Ghosting: The Incredibly Heartless and Emotionally Immature Way to End a Relationship

October 23, 2016
Ghosting: The Incredibly Heartless and Emotionally Immature Way to End a Relationship

Life can be quite lonely at times. We may have our family, lots of acquaintances and a few close friends. We’re often separated by great distances from the people we care about. And some of us don’t feel especially close to anyone. We long for meaningful connections and to find someone with whom we share something special that we can love and be loved by.

Every now and then we meet someone with whom we seem to connect and we’re convinced that we have found a new friend. We like many of the same things and our conversation flows effortlessly, sometimes going on for hours. It feels as if we’re old friends or possibly soul mates even though we had met just a short time ago. We exchange contact info and plan to meet up again. Maybe they actually meant it at the time, but then we reach out via phone, text or email …and they never respond.

Many of us at some point in our lives felt as though we had met the man or woman of our dreams. We shared many common interests and sometimes finished each other’s sentences. We opened our hearts, shared our hopes, professed our feelings of love for one another and found ourselves getting swept away. We can be seeing that person every day, sleeping in the same bed and planning a future together and then he or she just disappears. No breakup, no phone call, email or text …only dead silence.

What just happened?

Ghosting is what happens when one person inexplicably fades out of the life of the person they’re dating. It can also happen with a spouse or family member, a friend or a business associate. Ghosting also occurs in a therapeutic setting when the person who initially sought some form of healing intervention disappears as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface. Many people nowadays ghost their music and yoga teachers or martial arts instructors because they don’t have ability to focus their attention or commit to any form of discipline for any significant length of time.

Ghosting can happen with someone we’ve just met or who has been a part of our lives for a long time. That person suddenly ceases all contact with us. They defriend us on Facebook, unfollow us on Twitter and stop responding to our calls, texts and emails. They mysteriously disappear, cutting off all contact with no explanation. It’s an incredibly heartless and emotionally immature way to end a relationship.

A person who ghosts, rather than face the issues, takes the easy way out by escaping from a relationship they no longer want to be in. The ghost blocks us from their life, often pretending we no longer or never existed. It may seem easier for the ghost to just delete us from their life rather than having to explain themselves, especially when their explanations have little, if any, validity and are not all that believable.

We can sometimes feel the person pulling away, but in many instances ghosting happens without warning. And then we’re left with all these painful feelings and no sense of closure. If we didn’t have all the photos and texts from the time we had spent together, we would assume that it was all a hallucination. We did experience a window of connectedness. The problem is that we’re dealing with an individual that doesn’t have the capacity to sustain it.

Ghosting is nothing new. People have been showing up and then disappearing from other people’s lives since the beginning of time, but it has become far more prevalent in more recent years as people have come to rely more heavily upon their smartphones and dating apps such as Tinder. It has become so commonplace for men and women in our digital age to assume they can discard another person by responding with nothing.

Why do people ghost?

Ghosting exists primarily because of people’s tendency to run away from their problems. In this case, they’re running away from another person that has been a part of their lives and all the feelings and issues attached to them that they rather not deal with. Ghosting is a form of avoidance coping. Avoidance coping often serves as the default mode of operation for those who are unwilling to face the issues and experience their true feelings. Their relationships often do not work very well for this reason. Many of the issues that they have avoided could have been resolved through open and honest communication.

Feelings of dread and anxiety will in many instances take over whenever the ghost thinks of having to tell the person they’ve been seeing that they want out of the relationship. The ghost’s fear of confrontation, facing the issues, seeing the hurt in the eyes of the person they’re severing ties with and having to deal with their response to being rejected keeps building up inside of them and so they just avoid the person that has been a part of their life altogether.

Many of those who have ghosted admit that their own fears, insecurities and immaturity are the driving force behind their decision to bail. Their immaturity is often a result of their inability to deal with their own emotions or communicate effectively. They don’t know how to cope with their own feelings, therefore they cannot deal with anyone else’s.

Many people who ghost do so out of their own fear of conflict. They’re trying to avoid the difficult conversations or any possible confrontation and are afraid of hurting other people’s feelings. But they inadvertently end up causing much greater emotional-psychological damage than they would had they just remained present while communicating what they were thinking and feeling. In many instances they know that they’re hurting someone and yet that’s not enough of a motivation to prevent them from ghosting.

Relationships put people in touch with their deepest issues and in doing so they have a tendency to evoke strong emotional responses. People that never really learn to work effectively with their own emotions have a lower tolerance for their feelings. They are more easily overwhelmed and more likely to be controlled by their fears and anxieties. One of the most unfortunate consequences of not being taught to work with our emotions is that many people are not reaching the level of maturity that would enable them to have the difficult conversations that are at times a normal part of being in a functional adult relationship.

People lacking maturity and the conversations skills necessary to participate in adult relationships tend to disappear if they find themselves feeling uncomfortable for any reason. And many will repeat the same behavior again and again because they have never been held accountable for it.

The problem with people walking away from anyone or anything that elicits strong or uncomfortable feeling is that they’re not doing the deep level processing of their emotions. They’re not growing or maturing because many of their issues are not being addressed. They therefore remain stunted in their development.

People who are emotionally and socially immature and that lack communication skills do not know how to deal with the awkward and uncomfortable feelings that one experiences as a result of breaking up with someone and may not know of any other way to disengage themselves from a relationship they no longer want to be in. Ghosting gives them an easy way out because they never have to confront the unpleasant reality of breaking off a relationship.

Some people ghost out of a need for revenge when their partner has cheated or hurt them in other ways. The one doing the ghosting may initially derive some sense of vindication for the wrongs done to them by their partner, but the lack of closure resulting from ghosting can in some instances be very damaging for everyone involved.

Ghosting often happens when someone goes through a major life crisis. Many ghost because they are either overwhelmed or incapable of dealing with problems in their own lives that have nothing to do with us. It’s common for a person whose life and emotions are in a state of turmoil to ghost someone who shows interest in them because it adds to their sense of overwhelm. Partners that are emotionally unstable will in many instances say things or act in ways that are totally crazy making only to disappear, leaving the ghostee to sort through all the confusion and painful feelings. And they will often discard the person they’re seeing once the relationship begins to get heated up and they find themselves confronted with the feelings and issues they have spent much of their lives avoiding.

Flakiness has become so ingrained in the fabric of our culture that it now seems to be the norm. Those who have a tendency to flake out lack accountability. The words coming out of their mouths have little, if any, significance, because they cannot be counted on to do what they say and say what they do. Flaky people ghost so they don’t have to apologize for canceling or postponing, admit any kind of wrong doing or feel bad about their lack of consistency or integrity.

People who possess narcissistic tendencies tend to be largely self-absorbed, caring little for the needs, considerations or wellbeing of others. It’s nothing for them to abruptly disappear, because they were never that attached to begin with. They may not even be capable of forming deep and meaningful attachments.

Some people are not willing to make any kind of significant investment or commit themselves to a relationship or much of anything else. Men and women with a pathological avoidance of intimacy will ghost if someone starts to become attached to them because it feels too suffocating.

Many of us have heard the line “I’m just not feeling it anymore.” Lots of ghosters are incredibly shallow, immature and inconsistent people that do not know what they want. They feel absolutely no sense of obligation, responsibility or commitment and basically do whatever feels good for them in that moment. They may initially feel a liking for someone, but can easily become bored or lose interest and then discard the person they’ve been seeing when they are no longer feeling that spark and then and go on to someone else.

Ghosting often happens after an argument or miscommunication. It’s much more difficult for people that do not possess the emotional intelligence that would enable them work constructively with their own feelings to extricate themselves from a toxic relationship. Many remain trapped in an endless cycle of fighting and breaking up because their inability to process their own emotions reinforces the holding pattern and that prevents them from letting go and moving on. They’re far more likely to just cut the other person off as they see no other way out.

Some men will act as though they are romantically interested in a woman only to seduce her. And then they don’t respond to the woman’s calls or texts after she’s slept with them. Of course there are also lots of women who ghost men after sleeping with them. Men and women who have been burned often find it difficult to trust or allow themselves to be open or vulnerable.

Women often ghost men out of fear for their own personal safety. The legitimate threats that women face on a daily basis sometimes justifies not responding or disappearing. The unfortunate thing is that the projection of a woman’s own fears, insecurities and past abuses suffered may also prompt her to ghost men who do not in any way pose a threat.

We used to write down and were also more likely to remember important phone numbers. Few of us remember numbers now that we have them stored in our phones. Ghosting sometimes happens inadvertently when phones stop working or get lost or stolen.

Those who have a tendency to ghost have a very limited capacity to appreciate the people who play a part in their lives or to form deep, meaningful and lasting attachments. And they probably never stop to consider that they may be burning important bridges whenever they ghost someone. The people they ghost along the way could turn out to be valuable friends and resources somewhere down the road, especially in a time of need.

The healthiest relationships with the greatest durability are those based on a solid foundation of friendship. We shouldn’t become romantically involved with anyone if there’s not a basis for friendship. People that have shut down emotionally and that have been deeply wounded often have a huge disconnect between their sexuality and the parts of themselves that would enable them to establish the deep and lasting bonds of friendship. They’re incapable of being a friend to those with whom they become romantically involved.

The influence of technology, social media and dating apps

We were more likely to meet people through friends, shared activities and chance encounters before the advent of smartphones, social media and online dating apps such as Tinder. People tended to be more conscientious in their interactions with others because there was more of a sense of community. Saying or doing things that were hurtful or abusive to the person we’re seeing could likely result in negative repercussions in our circle of friends and acquaintances. Nowadays, more of us are dating people with whom we have no mutual friends. And that makes it so much easier for people to bail out of a relationship without warning once they decide that they’re no longer into it.

Technology has made meeting people easier than ever. Online dating apps such as Tinder and OkCupid provide one with an endless supply of potential partners. The unfortunate consequence of this is that men and women tend to place less and less value on the people with whom they’re becoming involved. With so many options, people find it difficult to be happy with the choices they’re making or to stay focused or commit to any one partner. The act of swiping left or right on dating apps such as Tinder also makes potential daters into commodities to either be obtained or disposed of.

Texting, social media, dating apps and the technology that powers them are making it possible for us to be in touch 24/7 while simultaneously creating a series of filters that are placing more and more distance between ourselves and the people with whom we interact. As we become more dependent upon our devices, we’re becoming less comfortable talking face to face. We’re also less likely to deal with the normal kinds of issues that arise within the context of adult relationships.

Our over reliance upon technology is exacerbating our state of disconnectedness by causing us to become more and more detached from our feelings and physical bodies, the world around us and other people. Our brains are so overloaded as they cannot possibly process the massive amount of data flooding or sensory channels. Everyone and everything is so speeded up. Many of us are no longer taking the time to get to know one another. As a result, we’re losing our capacity for empathy. Therefore it’s nothing for us to let time pass, forget about the connection we shared with another human being and just walk away without saying a word.

Dating in the big city

One of the most disappointing, saddening and sometimes painful aspects of living in New York City is the way people show up and then abruptly disappear. For many of us it’s an everyday reality. Ghosting is far more common in large urban environments such as New York City where one is surrounded by masses of shallow immature singles addicted to their tech devices and dating apps.

The city often seems to attract disproportionate numbers of people that have a tendency to avoid any real intimacy. What appears to be an avoidance of intimacy may also have a lot to do with the fact that people living in the big cities can easily become distracted by everything going on around them. With so many distractions, people tend to skitter along the surface moving from one thing or person that captures their attention to another. That can make them less consistent in their interactions.

People in large cities like New York are more likely to feel they can get away with ghosting, because there’s no one to hold them accountable. They just assume they will never have to see the person again anyway. And the probability of a young and physically attractive person finding another date within the hour is also very high.

Is it ever okay to ghost someone?

It’s important to make a clear distinction between ghosting and escaping from an unsafe or abusive relationship which is an act of self-preservation. We have every right to extricate ourselves from relationships with people who inflict harm upon us. And it’s important for us to take whatever steps we deem necessary to ensure our safety.

People who are caught in a relationship with an abusive partner are often faced with a dilemma. Abusive behavior can escalate when a person attempts to leave. Disappearing maybe the best way to ensure one’s own safety and wellbeing when dealing with a partner who is jealous, possessive, controlling or that poses a threat to our physical wellbeing. In some instances we may be better off seeking help rather than attempting to disappear, because the person we’re trying to get away from can pose an even greater threat if they were to track us down.

It’s normal to want to walk away from the guy or girl we were seeing who cheated or hooked up with someone else or that has said or done other things that has caused us unnecessary pain. People that have caused us inordinate amounts of grief and that are never going to hear what we have to say no matter how many times we repeat ourselves may not deserve any kind of explanation.

Is it okay to just stop talking to someone that we’re chatting with online that we haven’t met up with? Or is it ever okay to ghost someone once we’ve gone out with a time or two who is reaching out to us if we realize that there’s no chemistry?

A more considerate response would be to respond with something like “This isn’t feeling like a good match. I wish you well, bu bye.” At least tell the other person “I’m just not feeling it, I’m seeing someone else, I’m too busy or whatever else sounds appropriate and then wish them well. Communicating how you feel in these situations ties up loose ends while reducing the amount of hurt experienced by the person on the receiving end. It’s a basic human courtesy that shows you are a conscientious person. Asserting your boundaries in these situations can feel uncomfortable at times, but it will come easier with practice.

Why does it hurt so bad when the person we’ve been seeing ghosts us?

Having someone in our lives that we can love and be loved by is one of our most basic of human needs. Whether it is done intentionally or not, cutting someone who has been a part of our lives off with no explanation is an act of emotional cruelty. The exception being if we were to disappear from the life of someone who is a threat to our wellbeing or that has caused us a lot of unnecessary hell and heart ache.

Being cut off with no explanation taps into our deepest fears of abandonment. Ghosting is essentially abandoning a person that one has been involved with. And the abandonment wound is one of the deepest and most painful wounds that many of us carry, especially for those of us who have been abandoned or suffered other childhood abuses.

The hurts that we experience when we are abandoned in this way can cause a deadening of the heart. The fear of being hurt again makes it difficult for us to trust, open our hearts and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to one another. These wounds may never fully heal. And that can preclude the possibility of ever finding the love that we truly need and desire.

Ghosting can be especially torturous because it offers no reasoning or closure and leaves those of us on the receiving end feeling angry, hurt, confused, devalued, discarded and deeply insecure. Someone that has been a part of our lives decides they’re finished with us and they don’t even care enough about us to talk about it. We want answers to make sense of what happened and to gain closure, but we can’t get any.

Breakups can be awkward, difficult, messy and sometimes very painful and yet the process we go through when breaking off a relationship helps us to fulfill our need for closure. Being told by someone who has been a part of our lives that they no longer wish to continue seeing us is painful enough, but we’re better able to get over it. When someone ghosts us, we hurt that much more. We’re left with these horribly unsettling feelings of incompleteness that comes from being discarded and not even having the opportunity to talk. It feels as though we weren’t even worthy of an explanation.

Without a tangible reason why someone doesn’t want to see us any more we end up spending inordinate amounts of time spinning around in our heads trying to figure out what went wrong. We keep replaying what happened over the course of our relationship trying to construct a narrative to make sense of the person who ghosted us, how the relationship lost it’s spark and why it crashed and burned. We’re left wondering “What exactly did I say or do?” The lingering self-doubts can have a devastating impact upon how we feel about ourselves. And that makes it even harder for us to get over someone. Even a casual or brief involvement can then leave us with long term grief and confusion that drags on for weeks, months and even years.

Missing out on important growth opportunities

Breakups can be as hard on the person ending the relationship as it is on the one being broken up with. Despite their unpleasantness, breakups are an important part of the process of learning and growth that we go through in our relationships. We may feel guilty about initiating a breakup or the sadness and pain that it creates. We may like, love and care deeply about someone, but that doesn’t necessitate we want to be in a relationship with them.

Ghosting provides an easy way out for those who possess a limited understanding of their own mind and emotions and that lack the interpersonal resources needed to handle mature adult relationships. People who ghost are avoiding the hard conversations and the issues that need to be dealt with. They are disconnecting from the reality of another person who had been a part of their life that is now feeling hurt and angry with them. It’s this pattern of avoidance that prevents them from developing many of the internal resources needed to effectively cope with the issues that come up within their relationships and other important areas of their lives.

The person doing the ghosting and ghostee miss out on much of the crucially important learning that is part of the ending of a relationship because they are not having the conversations needed to bring closure. That doesn’t give the person being ghosted the opportunity share their thoughts, offer any feedback, to see where they went wrong or the chance to correct course. And that makes it harder for them to understand why the relationship didn’t work out and what they can possibly do different in the future to improve the quality of their relationships.

Most of us do not enjoy hurting other people’s feelings and so we tend to avoid the hard conversations. But there are times when that cannot be avoided. They are at times a normal part of being in an adult relationship. Being an adult means doing the right thing, even when it feels uncomfortable.

Toxic dating culture

“And then I never heard from him or her again,” has sadly become one of the most common endings to what seemed to be a great friendship, date or relationship. Many people nowadays think nothing of ghosting another person who no longer holds their interest. They start excusing the behavior and then they convince themselves that it’s somehow normal and acceptable and yet they hate it when someone does it to them. We all deserve better.

The dishonesty and a lack of regard for one another that has become so much a part of our present day dating culture is so damaging. Many people are numbing out to the anger, fear and other toxic emotions held within and that causes them to behave in ways that are even more hurtful and dishonest. Many have seared their conscience and in doing so they have become oblivious to the needs, considerations and suffering of others. They’ve lost their capacity for empathy and basic human decency. Therefore it is nothing for them to disappear or do the many other stupid and crazy making things they do to hurt someone that has been a part of their lives.

Many people now maintain superficial attachments to a number of people, not allowing themselves become too deeply attached to any one person. Some are fearful of getting hurt. And many are content to hook up without the responsibilities or commitments of an intimate relationship. They’re so preoccupied with getting their own needs met, often at the expense of others that they don’t really care who they hurt along the way.

So many people are bypassing the normal and healthy stages of getting to know another person, becoming intimately involved long before they ever have the opportunity to really know who they’re sleeping with and develop any kind of emotional bond. Things will invariably get weird when people allow themselves to become physically intimate with people that they barely know.

Ghosting has unfortunately become such a widespread cultural phenomenon as it has come to be viewed by many as an acceptable way to end a relationship. It may give some sense of consolation for those of us who have been ghosted to know that it has become the norm in our toxic dating culture. But it’s still difficult to not take it personally when it happens to us.

We tend to blame and beat ourselves up when someone ghosts us. We all have our faults. And it’s possible that we may have said or done something that offended. We’re only human. And yet the person who ghosted us could have also had the maturity to let us know if there was something we said or did that caused them to feel uncomfortable. They could have given us the opportunity to communicate and course correct if necessary …but they didn’t.

When somebody just cuts off all communication and then disappears, it’s important for us to go easy on ourselves. In most instances, it’s more about the person doing the ghosting than it is about us. It’s a reflection of their own self-absorption, immaturity and inability to form any kind of healthy, meaningful and lasting attachments. And if they’re ghosting us, then they are most likely disappearing from the lives of other people with whom they become involved.

Many people don’t know themselves all that well, comprehend their own needs or know what they want in a relationship because they are so out of touch with their own feelings and physical bodies. People who become so disconnected do not have a good relationship with themselves therefore they cannot be truly intimate with anyone else.

We experience the pain of abandonment when someone ghosts us. We also need to keep in mind that people who ghost have been wounded somewhere along the way. Ghosting is often an indication that we’re dealing with someone who possesses a very limited capacity to cope with their own emotions, issues and the realities of their everyday lives. It often seems easier for the person doing the ghosting to discard us rather than address the issues. Matters are further compounded by the fact that these individuals lack the growth orientation that would compel them to learn from their experiences, heal their emotional wounds and bring the issues concerning them to a place of resolution. The fact that they don’t take constructive action to learn, grow and heal only increases their likelihood of wounding others.

People who abruptly disappear from the lives of those with whom they enter into relationships with are not fully functional adults. They have trouble articulating their feelings and are afraid of confrontation. They avoid the difficult conversations that are at times a normal part of relating to another human being.

Being able to remain present by having conversations that address the sometimes difficult and uncomfortable issues is a crucial part of maintaining any kind of functional, mature and healthy relationship. Anyone who operates on the basis of doing what’s comfortable for themselves in the moment rather than to doing what’s right lacks the mental, emotional and interpersonal maturity to deal with their own emotions or the kinds of issues that arise in adult relationships. Bailing out as they did shows that we’re dealing with someone who lacks consideration, empathy, human decency and many other qualities essential to forming healthy and meaningful relationships.

It’s difficult to know what’s going on in another person’s head. The person who ghosted us could still be hung up on a former love. Men and women that have attachment issues may have a desire for closeness and yet they are so uncomfortable and mistrustful of it. And they often run because they cannot handle the intensity of feeling that intimate relationships evoke in them.

Outward appearances can be very deceptive. The man or woman we’ve grown attached to may be handsome or beautiful and appear as though they have their act together, but underneath it all they’re emotionally unstable. And there can be all kinds of other issues that we don’t know about. If he or she truly were a functional adult, they would at least tell us why they wanted to end the relationship. And better yet, rather than severing all ties and would have at least been open to the possibility of friendship.

As horribly painful as it feels to be ghosted by someone we love. We need to realize they may be inadvertently doing us a huge favor by revealing their true nature. Instead of beating ourselves up, we can be thankful that the relationship didn’t go any further. The former friend or lover that ghosted us may have let us off easy before far more serious damage could be done. Were we to continue with them, they would invariably create more problems which would then cause us even more pain. Rather than deal with it, they would ignore us, self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs or find someone else to hookup with to further distract themselves.

Healthy mature adults value the connections they share with the people that become a part of their lives. And they work constructively to address any issues that arise within the context of their relationships. They definitely do not discard one another. Yes, it definitely hurts when someone ghosts us, but we need to keep in mind that there’s someone better out there.

Expectations

We can’t help but expect things to be predictable in our intimate relationships because it’s the basis from which we form and maintain healthy bonds with other individuals. Those of us who value the connections we share with other human beings have normal and healthy needs to form deep and lasting attachments. We hold expectations about what the time we spent together with another person meant.

People who ghost can be very misleading, often saying things they don’t really mean and in doing so they build false hope. We’re then left with a sense of disillusionment when that person disappears. People who ghost are less likely to form deep and lasting attachments and place less value or significance on their connections with others. It’s so much easier for them to just walk away because their attachments tend to be much weaker and do not possess as great of significance.

Our expectations of one another have become so low as ghosting has become more commonplace. Many people are no longer holding themselves accountable now that they can hide behind their smart phones and computers. We can no longer depend upon one another; therefore there is no longer any basis for trust. And without trust we cannot be truly intimate because we are not safe to open our hearts and be vulnerable to another.

When inexcusable behavior becomes socially acceptable

Ghosting is having a hugely damaging impact upon society as it becomes more socially acceptable. People look around and see others doing it and then assume that it must be okay without ever stopping to think of the consequences of their actions. Although many people are saddened, horrified and disgusted by ghosting, more people are attempting to justify it. When people shut down emotionally, they lose much of their ability to experience compassion and to truly care for other people. Shutting down emotionally also narrows people’s intellectual range while causing them to lose their connection to the authentic core self that resides deep within.

We need to start holding ourselves and other people to higher standards of accountability and let ghosters know that there are consequences for their actions. We have every reason to feel hurt and angry when someone comes into our lives in a big way and then suddenly vanishes. We may need to give it some space, but at some point we may want to let him or her know how we feel. It can be difficult to get the message across to someone who is unwilling to pick up the phone. But we can send a text or email letting them know how we feel about their disappearance. We may also come to a place where we feel that it’s not even worth the effort. Sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the person who ghosted us and move on without even saying a word.

I have confronted friends when I learned that they had ghosted other people. I have also confronted a few women over the years that ghosted me that I’ve run into. And in doing so I gave them back some of the unnecessary pain they caused me. Confronting people who ghost lets them know there are consequences for their actions by holding them accountable for such inexcusable behavior.

How do I know if I’m being ghosted?

One of the most crazy making aspects of being ghosted is having to go through that initial period of time where we’re waiting for a response. We question whether the other person received our communication. And then we sit there anxiously staring at our phone or checking our email incessantly waiting for a response while dissecting every detail of our interaction. Time passes and then we wonder if we’re ever going to see or hear from that person again.

It can be difficult to know where we stand in relationship to others. It used to be considered rude to not return phone calls. But many people nowadays no longer afford this most basic of human courtesies. We’re often left wondering when someone doesn’t respond to our texts, emails or phone calls. Is the person who is not responding telling us to fuck off? Has the courtesy chip fried out in their brains? Are they overwhelmed or distracted by everything going on in their lives?

There’s an initial sense of confusion and uncertainty when we attempt to reach out to someone who has been a part of our life and then we don’t hear back from them. It feels absolutely horrible because they’re not responding to us. We feel this incredible urge to reach out to him or her. We’re wondering if they received our message or we fear that something might have happened to them. Part of us may still be in denial, but then the shock begins to wear off. We’re then left with this horrid feeling that the person that we’ve grown attached to has suddenly abandoned us.

People get really busy in their lives or caught up in all dramas and distractions and then we don’t hear back from them. Our first assumption in many instances is that we’re being ghosted. It’s often a huge relief when we call again and they pick up the phone or if they finally do get around to calling us back.

Reaching out can feel uncomfortable when the person we’ve been talking to and spending time with on a regular basis has not responded to our calls, emails or texts. Voice messages, texts and email are not always reliable. Sometimes it’s best to let some time pass and then text or call and say “Hey, What’s going on? We haven’t talked for some time now?” And then see if they respond. They will usually respond quickly if they have any interest. In some instances they will respond with an apology and let us know they were busy, overwhelmed or caught up in the drama of their lives. If we still haven’t heard back from them within a few days we can assume that we’ve been ghosted. It’s best to just drop it and move on if we don’t hear back.

How ghosting fuels obsessive tendencies…

It would be so nice if we could all just let go of abusive, flaky ass and otherwise damaged people that torment us by doing stupid things that cause us a lot of unnecessary hell and heart ache. But letting go does not come easily for many of us, and even more so for those of us who have suffered childhood abuse or neglect. Our addiction to people who are not good for us is also fueled by the fact that we live in a culture where people are so disconnected from themselves and from one another. Many are hungry, if not starving for affection, love and companionship.

The pain of abandonment that we experience when being ghosted and can make even the least obsessive of us behave obsessively. Many of us have tortured ourselves by looking at our ex’s Facebook page. And then we read and reread old texts and emails. It seems to be a part of the grieving process we go through when we lose someone we love and we’re still longing for that connection. The danger here is that we get stuck in this obsessive phase and that can prevent us from healing moving on in our lives.

…and even turn some people into stalkers

Being ghosted by someone we we’re strongly attached to can feel like having our lifeline cut. Even though we may feel that painful longing, it’s a huge mistake for us to go and hang out at the places he or she tends to frequent in hopes of running into them. Setting ourselves up to encounter our ghost by going to the places they frequent is a form of stalking that can cause them to react in anger or feel totally creeped out by us. It’s better to accept that the ghost is choosing not to see us and allow them their space, despite the fact that it hurts, or we run the risk of creating a very uncomfortable situation and doing further damage.

Stalking behaviors are highly detrimental to our recovery. Focusing on our former partners and what they might be doing or who they’re now seeing consumes huge amounts of valuable time and emotional energy while fueling unhealthy obsessive tendencies. Rather than focusing on our ex, we need to direct our attention to the things we can be doing to heal and grow from our experience and move on in our lives.

Knowing when to let go

We shared something special with a person who has been a part of our lives …or so we thought. Our natural impulse is to reach out to them. So we call, email or text hoping for a response. Their lack of response evokes these horrible feelings of grief, loss, abandonment and desperation. We want the pain to stop. And we want that person we thought we shared a connected with to return. Some of us will call, email or text incessantly, but that’s the absolute worst thing we can do.

Incessantly calling or texting someone who has disappeared on us or showing up at the places they frequent will not help matters. The person who is running away may find our constant attempts to reach them to be an intrusion and in some instances very frightening. If anything, that’s only going to push them further away and reinforce their resolve to have nothing to do with us. We certainly don’t want to give them any sense of justification.

It can be very difficult to resist the urge to keep reaching out because we want to find out what happened and if possible, reestablish the connection. And at times we may feel like lashing out at him or her. But we’ve already called, emailed or texted and got no response. Reaching out over and over does further damage to our already wounded sense of self while making us less attractive to the person that ghosted us. It’s time to stop and cut our losses.

We have no control over another person. We cannot cause them to change or think and feel as we would like them to. We cannot guilt or force them to respond to us. He or she knows how to contact us. If they want to get in touch with us, they will. And if they don’t, they won’t. There’s no point in wasting our time waiting for some form of explanation or closure. We’re probably not going to get the response we want anyway.

The person who ghosted us most likely isn’t too good about addressing their issues. He or she probably disappeared because it brought up feelings or issues that they weren’t willing to deal with. And that tendency for avoidance is probably not going to be changing any time soon. Waiting around is a waste of valuable time and energy.

Fighting or resisting the reality that we have been ghosted will only prolong and intensify our suffering. Hard as it may be, we need to find the strength within ourselves to let go and move on. If we truly love someone, then we need to set them free. We have to come to terms with what is by accepting the fact that this person no longer desires to continue in any form of relationship with us. It’s over and done with. Wave bye bye and move on.

Thoughts of revenge

Being ghosted leaves us with a convoluted tangle of ambiguous feelings. Parts of us feel hurt and angry. We may even hate our ex and hope there is a karma that comes back around to bite them really hard. Another part of us still loves and misses them and would get back together in an instant were the opportunity to present itself. We may attempt to shut out the more vindictive feelings. The problem with this approach is that anger, resentment and hatred can then build up within us and then do further harm.

The thought of seeking revenge on the person who ghosted us can be tempting at times. Part of us may feel so hurt and angry that we want to hurt them in return. Our minds become flooded with all these vengeful thoughts and imagery of things we can do or say to inflict pain upon our ghost or we hope that something bad happens to them. Seeking revenge can provide us with a momentary sense of vindication. It can also give the ghost a sense of justification for behaving so poorly. Let’s not do that.

Confucius once said “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” We may succeed in hurting our ex, but we will end up hurting ourself as well. As tempting as the thought of revenge might be at times, we’re better off to just let it go. Any attempt to get revenge on the person who ghosted us is only going to make us look like a pathetic looser. It will also diminish any chances of reconciliation. The best revenge of all is to lose interest, stop caring, go on about our lives and connect with someone else who is more deserving of our time and attention.

At some level, the ghost knows they’re causing unnecessary hurt and suffering. When people do things to harm others, they feel an underlying sense of guilt. That guilt is saying “I did something wrong, therefore I deserve to be punished.” Let their own guilt eat on them. And if there really is such a thing as karma, let it come back to bite them.

Remember to breathe

Many of us get caught in this cycle of thinking obsessively about what happened and how we can get the man or woman that ghosted us to return. It’s a natural tendency for our minds to run in circles trying to make sense of what happened. Rather than torturing ourselves indefinitely, we need to realize it’s probably over between us and this person and do the best we can to get over them. It helps to interrupt the cycle of obsessive thoughts by asking ourselves “What are the deepest feelings behind all of these thoughts?” We then need to breathe softly and deeply into any fear, sadness, anger, hurt and of wanting him or her back or any other feelings that surface. Continuing to breathe into the feelings as they go through their progression will help us to process the feelings so that we can get over that person, let go and move on.

What Do We Do If Our Ghost Reappears?

It’s best to just assume that it’s over when someone drops out of the picture, otherwise we keep holding on and in doing so we cause ourselves greater harm. That being said, people that ghost us do sometimes resurface in our lives. Just don’t count on it. Having our ghosts resurface may or may not be a good thing depending on the individual. Do we allow that person back into our lives? Can they ever be trusted? Are they even worth the investment of our time, effort and emotion?

People that have been a part of our lives will sometimes drop out of the picture only to resurface somewhere down the road. Some will offer a sincere apology while others act as though nothing had ever happened. We have good reason to be cautious with those who have disappeared. We question whether we can take the person who ghosted us too seriously or make any kind of emotional investment. Although some will manage to redeem themselves.

Seeking Understanding

Those of us who are dating will most likely be ghosted at some point in our lives. Our self-esteem can take a huge hit when that happens. We’re often left wondering and in many instances we tend to blame or find fault with ourselves. Seeking greater understanding of what happened over the course of our relationships will help us to learn from our experience. It will give us the opportunity to see what we could have done differently. We may also come to the realization that we were in some ways incompatible with our former partner.

It’s important for us to keep in mind that people ghost because of their own inability to face the issues and deal with their own emotions. They fear conflict and want the issues or other person to just go away. No matter how much we think we love the person who ghosted us, they’re not worthy of our, or anyone else’s emotional investment.

Red flags

When we meet someone and feel a strong attraction and an intense sense of connection, we tend to assume that the feelings are mutual. Maybe they too felt it, but either they couldn’t sustain the intensity or it scared them. We become emotionally invested, possibly imagining a future together only to have them vanish into thin air.

It can sometimes be hard to get a sense of people. In many instances it appears as though the person we’re involved with is genuinely interested in us. They seem to be really present and engaging at the time they’re interacting with us. Sadly, many cannot sustain this level of presence or engagement.

We tend to beat up on ourselves when someone that we’ve grown attached to disappears from our lives. But there are a number of good reasons the relationship didn’t work out. We need to remind ourselves that good men and women do not behave in such an inexcusable manner. And we do not want to make any further emotional invested in someone who would ever treat us or anyone else this way.

Many of us fail to recognize the signs of impending ghosting. At times we do see the red flags along the way, and yet we tend to overlook them. We may even make justifications for their failure to respond to texts or calls consistently, the sketchy relationship history, tendency to be especially guarded, addictive behaviors and other forms of dysfunction hoping that the person we’ve grown attached to will somehow be the exception.

We get this sinking feeling that our friend or lover is starting to pull away when they become distant and don’t return calls or respond to our texts or emails. We naturally reach out to them fearing abandonment and the loss of the connection we’ve shared. Our call or text may prompt a quick response. The ghost may initially respond by calling, emailing or texting or we may even hang out. Their response probably has a lot to do with the fact that they’re feeling guilty. They will often apologize and make excuses, giving us assurance that everything is fine, only to lead to the same outcome of disappearing on us again.

People with an inclination to ghost are detectable. We have to be mindful to pay attention to the signs of impending ghosting such as self-absorption, dishonesty, flakiness and mental and emotional instability. There are certain personality types that are more inclined to abruptly disappear, such as narcissists, people who have an aversion to intimacy or commitment and those who are unable or unwilling to experience their true feelings or address the issues that are a normal part of everyday life.

One of our greatest mistakes is that we assigned way too much significance to the person with whom we fell in love. Our projections have often blinded us in a ways that prevented us from seeing the other person for who they truly are. And in many instances, these projections create a lot of pressure on the person we’re infatuated with and that predisposed our relationship to falter.

It’s important for us to take the time we need to grieve our loss. And in in the process of doing so, we grasp the lessons offered therein. As we come out the other side of the pain, we then gain a more realistic view of our former partner. And we come to the realization as we move on down the road that we will encounter many others out there who are kinder and more considerate and possibly someone who is a much better match.

Healing and moving on

Being ghosted by someone we’ve grown attached to can be an incredibly painful experience that leaves us deeply wounded. The best thing we can possibly do is to take whatever steps are necessary to let go of the person who ghosted us and heal the hurt resulting from our loss. And by doing so we can move on in our lives and attract a much better quality of person.

It’s important for us while we are healing to do the things that make us feel better. That may include spending time with friends or family or taking time off to travel to some place that we’ve always wanted to go. We also need to be getting plenty of rest and eating right.

There are times when the pain we experience is so great that we don’t even feel like moving. The nurturing presence of the Earth will help to mitigate the painful emotions when we take time to walk in nature. Working out at the gym, practicing yoga or martial arts or any other form of physical activity can also help us to feel better by releasing endorphins.

The period of grief that we experience while in the midst of a breakup is an important time of self-reflection. Taking time to reflect and do the deep emotional processing will help us to learn the lessons of the relationship that has ended. It may be tempting to run out and find someone new to fill the empty void left by the person who unceremoniously disappeared from our lives. The problem with jumping into a new relationship is that it can prevent us from ever processing the grief of our recent loss. It can also end up creating even more pain and confusion if that relationship doesn’t work out.

The women who abruptly disappeared from my life put me in touch with some of my deepest vulnerabilities and in doing so they provided me with an opportunity to heal these parts of myself. My intention is to use everything that happens within the context of my relationships, including the losses so that it can all be transformed in such a way that it becomes fuel for growth.

Being ghosted can evoke some of the worst feelings imaginable. My first impulse after being ghosted was to attempt to escape from the painful feelings. But I knew from experience that the hurt would remain trapped in my body if I tried to escape and that would prevent me from healing and moving on. Difficult as it was, I would make a concerted effort to be fully present to all the feelings and sensations that arose within my body. I would then breathe into the feelings of hurt, loss, sadness, anger and confusion and then follow these feelings as they went through their progression.

Grieving loss and abandonment is a process that takes time. In some instances I was able to work through the feelings that arose in response to being ghosted in thirty minutes or less. The process went on for days, weeks or even months when I felt a much stronger attachment to the person who ghosted me. The feelings would often subside only to resurface again. The intensity of feeling would gradually diminish as I continued to work with this practice. The hurts began to heal and I gained insight into the relationship and the person who had been a part of my life. That made it easier for me to let go.

The emotional wounds resulting from being ghosted can be very difficult to heal. In some instances we do not possess all of the resources needed to heal completely on our own. That’s why it’s so critically important for us to make use of any therapeutic interventions that will facilitate our healing.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed specific interventions to facilitate the healing that I could not fully do on my own. Deep tissue body work helped me to bring much of the painful emotion trapped within the various parts of my body up to the surface so that I could process it. Working with gifted healers and going on vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves fasting alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water helped me to diffuse and then digest the losses I had experienced and the subsequent emotions attached to them. The healing process that’s taken place has enabled me to become more resilient and that’s made it much easier for me to let go and move on.

I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to train with one of the last surviving traditional doctors (medicine men) among the Kiowa Indian tribe. My mentor Horace passed on portions of his own healing power to me. These gifts of healing combined with other powers received during the many vision quests that I’ve gone through have enabled me to facilitate healing in others. The presence that works through me during the individual sessions facilitates healing for those who have suffered from suffered from depression, anxiety, emotional and physical trauma, digestive and respiratory disorders, heart disease and stroke and a wide range of other psychological and physiological health related issues.

I have worked with many people who have experienced the abandonment that comes with being ghosted, the pain of a breakup or divorce and the death of a loved one. The presence working through me facilitates healing by helping those I work with to digest experiences of loss and any subsequent feelings attached to them. Those who have the opportunity to work with me find that the painful emotions lose their intensity as they become softer more diffuse. They’re able to come to a place of acceptance, gain insight into the relationship and the person that had been a part of their life as the projections and other aspects of the unhealthy attachments dissolve. As a result, they’re able to let go and move on in their lives.

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