Dealing With Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)

Rejection can be extremely painful & devastating.

Dr. Psychology
3 min readJul 2, 2022


Rejection sensitivity.
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Almost all of us have faced rejection through the course of our lives and have a certain amount of resiliency and different coping mechanisms of our own to deal with rejection. Rejection is not exactly a painful or devastating experience for many but for people suffering from RSD, rejection can be an extremely painful experience.

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences extreme emotional sensitivity due to an actual or perceived rejection or criticism.

RSD can be for anyone and matches the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Personality Disorder, Depression, and Social Phobia.

Symptoms of RSD

  • Handling healthy criticism with embarrassment & as a sign of failure.
  • Extremely overwhelmed by negative experiences. Often hung up on negative thoughts.
  • Expecting either the worst or best to happen, disregarding the realistic scenarios. Sometimes, creating hypothetical scenarios of rejection.
  • Turning into people-pleasers, to avoid criticism or rejection. In this case, becoming extremely docile with people and showing carpet-like behavior.
  • If not people-pleasers, they are bent on perfectionism to avoid rejection.
  • Low Self-esteem.
  • Problems with relationships.
  • Self-sabotaging thoughts.

An RSD Individual’s Reactions To Rejection

However, their reaction can be completely different from one another, as it may cause them to explode on someone or completely shut down.

Their reactions can be classified under two dimensions, one contrary to another. The first dimension is where they externalize their reactions and hence affecting or harming the people around them or particularly the person who rejected them.

In the second dimension, their reactions are self-sabotaging i.e. the reactions are internalized. They either show external or internal reactions, not both at once.

Externalized Reactions



Dr. Psychology

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