emotional permanence

What’s Emotional Permanence? How To Deal With The Lack Of It?

Worrying about your partner not loving you is normal to some extent, but if you need them to constantly remind you they love you or become overly anxious when they are not around, you may suffer from a lack of emotional permanence.

Keep reading to know more about emotional permanence and how to deal with the lack of it.

What Is Emotional Permanence?


Emotional permanence is the belief that others still have emotions for you, even when they are not actively showing it. The best example is that of your partner. You know they love you even when they are not constantly reminding you of that or are not around to say so.

The concept is similar to that of object permanence. When something is behind a curtain, you know it is there even when you cannot see it. Object permanence is a developmental stage where we realize that things exist even when we cannot see them.

What Does It Mean To Lack Emotional Permanence?


Does your partner, family member, or close friend love you even when they are not saying so or are not around you? If you answered yes, you are in the fortunate majority. However, some may answer no, and these people suffer from a lack of emotional permanence.

Someone who lacks emotional permanence needs constant assurance that they are loved. When their loved one is away or absent, they will feel unloved.

Such people have insecurities and fear abandonment, so they almost always have a very unstable relationship. They do not just lack emotional permanence in the case of relationships; they will also feel like they have never known or felt emotions like hope, sadness, and joy when they are not actively experiencing them.

While lack of emotional permanence can creep into anyone, people with anxious attachment styles and Borderline Personality Disorder struggle the most.

These individuals may also be unable to understand how a person can experience two emotions at the same time. So, if a person lacking emotional permanence gets into a fight with their loved one, they will not be able to grasp the fact that the person can be angry yet love them.

The good news is that you can overcome a lack of emotional permanence and have better relationships with your loved ones. However, to address the issue, you need to first recognize it.

Here are some common signs that a person may be suffering from emotional permanence:

1. You Need Constant Reassurance And Validation Of Love From People

As mentioned earlier, people lacking emotional permanence fear abandonment and must constantly be assured they are loved. They feel insecure and can feel unloved unnecessarily.

2. When Feeling Down, You Do Not Remember Ever Feeling Good

The opposite is also true, so a person lacking emotional permanence can only feel and remember the immediate emotion or the one being expressed. So, when depressed, they do not remember ever being happy or hopeful and vice versa.

3. It Is Difficult For You To Understand That Two Emotions Can Exist At The Same Time

These individuals find it difficult to regulate emotions. They cannot manage their emotions when the situation becomes emotionally charged and do not understand that two emotions can co-exist at the same time.

How To Deal With Lack Of Emotional Permanence


A lack of emotional permanence can affect your relationships, especially with your partner. If you realize that you have an emotional permanence deficit, try self-help techniques, talk to your partner, and consult a professional if necessary.

1. Keep A Mood Journal

Through a mood journal, you can record your mood and determine the trends, patterns, and triggers of your mood. It is constructive if you are suffering from depression or anxiety.

It will help you realize that the emotion you are feeling right now is not the only one and that you feel a host of emotions. It will also help you overcome mental distress and improve your overall well-being.

2. Talk To Your Partner About It

Communication is vital for building and maintaining trust in any relationship. When you openly share your concerns with your partner, they will better understand your insecurities and what you are going through.

They will not get annoyed by your constant need for reassurance and may even actively reassure you. This may help reduce your attachment anxiety over time.

3. Change Your Perspective

Recognize the fact that your partner can experience more than one emotion at a time. Just because they are angry with you does not mean they do not love you.

Also, your partner is a complex human being with many aspects to their life. Apart from being your partner, they have other emotional, social, and work commitments. So, they cannot focus on you completely all the time. They may be angry or distant due to other reasons.

Also, a little distance between you and your partner does not mean they have stopped loving you or are abandoning you.

4. Include “Me Time” In Your Schedule

Spend time with yourself and do things that you enjoy. Appreciate yourself, try to know yourself better, and try to get more comfortable with yourself. Realize your self-worth, as the fear of abandonment often stems from insecurities regarding the self.

5. Undertake Therapy Or Attend A Support Group

Therapy will help you realize your self-worth, alleviate the fear of abandonment, and help you build trust. You can attend therapy alone or with your partner, who can work with the therapist to strengthen your relationship.

Joining a support group can also help you get a better perspective of what you are going through and how to overcome it.

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