When it comes to ghosting, you’ve either done it or experienced it. Initially, the term ‘ghosting’ was coined
to describe a romantic partner disappearing into thin air without a trace or explanation. Now, ghosting happens in friendships, in the corporate industry and amongst family members. So why do people do it?
At first, it was easy to put the blame on social media with apps like Tinder, Bumble, Instagram and Facebook making it increasingly easy for people to ‘move on’. But more in-depth research indicates that the reason people ghost can be attributed to a range of psychological factors.
‘Relationship experts and psychologists agree that people who ghost are avoiding an uncomfortable situation,’ says VeryWell Mind. ‘This evasion, while perceived as a lack of regard, is often because they feel it’s the best way to handle their own distress or inability to clearly communicate. Ghosters themselves admit they don’t want to hurt you or they don’t know what to do. Sometimes they don’t think discussing a situation is necessary or they become scared. Ghosting is a passive way to withdraw.’
Despite their ‘good intentions’ we all know that ghosting hurts like hell. ‘Social rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain. In fact, you can reduce the emotional pain of rejection with a pain medication like Tylenol,’ explains Psychology Today. You end up blaming yourself and questioning your worth. Self-deprecating thoughts like ‘Could I have done something to prevent them from leaving?’ and ‘Was I too overbearing?’ become a constant battle. So how do we deal with it?
Blaming yourself will not make them come back, nor will it provide you with a reason for their leaving. The only person getting hurt in this scenario is you. It will be challenging, but remind yourself that you are only responsible for your actions and you cannot assume the blame for someone else’s inability to communicate.
Ghosting not only hurts because you’ve potentially lost someone, but also because you’re left confused as to why, and now
the centre of your happiness has disappeared. Condition yourself to establish your happiness around things that only involve you; that way only you are responsible for your mental well-being – you can expand from there.
Learn to let go
We all know the stages of grief, the final step being acceptance. Like with anything in life, the only way to move forward is to accept what has happened. Once you’ve accepted it, you can do something about the way it made you feel and build yourself up again. Being ghosted does not mean the end of the world. It means that you had the opportunity to grow and learn.
Words by Aadilah Hallam