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AIBU to refuse to see in laws because they won't stop taking my photograph?

(36 Posts)
GinWeasley Mon 10-Aug-20 04:38:50

I used to be, maybe not slim but normal and I was happy with the way I looked. In the last couple of years, I gained a lot of weight, partially down to stress and mental health issues. Before I lost it all, I got pregnant. I gave birth six weeks ago. It was a difficult labour and I am just getting to the point where I feel able to exercise and I'm starting to think about losing the weight again. I feel horribly conscious of how I look, but positive I can do something about it.

My problem is, my in laws keep taking photographs of me even though I ask them not to. These pictures are then put on a family WhatsApp chat or Instagram. I see them, I feel horrible about myself all over again and I lose that positive feeling and just feel desperate and unhappy. I don't want to keep feeling like that. I keep telling them to give me more time and then I'll be happy to go on photos.

I'm not big on social media, but they all are. Everytime we see them, they take pictures of the baby which is fine. But they point the camera towards me when I am talking or not taking any notice and the pictures are always so unflattering. They are then usually uploaded or shown to friends and relatives. I move out of the way and make it clear I don't want to be photographed but they still do it. My MIL went to show me a photo to show me it wasn't so bad, I told her I didn't really want to see it, but she insisted.

If I make it clear it doesn't go on social media, they get uploaded to the family chat. They don't understand I don't want to see them. Today, we went round for a drink in the garden, I moved out of the way when they started taking pictures. Tonight, there are still two awful pictures of me on Instagram.

I've told my DP that I will not be seeing his family now until I am happy to be photographed. Its a shame. Part of me is wondering whether to let him tell them? 'She won't be coming again because you won't stop taking her photo' It might make them stop and then we can carry on as normal. But then, they will just think I am bonkers and ridiculous won't they.


OP’s posts: |
HopelessSemantics Mon 10-Aug-20 04:45:42

I think there are a few issues here.

Yes they ought to respect your boundaries but you probably need to get some help for your self esteem issues too. Your baby will want to see photos of you together once s/he is older. Also, it's a bit of a control thing - I guess it's not that healthy to let this kind of thing get in the way of your child forming a relationship with their grandparents. I'm all for boundaries but there is a limit to how much you can control situations.

Maybe once they've taken one or two photos, you could ask them to stop. Or just go and have a nap while they play with the baby.

My FIL is another one who takes photos constantly and it is annoying, I agree.

Gubbeen Mon 10-Aug-20 04:46:01

I think it would be a mistake to make this about waiting till you are ‘happy to be photographed’, which makes you and your feelings about your appearance ‘problem’ here, when in fact it’s them not listening (and frankly being a bit weird and obsessive with the photos). They will presumably tell you you look fine and keep going?

Just tell them to stop photographing you fill stop or you will no longer see them.

My ILs have a bizarre habit of taking photographs of one another while eating on holiday or in a restaurant — I think the inner logic is that ‘Fun is happening! Photo time!’ but of course the outcome is a succession of repellent photos of people with their mouths half open, their eyes closed and sauce on their chins.

ElizabethMainwaring Mon 10-Aug-20 04:47:42

God, that would drive me mad.
I think that you are doing the right thing.
Some people have got no empathy. How frustrating!

GinWeasley Mon 10-Aug-20 04:53:34

@hopelesssemantics I do have photos of me and my baby, they are ones I was aware were being taken and are will go on social media if I want them to, but probably won't.

I'm aware of my self esteem issues, I am working on them, I don't feel they are helped by horrible unflattering photos being forced on me.

I wouldnt mind so much if it was something that happened on the odd ocassion, it is literally every time we see them

OP’s posts: |
ClaryFairchild Mon 10-Aug-20 05:00:13

Not unreasonable. But the alternative could be to actually pose for a few photographs, ask to see them, delete the ones you don't like and let them post the nicer ones online.

The snaps they take which they're hiding are the unflattering ones, they usually are.

Aquamarine1029 Mon 10-Aug-20 05:06:40

Your MIL is well out of order. The reason you don't want your picture taken is irrelevant. You have asked her nicely to stop yet she carries on, and this is totally disrespectful. Where is your husband in all this? Why hasn't he had words with her for being so fucking rude? I wouldn't spend time with her, either.

Mrstwiddle Mon 10-Aug-20 05:13:18

YANBU at all. They are. Let your husband tell them that you won’t be visiting until they learn to respect your request not to have your photo taken, don’t mention anything about weight etc because really that shouldn’t make any difference.

GinWeasley Mon 10-Aug-20 05:16:29

@Aquamarine1029 it's not just MIL, although I used her as an example, it's all of them - FIL and SIL too. Tonight it was SIL who out them on Instagram.

DP doesn't like having his photo taken really either and they pooh pooh it. Think it's funny we're both the same. He would be happy to say something, offered to call SIL and get her to take them down but I didn't want to cause a fall out. I always say 'please don't' and hope that will be enough but then one of them will ignore me in some way or other. I guess I just don't understand the desperation to put things online either.

I am thinking of letting DP say something now though, probably to his mother. They clearly don't listen to me

OP’s posts: |
eggofmantumbi Mon 10-Aug-20 05:34:27

Your DP needs to say something.
I don't get this obsession with documenting everything on social media. It's unnecessary.

Also please take care of yourself and start that exercise super slowly. Your cost has been through a lot

moose62 Mon 10-Aug-20 05:37:37

I agree it is horrible when people keep taking photos regardless of how you feel. It was not so bad before they were plastered over social media. I am not photogenic and photos taken of me unawares are usually fairly unflattering but the main point is that they are totally disregarding your wishes or feelings which is very disrespectful. How do they react if there are very unflattering pictures of them posted? You DH really should speak to his mother and explain that you seriously hate it and if they can't respect it then you might not put yourself in the position of being photographed.

oakleaffy Mon 10-Aug-20 05:44:20

Social Bloomin'Media....

It is invasive to have your image taken and posted in a public place if you said you don't like this to happen.

nettie434 Mon 10-Aug-20 05:58:00

YANBU. It's not just that you don't like them taking so many photos of you, it's that they don't respect your wishes not to be photographed. Your DP doesn't like it either and they do the same to him.

KatherineJaneway Mon 10-Aug-20 05:59:15

I don't agree they should take your photo when you've asked them not to. Your dp needs to have a strong word with them.

However he might have trouble stopping this behaviour as to them, you look like you. All the faults you see / feel, they don't see. They just see you. It is difficult tyring to explain that you don't want photos to be shared as they simply can't see the issue.

SteelyPanther Mon 10-Aug-20 06:38:52

Nothing is going to make them stop, so you need to stop seeing them until you’re comfortable with it.
Hubby can take the baby to see them and you can have some time to yourself, perhaps do an exercise class off YouTube if you want.
Get that baby in the pram everyday and go for a walk. It will be good for your body and your mind.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 10-Aug-20 06:39:57

How rude of them! They have no boundaries at all!
Who DO they think they are, that they can ride roughshod over your requests to stop taking the photos and sharing them?

I think you should let your DP tell them why you no longer wish to see them, and stick to your guns of NOT seeing them, as it would appear they don't listen to him any more than they listen to you.

Maybe once you take a firm stand, they WILL start listening - but I wouldn't bank on it, they might actually turn it into a game or challenge to see if they can take a pic before you notice. angry

Sorry you're having these troubles - how annoying!

Goatinthegarden Mon 10-Aug-20 06:42:11

My ILs did this too! When I asked MIL to stop taking my photo, she started taking sneaky photos from around corners! She doesn’t do social media, but instead carries her iPad around with her and subjects every visitor to a catalogue of photos of people she has been photographing. It’s very odd, it’s like ‘we must remember this moment and prove it happened’ instead of just enjoying it at the time.

I haven’t much advice, eventually I was just very blunt and told her I hated it and it irritated me and I wasn’t going to allow it. She stopped. I think she thinks I’m a bit harsh though....

Aussiebean Mon 10-Aug-20 06:43:45

Let your dh say something. He needs to make it clear that you were serious and they need to respect you.

He also needs to tell them that you all, him and baby included, if they can’t respect it.

His family, he needs to deal with it.

EnjoyingTheSilence Mon 10-Aug-20 06:47:13


I would go mad at them, how dare they, you’ve repeatedly asked them not to. Time to get shitty with them. They’re not worried about upsetting it offending you, so don’t worry about upsetting them

Brefugee Mon 10-Aug-20 06:50:28

I think you can report anything on social media on the platform, so you could try that with the instagram photo if your SIL won't take it down.

For the general photo taking: keep saying "I've asked you not to do that" and in the WhatsApp group comment every time saying "delete that i asked you not to". Will your DP support you with all this? will he join you in saying: no visits until you stop with the photos?

You are most likely never going to be happy having your photo taken. I've been waiting for that to happen for years. But having said that: there is a whole thing about mothers not being in photos with their children. You said you're having a few done, so please persist with that.

Grobagsforever Mon 10-Aug-20 06:53:12

YANBU, in laws with poor boundaries will only get worst, put your foot down now.

GetThatHelmetOn Mon 10-Aug-20 07:03:47

Forget about the photos and social media (and of people saying you have low self esteem). The problem here is you are saying no, and they are not listening. I would be furious as well.

Stop seeing them, when they ask why, you say you have already told them you don’t want photos of yourself in social media. Hopefully that would stop them.

No need to let your husband solve the problem, he doesn’t see the issue, if he did he would have done something about it already.

Sandcastles548 Mon 10-Aug-20 07:05:15

I completely empathise. I have had exactly the same problem , for exactly the same reasons. It is definitely a self esteem issue but to my mind you (and I ) identified boundaries and tried to work within them. I.e. you have low self esteem and you don't like seeing unflattering pictures of yourself that make it even lower.

I honestly think taking an unflattering picture of you and putting it on social media is rude and I would never do it without asking permission first.

There's no easy answers except they have poor listening/ empathy skills and so you have to look to protect your own feelings, because they won't.

Good luck OP.

laidbacklife Mon 10-Aug-20 07:12:23

It’s odd they don’t respect your wishes and that needs addressing as a general point. But I can’t say you are being 100% reasonable with regards to the photos. Your children will want to see photos of you when they were young. You’ll also hopefully look back in the future with a far more relaxed attitude and be glad to have these memories captured. The problem is with ‘when I’m ready’ is just that. When exactly will you be happy and ready to start enjoying your life again? Life is for living now. Enjoy every second. Losing weight may help you feel a bit more positive about yourself but it’s not going to drastically change your outlook on life that much.

category12 Mon 10-Aug-20 07:15:07

You should have let your dh tell sil to take the photos down: it's kind of strange to on one hand say you don't want to cause strife, and on the other be prepared to stop seeing them all over it - don't you think that will cause ructions?

I think you should say, with dh, that you are no longer putting up with it and if they do it again, you'll stop seeing them. I'd give them one more chance and then done.

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