I recently learned about the concept of emotional permanence. It has to do with having faith in emotions that are invisible to the normal eye. This idea derives from the idea of object permanence, which holds that things exist even when they are hidden from view. I discovered that I struggle with emotional permanence after reading the term. I also came to the conclusion that a significant source of anxiety was a lack of a consistent sense of emotional permanence.
Emotional Permanence: What Is It?
As I previously stated, emotional permanence is about trusting in other people’s feelings even when you are unable to see your own. With a partner is a prime illustration of this. Do you comprehend and accept that your partner still loves you when they are absent and unable to express it to you? The majority of people would respond, “Sure, of course, I believe that.”
If this describes you, that’s wonderful, but emotional ephemerality can snare a person. Not because of their behavior, but rather because of something in your own head, you may start to question whether your partner loves you or not. I think the majority of people have done this once or twice. The majority of us want confirmation that our partner values us. The majority of us desire to hear that we are loved repeatedly. Once you’ve been told “I love you,” it’s unlikely that you’ll always feel that way. Because people change, we all have to deal with a certain amount of emotional impermanence in this regard, but it’s probably healthy.
If You Experience Emotional Permanence Issues
However, some people experience a greater degree of emotional transience. Some people don’t believe in their partners’ emotions when they can’t see them, just like babies don’t understand that their parents exist when they are out of sight (object permanence is a learned skill, and it happens between the ages of four and eight months). This might be one of the causes of how much assurance some people with mental illnesses, like borderline personality disorder, need. (However, it is complicated in borderline personality disorder because those who have that condition are frequently terrified of abandonment, whether it be real or imagined.) Therefore, if you constantly need assurance from your partner, affection, or their affirmation of your love, perhaps emotional permanence is what’s bothering you.
What Leads to an Emotional Permanence Deficit?
It’s difficult to say because, as far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any substantial research on this idea. But I do have a hypothesis. It would appear that a person would develop a sense of emotional impermanence if they had experienced a situation in which their emotions frequently changed to the point where they could not be trusted. It’s similar, in my opinion, when a person’s words and actions frequently and significantly conflict.
A “two-faced” person is someone who might create an environment for the development of emotional impermanence thoughts. Or a controlling partner who repeatedly buys you flowers and tells you he loves you even though he is beating you (this is common in abuse cycles). I contend that growing up in one of these environments would make you question the stability of emotions.
Depression, in my opinion, breeds doubt about the durability of emotions. In depression, it’s very typical to feel unloved. Depression frequently causes one to feel as though they have never been loved. Naturally, this can help you fight off the cruelty of depression when your partner is in front of you and saying “I love you,” but when they aren’t there, the depression roars back to life.
Permanent Emotions and Anxiety
And regrettably, if you struggle with emotional stability, anxiety may be your constant companion. For instance, you’ll be extremely anxious if you don’t think your partner loves you when you can’t see them. Imagine repeatedly questioning your partner’s love until you are able to see them and hear them say it once more. That is very challenging for both parties. I could see how a lack of understanding of emotional permanence would breed anxiety, and that anxiety itself would breed a lack of emotional permanence. Unfortunately, it’s a two-way street.
Enhancing Knowledge of Emotional Permanence
Since fixing it is not really discussed, neither is the idea of emotional permanence. The most crucial thing, in my opinion, is talking to your partner about it. Talking about this will help your partner understand why you might come across as “needy.”
The rule should always be open and honest communication, but I believe it’s more crucial to identify and address the main cause of your issues with emotional permanence. Yes, it might be a complication of a condition like major depressive disorder or borderline personality disorder, but it might also be a result of your past. To resolve this, you must be honest with yourself. It’s likely that a therapist could assist you in figuring out what’s bothering you.
Finally, I urge you to address your anxiety about emotional permanence. Fight an irrational situation with logic. Two days ago, your partner confessed his love to you, but ever since, he’s been away on business. Is it reasonable to assume that just because he isn’t with you anymore, his feelings for you have changed in just two days? Not at all, no. You’re experiencing an irrational but real emotion. To overcome your brain on this, use your mind. Just because you feel something doesn’t mean that it is. Your brain is letting out a signal when you feel unloved, not because your partner has stopped loving you. It’s a true signal. The emotion is genuine. Contrary to what your brain is telling you, the situation is not as it actually is.
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