Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We have done a lot of traveling and other fun things together.
He is a kind and good person, but there is one thing that is a recurring problem for me: He frequently “forgets” to take photos of me.
I take numerous photos of him, which he seems to enjoy, but he will not take a photo of me unless prompted to do so.
We have photos of our travels and exploits, but there is very little evidence that I was also there!
We have talked about this, and he says that he no longer likes to take photos because photos are too prevalent on social media.
I agree that many people share way too much, and I personally don’t care for the whole selfie obsession. But the fact that he will not reciprocate in taking photos really bothers me.
Am I being unreasonable or insecure?
Dear Photophobic: Your husband does reciprocate taking photos of you, but he needs to be prompted to do so. So – prompt him.
You are simply more oriented toward this sort of chronicling than he is, perhaps because you participate in social media, and he doesn’t.
Also, ask others to take photos of you two together.
Dear Amy: I am the youngest of three sisters and have always had a rough relationship with my mom and sisters.
I don’t fit in. They are all about drama.
Recently, I received a call from my dad, asking me to visit them. I was so stressed out the night before I left that I didn’t sleep. That morning, I almost threw up from so much anxiety about it.
I never know what I’ll say that will set one of them off. Then the others follow suit. I can’t ask them questions. Anything I do say gets used against me.
I have tried to give them a taste of their own medicine, but that only seems to increase the bullying.
I want them in my life because they are my parents and sisters, but I don’t want to walk on eggshells around them.
We once went two years without talking, and recently we went over a year with no contact.
The times I didn’t have them in my life were amazing. My relationship with my husband flourished. I wasn’t stressed. My daughters did well because I was happy enough to make sure they thrived.
I don’t know how to go about explaining this to them in a manner that doesn’t set them off, but I just don’t want them in my life.
Do I need to explain why, or do I just flat-out go no-contact?
What do I tell my dad? Do I block him too, even though he’s innocent? But he’s never defended me.
It’s always them against me. And dad just stays out of it.
– Confused by Family
Dear Confused: You outline the extreme anxiety you felt after accepting your father’s invitation, but you don’t say how the visit went.
My point is that for you, boundaries are essential. If you choose to spend any time with family members, you should always have an “escape plan” for when your anxiety rises.
Going no-contact is the nuclear option, but if you understand that it is necessary to escape being the family scapegoat for your own well-being, then that’s a choice you can make.
I do not suggest completely blocking contact with your father. You should gauge how this contact affects you on a case-by-case basis. If he uses his contact with you only to draw you back into the family maelstrom, then you should make that choice.
You might benefit from reading the personal memoir of Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist who has written extensively about surviving drama-filled and bullying families. Check out “But It’s Your Family… : Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath” (2019, Morgan James Publishing).
Dear Amy: “Scared Gran” wondered if she should tell her son-in-law that her daughter was cheating on him.
She might find a way to talk with him without spilling everything. “I’m concerned about all the overtime Sally’s working,” could do the trick.
Years ago, my dad’s brother told my mom to “get a good lawyer.” It was his way of telling her he knew things he couldn’t say as a brother, but that his heart was with his sister-in-law. It meant a lot to her.
– A Friend in Omaha
Dear Friend: Fantastic advice. Thank you.
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