APD Part III––Rusty Tin Can
You’ve heard the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” How I wish that were true. We say that to ourselves to try to protect our hearts from being hurt, but the truth is, negative and hurtful words wound. Click to Tweet #amwriting #rejection #APD
The first real words to hurt were “Rusty Tin Caaaaaannnnn!” Shouted by the neighborhood boys who played with my brother. All I wanted to was to be included, and to let me play with them.
We’d just moved to the neighborhood when I turned five. I would be going to kindergarten a couple months later.
It wasn’t enough that I grew up with a last name that was hard to pronounce. No, the neighbor boys started teasing me about my hair color. I was a redhead in a sea of blondes and brunettes.
“Rusty Tin Can” was the first insulting nickname thrust on me. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t like it, because I knew they were offering it as an insult, like “Dummy!” “Moron!” “Rusty Tin Can!” In that same vein.
For a person with rejection issues, teases aren’t received well, because we have a desperate need to feel acceptance and we want to be liked. Derisive teasing is like emotional bullying, but we didn’t know anything about that back then. To be bullied in those days, meant you were physically beaten. I wasn’t physically beaten, just insulted almost daily during elementary school.
It wasn’t until fifth grade that I began to learn to respond to this emotional bullying. All I ever wanted was to be accepted by people. To be liked. I had a few friends in grade school who were nice to me, and we got along well.
When this happens over a period of years, other symptoms begin to develop. All these began to grow within me during my elementary school years and into junior high.
- Self-imposed social isolation
- Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations, though the person feels a strong desire for close relationships
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Severe low self-esteem
- Highly self-conscious
- Feeling inferior to others
Junior high, grades 7–9, were probably the most difficult years I had in school. Next week, I’ll tell you why.
If you feel any of these symptoms or know of anyone close to you who exhibit these, encourage them, encompass them with love and compassion, include them, choose them, and look upon them with tenderness. #amwriting #rejection #APD