How To Manage and Cope With Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?

Last Update on April 6, 2021 : Published on October 21, 2020
How To Manage and Cope With Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

While there is nothing that therapy can’t fix, there exists one such mental health condition which is yet to be resolved through therapy. That is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. While rejection in itself is painful, people with ADHD, ADD or autism finds it even more difficult to deal with the emotions associated with it.

Plus, with no therapy-based treatment available until now, it might seem a daunting task to deal with these emotions.

Also Read: Do I Need Therapy? Signs You Need To See A Therapist

So, does that mean there is no way to cope with the signs and symptoms of rejection-sensitive dysphoria?

No. That’s not true. You can cope with rejection-sensitive dysphoria by adapting healthy coping styles. But it is important that we first understand the unhealthy coping styles, create acceptance and awareness, and then turn them into a healthy ones.

The Common Unhealthy Coping Styles Practiced in Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

It has been seen that people who experience RSD generally cope with it by responding in either of the two ways (which are not healthy).

The Unhealthy Coping Styles of RSD

Trying to please others. They become too busy identifying what other person admires the most and ensuring that they are always pleased with them that they forget what they truly want from their lives.

Stop trying at all. The risk of failing in front of someone ends in giving up on almost every aspect of life. Mostly, the anxiety-provoking activities are avoided at all costs, and little or no efforts are made to accomplish them.

Coping with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria: Learn to Manage it Healthily

For you to deal with RSD or rejection-sensitive dysphoria these temporary and unhealthy coping strategies have to be changed with healthier ones. This can be done at three levels.

There are three levels at which you can cope with RSD. At the first level, you learn to cope with rejection-sensitive dysphoria before it happens. At the second level, we will discuss ways to delay our reaction after the incident has taken place. Finally, at the third level, we will see what can be done after the event has occurred and it has ended.

First Level Coping With Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Here the focus will be on creating a protective shield that will help us deal with rejection sensitivity dysphoria before it gets triggered.

This includes:

1. Have fidget toys in your daily activities. He helps you burn off that extra nervous energy.

2. Pen down your counter-arguments. Before the mean-spirited voice in your head starts up with an argument it is advised that you write down in a journal or on a piece of paper a list of counter-arguments to raise against it. You can make a list of the following aspects of your life:

A list of your closed ones (on whom you can always count on).

A list of what is lovable in you according to your loved ones.

A list of your small victories and achievements (even the trivial ones).

3. Create a script beforehand that you can use in the situation when you won’t be able to voice your emotions. It will help you communicate how you are feeling when you are too anxious to say it out.

4. Leave the situation but not abruptly. Create a script or agree on a signal that will demonstrate that you wish to leave the situation.

This can be accomplished through:

Agreeing on a hand gesture as a signal.

Using a codeword.

Using a short script.

Second Level Coping With Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

When the emotional hurt starts to boil within you here is what can be done to make sure that it doesn’t erupt out dysfunctionally here is what can be done.

1. Just leave the situation by using the sign that has been agreed upon. After leaving the situation involves things that calm you down and focus on your breath to gather yourself.

2. If you can’t leave the situation just try to distract yourself from the negative emotions.

3. Convert your emotional energy to the physical one. You can effectively turn your feelings of hurt and anger into movement.

Make use of fidget toys,

Do workout that you enjoy the most.

Go out for a run or walk.

3. Instead of talking to the person in the given situation choose to text a close one (who understands you well) or just write your thoughts on a piece of paper. This will work as a cool-down activity and will help you convey your thoughts better.

Third Level Coping With Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

After the RSD-provoking trigger is out of the way it is time to focus on learning the right ways to regulate your emotions. This will help you validate your emotions and deal with similar situations with much efficacy.

1. Start by being gentle with yourself. Remind yourself that your emotions are valid although they might have been a little too intense for the situation. This way you won’t completely nullify your emotions.

2. Instead of making a big pile of your emotions and stew over them, involve yourself in questioning yourself. It will free up your suppressed emotions. Some of the questions that you can ask yourself are:

Do I want to feel this way?

Am I really upset over what has happened?

Does criticism truly define me?

3. Constantly remind yourself that this situation won’t last forever. It is not a state, it is a moment that will pass by.

4. Remember the counter-arguments we discussed in the first level of coping with RSD? It is the right time to put it to use here. Shut the demeaning inner voice by putting forward the counter-arguments.

5. Spend quality self-reflection time with yourself. For this, you have to find a quiet and comfortable place first and then sit down with your journal (or pencil and paper). Then you are all set to reflect on your emotions and the triggering situation. All you have to do is ask questions that you find important.

Here are some prompts for you to use:

How does this feeling of rejection make you feel?

How do you wish for it to be changed or solved?

What was the point or incident that made me feel this way today?

What could have been tweaked a little in the above situation to make it different and better for you?

This way you will be able to identify the triggers, emotions underlying it, and learn better tools to handle the situation next time.

5. You can also pretend to be your friend. Not only is this a great way to cope with RSD with compassion but also ensures that you look at the whole situation without any biases.

Now go try these healthy coping styles for rejection-sensitive dysphoria for yourself or share it with someone who you know is struggling with the same.

Remember: You are capable of amazing things in your life. Just believe in yourself and work on these coping styles you will get through it.

More power and love to you…

Next Read:

How CBT Dismantles ADHD Negativity

Effective Parenting Tips for a Child with ADHD

Mini-Guide: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

How ADHD Affects Relationship and How to make it work

About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.


  1. akshita

    Rejection has always been a motivation for me to move forward with more power.

  2. Forb

    Interesting! I don't know if I have RSD but rejection sure has at one point taken a toll on my life, I was able to cope with it but remains still lie.. I do use a fidget spinner, I do pen down thoughts and now after reading this blog, I am glad that I am armed with more techniques

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