10 Steps of Healing for When You Feel Ignored

The pain of being ignored, overlooked or neglected can one of the most challenging wounds to overcome. When someone is ignored continually in their life, it is deeply painful with unrelenting torment.

Masses of people have the experience of being ignored. Are you one of them?

Do you anticipate that people will ignore you, overlook you and not acknowledge you? Have you become so used to the pain of being ignored that you’ve come to expect this to happen?

The Pain of Being Ignored

Do you feel like when you walk into a room, no one even knows you are there? In conversation, do people talk all about themselves, never taking the time to ask about you? Do you sit in meetings where no one ever asks for your input?

Many of you reading this have a sign on your heart that believes, “No one sees me. No one cares about what I have to say. I don’t think I matter.”

Do you feel constantly overlooked, not listened to? Do you feel you live in a world where people just don’t seem to pay attention to you?

If you say “yes” to any of this, know that you are not alone. Masses of others are carrying the same pain. The painful wounds of being ignored are a place where rejection hopes to latch its claws into and keep people in a lifetime of unhealed pain.

Feeling Ignored Many Times in My Life

I have gone through many seasons of my life where I felt ignored or overlooked continually. I struggled in deep pain, as rejection whispered a series of lies to pound me into a place of discouragement, in the hopes that I would give up and stop moving forward.

There are so many times where you can feel like no one is listening or paying attention. At times, you can start feeling like you’re crazy, when it seems people are not hearing you out. If I did not discern that being ignored was an area rejection was seeking to keep me locked into, I don’t think I would have bothered to write books, start a podcast or even develop online materials.

I’m telling you. The enemy came at me with relentless attacks of, “nobody wants to hear this. Nobody cares. Just quit.” Rejection brought up my past wounds of being ignored and sought to multiply them.

Many of you reading this are in the same struggle.

Rejection and Being Ignored

Here is the bottom line: rejection wants to use the wound of “being ignored” as a place to keep you in continual repeated patterns, to the point that you get used to being ignored. Ultimately, you can develop limiting beliefs that anticipate you being ignored. Over time, you can even feel like you are being ignored when it’s not even happening.

Rejection hopes to condition you in a world where being ignored is what you experience and what you expect. This cycle can keep so many in patterns of limitation and unfruitful relationships.

Rejection and Interpretation

The place that rejection steals, kills and destroys the most is your relationship filter, by interfering with how you interpret relationship interactions.

You text someone and they don’t reply. Pretty soon you are spiraling into the pain of them ignoring you. Meanwhile, they may just be in a meeting and can’t respond.

You walk by your pastor in the hallway and he does not acknowledge you. You immediately think he’s ignoring you, when in reality, he just got news that someone in the church has passed away and he is processing what happened.

You have emailed someone and haven’t heard back. Rejection gives you a diabolical plot on how the other person is handling your email. Meanwhile, what you are projecting may not even be close to true.

But rejection doesn’t care. It wants you to feel the deceptive story as gospel truth.

Patterns of Being Ignored

But then there are those genuine moments where you seem to experience being ignored continually. They often happen in specific patterns and cycles. Many confess to me a feeling that they “attract” being ignored everywhere they go. It’s as if rejection is following them around, hoping to cultivate setups of being ignored, so they come into full agreement with a rejection mindset.

Most discover the pain of being ignored often leads back to childhood times. Those early experiences mirror their modern day experience.

For years, I thought there was something really wrong with me.

I had to realize that rejection was seeking to pull me into a belief that what I had to offer or say did not matter. If I allowed myself to come into full agreement with these attacks, it would halted my growth as an author. I would never have published the material I have come out with.

The Culture of Ignore

It does not help that in modern culture, the possibility of people ignoring you is increasing. It is way to common and even socially acceptable for friends to ignore phone calls and even texts. If someone you know well emails or messages you, it’s quite common for people to ignore it without giving the communication any thought.

We have every communication tool available to mankind. But it has also made us very relationally lazy. On top of it all, everyone is so busy, it makes it easier for people to ignore one another, to pass by genuine opportunities to love, connect with others and validate each other in healthy ways.

The Lost Art of a Good Conversation

Our culture feeds the ignore virus because many have lost the art of having an empowering conversation. In the midst of great communication, the expression of love has a deep work in our hearts. People listen, affirm, connect and validate places of our heart that need healing.

Could it be that people are being ignored and neglected, because our brokenness hinders our ability to communicate effectively?  

Would it change our lives if we saw each interaction as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love? Would we listen better? Would we slow down enough to have genuine connections?

Everyone wants to know they matter. They wants to feel like they mean something. We want to know that our voice means something and what we have to offer is significant.  

Lack of Validation

When you grow up feeling ignored, neglected or overlooked, it can leave a wound of rejection that steals your sense of validation. Being validated means you are feeling affirmed in who you are and your ability to overcome. With validation, your confidence soars. Without validation, you can easily fall into two dangerous patterns:

  • You overcompensate, try too hard and strive for people to notice you.
  • You come into full agreement that people ignore you, don’t care, so it’s not even worth it to try.

Both of these patterns can keep you locked in a rejection mindset and a cycle of limitation. That is why it’s important to be aware of your personal history, to see how rejection may be conditioning your thinking and behavior.

What’s Happening Here?

As someone who has experienced the “ignore” factor numerous times in very painful ways, I have learned to ask God, “What’s going on here? What do I need to address to overcome this limiting pattern?” it is one thing to be ignored, it’s another to have that pattern hover over your life and own you.

So here are some thoughts to keep in mind when it comes to healing the wound of being ignored.

1. Recognize the Rejection Wound of Being Ignored in Your Life

God revealed to me that I had a deep wound of being ignored. It followed me around, pushing me to get angry and even fall into self-pity, thinking I could never break through. I was tempted with thoughts of, “What’s the point? Does anyone even care?”

Anytime an individual or group would act in any way like they were ignoring me, it would trigger that pain. Even if they weren’t really ignoring me.

But I had to step back and say, “This isn’t about them. I need to deal with this rejection root that is in my heart.”

2. Be Aware of Your Agreements

It’s one thing to be ignored. It’s a whole different thing to carry an agreement that being ignored is part of who you are and what you will always experience.

The danger of broken experiences is that they can become a part of our identity. We can wear those areas of pain as a cloak.

People who have been ignored long enough can easily develop agreements like, “nobody cares about what I have to say” or “what I do does not matter.” Even worse, “Who I am doesn’t matter, because no one is listening. No one cares.”

What happen to you does not have to be your future. But you need to be aware of those inner agreements that actually welcome those repeated patterns of rejection to continue.  

3. Be Aware of Your Dysfunctional Coping Patterns

There are two broken responses to being ignored.

  • One is to try harder, yell louder or do things that attempt to bring attention to yourself. This option is not only unhealthy, it will cause people to get turned off and withdraw. You will then feel even more rejected and ignored.
  • The other option is to quit and not even bother trying. This allows rejection to have the final say, where you sit under a cap of limitation in your life continually. If you don’t bother trying, then breakthrough cannot happen.

4. Tear Down Your Idols

Rejection adds lighter fluid to wounds, eventually leading  you to build idolatrous mindsets. You begin to believe, “People must listen to me or pay attention to me, or I’m gonna get mad! I cannot be at peace unless people stop ignoring me!”

When rejection is in your life, you think the only way for your heart to be healed is for people to acknowledge you. You end up on a never ending search of fulfillment that never satisfies. Only God can heal that place.

I had to repent for the idolatry that I carried in my heart, which said I can only be happy if people acknowledge what I am saying. When I repented and broke agreement with the lie, it made the pain easier to heal. I gave it over to God and let go of the need to be heard.

Funny thing is, when I let go of the idol, I actually saw breakthrough, where I experienced a new dynamic in relationships. Fruitfulness began to manifest because I let go, but learned to step forward without rejection dictating my perspective.

5. Do You Ignore Others?

Now before you build a hefty case of how the world ignores you and neglects you, have you ever thought that you actually ignore others the same way you were ignored?

Do you actually manifest to others the very thing that happens to you?

You have to remember, unhealed pain often gets repeated on others. You may hate what happened to you, but you can easily manifest that same ignoring pattern on others if you don’t get some healing.

In order for you to heal, it can help to get out of yourself for a moment and just recognize that you too have ignored others, even if you did not mean to.

It may lead you to have just a little more patience with others, as you recognize your own challenges in relationship interactions.

6. Don’t Overcompensate

Many feed the wound of being ignored with massive overcompensation. They work so hard to get attention, recognition or validation in ways that are painfully unhealthy. But they can be so unaware of their broken wound of being ignored, they unconsciously seek for attention or validation anywhere and in anyway they can.

But you have to be aware that you overcompensate. In my pastoring years, I did my best to try and help those who over-talked or monopolized social situations. I remember at times saying, “You don’t have to try so hard.”

But that did not land well most of the time. I learned first-hand over and again that if someone doesn’t personally recognize their broken pattern, they’ll defend their actions to the grave.

7. Stop Assuming the Motives of Others

Beware of your assumptions.

People who have unhealed wounds of being ignored often act like they know exactly why other people do what they do.

But be careful of this, because it can become a blanket habit. And remember, unhealed brokenness throws off your ability to discern.

Don’t assume everyone is out to get you. Don’t assume they are all jerks, hypocrites and liars. It is very dangerous to lump people up into negative categories.

When you are wounded, it can be so easy to place intense expectations on other people. They become unreasonable. People will easily fail your lofty expectations, which will lead to placing a deeply negative story over their life.

Beware of the story you place on others, as there is so much under the surface that you are not aware of. There’s brokenness in their hearts that God is working on too, so let go of the intense expectation you have on them. Forgive those who cannot give you the attention you need and move on.

Chose a better story about other people, otherwise rejection will feed a bitter root that will choke the life of out of you and your relationships.

Trust me. I have seen this over and again. Rejection will create a perspective that seems right, but is inaccurate.

8. Realign Your Personal Agreements

You may have been ignored, but that does not have to be who you are. That does not need to be your identity, nor does it need to be the dominant theme of your future.

But you will have to start developing new agreements. I find that in order to do that, I have to repent of current agreements that are keeping me bound. I need to bring them to the surface and cast them down.

Where those lies and limiting beliefs have been, I need to replace them. Where rejection has been, I need to replace that with receiving God’s love, affection and affirmation. He alone can fill the validation of my heart that I need. So each day, I recommend that you tune your meditation, declarations and focus into an empowered story that welcomes God’s love and attention over your life.

9. Learn to Develop Resilience

All of us will experience being ignored. Those who have experienced it intensely will need to develop stronger spiritual and emotional muscles of resilience. This involves the ability to bounce back when you have been ignored. The more you learn to overcome, the quicker you bounce back. Ultimately, you can get to the place where people ignoring you doesn’t take you off track anymore. You’ve tuned into God’s voice of love and affirmation. He sees you.

People may continue to ignore you, but when you develop resilience, you learn to move on without bitterness and toxicity. God is filling you, so you spend time focusing on more fruitful paths.

10. Create Some New Patterns and Responses

When the rejection wound of being ignored is intact, you will tend to follow a certain pattern of reaction. Maybe you will stew in it or share your anger with a bunch of people. Maybe you go into silent pity. You may even shove the pain down as far as you can.

I have personally found that to break free, I have to break the patterns I used to fall into. The first thing I do is I look for a more empowering story to place over the situation. Then I consider a new response. If I am tempted to think someone ignored my text, I will give it another try, just to give them the benefit of the doubt. I may need to just shake off a potential situation of being ignored. Sometimes I find it’s just not God’s timing for me to connect with that person. I look for the grace, where God is opening up relationship opportunities and I invest there.

Keep an Eye Out

As you heal, it’s important to be aware of those who are being ignored, those that God could use you to encourage. You know what it’s like to be ignored. So you are the best candidate to encourage others who are going through similar or worse experiences.

Don’t let your wound of being ignored drive you to obsess over yourself. Look out for those who need some encouragement.

I find that the most powerful ministry happens when you give out of where God has been healing you. It brings about a humble and authentic expression of God through your life.

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