Lacking Love Permanence

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.

Aftereffects List #16

16. Trust issues: inability to trust (trust is not safe); absolute trust that turns to rage when disappointed; trusting indiscriminately.

Yes. Yes. God Yes.

Abuse and my family of origin had taught me that no one was trustworthy. I didn’t have any trust in my daily life to give to any of my family, my teachers, my fellow students, anybody. I was a keen judge of character, very intuitive. And yet I couldn’t keep myself safe, I was a little child. I learned that my trust was always betrayed. I used to have a lot of rage sitting in my little body.

I needed someone to rescue me when I was little, abused, and vulnerable. I needed someone. There were some who abused me and yet they saved me from other abuse. I put my trust in them. They abused me at the same time they said they loved me. Others said they loved me and stood by and did nothing when they knew someone else was abusing me. I pust my trust in them. I needed them. They didn’t protect me and keep me safe. That is what love was to me outside my family.

As a young adult I put my love and trust in my friends. Well they weren’t really friends. I’m not sure what they were, people who found it handy to have me around, dunno for sure what they felt or thought. I only know they never acted like they loved me. They never acted like I could trust them. They never acted like they wanted me in their lives and wanted to spend time with me. I think now it is hardly surprising that I didn’t feel trust in them, but gave it to them undeservedly.

I was in a horribly abusive relationship. I didn’t feel any trust in him. But then I didn’t feel any trust in anyone. I didn’t understand whether I should or should not be around someone. I didn’t understand that my own safety mattered more than being loved by someone. I didn’t understand how an untrustworthy person would wear me down like water on rock, until I was a tiny pebble. I didn’t understand.

Then I saw a therapist that I had no trust in. I gave her blind trust. She betrayed me and used hypnosis on me even though I told her repeatedly that I would not give consent for any type of hypnosis. She admitted it when confronted about it and would not stop. She insisted that I had to write it all down and write under which circumstances I would allow it and which I would not. I told her I don’t have to write anything down. I said no to everything. I have always said no to everything.

I had to stop seeing her. She was untrustworthy and I did not know that she was not to be trusted with my life, my mind, my soul, my healing. I couldn’t see another therapist for years. She was an abuser. I did not know how to protect myself by avoiding someone like her in therapy.

It took a long time to boot the untrustworthy people out of my life. They kept coming back. And when they finally didn’t come back, another one showed up within a month to replace them. It is uncanny. But very true. Nature abhors a vacuum… especially in a person’s life who comes from a dysfunctional family of origin.

It took me a long time to learn what trust was, to learn that others needed to earn trust from me and that it was okay not to trust someone. It’s only been about the last ten years that I have really known that and acted like that in my life. I remember the first time someone said that to me and I thought yeah.

It took me a long time to figure out how to discern whether or not someone was trustworthy and how to trust my judgment, my intuition, and their general vibe. It took me a long time to understand that someone earns my trust by being trustworthy, over time, and by being a good person. It took a long time to believe that I deserved to act untrustworthy towards someone when they were untrustworthy.  It took a long time.

It took a long time. Now I just have to figure out how to say no, mean it and stick to it, and to be heard saying no. A trustworthy person hears and respects no.

No.