Framed pictures around the house

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by bluebell, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. bluebell

    bluebell Member

    Ok, I know my difficult child is 17.5 and still in the home but you all have been down the road I am going and wondered if you encountered this situation/emotion. We have framed pictures all over the house of difficult child and easy child - shrines if you will. They are now causing me great distress. Tears will just stream down my face when I look at them (hard to explain, I'm not really crying, just tears). I want to take them all down. husband does not, says it gives him hope and keeps him from 'killing' him. (this is tongue-in-cheek, husband would never hurt our son - and believe me he has been tested). Even the ones with easy child in them, DD14 - depress me - because she is changing so much and been hurt so much by difficult child's destructive habits.
    I guess I've romanticized these years with my family - but we took trips, we had birthday parties, we were a family. Now we can do none of those things, it's almost as if difficult child has died or is suffering from an incapacitating - and sometimes I feel terminal - illness. My husband said we do not have a dysfunctional family, we have a dysfunctional child. But I still can't stand to look at these pictures.
    Did anyone else struggle with this (admittedly trivial) aspect of your home and what did you do?
  2. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    HI. I don't think it's trivial, it's important, and it's causing you distress.
    We have quite a few family photos up. They are memories of happier times and give me hope for the future. I also have quite a few of my son's paintings hanging in the house (he studied art in college before he went to University). It's part of our shared past, we can't pretend those times never happened and I wouldn't want to. But for you, if it's causing you this distress, maybe take them down for a while and see how that makes you feel. You may miss them. You may still have the memories in your head anyway. That's true for me. How does easy child feel about it?
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    While I understand your distress, I would be cautious of removing them. Maybe if you make some bigger changes and take all the pictures off the walls, but just taking pictures of him off would be very powerful symbolic gesture that could be very hurtful to him and also your easy child. It is so easy to interpret something like that as an attempt to wipe out the past or try to remove his existence from your family or memories. While that is not of course your meaning, that is how others, including both of your children and even your husband, could easily see it.

    We don't have much pictures of our kids on walls to begin with but my mother in law did remove my difficult child's picture from her shelf couple years ago, when difficult child's transgressions ended up front page of our biggest tabloid. While such a small thing, it felt very powerful to others. Even my husband, who is a mommy's golden boy and who was also furious with difficult child, was really taken aback and angry about that. My easy child didn't talk with his granny for some time, even though I tried to tell him it is his granny's shelf, she can keep whatever pictures she chooses on it and remove whatever she doesn't want there, and now it is a common joke among both husband's siblings and their kids, when they mess up (even in smallest things) how now Granny will take their picture off the shelf.
  4. bluebell

    bluebell Member

    I don't know how easy child feels about it now really. In August, when he became violent with husband and they both ended up with domestic battery charges, she put up a bunch of pics on the fridge, and I have since taken those down. She's changed a lot since them, grown 3 inches and discovered boys, and discovered how to roll her eyes and shut her bedroom door. We've clashed with her on some of her behavior, although I do think it's all pretty normal. She was hospitalized last month - she passed out in the shower, she was blue and ambulanced to the children's hospital and was unresponsive for hours - she was kept in the hospital for a couple of days to run several tests - all is normal, seems to be a hormonal/anemia issue. This was extremely distressing to the three of us, although interestingly difficult child did not skip a beat, he took it as another opportunity to stay away from the house - and I'm glad he did in retrospect.
    So to make a long story short - she is dealing with her own issues as best she can. So maybe I should just keep them up for a little while, it may be the only link she has to her past right now...
  5. bluebell

    bluebell Member

    Yes, Suzir, you are correct - it would be misconstrued. That's what's wonderful about this board - I get to put my ludicrous thoughts down and get perspective on it I just can't get with family. And at the very least, my distress is understood. :)
  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi Blue. I too have many pictures all over my house of my two sons. easy child and difficult child.

    I have not taken any of them down. In fact, there was a time when I would allow myself to stand in front of them and cry, just like you are.

    I cried for all that was lost, for all that could have been and all that has not been. I cried for his lost potential and my broken dreams. I cried my heart out.

    I believe that step (and many others) was necessary and very healing for me to get to this place. That is one of the steps in the grief process. Read about that process here (and there are many other places to read about them).

    Now, I can look at those pictures with a lot more balance in my emotions. I still sometimes feel sad, especially when I am tired and stressed.

    But most of the time, I love those pictures. Even when I feel a pang and the fear starts to rise a little bit. It rises much, much less than it used to, even today, when my son in those pictures is homeless.

    I would not take them down. Instead, they would be a barometer to me of my own progress.

    I doubt I will ever just smile big and full and happy at those pictures. At least any time soon. This isn't the kind of thing where we'll say one day, I'll laugh about all of this. I don't think so.

    But maybe one day, when my son chooses recovery and a good life as a contributing citizen, I will focus on that, instead of my pipe dreams of perfection I used to have when I look at his baby and toddler pictures. That wasn't reality either.

    Hugs to you today. I get it.
  7. bluebell

    bluebell Member

    childofmine, I was reading your sig - I have a border collie also! Her name is Abby and she is so(too) smart! I feel like I have three teenagers sometimes!
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I did not take the pictures down. I would cry in front of them, too. It was so heartbreaking, and I was so worried, I couldn't do anything else. In fact, I used to lock myself in the bathroom and go through the photo albums where it was nice and private and I could cry to my hearts content. Then, I would draw a hot bath and eventually, come out of the bathroom all nice and clean.

    It was just what I did, during that time. Everyone knew what I was doing in there, and no one bothered me.

    It was such a sad time for us. The beginning of the admission of how things have changed is hard to face, Bluebell.

    Tears help us heal.

    Honor your pain, Bluebell. It is real. It is as deep, as bottomless, as the love you feel for your child.

    I am so sorry, Bluebell.