Skip to content

Excruciatingly Painful

Alexander cried himself to sleep tonight. He doesn’t feel like he has any friends.

I know the feeling.I want to crawl in bed with him and wait for the little death that is sleep.

I’ve never in my life felt a pain so sharp and so dull all at once. A full body thud that sends you numb combined with a sharp searing twisting coldness that starts in your throat and moves to your belly. Every time Alexander cried and said, “I’m a idiot and no one likes me.” I wanted to sob and scream and explain to him that they do all like him, but they’re nine. They like themselves better. I tried to remind him that he’d played with six great kids this weekend, four of them today.

And he started on about not being respected, and that they don’t want to play his games. He cried about not having friends at school. It’s a small school. He has friends there, but to be fair his closer friendships come from sports.

My son’s anguish made me want to promise myself that I’d never send him to his room again, that I’d never take away Playstation, and that I’d never yell at him for dawdling before bedtime or even starting a fire. I wanted to wrap myself around him as a protective blanket and promise him that the world will see him for who he is one day. They’ll spot the sweetness and the generosity without exploiting it. They’ll see that he’s a team player and that’s a good thing. The intelligence will cease to disarm them, and enchant them as it should.

The goofiness, they’ll all be goofy together.

I’d like to see my son happy, radiantly happy, but he’s so tight lipped that I’m not sure if the tears were brought on by an event or a lifestyle.

This is a pain so deep and so terrifying that I don’t know that it can be named.


10 thoughts on “Excruciatingly Painful”

  1. I too feel your pain – we are going through the same thing with my son too…

    This started in Kindy for him, now he is in year 2 he is starting to have a few friends.. all of his close friends are from outside of school though. It is very tough and very very heart wrenching… hope things pick up soon for him (and yourself)

  2. ohhh :( …he’s such a good, bright, fun boy to be around. Truly one of my favorite kids. I know it’s painful for all, but you’re right…it’s nine, not him. He’s wonderful — this will pass. Just keep hugging him tight and keep reminding him of how amazing he is. He’ll feel that his peers like him for all his great traits soon. (PS — my boys certainly do!)

  3. This made my heart ache for your little boy. I am terrified of future moments like this with my three children. Every child has to have moments of feeling like the unwanted one, right? A horrible, cruel step in the process of learning to be a good person.I hope this passes quickly for you both, and he finds himself overwhelmed with the number of friends he is surrounded by soon.

  4. Oh honey. This is the part where we really get that phrase about “having children is like letting your heart get up and walk around outside of your body.”
    The world just batters them sometimes and you want to fight back – but there’s really no one to fight.
    I have told my daughter for as long as she could understand it “boys are weird, girls are complicated” – and they are. Boys *are* weird. They are these little alien beings who do things that make no sense except to their own brains. Girls *are* complicated. They take a lot of time and effort to understand and well, who ever really does?
    But that boy of yours? He’s feeling “weird” – so tell him it’s normal. All of those boys feel the fear that they will say or do something, or not say or do the right thing, and suddenly they will be outcast. Tell him to find his one or two people and cling tightly – because those 1 or 2 friends will get him through the next 10 years.
    (((((hug)))))) from one mama to another.

  5. Am crying for you and your sweet boy, I COMPLETELY know how you’re feeling. Yesterday my son and I pulled up in our driveway from having run errands. He saw the neighbor boys playing basketball in their driveway with a friend — like a sweet eager puppy, he told me he wanted to go play with them. I’ve seen these kids shun and exclude my boy too many times and before I could stop myself, I said gently “OK, but don’t be upset if they don’t want to play right now, they look pretty involved with their friend.” To which my son replied in a tiny voice, “But I”m a friend too?” I realized I had to shut up and let him go next door and try — for the millionth time — to play with the just-not-that-into-him neighbor kids. He grabbed his nerf sword and shield and went bounding across the yard. I let him go. And then he came back in, crestfallen, because of course they had rejected him. And my heart broke — for the millionth time.

    I don’t know, Jess. It’s childhood, isn’t it. Our babies hurt and we can’t fix it and it sucks. I comfort myself by remembering the times I felt excluded or hurt when I was little and here I am, decades later — I survived. F*** ’em. Alexander will survive, and so will you. But I’m so sorry you’re both sad. Love to you both.

  6. I feel for you and your son very deeply. My son has gone through the same thing; I even moved him to a new school so he could get away from the kids that just plain avoided him. He’s always been one of those boys who got along best with anyone but kids his own age — brotherly with older kids, protective with younger kids, well liked by adults. I’ve found that he seemed to be most comfortable outside the school environment, especially at camp, which unfortunately lasts only two months out of the year. For the past 18 months I’ve made a real effort to get him together with outside friends, even going as far as sending him to every camp friend’s out of town bar mitzvah. Things have gotten so much better — he joined BBYO (youth group) this fall and has made friends with guys who like him and want to be with him; consequently he doesn’t worry any more about whether his classmates ask him to hang out. Getting him involved in activities and friendships outside of school has worked wonders. Best of luck.

  7. Aiden starts kindergarten in August and I am so fearful about this. I was a weird child and he is so much like me. I worry that someone might not like him or he might feel rejected. I wish I could just wrap myself around him and keep him to myself. Such a hard thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *