...you have a circularity, which breaks Perl's reference-counting GC scheme
But isn't this what Scalar::Util::weaken() is for — as (somewhat indirectly) hinted at in the OP ?
(Though I suspect that what Juerd meant with "it's safer to just have a string" is that if you take a copy of a weak ref, the copy will be strong again, which could potentially lead to the problem you mention...)
PS: I'm not the original poster.
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