Childhood rejection sends messages that lead to beliefs that hurt the victim long after the original rejection is over. Some of these beliefs are:
These beliefs are likely to lead to rejection of the victim long into the future and thus to create a self propagating vicious cycle.
The paranoia created by rejection can lead to a vicious cycle that generates hostility.
Rejection can make monsters. The following is an excerpt of an article that appeared in Time Magazine (Dec 20, 1999) about the Columbine High School massacre.
On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris planted three sets of bombs: One set a few miles away, timed to go off first and lure police away from the school; a second set in the cafeteria, to flush terrified students out into the parking lot, where Harris and Klebold would be waiting with their guns to mow them down; and then a third set in their cars, timed to go off once the ambulances and rescue workers descended, to kill them as well. The bombs didn't go off. After two minutes they walked toward the school and opened fire, shooting randomly and killing the first two of their 13 victims. And then they headed into the building.
...Get down!" Nielson screamed. She dialed 911 and dropped the phone when the two gunmen came in...The 911 dispatcher listening on the open phone line could hear Harris and Klebold laughing as their victims screamed. When Harris found Cassie Bernall, he leaned down. "Peekaboo," he said, and killed her.
Before they massacred their fellow students, Dylan and Klebold made videotapes in which they discussed their plans. In one of the tapes Harris said how people continually made fun of him -- "my face, my hair, my shirts." Klebold said how his brother and his brother's friends constantly "ripped" on him and how his extended family treated him like the runt of the litter. "You made me what I am," he said.
Buford O'Neal Furrow who grew up in the Olympia, Wash., suburb of Nisqually, was taunted in school for being overweight and unpopular. He found acceptance in the Aryan Nations, a notorious neo-Nazi group. On Tuesday August 10th, 1999 Buford walked into a Los Angeles Jewish Center and opened fire on children there.
Did Buford's rejection and Dylan and Eric's rejection make them into the monsters they became? Or were they rejected because they were monsters to begin with? Certainly one reason Buford was rejected was because he was overweight. However, he started out, it is likely that a vicious cycle was created from rejection that led to increasing anger and ultimately to his joining a hate group. I don't mean to absolve him of his responsibility for what he did but just to show that rejection may have played a role and that rejection is a problem that should be taken more seriously by adults.
Does a child have to be bad to begin with to be rejected? A child might be rejected because he doesn't share the values of a group and doesn't conform to them. If for example, the majority of students at a school taunt their teachers and don't do their work, and one child answers the teachers questions and works hard, that child is likely to be rejected.
Rejection contributed to the mental illness that almost caused Karl Ericson to spend the rest of his life in mental hospitals.
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