Object Permanence: it’s a topic that I never imagined that I would write about…at least, not in relation to myself.
I’m still uncertain about how much I would really like to share about it. So, please, bear with me.
First, if you are unfamiliar with the concept of object permanence, here is a definition by Kendra Cherry, psychology expert on About.com:
The term object permanence is used to describe a child’s ability to know that objects continue to exist even though they can no longer be seen or heard. If you have ever played a game of “peek-a-boo” with a very young child, then you probably understand how this works. When an object is hidden from sight, infants under a certain age often become upset that the item has vanished. This is because they are too young to understand that the object continues to exist even though it cannot be seen.
This ability to understand that objects continue to exist even after they “disappear” is something that is successfully learned by most infants. What happens, however, if there is an interference in the development of ability?
As a therapist, empathy is an important aspect of the client-therapist relationship. For the most part, I considered myself to be quite empathetic, except in one regard: the experience of missing.
For a very long time (and even now), I have struggled to understand what it means to miss. I miss neither place nor people. They are simply present or absent. Whatever feelings I had attached to them when they were present disappear when they are absent…as though they never existed at all.
Why am I writing about this? I’m writing about this because I imagine that I cannot be the only person who struggles with object permanence issues.
What’s the big deal? Well, in some ways, it’s not a big deal.
To be frank, in many ways it has a been a major positive in my life because it has allowed me to transition from one place to another with ease (because the other place/life simply ceases to “exist”). Also, I am forever in this moment, not the last, which makes practicing mindfulness a breeze. 😉
On the other hand, it has meant that I struggle with maintaining connections (or even knowing that I should). More than relationships are lost. Memories do not yield nostalgia, and who, how or what I was before loses meaning because that version of “me” no longer exists.
For now, I’ll wrap it up here. I would like, however, to open up a dialogue about this. Do you struggle with object permanence or with attachment? Have you ever had experience with someone you think does?
Until Next Time,
Young infants do not yet possess the ability to remember or even think about things they cannot see. And this ability actually goes beyond ‘out of sight, out of mind’ because to them, if they cannot see it, it simply does not exist.
In other words, their entire world is only what they can see at any given moment. Or to use a spiritual terminology, young infants live completely in the NOW. Past and future doesn’t exist as conscious concepts. – Positive Parenting Ally.com on Object Permanence