Both points of view, yours as well as your family’s, seem quite sensible to me — maybe it’s worth discussing the issue to get them to understand how you feel and vice versa. It seems natural that if these photos cause you to experience trauma, you’d want them removed. On social media and in your house, you have that ability, and it seems like a betrayal when that doesn’t extend to someone else’s home. On the other hand, your family probably looks at these photos as a story of your life. If they truly love you, they accept you no matter what, the choices you’ve made, the experiences you’ve gone through. So I’m betting that they can’t understand why you’d want to pretend that the marriage never happened. To them, your history is part of who you are, no point in pretending it didn’t exist — they want those pictures because it’s you (not the other person in them), it’s a dotted line that connects the person you are today with the little girl that grew up with them in their house and family. An older generation isn’t used to the idea that you can surround yourself with a history and timeline that you’re presently comfortable with (like in social media). It’s a real history and timeline that can’t be erased (and probably inexplicably odd when someone tries too). I suspect that the resolution would come through a conversation…. encourage them to keep those photos and maintain their connection to their daughter and her history and all it’s ups and downs, but if those photos hurt you, maybe you can explain that and help them to understand — let them know that you’re going through a process, one that you’d like help with. They’ll be happy to know that you’re not trying to erase what actually happened or deny it’s existence (probably how they interpret your request, and one of the things they may be worried about), rather that you’d like to move on, and this is a little thing they do that could make a huge difference for you going forward. Put in those terms, I can’t imagine a reasonable family member that would not help. Now, if they actually believe you were wrong to separate from your husband, or they’re wistful about what used to be, then you likely have a completely different problem.

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