If they are not here then they are gone

Image: a baby making a confused face. The text reads, “You mean to tell me you don’t go anywhere when we play peekaboo?”

Babies learn something called object permanence. Object permanence is knowing that something or someone still exists even if you cannot see it (hear it, smell it, touch it etc.). Peek-a-boo is one of the best games to play with babies to teach them object permanence. When it comes to people, especially primary care providers for babies, it is important for them to know that just because someone leaves it does not mean they are gone. This is part of the reason why babies cry when a person leaves. This understanding builds healthy attachments. It is important for a baby to learn that when the one they love leaves they will come back.

Object permanence got me thinking about where some of my attachment issues some from although, from a more emotional place. My interpersonal relationships mean a lot to me. I enjoy having frequent contact with friends and family and when this contact decreases I begin to feel very detached from them. I have no doubt that this is normal as relationships need to be fueled in order to survive. Where I start becoming stressed is when I start feeling this detachment from someone who I see or speak to frequently.

This detachment comes in the form of feeling and thinking that this person does not exist in my life. It is as if they are a distant memory, not that they just left my presence 5 minutes ago. It is equally distressing because when they are present I find it difficult to believe that they are there. It’s like a dream. Just yesterday I found myself looking B while we watching a tv show, completely overwhelmed that he was physically in my presence. While he has spent a lot of his time working I do believe that this should not lead me to be so facinated that he is physically in front of me. Looking at my boyfriend should not feel overwhelming and unbelievable, like I’m looking at a unicorn for the first time.

I do not like beleiving that if someone is not physically or emotionally connecting with me 24/7 that they do not exist. Awareness if the first step so I hope that I can figure out how to work through this. I think a review of mindfulness skills is in order.


19 thoughts on “If they are not here then they are gone

    • I have found it interesting to see how things that I think are specific end of seeping into other parts of my life. I used to think certain things were exclusive to my intimate relationships, but now I am finding it is affecting friendships as well.

      It makes sense that someone would be distrusting of God if men in their life have not been reliable. It is hard to trust in general but especially when you have past proof that you cannot. I guess this is why we have faith right?

  1. I have a friend who literally abandoned me several years ago. She moved away without telling me. I was devastated! I cried for weeks, inconsolably. It was right at Christmas time. My husband said that I ruined that Christmas. It wasn’t until just a couple years ago that I realized why it affected me so much. Object permanence, fear of abandonment. I see her profile on Facebook but don’t reach out to her because it hurts too much, and she has a life without me in it now.

    • That sounds like it was a really difficult, if not horrible time! I think many people would have a reaction like yours, even myself! I don’t think it was fair to say that you ruined Christmas given that you were grieving the loss of a friend and what sounds like a betrayal of trust and a shaking of reality. It is very scary when people leave or we think they leave. I have always felt that it is important to fill the spaces people leave with those who deserve it! Thank you for sharing your experience, Joyce! You are amazing and doing great work to fight BPD stigma 🙂

  2. Very good topic. I once heard a psychologist talk about this very thing. You are very attuned to human emotion. And extremely aware and reflective of your own being. You always have such good points.

    • Sometimes I have wondered if my awareness is a blessing or a curse lol Thank you, as always, for your comments of support. I forgot to mentioned this on your last post I commented on but your blunt style is fucking refreshing and needed! Never stop 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for putting words to what I feel everyday! It’s so hard to maintain relationships when people move away or are “out of my life”. I wish I knew how to fix it! You don’t want to be annoying but how do you communicate the need to the people you care about? Thanks so much!

    • I am glad you can relate and at the same time it is hard to feel that way every day. I believe that I have found a balance for now which involves going to fitness classes and reframing being alone as “Me Time”. I also tell myself that if someone cannot put the effort into me then I’m not going to put the effort into them. We need to look after ourselves first!

  4. Reblogged this on emotionalgrace and commented:
    Totally wish that I could explain this feeling to my friends and family so that they can understand why I need them to be active in my life. It’s hard to explain without people thinking that you just want attention. It’s not about attention, it’s about feeling alone.

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