Sunday, April 9, 2017

When Narcissists Ban Photos of You

                                 A sample family photo wall, not my relatives, it's from Pinterest.

I've mentioned this one in passing, in articles, but if your "family" doesn't take your picture, or you are refused a spot on the family picture wall, it definitely means something. 

This may sound like a trite thing, but I was thinking about this the other day, having general thoughts about my life improving away from narcs.., and thinking why was this TOLERATED?

My mother's house was literally plastered in pictures of my sister, husband and her kids. Framed photos of all the children sit on every corner of the living room. There are some hanging up on the wall too.

No picture of me was ever put on the wall. Not one. As a child, she had a picture up for a short time in the 1970s that included me, and my sister and brother together, but that would be it. In these later years I had been wiped from existence.

 In the early 2000s, I gave Queen Spider a painted picture frame that included a very nice photo of me and my husband standing side by side. It never made an appearance on any wall. I remember giving it to her and this "gift" basically vanishing. This photo and frame never made another appearance in this world. If I did not have a photo of giving it to her with her staring at me holding it with dead pan eyes and no smile, I would have forgotten it existed.

My brother has two kids, two sons.  She never had one picture of them up ANYWHERE in the whole house. The GC's kids even got their pictures on magnets on the fridge.  I asked my brother once if he ever gave her pictures of his kids, he said "Yes". My mother took pictures all the time herself. For some reason, my brother and his kids did not pass the narcissistic "looks" test to earn a place on her walls or tables either.

It is kind of interesting to me how this was accepted and tolerated in the family. I pointed it once to my brother who said, "Why do you care about this stuff?" and got angry, and said his usual "That's just the way she is", like we were supposed to all accept it.

Now I was banned from my grandmother's photo wall too. My grandmother had this big living room wall she had plastered in family photos, every grandchild, family photos, personal portraits. My sister's wedding picture was up there, a picture of my brother somewhere, my mother's wedding photo, etc. Everything was lined up and arranged. She added new pictures to it all the time. New babies and new martial partners always got their place too.

For years, I was not included on this photo wall either. I remember complaining a few times, and they ignored me or laughed it off.  So here too, I gave my grandmother, a painted picture frame and put a nice wedding photo of me and my husband in it, for one Christmas. Some months later, I would return,  and noticed this photo was hanged on an opposite wall, not the main photo wall, where everyone else's picture was hanging and half hidden by built in wall shelf. Aunt Scapegoat's picture had been moved off the main wall too and hung under mine and the wall case and another picture almost obscured them both. It was a definitely and full blown snub. Back then I wondered about imaging things and being too picky now I realize what was being done.

When I think about those pictures, and how I was already "erased", I knew I had been smart to walk and go no contact and it had been overdue for a long long time. If anyone treats you this way, with that degree of contempt that you are not even allowed to be on the family photo wall, it's long past time to walk and be done with a group of people. The fact this could be done in front of everyone's eyes, spoke volumes. If you are an ACON thinking about no contact, look at the photographs in your relatives houses. Is your picture anywhere, or those of your kids?

When you are NC for some time, many things will fall into perspective. In four decades of life and every relative saw these displays,  no one asked my mother why she had no picture of me hanging up anywhere in the house, and no one asked my grandmother why I was banned from the "family" photo wall for life.


  1. My family was a little different. Sometimes my or my sisters picture would be on the wall and sometimes it was smashed on the ground or had a big red X through it or sometimes it was pieced back together with tape and the X attempted to be whited out. The sick thing is, all my life, the real pain I felt at that was feeling sorry for the turmoil that my father was going through that made that happen and never felt sorry for myself for being smashed, x-ed out, forced back, smashed again. Honestly, I only just realized that now, writing it out that, as usual, it was all about HIM. He made his pain our problem, but in fact, it wasn't. It was his problem. And we could all use a little time to resolve our own problems. It's a lot of work sometimes, to go back through all the aeons of memories and re-sort, reinterpret, reassert yourself in them instead of leaving in place the screwed up horror movie that starred your parents and their precious feelings.

    1. Wow that's sad they smashed your pictures or drew Xs through them. Mine knew I wanted pictures and denied them to me. Hope they weren't all destroyed. Yeah sorry you were more worried about your father and ignored what was happening to you. He should have stood up for you more, or if he was the one doing that stuff to the pictures too, it was very evil. Yeah, it can be a lot of work, I am having to "reformat" a lot and sounds like you are having to do the same thing.

  2. Photos have such a power over us - especially in how we treat them. It works both ways - I don't have any photos of a narc sibling simply because looking at this person's face upsets me so much. I even destroyed family photos where I was included, because of my role in that family. I weep for that ridiculed, isolated little girl and had to leave no trace of her existence. Sad and sorry to admit this.