I didn’t want to write a blog post on this topic. I read the articles on the subject after someone suggested I speak on “ghosting” for my radio show. Big sigh.
I mean really?
Here we have the ghost:
Bad manners; individuals exhibiting no compassion (for themselves and others); guilt-inducing baggage; hiding from themselves and others. Uh….keeping a separation from head to heart and lying to themselves about it being acceptable behavior with some story they invent to assuage their feelings on being an asshole.
And on the receiving end of the ghosting phenom… the haunted! An individual wondering what the hell happened. What did they do wrong? Their boyfriend or girlfriend was in the midst of packing up boxes to move in with them and just split. Poof! Into thin air! No explanation, nor sign that anything was wrong.
Plus the ghosted has the not-so-fun job of stalking the other person (if they so choose) to get to the bottom of what spooked the ghost. This amidst their own self-doubt, insecurities and anxieties triggered by the promise of more… and then cut off by abandonment.
People have been doing this for-e-v-e-r! Before technology. In the old days, they’d just hop on their horse and ride off to places unknown, where no cell phone or advent of technology was even a thought in someone’s mind.
And so, I didn’t want to write about it, because it’s so tense and deep. It’s a place where someone wants to point the finger… play victim to the persecutor and create a really thick plot. Then I have to grab my shovel to try and dig up what actually happened, plus the meaning (if any) that’s attached to the scenario.
Ghosting is not just disappearing out of the life of a loved one or someone you’re dating… it’s any situation where an individual does a disappearing act without a peep!
How does a person not sense when someone is about to jump ship? Were they dismissive about the actions of their lover, attributing odd behavior to cold feet or their jittery ticks to being the norm? How was commitment discussed; were the two people honest about life-changing choices? Or was someone fibbing and the other person afraid to call em’ on it?
Fear of abandonment can make us do crazy things and put up with less than we deserve. Fear of engulfment can make us put our running shoes and jog to the next state, so we don’t get swallowed up by the emotions of another person… or our own emotional state.
What about humans who accept a new job, but turn into a ghost on their first day of work? Why do people bolt without a word from a variety of situations? Ever been on the way to some celebration for a person you cared about and at the last minute steered the wheel in another direction. I mean ghosting shows up everywhere!
And when the text messages, phone calls or possible confrontations bring the specter back to life, it just isn’t good for anyone. The ghosted wants answers, but the ghost never wanted to offer one in the first place or he/she would’ve spoken before taking flight.
I have personally done this in the form of not showing up to social events I was expected to attend. Or with guys I never had a conversation with, except online, and instead of saying I’m not interested (which I had done in the past), I disappeared. Coward? Yes. In the case of guys I shared a few texts with where it was glaringly obvious to me it wasn’t good to continue, I silently slid out the texting door.
And in cases where you have someone with unpredictable or extreme behavior, becoming a ghost is probably the best idea. In my case, the times I said, “I wasn’t interested” to a few men, it actually unleashed some sort of unreasonable anger from them, which didn’t originate with our exchanges and made me grateful they didn’t know where I lived!
So, as I bring this topic, which I didn’t want to write to a close…..
I will leave you with some alternatives, comments and tips.
- Be honest–everyone. If you know on a gut level communication isn’t honest and you’re reading signs (like the ones Carrie ignored in the Sex and The City movie), but hoping if you pressure your mate/date or pretend everything is hunky dory, they will somehow wear ruby red slippers too… it’s time to be real. Speak your truth. And if you’re the one who can’t handle disappointing someone, so you make your date/mate into a big scary monster and soothe yourself with a story of why you silently slithered out of bed and left no note with a cold pillow in your wake.. .time to man or woman up! Be honest.
- Get real with yourself. What do you really want? Don’t try to please someone else by going along with what they want, WHEN YOU DO NOT WANT IT TOO. It’s okay to stand up for yourself.
- If you’re ghosted, do your best not to take it personally. Assume nothing and dig deep. Where could you have taken responsibility for any events leading up to them being MIA? Taking responsibility gives you a modicum of control over your emotions.
- Adding on to number three: Forget trying to find a reason. Your intellect will never be satisfied, so closure is something you will have to give to yourself. Question to ask yourself… what were you really getting here? Where were you attached, and where did you create your own expectations? Again, the more responsibility, the more control.
- Engulfment/abandonment: These two love to swim side by side, performing water ballet, until one partner has sucked in too much chlorine and darted out of the pool to somewhere safe. One person dreads abandonment and the other dreads engulfment. They are two sides of the same coin.
I am sure there’s more, but this topic could make for a book. Perhaps even a series of books on manners, communication or toxic emotional states… or recipes?
Whether in a romantic relationship, with a friend or at work, have you ever been ghosted? Or been the GHOST? I’d love to hear experiences from both sides… and what feelings resulted.