Navigating Memories: What to Do with Pictures of Your Ex and the Kids

Divorcing a narcissist is undeniably challenging, especially when it comes to handling reminders of the past. The question arises: what should you do with pictures of your ex and the kids? In the realm of memories and emotions, it’s a complex matter.

Reflecting on my own experiences growing up in the 60s, where all family memories were contained in one computer-sized bag, All three daughters pictures of a lifetime in a little red suitcase. I wished there were more memories of my childhood. I hear this all the time. So we don’t want to put your children in a bad history of their lives place like this.

When my son was born in the 90s, I pledged to document every precious moment. Divorcing his father presented the dilemma of what to do with the shared pictures. Distributing the photos in separate boxes was my solution, but Years later he gave my son the pictures back and he said he didn’t really need all these images. My son was older, but I am sure that felt like a rejection. We don’t want to do that either.

Conversations with others have revealed extreme approaches to handling pictures after a divorce. Some have witnessed parents tearing images of the other out of albums, passing the remnants to the children with a traumatic gesture. We certainly want to avoid inflicting additional pain.

In my last marriage, which lasted ten of my son’s 18 years, we had a significant collection of digital memories. Unfortunately, during the divorce, these were deliberately destroyed. Ten years of shared experiences were wiped away. However, I was fortunate to have physical albums from that period. Years later, my adult son requested to see pictures of his infancy, wanting to share them with his girlfriend. I obliged, leaving images of his father and stepfather intact. Looking at these moments, I smiled, having processed the pain over the years. Seeing those images helped my son remember the good times.

So, what should you do with albums featuring the “other parent”? It’s essential to recognize that the other parent is a crucial part of your child’s history. Simply erasing their images erases a part of your child’s past. Instead, consider creative solutions like filling blank spaces with new images or handwritten notes.

Once you’ve removed the images from the albums, the question becomes: what’s next?

Option 1: Dispose of Them? I was happy to destroy (a bet violently at the time) any pictures of the fake narcissist and myself or of his lying face. But when it came to pictures of the child and them in an album, I left them.

Option 2: Give Some to the Ex? If emotionally possible and the other parent desires them, consider sharing. Narcissists are well-known for spreading the narrative that you’ve withheld photos from them. However, the paradox lies in the fact that, in reality, they aren’t genuinely interested in these images. The mere existence of these pictures, even if you’re not featured in them, tends to ignite the narcissist’s animosity towards you, reinforcing their perception of you as the “crazy ex.”

Option 3:
Give Them to the Kids? Remove the images and give them to your children or save them for when they’re old enough to curate their albums. Provide them with a box of extras, ensuring they can piece together their childhood with both parents present.

In this challenging process, prioritizing your children’s memories over your own feelings is a powerful step. If they grow up resenting the narcissistic parent, they can choose to discard these images. It’s about preserving their narrative and giving them the autonomy to decide its significance in their lives.

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