psychosomatic chronic pain (N.B. just because some pain is psychosomatic, as opposed to being caused by, say, physical injury, does not imply its debilitating effects upon the individual are less serious) were adults who were prone to ‘perfectionism‘ and ‘workaholism’ due to their dysfunctional, unpredictable childhoods over which they were forever striving to gain a semblance of control.

Childhood Trauma And Its Link To Adult Chronic Pain. 3

Based on this theory, Sarno was able to successfully treat many patients who suffered from chronic back pain. However, it should be noted that these successfully treated patients were pre-assessed to ascertain that they were suitable candidates for treatment. Sarno’s treatment method consisted of him giving his patients three lectures about what he believed to be the psychological causes of their condition.

Sarno is credited by some contemporary pain specialsists (Sarno’s work dates all the way back to the 1960s) as being as an important figure in as far as he encouraged further research into the mind-body connection which has led to the much greater understanding we have of its authenticity today.




David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

A Beginner’s Guide To Childhood Trauma : Types, Effects And Treatments.

A Beginner's Guide To Childhood Trauma : Types, Effects And Treatments. 4

Introductory Price : $4.99

My new book : ‘A Beginner’s Guide To Childhood Trauma : Types, Effects And Treatments‘ is now available for immediate download from Amazon. Details below :

Structure Of Book :

Part One – The Introduction, describes, and elaborates upon, the main elements of the seminal Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and elucidates the main ways in which children may experience interpersonal and complex trauma.

Possible negative effects of childhood trauma will be considered in Part Two ; whilst most will be assigned their own chapter, some closely related effects will be amalgamated into individual chapters that consider two or more of them together.

Part Three will outline the main therapies that are currently used to treat the adverse effects of childhood trauma and examines apects of posttraumatic growth.


PART ONE : Introduction.The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study And Types Of Trauma.

1)The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study And Types Of Trauma

PART TWO : Adverse Effects Of Childhood Trauma.

2) Childhood Trauma Leading To Need To Self Medicate.

3) Arrested Development.

4) The False Belief Of Being An ‘Intrinsically Bad’ Person.

5) Harmful Effects Of Labelling The Child As ‘Bad.’

6) How False Feelings Of Being ‘Bad’ Are Perpetuated.

7) Anxiety.

8) Depression.

9) Hypervigilance.

11) Borderline Personality Disorder.

12) Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Complex PTSD).

12) Hypersexuality.

13) Violence.

14) Antisocial Personality Disorder.

15) Dissociation.

16) Emotional Dysregulation.

17) Severe Relationship Difficulties.

18) Addictions.

19) Difficulties Managing Stress.

20) Psychosis.

21) The Agonizing Effects Of Shame.

22) Self-Hatred.

23) Reduced Life Expectancy.

24) Impaired Educational Achievement.

25) Suicide.

26) Childhood Trauma And Workplace Performance.

27) Did Your Dysfunctional Family Make You The ‘Identified Patient’?

PART THREE : Recovery.

28) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

29) Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing (EMDR) :

30) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

31) Somatic Experiencing Therapy.

32) Self-Hypnosis.

33) Mindfulness Meditation.

34) Neurofeedback.

35) Yoga.

36) Compassion Focused Therapy.

37) Steps To Recovery.

38) Posttraumatic Growth.

39) Posttraumatic Growth : The Importance Of Relationships And Social Support.

40) Posttraumatic Growth And Spirituality.

A Beginner's Guide To Childhood Trauma : Types, Effects And Treatments. 5

Introductory Price $4.99


About The Author :

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE) was educated at Goldsmiths College, University of London and holds two degrees in psychology as well as a diploma in education. He is  the founder of childhoodtraumarecovery.com for which he has written over 700 articles over a period of six years. This book, in response to many readers’ requests, represents the culmination of this work by bringing together many of the most important of these articles to provide an overview of the topic of childhood trauma.

His academic interest in childhood trauma and its effects began in 1993 when he wrote his final year university thesis on the effects of childhood depression on academic performance.

He wrote this book in the belief, borne out by his own experience, that knowledge and insight into how one acts and behaves can have a positively transformative effect which exceeds that derived from advice. Because of this belief, he founded childhoodtraumarecovery.com – initially solely as a form of self-therapy and upon which this book is based –  to address his own issues relating to a traumatic childhood. The site now comprises over 750 articles.

He has, therefore, both very considerable academic and personal experience of the topic of childhood trauma and the ruinous effect it can have upon our adult lives.


Maternal Reinforcement Of Passive Dependency In Future BPD Sufferers

When I was young, my mother seemed to derive an odd sense of satisfaction (one hesitates to use the word ‘pleasure’) from my emotional distress. At such times, I see now, her fundamental motivation to comfort me (by talking to me, never in a tactile way by hugging etc.) was to make herself feel needed, of value, powerful, in control and superior to my own ‘inadequacy’.

Indeed, I can now see that she would deliberately induce states of distress in me so that she could then play the role of a nurturing mother ; she seemed to enjoy, and derive satisfaction from, toying with my emotions – repeatedly ‘breaking’ me in order to afford herself the opportunity of ‘fixing’ me – rather as a cat might enjoy and derive satisfaction from toying with a mouse by repeatedly catching it and letting it go only so it could catch it again…and so on…and so on…

This gave her complete control and absolute power over me ; once she had reduced me to a desperate and pleading display of tears by subjecting me to her unbounded rage and name-calling, and then left me to suffer for a while (often by giving me the silent treatment ),

I would be pathetically grateful, submissive and pliable when, at a time of her choosing, she deigned to ‘forgive’ me and play (for short while until the cycle repeated itself) the ‘magnanimous’ mother (on more than one occasion, it comes back to me now while writing this) by administering to me whisky in warm milk and half of one of her valium).

In short, playing the nurturing’ mother wasn’t about making me feel good – it was about making herself feel good about herself.

However, I have never mentioned this particular aspect of my mother’s behavior to anyone for fear of sounding ungrateful and cynical. After all, as many who have suffered childhood trauma will know all too well, even our most patently reasonable and self-evidently justifiable objections to our upbringing can be, and frequently are, invalidated by others (for myriad reasons – e,g. see my articles How Narcissistic Mothers Can Invalidate Us ; my article, BPD, Effects Of Biparental Dysfunction And Invalidation and also my article about gaslighting) compunding the effects of our trauma and intensifying our irrational feelings of shame.

I was heartened, therefore, to come across the work of Masterson and Rinsley (1975). They theorize that mothers can cause psychopathology in their children, later leading to the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD), by preventing them from undergoing the separation-individuation process (see also my article on ‘enmeshment’).

They prevent their children going through this process, according to Masterson and Riley, by encouraging them to be dependent. They encourage this dependency, according to the theory, as it gives them (i.e. the mothers) a sense of pride, satisfaction , gratification and self-esteem. It is further theorized that they achieve this by positively reinforcing the child’s ‘needy’ and ‘clingy‘ behavior whilst discouraging any signs of the child creating an independent, autonomous life for him/self. This then has the effect of preventing him/her from breaking away from her and forming his/her own idenity


Indeed, tangetially related to the idea of certain types of mothers (especially narcissistic mothers) not wanting their child to form his/her own sense of identity, I recall that my own mother would frequently take it as almost a personal affront if ever I tried to change the subject from talking about her life (normally her ‘boyfriend troubles’) to talk, even for a short while, about any of my own intersests (at the time these were meteorology and magic tricks ; I often think now that it is no co-incidence that the former involved trying to understand a chaotic and difficult to predict system, whilst the latter involved developing ‘special powers’ to make the ‘impossible’ happen, like making things ‘disappear’ – no prizes for guessing what these things almost certainly symbolized in my unconscious).

But back to Masterson and Risley. The researchers state that such maternal behavior (i.e. rewarding the child’s dependence whilst punishing him/her – or, at least, withdrawing approval – when s/he attempts to gain mastery, independence and self-sufficiency) is frequently most prevalent during the developmental stage of the child when psychological and social influences are at their most potent in relation to instilling in him/her a need to become independent, thus creating maximum conflict in the child’s mind.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Surprising Study On Reduction Of Negative, Obsessional Thoughts

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that it is far from uncommon for those who have suffered significant childhood trauma to suffer obsessive, negative ruminations relating to the self as adults that become habitual and automatic. Frequently, too, these negative thoughts are irrational and unrealistic and researchers Gladding and  Schwartz have referred to them as deceptive brain messages.

In their book, entitled : You Are Not Your Brain, Gladding and  Schwartz provide examples of such intrusive and obstinately tenacious deceptive brain messages that include :

They argue that, in order to reduce such negative thinking it is necessary to take advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity (i.e. its ability to change itself) to ‘rewire’ it.  In order to achieve this, they recommend their FOUR STEP treatment method. The four steps are as follows :

  1. RELABEL the negative thoughts in a way which disempowers them (i.e. by labelling them as deceptive brain messages).
  2. REFRAME attitude towards these deceptive brain messages by viewing them as unimportant and false.
  3. REFOCUS attention, even whilst being aware of these deceptive brain messages, to a productive and positive activityor mental process.
  4. REVALUE : adopt a dismissive attitude towards the negative thoughts (aka deceptive brain messages) as having little or no value.

Of course, this is very much a simplification of their treatment method, and, to read about it fully, it would be necessary to read their book (see below). Also, a caveat is that the researchers advise that the method is only suitable for those who are suffering mild to moderate symptoms, rather than those with very serious conditions.

Nevertheless, for the purposes of this article it is not necessary to have read about the method in great detail as I only wish to focus on a study, conducted at UCLA, that revealed that those suffering from OCD could be helped by the treatment method outlined above in a surprising (and very encouraging) way.



The purpose of the Four Step method is, as alluded to above, to rewire the brain in a beneficial way through the focusing of attention and, to test the hypothesis that this is possible, the study (referred to above) was conducted involving individuals who suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) and experienced continual, negative, repetitive intrusive thoughts which caused them distress.These individuals were then split into two groups, as described below :

GROUP ONE : These individuals were treated with MEDICATION.

GROUP TWO : These individuals were treated by learning the Four Step method (described above).

In order to measure the effectiveness of the treatment given to the participants from each group, each participant underwent a brain scan BEFORE the treatment and, also, TEN TO TWELVE WEEKS after their particular type of treatment (either medication or the Four Step method)


It was found that the GROUP TWO (the Four Step method group) participants’ brains were positively changed JUST AS EFFECTIVELY as the brains of participants in GROUP ONE (the medication group).

These results add to the now overwhelming body of evidence that, due to its neuroplasticity, the brain can undergo beneficial biological changes in response to therapies that train the individual, over a period of time, to intensely refocus his / her attention (in connection to this, you may also be interested in reading my previously published article on mindfulness meditation).


Even more encouragingly, a follow-up staudy conducted in Germany found that participants suffering from OCD experienced a statistically significant reduction in their symptoms JUST BY LISTENING TO A CD THAT EXPLAINED THE FOUR STEP METHOD. This finding adds to the pool of evidence showing that psychoeducation alone can be helpful to individuals suffering from mental health problems.

This suggests that just understanding what our mental health problem is, and how therapy can potentially help us, in and of itself, may help to ameliorate some mental health conditions

You can view more details about Gladding and  Schwartz’s book by clicking below :

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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