Ghosting. Yes, that most perplexing and maddening of behaviours when someone with whom you’ve been communicating, suddenly and inexplicably ceases to communicate, never to be heard from again.
It often comes from someone who you’d least expect. You had such a good connection, and everything seemed normal before you were unceremoniously cut off, with no explanation why.
You give them the benefit of the doubt for a while. Perhaps no credit? Lost their phone? You send a follow up message, just in case they didn’t get your last message, or maybe they got busy with work and simply forgot to get back to you?
But as the days go by, turning into weeks, it starts to sink in that the non-communication is deliberate, and you’ve been ghosted. Again. You’re left scratching your head wondering what went wrong? The guessing games begin; was it something I said or did? Did I say too much? Or not enough? Sometimes you’re tempted to contact them offering suggestions and asking why, but I strongly advise against this course of action, unless you want to run the risk of starting to sound like a looney! Heaven forbid. All you can do is let it go, and try to salvage some dignity.
The amount of times I’ve been ghosted over the years, I have taken to coming up with some fun and creative ghost alibis, to ease the pain and help me get through with a bit of self-esteem intact. One of my favourites; he realised that he was falling for me – hard, and ran scared from the powerful feelings he was overwhelmed by.
In reality though, rejection hurts. Every time. And ghosting feels particularly hurtful to me because it makes me feel like I don’t matter enough to be worthy of an honest, adult conversation. I haven’t reached the level of importance in someone’s life to be shown the basic courtesy and respect of a fellow human being. I am about on par with an annoying skin rash, of the just-ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away variety. I mean how hard is it to say “Sorry, I’m not feeling it” or “I’ve met someone else”? Make up a lie for god’s sake, say something. Anything is better than nothing at all!
Ghosting says “You don’t exist”. It’s an abandonment that lingers, with no chance for resolution or closure. Depending on your attachment to the person, it can be a grief akin to a missing person.
I think this is why I find it so emotionally triggering. I suffered from neglect as a child. It seemed like I didn’t matter enough to have my needs met. My father had left, and my mother was an alcoholic/addict. I understand now that alcoholism is a disease – an illness – which hindered my mother from being able to love me like she wanted to. Addiction stripped her of the ability to be there for me, both emotionally and physically. Which, as a grown woman, I can now whole-heartedly forgive her for, as I understand the disease of alcoholism. (First hand, unfortunately). But the scars still remain, and this is why ghosting hits such a painful raw nerve in me.
(Is that why they do it? Because they’ve figured out what really hurts us the most? But if this is the case, then surely they must be hurting too, to want to do that? Can’t we have compassion for each other instead?)
Then I start to wonder if this disproportionately happens to me more than others? Maybe it is actually something I’m doing wrong? Or maybe the question should be … why is it that I am attracting this into my life at this time? Some inner work to be done, perhaps.
Who knows why they do it? Ghosters gunna ghost, I guess.
I appreciate the opportunity to get in touch with this particular brand of pain, and address it. No really, thanks. It’s only through connecting with this pain that healing can come.
Lots of love to you all. The world needs more love. I’m going to love more today.