If you had asked me a few years ago what ghosting was, I would of likely guessed it was something to do with an actual ghost – an apparition of a person who has passed – such as trying to communicate with one, seeing one, or feeling one’s presence.
It wasn’t really until I had an experience of ghosting myself, (and I caught up on some of the millennial language and meaning), that I came to realise what it actually was.
And how painful it is to experience.
If you have never been ghosted or are unsure of what it means, essentially it is when someone you have a relationship with, (of any kind), stops communicating with you – with no explanation. This is not something that just happens to people who may have been in a very new relationship or even had a one night stand and barely know one another. It can be and is something that people are experiencing who have been in long term relationships with one another – intimate, family friendships, former work colleagues.
The rise of our connections with one another online, especially through social media, is a feeder into ghosting. As is our ever increasing use of hand held devices that now allow us to do so much more than just dial and talk to one another. They all provide an easy platform for sudden lack of communication – or a steady decline in it – to flourish.
If someone is ghosting you they simply stop replying to your text, direct or personal messages. Voxer voice mails to them go unplayed or are played, but not answered. Phone calls are not picked up. Messages are not returned. Emails are not replied to. And someone’s engagement with you on social media platforms dramatically changes. Where once someone may have liked, shared and openly commented on what you were posting, they dramatically pull back from doing such things, or stop all together.
Being ghosted can happen to you quickly. All of a sudden someone will simply cease being connected to you and may even block you so that you cannot see what they are doing online, or even have a phone call get through. Other times it is a long and slow withdrawal, whereby someone gradually stops engaging with you, often in such a way that they don’t want to draw attention to the fact they are doing it, but your experience of it will be very real and undoubtedly capturing your attention anyway. You absolutely know what is going on. Even if you don’t understand why.
To anyone who has not had this happen to them with a significant person in their life you may simply think – move on – let them go. And yes, that is eventually if the ghosting continues, what will need to happen.
However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Cause you worry. Make you question yourself. Ponder why, and so much more, with you likely never receiving any answers to your questions or resolution to your hurt. So much will need to be ‘dealt with’ by you alone with these things unknown and unresolved – potentially forever. No neat bows. No closed boxes. No closure.
Here’s what may help…and I hope it does.
- Don’t beat yourself up and tie yourself in knots if you are being ghosted. You are likely trying to find answers to something you may never know the answers to. There is only so far you can take that before you will hurt yourself more.
- Know that having this done to you is hurtful and painful and it’s ok to be confused, disappointed, angry and upset. Don’t bypass or bury how you feel.
- Try not to let a ghosting experience stop you forming new relationships with other people or begin to not trust others. For whatever reason this may have happened, you’re not a bad person and don’t deserve to be alone.
- If you have a strong desire to reach out to the person ghosting you about what you feel is happening, be prepared to continue to be ghosted or have the situation become confrontational. This may be what you would prefer rather than silence – which I get. Just ensure before you do that you are clear why you are doing it and for what desired outcome. Is it to truly understand what is happening for them? Is it to blame and rip into them about how you perceive they are treating you? Is it to get answers no matter what they may be? Know what you want prior – and be prepared for the fact you may not get it. Then if you still really want to go for it and try – do.
- Understand that not all relationships are meant to be forever. We can be very close to someone for a certain period of time in our lives, but it not be meant to be for all our days. We can think it will be, but things happen and sometimes that’s not the path ahead for the two of you. This includes friendships, which are relationships that are so much less spoken about in terms of break ups, but can be just as painful as any other.
- Lack of closure is hard. It can send your ego hurtling in all sorts of directions that are deeply unhelpful. Be lovingly compassionate and mindful through and beyond the experience and don’t turn on yourself where you end up in sharp self-blame with no real understanding of why.
I think it’s fair to say that at some point in time in our lives all of us have likely wanted to cut someone out of our lives in a ghost-like way. While I’ve never done it, I’ve certainly felt a desire to back away ‘quietly’ (so to speak) without even realising that what I would be doing is…ghosting.
And if it’s one thing I know as a woman and priestess trying to constantly learn from her spiritual practice and devotion, it’s that the relationships in my life are my greatest spiritual teachers outside my own Divinity and soul voice. They test me, love me, confuse me, enliven me, enrage me and everything else in between. As they should if I am really in them, as others are hopefully with me.
And if you are the same and always gently exploring your spiritual boundaries and connections, then you will quickly be able to realise that we are so much better than ghosting. As breathing, living, feeling human beings we are better than a behaviour that backs away, is both passive and aggressive, clamps us from expressing our truth to someone, (even if it makes us shake in fear), and leaves someone we once were connected to and even cared for and loved deeply – lingering in painful confusion.
We’re here to feel AND deal.
Have you ever been ghosted? Or ghosted someone?
I’d love for you to share with me what that experience was like for you and how you dealt with it if you’re called. Know that when you do it’s being received with an open heart and by someone who has been right there with you. And that it may help someone else going through this right now.