111: Understanding Rejection Sensitivity with Dr. Jared Defife

“We all have blind spots. We all have pitfalls and life terms. Part of the therapy process is about gaining insight and awareness of what those traps and what those lenses are and seeing that this is a recurrent theme that happens for you in your life.” (24:49) Some people look like they truly have it all. Great job, great family, and the drive to keep moving toward success. Oftentimes, in those who look like they have it all together, they are actually coping with a personality trait called rejection sensitivity. On the surface, rejection sensitivity looks like intrinsic motivation and perfectionism. The deeper you go, rejection sensitivity looks like isolation, anxiety, and intensity. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Jared DeFife about rejection sensitivity. Together, we explore where this personality trait originates; what it looks like; and how people can work with rejection sensitivity rather than allowing it to have control over every action and relationships. Jared also shares insight into the role that rejection sensitivity plays in his own life, and why blending insight and action regarding this trait is essential to learning to thrive professionally and interpersonally. Take a listen to learn about how to turn rejection sensitivity into a superpower-like trait and improve the lens through which you see the world along the way. About Dr. Jared DeFife: Dr. Jared DeFife is a clinical psychologist in private practice. He’s also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Science at the Emory University School of Medicine. Jared is passionate about helping “intense” people integrate interpersonal and personality-focused therapies drawing from schema-focused and mentalization-based therapies into their lives. Some Questions I Ask:
  • What is rejection sensitivity? (3:34)
  • How does rejection sensitivity show up in a personality? (7:35)
  • How can someone determine if they have rejection sensitivity? (19:47)
  • How can someone work with rejection sensitivity rather than let it take over their lives? (23:06)
  • How can people learn more about this trait? (35:37)
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
  • How people develop rejection sensitivity. (5:16)
  • Why high rejection sensitivity often gets mislabeled as narcissism. (13:43)
  • How rejection sensitivity differs from high sensitivity. (22:30)
  • How schema therapy approaches taking action on high rejection sensitivity. (28:44)
  • How rejection sensitivity exposes various modes within the personality. (31:00)
Resources: Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire Don’t Take it Personally! by Elayne Savage Reinventing Your Life by Jeffrey E. Young Jared’s Website