A friend once told me that in order to be a great boxer you don’t just have to like hitting people, you also have to like getting hit. I would say the same thing about writers and rejection. In order to succeed as a writer it helps if you can welcome the adversity of rejection. This is definitely true for me. I mean, I don’t exactly like rejection, but I certainly spent enough years being bombarded by it to know that I’m someone who’s going to keep swinging.

But I’ve never before faced a foe with such an absolute ability to break my heart.

I know that many of you have been following the struggles our family has been facing as a result of Tariku’s early childhood trauma and the resulting behaviors. I think the one that’s the hardest for me to talk about is that T often rejects me. And when he rejects me he does it like he does everything: big and loud and unmistakable. I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear, “Mommy, LEAVE,” or, “Mommy, NO COME.” And that’s not even getting into the hitting and biting and throwing things at my head. Perhaps most saddening to me is when he’ll use an intimate, cuddly moment as an opportunity to punch me in the eye.

I don’t mean to make it sound like this is a summation of our entire relationship, because it’s not. We also have plenty of awesome times and sweet moments. But it’s there and it’s real and it’s something we deal with daily in one way or another.

This is so hard for me to talk about. I think I’m only able to write about it now because I’m in New York on business for a few days, so I can get enough distance from the situation to gain some perspective. Nothing I’ve encountered as a mother has sent me to quite as dark a place as the rejection. I have guilt- what if I worked less, what if I yelled less, what if I was better at the balance, what if I was cheerier, what if I was more fun? What if I could draw a perfect elephant? What if I was different somehow? Would that make my child love me?

Realistically, I know it isn’t me. I’m not perfect, certainly, but that’s not the problem. It makes sense that with all of the trauma and transition my son has experienced in his short life, he would make it his business to be the one to do the rejecting rather than risk being hurt again. I have great faith in the healing we’ve committed to as a family but I also know that it’s a long process. We have quite a few rounds left to go.

But today, I have a little break between rounds. I get to walk through a New York April while I keep reminding myself that parenting isn’t about how much love I get to take from the world, but how much love I get to bring to it. And I love that kid crazy, crazy, crazy.

12 thoughts on “Rejected

  1. Good to get a break and refresh. Thanks for the sharing! In my son’s first 3 years he was the sweetest boy. Oh, and he still is. Love you today.


  2. Oh Jillian…I just wanna give you a great big hug and tell you that T loves you SO MUCH! I know that it is a challenge…parenting is the hardest damn job in the world even when your kid hasn’t been through early trauma! Hang in there and believe in yourself…I sure do! Someday he will be able to tell you that you guys are his heroes. XOXOXO

  3. I have a 2 1/2 year old step daughter. I love her as my own, and more so since she’s the offsring of my soulmate. She is an angel to all, except myself. In the past year she has experienced and seen things at her mother’s expense that a little girl should not endure. A strong little soldier, and a very intelligent one, she is fully aware that I am not her mother. As a result of my and my husband’s work schedules, I am her primary caretaker. The mention of her mother only comes to surface when her and I are alone and allots for 65% of the conversations we carry. My husband and mother-in-law almost never hear the boisterous “Where’s MY mommy? I have to see her. She come get me soon.” And I’m left speechless most of the time because I know it will be another month or so before she sees her mother.

    Since I am the only mother figure in her life, my step daughter’s anger for her mother is taken out on me, verbally and physically. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant with my first child, and being a grown woman I should be able to handle the emotional impact of a 2 year old’s words. That’s just not the case.

    All we can do as mothers is to love our children through the hard times, and be empathetic and respectful. Unfotunately we cannot dive into their heads and probe the thoughts that provoke these actions.

    Good luck to you and yours ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I understand. As many times as I tell myself not to take it personally, it still deeply hurts my feelings. How could it not, really? Sending much love to you on your journey!

  4. That was the most honest, open, emotional and beautiful article I think I’ve ever read. You brought tears of joy to my eyes just knowing that no matter what your son is coming to terms with (and I just hopped onto your blog so I haven’t the foggiest idea of what his past is all about), you are always going to be there for him to love him, guide him, respect him. I read somewhere that children hit, hurt and test their parents because “who better to hit, hurt and test than those who love you unconditionally?” and I know that is the truth. You are a beautiful person inside and out and you are both very lucky to have each other. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I have just “stumbled” across you via a comment grom someone on my facebook page and feel so blessed to be reading your posts. Love your honesty, integrity and “realness”…. You go girl and keep on being such a ray of sunshine and exquisite breath of fresh air. I don’t even know yu, but omehow you made my day! Aroha(means love) to you and yours from NZ xo

  6. I am a new reader from rage against the minivan and a future adoptive parent (hopefully of a boy ages 2-5 from the county we live in). It is so refreshing for me to read honest, raw, touching accounts of motherhood like the one you shared. Thank you!

  7. I’ve worked with so many families who take years to get to the point you are at, of being able to say ‘this is real and not perfect’ and talk about it, but also not to personalise it. You are very brave and sound like a wonderful mother,

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