After the last betrayal, I couldn’t look at myself in a picture. I didn’t want my picture taken. My life felt so out of control, and so much had been taken from me. I didn’t feel as though there was anything else to take.
But taking my picture felt like someone was taking some part of me that was mine. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, or own me, or see any part of me. I was broken.
I couldn’t bear to see the pain and sadness in my eyes and on my face. I no longer recognized the person who stared back at me in the mirror. Who was this stranger? What happened to the person I once was?
I lost something. A part of me died. It was unbearable to be reminded whenever I had to see what was left of me. My reflection became a stranger to me.
The problem was that no one would take me serious, would honor my request. It just became a challenge, a determination of others to take a picture of me. To everyone else it was a joke. And while it took a lot to ask for my picture not to be taken, I could not stop it from happening.
To this day, if I am forced to have my picture taken against my will, everything inside of me tenses up. I brace myself and feel as though I just have to take it. I end up feeling violated and betrayed.
This is what you can be reduced to when you lose control of your life, when someone takes your ability to say no. And when someone does not care what you want, or feel, or need. Every time someone takes my picture against my will, it elicits these same feelings inside of me.
I want to scream, “No, you can’t take my picture! I can’t bear to look at myself, why would I want you to!”
I did have wedding pictures taken. We went away alone to a different state and had a photographer we chose. It was private and felt somewhat safe. When I look at those pictures, I was happy that day. I can see a sparkle in my eyes and a glow on my face. So I do get that what I feel is something others cannot see, that it is something deep inside of me. But it does not change the degree to which all of this is important to me or how it makes me feel.
One time, just once, I was so overwhelmed that I grabbed the camera out of someone’s hands and yelled at them. I could only do it once. It is hard enough to say what I want, it feels impossible to fight with someone to get them to take me serious.
And so with each click of the camera, to them it is just a picture. To me it is taking something from me, something that is mine. It is something others have no right to!
With each picture, they take my brokenness and it feels as though it is then put on display and exploited. For me, if you can’t comfort me in my sorrow and grief, then don’t try to exploit it. I do not feel safe.
The power and influence abuse has cannot be measured by someone else.
I don’t know if you can understand this. But it has been a powerful source of creating a feeling of re-victimization by people who don’t care enough to even ask why!