Ghosting – the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
I had not heard of this term until recently and frankly I am dismayed at how often ghosting seems to happen with people who seem to have a good relationship going and then one person suddenly stops texting or calling. It’s as if this person person doing the ghosting fell off the face of the earth. All circuits have been disconnected. Ghosting also seems to happen fairly early in a relationship, maybe after a few weeks of talking or texting or a few dates.
Ghosting is a form of social rejection and the person who is doing the ghosting has absolutely no concern for the person he or she has just cut from his or her life. In some ways, ghosting is a very passive aggressive and almost narcissistic step. The focus is entirely on the feelings of the person doing the ghosting. The fact that the other person in the relationship could be hurt doesn’t come into play. It is a form of emotional cruelty, or maybe the ultimate cowardess on the part of the ghoster.
The problem with ghosting is that the person being ghosted begins to question his or herself, going through every text or message sent, every interaction that was had, analyzing everything and looking for clues as to what the ghostee did wrong. Often, the ghostee feels blamed in some way.
Please note, there are some situations in which ghosting may be necessary – extreme emotional, physical or sexual abuse, not respecting boundaries that have been clearly communicated, and lying or manipulation (which can fall into emotional abuse). These situations need to be handled differently and they are not what I’m referring to here.
So what should you do if you are the one who has been ghosted? Understand that it is not about you, but about the other person and his or her inability to talk with you about ending the relationship. I read a quote in which the author says that the person doing the ghosting is saying that he or she doesn’t have what it takes to be in a mature, healthy relationship. I don’t know if I agree with that entirely, but it does show that the person doesn’t have the ability or courage, and most likely the maturity to end a relationship in a way that doesn’t leave the other person hanging and questioning. It does say something about the ghoster’s character and certainly concern for another person’s feelings. And if this is the person’s character, you may have dodged a bullet. You may need to remind yourself of this bullet dodging a few times before it sinks in.
Know that it’s okay and normal to feel hurt or sad, and angry about the loss of the relationship, especially if it was one in which you felt a connection. Just be aware if your sadness continues to the point that it’s become a depression. Being hurt, sad, angry for a few days is normal. Not being able to function day after day is not and can indicate that you’ve entered a depressive state. If you experience the latter, professional help is warranted.
So what happens if the ghoster has a change of heart and wants back in your life? Should you let him or her in? That depends on the degree of understanding that the ghoster has in regards to how he or she hurt you. In addition, trust has been broken and trust should not easily be reinstated. It has to be earned. My best guildance would be for you to clearly explain to the ghoster how their actions hurt you and then to proceed with caution. Sometimes people get scared in a relationship and feel that it’s moving too fast, or sometimes they get bad advice from friends or family members and ghost you, only to realize later how their actions hurt you. It’s entirely up to you as to whether you deem this person worthy to pursue any type of relationship. However, if the person apologizes, even if you don’t want a relationship, I encourage you to forgive and fully release this person from your mind and heart. In doing so, you are opening a place in your heart for another person who will respect you and your feelings, and in doing so, you may find the person you have been searching for all along.
As always, if you continue to struggle with self-blame, low self-esteem, anxiety or depression as a result of a relationship like this, I encourage you to seek counseling. A good counselor can help you find yourself again. 720-707-9119