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Critical Thinking – Mental Health & Wellness, pt. 3

Anyone who lived through high school knows the hurt feelings that bubble up when you are excluded from the cool kids table. It is a direct form of rejection. Rejection feels lousy. Below I found an explanation of the effects and how to deal with ostracism with adults in the WebMD article, Why Ostracism Hurts.

The Effects of Ostracism Ostracism causes real pain, because our basic need for belonging, self-esteem, control, and recognition is thwarted. When people are left out, there are three stages of responses: pain, coping, and -- if the exclusion goes on for a long time -- depression and a feeling of helplessness.

When it comes to dealing with ostracism, there's a whole package of behaviors, thoughts, and perceptions people use to try to improve the chances they'll get included. Those who feel excluded may go out of their way to please. Some people try to force others to pay attention to them. It can also show up as more subtly aggressive behavior such as making demeaning comments about others.

How to Cope with Ostracism Ostracism always hurts, but there are ways to reduce the sting -- and break the ugly cycle of exclusion:

Tap other support. If you're excluded from one group, look for support elsewhere. Have different groups of friends. Talk when calm. Giving the silent treatment when you're angry can damage your relationship. "If you absolutely feel you have to remove yourself from the situation, give an end point to it. For example, say, "I can't talk to you right now, so I'm going to leave for a few minutes. When I come back, we can talk." Teach people that exclusion hurts. Exclusion is an insidious form of bullying, and harder to document because it's the absence of behavior. Talk to others about how much it hurts, whether they're victims or perpetrators.


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