Ostracism Psychology

Ostracism Psychology, InfoMistico.com

Ostracism is the practice of refusing to participate in public life, either voluntarily or as a result of external pressure. The idea has its origins in the Greek language, where ostracism was a form of political punishment that consisted of expelling a person from his or her community after a vote in an assembly.

A person condemned to ostracism

The individual thus ostracized had ten days to leave the city and a prohibition to return for ten years. However, according to historians, this punishment was often lessened, allowing the punished person to return before the deadline expired.

Ostracism was defended as an option that helped the community at large by preventing people who, for one reason or another, were harmful from settling in a particular area.

The term “ostracism” is now used in politics to describe people exposed to a power vacuum that manifests itself in their exclusion from events, meetings, etc. For example:

  • The Congressman has been ostracized since the President reprimanded him in public.
  • The Secretary of Commerce came out of his shunned status when he attended a meeting with agricultural producers.

However, the term “ostracism” is more commonly used to describe someone who chooses not to go out in public or attend meetings.

In the case of celebrities, this choice may be made to avoid being bothered by people or as a result of extreme shyness or an antisocial personality:

“After receiving the award, I opted for ostracism, as I was not comfortable with celebrity.”

Racism as a reaction to rejection

The latter meaning of the phrase is also used in psychology to describe people who, for emotional reasons, are unable or reluctant to make eye contact with others.

These people often desire ostracism because they have experienced some form of rejection.


If a family member rejects us when we are very young, it leaves a wound in us that does not heal over time.

When we experience rejection, it has similar effects to physical pain, activating the same parts of the brain. This shows that the suffering we experience is real and not merely psychological. Consequently, our brain reacts similarly.

We instantly pull our arm away to avoid further agony when we are burned, just as we do when we are rejected, whenever our painful area rubs against something that physically hurts us.

When experiencing rejection or ridicule, we try to protect ourselves from further harm by avoiding interpersonal interactions.

It is crucial to note that social rejection is directly correlated with death; in prehistoric societies, people who were rejected recognized that their prospects for survival outside the group were essentially nonexistent.

Being rejected

According to popular belief, when we experience rejection, it triggers the memory of death or irreparable loss.

Being rejected deprives us of something that all people need: a sense of community.

Therefore, the emotional agony we experience fades or diminishes when we can make amends with those who have rejected us or when we forge new connections.

But more importantly, rejection often causes people to take antisocial actions (contrary to what drives their nature). And because it forces you to isolate yourself and seek solace in unsatisfying loneliness, this is one of the worst repercussions of this distress in a person’s life.

Ostracism can have a variety of negative effects, from laziness and depression to the urge to numb the pain through addictions or other risky activities and can even lead to suicide.

With information from definicion.de