This is the second of those responses which rejected people choose to engage in. Last lesson looked at the human bandage which rejected people put on their heart to minimise their pain. In tandem with that those rejected individuals put up barriers around their heart.
Self preservation demands that we shelter that part of us that is wounded or vulnerable. And so, for rejected people, with their injured heart and feelings of personal vulnerability, it is only logical that they will erect barriers around their heart.
This is consistent with the fear of people, which we looked at in lesson 9. People are a danger to someone carrying inner hurts. Since people inflicted the injuries they carry, people are a serious risk to them.
Initially the protective barriers are erected around the heart. The inner feelings become a “No Trespassing” zone within their life. That’s why my picture for this lesson is a heart surrounded by barbed wire, with a “No Trespassing” sign. That’s how it is on the inside for some people.
Not My Heart
It is not uncommon for rejected people to still live “normal” lives and engage in business, interests, family life and so on. To do this they usually rely on their social skills, intellectual capacities and so on.
What is significant about those carrying serious rejection issues is that they will allow people to interface with just about their whole life, but not their heart. They will engage intellectually, professionally, physically, socially, with responsibility and authority, giving their time, talents and resources, but not letting the tender areas of their heart be touched.
Their “ground zero” is the heart. That is the “No Go!” area of their life.
Because of their own personal pain, rejected people can be very sensitive to the pains and needs of others. They may also be more attuned to the environment, since they need to navigate it more carefully than others.
So, it is quite possible that people carrying their own internal burdens will end up in the ‘helping profession’, trying to assist others who are carrying personal burdens. Counsellors, ministers, psychologists, carers and the like can be motivated with concern for others, prompted by their own acute pains.
Yet, as they help others, they will find it difficult to share their own personal pain. They may share details of events and facts about what they suffered, but not their tender, injured feelings. Those things usually end up “off limits”.
I’m Out of Here
When these people end up in situations where personal issues are to be shared, they will escape the risky environment. While they may handle a business meeting with tenacity, a sales challenge with exemplary professionalism, a corporate deal with flair, or a birthday party with considered care, they will run away from situations where their “heart” issues risk being trampled on.
When someone comes to them and wants to bring up personal issues, either in the rejected person, or in themself, looking for a compassionate response, the rejected person can get a sudden attack of “I’m-Out-Of-Here”-itis.
They may respond with coldness, rebuke and hardness, simply because they cannot handle the matter any better, since it cuts close to their own personal pain.
Rejected people do not wish to offend in such situations. They do not intend to annoy or let down others. They are doing what they can to maintain self-preservation. Their survival instincts take precedence in those difficult situations.
What they are saying to themselves is, “I won’t let myself get hurt again!” In order to fulfil that promise to themselves they have to cut and run when they feel that someone threatens to trespass on their feelings.
A high-flying corporate executive engaged me for a communications training session. I spent several hours with him and another executive in the company. As part of the process I had both men make a personal statement to their loved ones on camera. The senior executive produced a formal policy statement, including all the right things one should say to their closest family. However it came out as forced and formal. It came out almost insincere.
When the other senior executive made his presentation it was powerfully warm and genuine. It came from the heart and was a thrill to listen to.
When I discussed the situation with the personal friend who had recommended me for the project he confirmed that the obvious evidence was representative of the top executive’s personality. The hope was that my involvement would help him move beyond his personal limitations, which hindered all of his communications, due to his lack of warmth and reality.
The man was a brilliant businessman. Yet, having been orphaned at a young age, he carried the baggage of personal pain which locked him up on the inside. While the other man was keen to continue the sessions the senior executive cancelled the project, since he felt he did not need assistance. I wonder if he wasn’t simply protecting his tender internal parts from the challenges I put him at risk of.
Some marriages and parent-child relationships are denied the warmth and fervour which should be expected, due to one or both parties carrying feelings of rejection. When one heart is hidden behind barriers and is a “No Go” zone, there is no real hope of developing a warm, intimate, heart-to-heart relationship.
Consequently many relationships end up as sterile, formal, convenient, intellectual, sensual or routine, but not open hearted. What a joy it is for people in such situations to step into the freedom which Christ has for them and for their relationships to warm up and move into new territory.