I lack love permanence. It is a concept that I invented to describe my mental and psychological deficiency due to being sexually and physically abused by my mother, rather than being mothered and parented by her. Most concepts I have read and heard are close to this concept, but not close enough for me.
The two concepts that as closely describe what I experience are bonding and trust, or more accurately lack of bonding and lack of trust. But
I believe that lack of “love permanence” is what happens when you are unable to grow in a bond and trust with a parental figure.
Object permanence is a psychological concept.
Wiki says, “Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).”
This concept is not present when an infant is born, and it is developed in the first couple years of life. Psychology has been testing this concept for decades. Learning that objects exist, outside of our senses and outside of our sight gives us an ability to trust and rely upon our environment.
Having a concept inside of yourself about love works much the same way. If you are confident that you are loved, without support and immediate evidence, you have love permanence. Not having love permanence leads to a lot of anxiety, worry, depression, and social issues.
I’ve lived most of my life without love permanence. I didn’t even understand how bonding and trust impacted me, until I started blogging. Understanding that I never had love permanence has really effected me. Sometimes being able to label something can be very empowering, liberating, and healing. But it can also open a crack in the universe that you can then not ignore.
I remember trying to tell a long-term online friend about this about four years ago. We had been friends for about six years then and went on to be friends for another two years, making us friends for eight years.
I told her when I don’t talk to you on the phone and when I don’t get an email from you, I have trouble because I don’t think that you love me anymore and I have no evidence to counter that belief. I told her I can try to manage my emotions, but I realize that I cannot believe or make myself believe that you love me, when you are not in contact with me.
She said, but of course that isn’t true for me, between us, you don’t have that issue with me.
I told her, well of course I have that issue with you. I have that issue with everyone. The sort of friend or relative someone is to me makes no difference in whether or not I can believe in being loved.
I just have to manage my emotions the best that I can. It’s a lot of work for me. I can’t just make it go away, no matter how much I wish it, no matter how much I work at it, it is still there. I still have trouble believing someone loves me when I don’t hear from them for weeks or a month. I have a long history of people fading away from my life, leaving me bit by bit, so it’s doubly hard for me, I think, because this is how I lose people from my life.
She was truly appalled that I felt that way and believed that somehow I should be able to believe in her love for me, even when we did not interact in any way for a month or more. I tried really hard to explain to her that it had nothing to do with her and really only had to do with me. But admittedly not hearing from a close friend for over a month seems like a long time to me. I had other online and blog friends during all of the time that we were friends, so I don’t believe that I was relying on her a great deal for most of my support and friendship. I got some support and some friendship from her and that was a wonderful thing, but I never had love permanence with her.
Well about four years ago we had this conversation and two years ago we stopped being friends. When our friendship ended I was shocked and appalled that it did. I did believe that she had loved me, at some time in our friendship, but I didn’t see a lot of impact from her and her love in my life. She seemed to have a lot of trouble expressing and acting loving. I think that had a part in our friendship, but in a large measure I just was not able to believe that she loved me without hearing from her.
However I felt totally confident that she did not love me anymore, due to her words and actions towards me. I was surprised that I was okay with that. I think that is because the end of our friendship was a long time coming, happening over the space of several years. I can only say that that was how it seemed to me. I never really felt confident in her love. Perhaps I have never felt confident in the love of anyone, even when I have seen or heard from them often.
I tried to talk about love permanence in therapy in the last year. It did not go well. I had a lot of trouble talking about it. I wrote an email to a blog friend about it, about a year ago, and that was excruciating. I’ve been meaning to blog about it for over a year. This is my first post about it.
I suppose that in some ways I’ve changed a lot, even in the last two years. I suppose if I were to tell the absolute truth I would have to say that I still lack love permanence.
I’m still shocked and amazed when someone loves me and it still triggers a lot of pain and sorrow and memories of being unloved and hated and abused as a child. I am hoping that it will get better as I continue to walk my healing path.
What I do know now is that after lots of hard years of working on healing, I love me. I love my inners, I love my spirit guides, I love my animal guides, I love my guardian angel and, very importantly, they love me. I have to keep reminding myself of that. I am not alone. I am loved. I am never alone.
Love remains constant, even when I cannot see it or feel it, it is there, I am loved. I think reminding myself of this is a good step in establishing love permanence. I’m not sure if I will ever achieve love permanence. But I know that I will continue to work on healing and walk my healing path.
you explained this concept exceedingly well, imho. actually lots of it strikes home with me as well…in ways that i never had a name for, or a way of understanding myself, why did my friends just disappear, why were they not able to be there for me (enough), what did i do wrong to drive them away.
i think you have really hit upon something, and should continue to work toward having ‘love permanence’, as will i from now on.
I do believe that this concept is a big part of lack of bonding and lack of attachment in childhood, due to child abuse.
Using this concept is helping me to address the issue from the root of the problem. I had tried for many years to attack the problem in the middle of the problem and have had small and incremental successes after tons and tons of really hard healing work. Of course all of the healing work I have done has helped me to heal tremendously.
The sheer terror that the concept seemed to evoke in me has proved how hard it has been and how close it seems to being a core issue for me, due to the ice chill it seems to evoke in myself emotionally.
What I have found is that addressing the root issue, love permanence, is helping me a lot more in about a year of work, that decades of working from the middle has not done. Finding a way to talk and write about it has been an obstacle to working on the issue in healing. This I finally found a way to do about a year ago, when I first wrote to a blog friend about what I was going through. Since then I have worked slowly on this issue.
I have found reminding myself often that I am loved and mentioning names, especially my spirit guides and my guardian angel, as they are beings that have always been loving and have never treated me in a way that is negative or painful. This has been very helpful. As well learning to love myself finally, by accurately evaluating my good qualities and reminding myself of them, has been a huge part of this progress. Actually mentioning my doggies loving me might also help a lot with that too. All of this progress happened about a year ago, when I started doing soul retrieval work, which I will try to right about more in the near future as well.
Thanks for your kind words. I hope that working on this issue helps in your healing path. Good and healing thoughts to you.
could ‘love permanence’ also be compared/similar to the concept of ‘fear of abandonment’? just a thought.
I think of fear of abandonment as an aftereffect of childhood abuse, because we were never really allowed to belong to a parent in a safe and protective way and that is what attachment, bonding, and trust is all about. I think that abandonment and fear of abandonment are replays in our life of our childhood experiences, ones that we try to master and triumph over, finally.
Fearing abandonment is a logical, even rational, consequence of not having love permanence; a parental figure who loves and protects us so that we can love, bond, trust, and attach to them.
That is my current thinking on this. What do you think?
Good and healing thoughts to you.