The Aim of this article is to guide you through ghosting.
You would be hard pressed not to come. across any one in life that hasn’t be ghosted at some point. The action of ghosting someone can be very damaging with little or no explanation leaving the ghosted confused, upset and asking a million questions all starting with the word why ?
SO WHAT IS GHOSTING:
It essentially describes the abrupt end of a relationship (whatever stage it is at) due to the cut off of all contact on one side. So let’s get a deeper insight into the modern dating phenomenon.
Ghosting eliminates a sense of closure (often necessary when a relationship ends) which begs the question: why are so many people turning to ghosting instead of having a frank, honest conversation?
Well here are the most common reasons:
- Convenience. Sometimes, what’s easy is prioritized. Having more direct conversations to end a relationship can be unpleasant, takes energy and time, and can require managing emotions. Ghosting is easier.
- Faded attraction. People’s reasons for ghosting are sometimes based on boredom, loss of interest, and a decrease in romantic attraction. Getting out early, without much effort, can seem like an appealing approach to ending the relationship.
- Undesirable interactions. People sometimes ghost a new relationship partner when that person offends them or does something off-putting. Feelings change from attraction to repulsion, or in other ways from positive to negative. A new dislike or disgust can make the idea of a direct let’s-end-this-relationship conversation highly unappealing. Better to ghost than to talk.
- Safety. People might step into a relationship and quickly notice that it may not be in their best interest to continue talking with another person. If someone becomes “creepy” or “weird” ending all communication abruptly, and without explanation, may be critical, and an important strategy to ensure safety.
- Better offer. A very common reason is the person was keeping options open and when they decided what option they preferred the second or third options often get ghosted as it is much easier to just not explain yourself and be honest. Honesty for some is hard and lies are much easier. Human beings tend to take the easier choice when they know they have been in the wrong. Easier to avoid than deal as it were.
- Emotional unavailability due to a mental health condition. Those who live with depression may feel like they lack the energy to maintain connections. They may self-isolate and avoid contact with others, causing them to cut off the relationship abruptly. Those who live with bipolar disorder may increase contact during a high mood and ghost during a low mood. People living with avoidant personality disorder crave connection, but when relationships are new, an internal push-pull based on an intense fear of judgment and rejection can cause them to stay away. This isn’t something you can change through reassurance or charm — it requires therapy to manage.
IMPACT OF GHOSTING: For many people, ghosting can result in feelings of being disrespected, used, and disposable. If you have known the person beyond more than a few dates then it can be even more traumatic. When someone we love and trust disengages from us it feels like a very deep betrayal.
- “I felt like an idiot. Like I had been played a fool. And more so I felt disrespected. Take the romantics away, to have a great connection with a new friend and then all of a sudden never hear from them again? That’s painful and really disappointing. No one deserves to be blown off.”
- “It still felt a bit like someone had punched me in the gut when it happened. The disregard is insulting. The lack of closure is maddening. You move on, but not before your self-esteem takes a hit. The only thing worse than being broken up with is realizing that someone didn’t even consider you worth breaking up with.”
- “Going from texting every day and seeing each other a couple of times a week to nothing without the slightest hint of why was a kick in the gut.”
- “Ghosting is one of the cruelest forms of torture dating can serve up.”
Why does it feel so bad?
Social rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain. However in addition to this biological link between rejection and pain, there are some specific factors about ghosting that contribute to psychological distress.
Ghosting gives you no cue for how to react. It creates the ultimate scenario of ambiguity. Should you be worried? What if they are hurt and lying in a hospital bed somewhere? Should you be upset? Maybe they are just a little busy and will be calling you at any moment. You don’t know how to react because you don’t really know what has happened. Staying connected to others is so important to our survival that our brain has evolved to have a social monitoring system that scans the environment for cues so that we know how to respond in social situations. Social cues allow us to regulate our own behavior accordingly, but ghosting deprives you of these usual cues and can create a sense of emotional dysregulation where you feel out of control.
One of the most insidious aspects of ghosting is that it doesn’t just cause you to question the validity of the relationship you had, it causes you to question yourself. Why didn’t I see this coming? How could I have been such a poor judge of character? What did I do to cause this? How do I protect myself from this ever happening again? This self-questioning is the result of basic psychological systems that are in place to monitor one’s social standing and relay that information back to the person via feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. When a rejection occurs your self-esteem can drop, which social psychologists propose is meant to be a signal that your social belonging is low.13 If you have been through multiple ghostings or if your self-esteem is already low, you are likely to experience the rejection as even more painful, and it may take you longer to get over it as people with lower-self-esteem have less natural opioid (painkiller) released into the brain after a rejection when compared with those whose self-esteem is higher.
Your job when you get Ghosted
Understand closure is overrated, even if they did give you the reason you probably wouldn’t accept it and still be in the same position. Accept that no reason is acceptable for being ghosted, its cruel and intentionally hurtful and that says everything about them and nothing about you.
How do you move forward? You need self-compassion and self-care. Invest in time with friends and family who can support you. Also, you might indulge in activities that make you happy like taking a yoga class or returning to a hobby that you love. You can also try homeopathic treatments or acupuncture.
Elena Klimenko, MD, and Integrative Medicine Specialist sometimes uses a “broken heart ” homeopathic treatment for a heartfelt loss. She says, “In traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture, the heart meridian—which starts at the heart and runs to the armpits, then down each arm—is responsible for heartfelt matters and some deep emotions. Proper acupuncture treatment can also facilitate recovery and take the edge off the difficult feelings.”
When you think of the ghoster, be sure to reframe your ideas about them and the relationship. After all, they violated the contract of what it takes to be in a mature, healthy relationship. That includes mutual respect, good communication and thoughtfulness. Therefore, this wasn’t the right person for you, anyway.
Your final job is to go back in to the world love yourself be the very best version of yourself and always know you are not them and that really is enough to make it through a day. You are kind, caring and respectful. I will leave you with this people will always only treat you how you allow them to. Raise your standards, raise your game and they will never be able to hurt you like that again.
You got this
Love always Kevin x