Jekylling: When he responds to rejection with aggression

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Rejection with aggression. Photo/Courtesy

A man admires a woman and expresses interest in her by telling her a lot of sweet nothings. The woman politely turns him down. But instead of accepting and moving on, the guy insults the woman and becomes abusive… 

Dating and courtship are some of the most adventurous parts of life­­ – getting to know someone and deciding if they are perfect for you.

As much as everybody should have the freedom to decide who they desire, rejecting some people’s proposals doesn’t always turn out so well.

In fact, some men even become abusive when they don’t get what they want. 

Triza Achieng’, an IT student at the Technical University of Mombasa, shares her recent experience in school with an admirer who sourly turned enemy upon rejection.

“The guy used to hit on me online. He would comment on my photos. And generally comment on anything I put online.

Until he realised that I was ignoring him. Then he just started abusing me. Talking negatively about my physical appearance and everything I posted.

I did not know what to do. My elder sister was the first to notice him and asked me if we were joking because he had become a full blown cyber-bully. She told me to block him everywhere,” she shares. 

Nkatha Kagia also shares her recent experience of sweet gone sour after refusing advances from her DJ friend.

“He has been my friend for a while. In fact, he asked me out twice or thrice on a date and I went because I liked him, but not intimately.

I did not want to be rude because we have met several times at a local club where he works.

So his advances took a quick shift when he took to commenting on my Instagram photos calling me “My love, Sweetheart”…and other sweet nothings. I was not at that level with him yet.

I had not accepted to be with him, so it became too much for me. I pulled down the comments and another time, a whole photo down from Instagram.

The next thing I knew, he was in my WhatsApp calling me disgusting words. I just cut him off completely. I don’t respond even to his apologies or anything,” she shares. 


These two experiences are just a few of many women who have had to deal with a Jekyll. Jekylling is when a man seems to have two sides about him.

For instance, he may seem good and nice as he asks for a woman’s number or for a date, but as soon as she politely turns him down, the man instantly changes becoming abusive, insulting the woman just because he was rejected. 

Men who will Jekyll a woman will make a shocking drastic change in behaviour and tone from being nice to extremely and intentionally horrible.

The word jekylling is borrowed from a famous novel The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which tells the story of the good-natured Dr Jekyll whose personality is sometimes suddenly, unpredictably taken over by the evil and monstrous Mr Hyde. 

According to psychologist Tracy Nyaguthii, jeykylling has been around for a long time. However, with the rise of online dating, there could be numerous incidences.

One would have thought with the much advancement in our society, this would have been resolved. It is evident that a lot of men do not know how to handle rejection.

In a patriarchal society such as ours, it seems like jeyklling is a way to stamp dominance on women.“Research indicates that many men associate rejection with their masculinity.

Men tend to support masculine honour more than women. Therefore, when they feel their masculinity is being threatened, they will many times take it personally and fight for it,” she says. 

 Way forward

“Women on the other hand in our society are socialised to be polite and agreeable even when they are not interested in a date or a person. Men are socialised to expect women to give them what they want.

They have a sense of entitlement, so when a man experiences rejection, some  tend to respond aggressively,” shares the psychologist.  

Although not all men are the same, she says most of the time how a man will respond to rejection depends on their upbringing.

Men who grow up with negative masculinity and traditions that undermine women will portray such habits. 

She advises women on the receiving side of insults after rejection to be careful not to take the insults personally, as they are not the ones at fault. They still have power to choose either to accept or reject a person.

“When men exhibit habits of jekylling, they think they are exerting power and dominance, whereas in actual fact, they are demonstrating that their initial kind intentions were false.

The man is showing you their true colours. Women need to be careful of men that seem to be two faced.

There are many reports of women who have been attacked even lost their lives as a result of men who could not handle rejection well.

It is important as a woman once a man displays jekylling behaviour to cut communication with them, either block them and if the problem persists, report them to police as this is tantamount to harassment.

Our society needs to promote positive masculinity–one that respects and dignifies women.

It is important that boys are rightly socialised to eliminate this problem,” says Tracy.

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