He looked right through me…..I was so ashamed!
We need to feel seen, to be recognised. Even the self-sufficient person may carry a fear of not being acknowledged; self-sufficiency can be a way to avoid the pain of being ignored. The narcissist is often reacting to a terrible fear of being rejected.
The pain of not being seen varies according to who is looking right through us. Being ignored by a stranger is different to being cold-shouldered by our partner. However, no matter what the level of intensity, most of us fear being ignored.
What are our reactions when we feel ignored? We feel awkward, we feel embarrassed and blush. To be ignored is a source of shame. Another person’s rudeness may diminish them in our eyes, but for us the main person who is cut down in size is ourselves. Even the possibility of shame can stop us from reaching out to others and can lead to acute social anxiety. Read more Psychotherapy and shame