Rejection and Betrayal

Life Lessons

Rejection and Betrayal. Unless you live in a bubble or on a desert island, you’ve probably already experienced both. Possibly, many times. Maybe recently. Like this week? Or today? Welcome to life; a world of all things messy, unfair, painful, joyful and glorious.

Sometimes, all on the same day.

Reality not Theory

Over the journey, I’ve had girlfriends cheat on me. A few, that I know of. In fact (I probably shouldn’t share this story but who cares), one of my girlfriends cheated on me when we were holidaying together on a beautiful tropical island. Which made for an interesting flight home. I’ve had people that I loved and trusted steal money from me. Lots of money. I’ve had publishers reject my work. Coaches leave me off teams (good decisions, probably). Pseudo-friends cut me off when I was no longer valuable to them. I’ve had colleagues resent my success and people I’ve never met talk trash about me in an attempt to gain some kind of personal or professional edge or leverage. Well that’s my guess, anyway. I also receive a constant stream of emails from people who feel compelled to tell me how and why almost everything I write on this site is either stupid or wrong, or both. And no, I’m not complaining or seeking sympathy here; I’m merely providing some honest insight into my personal experience on today’s topic. In other words, I’m writing experientially not theoretically.

And while I don’t love or look for rejection, I expect it.     

I also have some amazing, beautiful people who support, love and encourage me unconditionally. And of course, I have some great supporters and friends (you) who are largely responsible for this site being the success is it today. Thanks. :)

So, it’s a given that you and I will be betrayed and rejected. At some stage. By someone. Or ones. In theory, it shouldn’t be part of life but as we all know, life’s not a theory. When that great philosopher of the ages uttered those immortal words “shit happens and then we deal with it”, she was talking about, among other things, rejection and betrayal.

So, if we can’t avoid it, how do we best deal with it?

1. Don’t manufacture it. Some people get offended at the drop of a hat (whatever that means). They experience rejection twenty times a day, not because anyone has actually rejected them but rather, because they have misinterpreted or misunderstood a situation, conversation or behaviour. They find rejection like a Golden Retriever finds food. They have a rejection radar. They create negative experiences out of thin air and tell themselves rejection stories. So precious are they that the slightest reason (imagined or real) or the most innocent of comments will see them tailspin into an emotional sea of self-pity and woe-is-me-ness. There will be plenty of genuine rejection and betrayal coming your way, so there’s no need to make shit up Princess.  

2. Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect people to think, react, communicate or behave like you. The only person who sees the world (exactly) like you, is you. Keep in mind that most people care about themselves way more than they’ll ever care about you.

3. Don’t be emotionally dependant on people. Loving people is good. And healthy. As is appreciating them. But being unable to function emotionally without them? Bad. It’s possible (healthy, even) to have great relationships while still being independent and self-sufficient. In fact, the less needy we are, the more people will want to be around us. Needy people are rejection magnets. And, in case you were unclear, ‘needy’ – not sexy.

4. Stop looking for validation, permission and approval. You don’t need it. You’re big now.

5. Accept that not everyone will love or like you and that’s not only fine; it’s normal. Agonising over people who don’t like you is not only a waste of your time and emotional energy but also a great way to give away your personal power.

6. Acknowledgement. Sometimes we simply need to say (1) this relationship is over or (2) this relationship will never be and that’s okay. As painful as it may be, you’ll survive. Flogging a dead horse (as my mum says) can only result in frustration, anger and sometimes, really creepy stalker-ish behaviour! And by the way, if somebody is not attracted to you, that doesn’t mean they’re rejecting you. If people not being attracted to me was how I measured rejection, I’d be in constant therapy. ;)

7. Stick to the facts. Don’t invent stuff. Stop theorising, philosophising and guessing about what could, should, would or might happen if he (she) did or didn’t do this, that or the other. Step out of the hypothetical into the actual. I’ve coached many people who have created entire relationships in their mind and when I spoke with to the other person (in the pretend relationship), they didn’t know anything about it.

8. Love Yourself. In a healthy way, of course. At the risk of sounding self-absorbed or egomaniacal, from an emotional health perspective, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. When you like who you are and how you are, confidence, calm and contentment will be your default setting. Self-esteem works from the inside-out, not the other way around.   

The Last Bit

Talk to anyone who has experienced significant success in their lives and they will tell you stories of rejection and betrayal along the way. Adversity can make or break you. It can be the end or the beginning. Like most things, it’s totally up to you. You give things meaning. Without your labels, those events and situations are meaningless and inconsequential. Rejection and betrayal are inevitable but how you respond is totally optional.    

And let’s not forget the wisdom of the great philosopher (you know the one) who said…

“Don’t make shit harder than it needs to be you dumb f*cker.”

Well, she said something like that. ;)

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael March 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

People don’t cheat on each other without a reason. There are always two parties. Aside from that, I would like to add this. Rejection is overcome by persistance. I am not saying so much in romance, though you can end up with a fantastic friend. But I had 3 articles rejected for years and they are now all in print. Also re pseudo-friends we took that up in another post, but again yes that is true if you can’t deliver on what they want and they reject you they can p*** off.


Tony Fahkry March 26, 2012 at 7:34 pm

To some rejection can be dire – to others merely another no. I had a friend who works as a fashion model. Watching him deal with rejection is a lesson in enlightenment. He once told me when people reject him, all they’re really saying at a deeper level is – “no thanks, this/you is not for me. They just don’t know how to deliver it properly.” Re-framing rejection might be a mantra worth investing in. Thanks for a great article Craig!


Catherine March 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Well said Craig…although I’m not sure about the little pearl of wisdom at the finish.


Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm

“Don’t make shit harder than it needs to be you dumb f*cker.”

Great advice.

Better than my own personal favourite: “They can’t reject me if I reject them first” – the only one who loses out from that pearl of wisdom is me.


Phillipps March 26, 2012 at 7:59 am

Craig you have out done yourself with this one i totally agree with this posting and im going to share it with the group of men i work with in my work place. At the time you wrote this i was going through some of the same issues. thank you for being who you are in my life, i support all your efforts.


Sean Evangelista March 26, 2012 at 1:08 am

Love this. Hilarious and on point. Giving up on people pleasing feels great. There is a lot to be gained for not caring in strategic areas of our lives.


Tracy March 26, 2012 at 1:38 am

There are a few things on here that i need to change in myself!! crap i felt like you were actually writing this for me ha! although not half as bad as i used to be one of my main things is caring too much about what people think of me, i like to be different that what makes me who i am but i have made a lot of enemies along the way and sometimes wish that everyone in the whole world would love me ;)

“Don’t make shit harder than it needs to be you dumb f*cker.” is some pretty good advice :)


Nancy March 26, 2012 at 1:52 am

Excellent, thought-provoking article. Thanks!


Josephine March 26, 2012 at 2:47 am

Hi Craig. Great comments (as usual). If everyone ‘got’ what you said, I’d be out of a job (possibly happily) and there’d be a lot less anxiety and depression on the planet. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “No-one can make you feel bad without your permission”. I still have to remind myself ‘not everyone has to (or will) like me’. Jo xx


d March 26, 2012 at 3:24 am

My fave bit of advice along these lines is “Illegitimi non carborundum” :)


Paula March 26, 2012 at 3:47 am

The “drop of a hat” phrase is very well related to this theme. According to “this saying is said to come from the American West, where the signal for a fight was often just the drop of a hat. It may have an Irish origin, based on something like “he’s ready to fight at the drop of a hat” which in turn may be followed by “roll up your sleeves” or “take off your coat” ie items of clothing are involved in the start of fights.”

So if you take offense quickly (needlessly?) you take off your hat to fight. I`ll practice leaving my hat on and taking a breath.


sweetpea March 26, 2012 at 5:21 am

Yep. Too true. We are breeding little people this way. Wanna see acting out future victimhood, in a classroom of students, a good percentage need constant approval. The teacher looked at me funny, she is picking on me, I try really hard and she/he still hates me, who gives a sh** they don’t get me anyway, can’t stand the teacher (after perceived rejection) they give me bad marks, that’s the reason I am not doing well, I’ll show them! Ya da ya da yad…..

Here is a whole generation Craig, that will probably seek you out in a few years. (if they don’t hurt others first)
There’s the “clingy” and needy, there’s the I’ll get you before you get me- from the downright paranoic to the delusional.

We can excuse them because they are little and only
“acting out”. They are vulnerable and trying to make sense of themselves and the world, but it is learned behaviour.
Fast forward twenty years, and some of these, will be the perpetual litigants of the world, or even worse case scenario, too much rejection, too many betrayals…real or imagined…ladies and gents…” a thug is born”.
For showbiz people, writers, musicians, actors rejection is a constant. And what of the big betrayals? My government betrayed me …why have I got a gun in my hand again???
Post traumatic stress, perceived betrayal and a gun and we’ll read it in the news. A cheating spouse, betrayl then revenge, a blunt instrument, orphaned children.

Delusion. We’re standing in it, and in amongst it.
Sweetpea philosophy.

Dumbfu&*$%s are dangerous.


Karen March 26, 2012 at 7:38 am

Well said Craig and thanks for sharing!
I often quote to my boys or others….

‘What you think of me is none of my business’.

Sound advice.


Tara March 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

Thanks Craig, a total creed to live by! One foe the fridge :)


Fe March 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

I’d never cheat on you Craig:-)


Serena March 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

Who was it exactly that said that? I certainly want to read her work.


Keira March 26, 2012 at 8:50 am


I love your writing, really enjoyed this message and all your work I have seen so far. Love it!
Today you made me laugh and boy I needed that
Thank you!!


Gary March 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

A couple of years ago, when I first discovered your site, I set up a folder I call “Motivational Aussie” into which everything you’ve posted since, including CJ’s is located. I’ve sometimes disagreed but always respected your position. So here’s one respondent always ON your side. With my many years of counselling, I’ve got your back. Keep on keepin’ on. Go get ‘em tiger.
Gary in the States


Wendy March 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your stuff! Wendy


Ruth March 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

Wonderful Craig, The best bit of advice yet and cut straight to the bone that is appart from the girl friend.



Sandy Fishwick March 26, 2012 at 9:19 am

Love it, made me laugh and I needed that first thing this morning considering the shit going on in my workplace.


Jen N March 26, 2012 at 9:44 am

Bravo Craig!!

I totally agree with what you’ve said.
I especially like the “quote” near the end :)

Have a wonderful day everyone!


Anthony March 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

Gee Craig, another excellent and very sensible read. Not sure what to do with some of the people who fall into some of those categories. They just don’t get that continuation along that path will reap the same returns each time.
Like the Bourbons, ‘they forget nothing…they remember nothing’


Kate March 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

Wow, awesome I thankful for your honesty particularly in your position…that ex though wow that is pretty hard core!

lately I am just going through some massive times with this stuff and realise people really do all have different make ups. I actually almost feel ridculous by what has happened but hey I have a big herat and I NOW learnt the hard way – its up to others not me!

i dont really care the motivaiton behind people cheating its not who I am but REALLY grateful you shared this stuff as I was starting to think there was something wrong with me.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…


Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

Love your work………
Wish more people were as open and honest as you and tell it how it is. So sick of namby pamby people trying to please everyone and being PC and getting offended ‘at the drop of a hat’


Rafael March 26, 2012 at 11:32 am

Thanks again for remind us important stuff and keep up alert and realistic.


Hellen March 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

Love this one – especially No.3 Don’t be emotionally dependent – I’m so over being told I’m too independent – usually by clingy men who can’t function without a woman… Grrr


Triple G March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

My career choice basically guarantees a lot more rejection than acceptance/success and I’m still learning how to deal with it. 
This article has definitely taken me a few steps closer.. Thanks for sharing your story Craig.
‘and while I don’t love and look for rejection, I expect it’.. If its ok with you, I’ll use that :)
You’re awesome Craig, big hugs ()


Craig March 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Hello Triple G. Long time. Hope you’re great. ( )


Kelly March 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Could be my favourite post ever. Thanks mate.


Dorothy @ Singular Insanity March 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Ummm, I kind of thing that if you expect rejection you will get it. Not that it’s easy to constantly expect good things to happen, but it’s worth trying… Yes, I am one of those….


Theresa March 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Love your posts, loved this article. I know that in the past I used to struggle with imagined rejection but I haven’t dealt with rejection in a long time so I guess my skin is much thicker now. Also could you please tell us the name of that awesome Philosopher please…


Nikki March 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Great article once again Craig. I love the way you some times share your personal experiences with us all, even if they aren’t always that positive. Just keeping it real, hey X


Tee March 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

This is exactly what I needed to hear. Well said!
Love the statement, “the less needy we are, the more people will want to be around us. Needy people are rejection magnets. And, in case you were unclear, ‘needy’ – not sexy.” This is so true!
In the past I have not responded well to rejection, but I’m slowly getting better with the concepts you’ve mentioned above.
Cheers for the advice, it’s worth the occasional re-read to ensure that this concept really sinks in, and I’m not doing the “woe-is me” thing again and again!!


Missbkcol March 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Absolutely loved this article. Thank you!


Trolley Wife March 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

Great post. The cheating thing is awful. I have a couple of non negotiables in my life and that includes do not cheat on someone myself and do not accept being cheated on.

I like all you say in this post and would like to comment on the following points.

3. Don’t be emotionally dependant on people:
I have a great husband. We do our own thing, sport/hobby wise and many things together as well. We have 3 kids and we both work. We trust each other. I am not sure I could be in a relationship if I could not trust.
I love him going on a fishing weekend or me away on a hiking weekend, AWESOME. I get to hog the bed and there is no channel filcking with sports. YAY. Then you miss each other a bit and enjoy coming home. Maintaining Independance when you are a couple only enhances the union in my opinion. Needy and fearful people scare me somewhat as they tend to be incredibly selfish as well.

,7. Stick to the facts. (in the pretend relationship). How many people B.S about their relationship, to others and themselves. I know so many people who just take sh.. from their partners. Clearly though, there is a payoff such as $ or security of some kind etc. If they loved themselves, they would not stay. I find this always sad. We have one life.

I think the key to many of your posts is around loving ourselves.We ALL struggle sometimes. maybe this kind of psychology needs to start in schools with healthy self talk etc.

Great job Harpermyster, keep it up. Hugs for you.


Sohn March 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Fucking beautiful article. Gotta love yourself first and then you get the calm, confidence, and cool/contentedness like you said in #8.


Kelly Menzies March 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm

This is an excellent article Criag :-) None of us can control the actions of others so we will all at times experience rejection and betrayal. The ability to bounce back and develop the skills to do this is what makes us successful and happy!


Melanie April 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm

hi craig. I read your articles for quite a while now, and I have to say that this is the best article of all! It completely hits my nerve, being treated by other persons (or the fact that I take it to heart much too much) is my biggest problem. Rejection and the anger or disappointment that goes along with it are the things I struggle most with. I have problems to ignore it and I am always unsure about how to act and behave towards such persons in the specific situations, and what to say to them. Which things to say to come across as being strong, being unimpressed, but not childish or defiant.
I often asked myself before, why this typically happens to me and not to other people. But maybe I am really too needy. It’s a great suggestion.
Thanks very much!!!


Darren Butt April 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Hello i am Darren Butt

I enjoy reading your articles

I am looking forward to read more..


Clare September 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Craig I like the Pseudo friends, yes had a few of them along the way. I have had to cull some friends who were bringing me down, dumping on me and then I had nothing left in the tank to keep me going.


Anonymous February 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm

My emotional needs were largely ignored throughout my childhood. So as you can imagine, loving myself has been a hard thing to do. I’m justing starting to do so and am grateful of this article that helps me to overcome my obsession for acceptance by my parents.


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