Family Photos

  • 2 Replies
  • 214 Views
*

Wilderhearts

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 262
Family Photos
« on: August 02, 2020, 05:39:13 PM »
I've been cleaning out more of the closet and garage, trying to let go of things that no longer serve a purpose.  I went through thousands of family photos the other day, a case-full that my uNPDf had kept after the divorce.  They were pretty hard to look at. 

My nonM looks like a ghost of herself in a lot of them - her face is drawn, exhausted, empty, hopeless.  Sort of like what you'd expect to see looking at photos of war refugees.  My uNPDf, who's 15+ years deceased now, looks borderline manic in all of them.  He's usually smiling ear-to-ear in a 100% happy-energetic way, completely one-dimensional emotion, and he's as physically close to us as possible.  Zero boundaries around personal space - face squished up against our faces, holding my 5 year old self into him so there's as much physical contact as possible.  It was obvious I accepted and reciprocated this when I was very young, not having a whole lot of boundaries, but in the later photos, you can see the physical tension in me and my sister, and our closed posture, how we didn't really want to be physically close to him.  Seeing them really made me cringe.

TW for the this paragraph: mention of threats with weapons.
In one of his birthday photos, he's grinning maniacally (think "the Shining") and holding a big knife over his cake, like he's about to stab it to death.  Considering he threatened my sister with a kitchen knife when we were trapped in a small space (years after the photo was taken)...it just makes me realize how disturbingly sick he was.  Who the hell is capable of doing that but also considers that behaviour "funny"????? 

I'm having so much trouble processing this that I can barely assess what I'm seeing through my understanding of PD'd behaviour.  I"m sure it will come but...it was a pretty unexpected smack in the face to see those photos in a different way.  Today I feel the way my mom looked in those photos.

It's gross entitlement and superiority, is what it is.  He was entitled to laughter for his offensively violent "jokes", he was using us and violating our personal space, entitled to be as physically close as possible, to make himself look like he had close relationships to us. 

Needless to say, I don't keep photos of him around my house.

I guess it's just one more thing I've found to mourn - one more thing that I can't see as "untainted."  I'm looking forwards to the day when I've gone through the photos enough times, and thrown enough out, that I don't see the things about him that disturb me in any of them.

*

GettingOOTF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1785
Re: Family Photos
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2020, 06:03:19 PM »
I donít have many family photos, which is a story for another thread.

In all of the ones I have my father if pulling a ridiculous face. We do not have a single decent photo of us as a family. I remember this used to upset my mother and weíd all think she was crazy, always angry and nagging.

Now I look at them I see them in a different light. He deliberately ruined every family photo, like he did every nice thing my mother tired to do as a family.

Itís hard to look at family photos through adult eyes, especially once youíve started to come OOTF.

*

Wilderhearts

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 262
Re: Family Photos
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2020, 07:39:06 PM »
Itís hard to look at family photos through adult eyes, especially once youíve started to come OOTF.

I've been Out of the FOG for a little longer than he's been dead, but maybe I'm out of it to the extent that I can now see things I once viewed as "normal" as disordered.  It's really sad seeing your own father's smile as just another expression of his illness and the harm he did to others.

What a way for your father to sabotage something that could so easily be pleasant.  I think underlying both behaviours is a deep, deep fear of vulnerability.  No matter what, they couldn't just be their real selves.

A little part of me wants to think I can find photos where just pieces of his personality show, where it shows he somehow cared for us, without showing his disorder, but perhaps its naive to still hope that I could have one without the other.  Personality disorders are just so pervasive. 

This really has me questioning what I'm looking to find in these photos, and what hopes I'm naively holding onto.  15 years out and I guess I'm not 100% Out of the FOG yet.