What Do You Know About Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?

If you’ve ever struggled with criticism, failure or rejection to the extent that it affects huge changes in your mood, read on. For most people, being criticised or suffering a setback is unpleasant, but it can be ‘taken on the chin’ and dealt with in a way that can be turned into something positive in our minds. For example, if you were told by your boss that your standards are slipping and that you don’t seem present in your job - whilst it may hurt - you could turn this into constructive criticism and learn from it. You would begin getting to work a little earlier, speaking up more in meetings, perhaps. For someone who struggles with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD), this criticism would be unbearable, and would really affect them. The reaction can be internalised, in that a person suffering with RSD may feel pain inside, deep hurt that may even result in suicidal ideation. Alternatively, the reaction could be externalised, resulting in abject rage at the person deemed to be causing the pain. It’s a highly complicated disorder, and one not to be taken lightly.  

What Exactly Is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?

RSD is usually found in people who have a pre-existing condition of ADHD, although that’s not always the case. The condition does have some crossover with social anxiety, too. "Dysphoria" comes from a Greek word that means “hard to bear." People who have RSD don’t handle rejection, nor criticism well. They get very upset if they even think someone has shunned or criticised them, even if that’s not the case. The signs of RSD are as follows:  
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Avoidance of social settings.
  • Fear of failure.
  • High expectations for themselves
  • Frequent emotional outbursts after being hurt or rejected
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Approval-seeking behaviour

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