June 18, 2022

Emotional Permanence Problems and Anxiety

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Emotional permanence is a term I recently heard for the first time. It has to do with believing in emotions even when they can’t be seen. This concept is taken from object permanence which is the understanding that objects exist even when they can’t be seen. When I read the term, I realized that I have problems with emotional permanence. I also realized that not having a consistent sense of emotional permanence was a major cause of anxiety.

What Is Emotional Permanence?

As I said, emotional permanence is about believing in the emotions of others even when you can’t see them. A big example of this is with a partner. Do you understand and believe that your partner loves you even when they’re not around and can’t tell you? Most people would say, “Sure, of course, I understand and believe that.”

If this is you, that’s great, but emotional impermanence can sneak up on a person. You can start to wonder about whether your partner loves you or not — not because of their actions, but, rather, because of something in your own head. I would suggest most people have done this a time or two. Most of us want reassurance that our partner loves us. Most of us want to be told that we are loved not just once, but repeatedly. Hearing “I love you” once is unlikely to make you believe it forever. So, in this regard, we all have a little emotional impermanence with which to contend (because, after all, people change), but it’s probably healthy.

Thank Aaron for sharing this story in the comments below.

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