Gifts from My Ghosts

Gifts from My Ghosts

Here I am in my fifties and just recently became familiar with the term, ghosting. Ghosting is the act of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Have you had any experience with this  phenomenon?

The good news is; up until now, I have had no real reason to know of it, never having either been the recipient of a ghost or been the ghost, herself. Now don’t get me wrong, I have certainly avoided uncomfortable, potentially confrontational conversations,or taken longer than maybe acceptable to return an uncomfortable text, call or email as if somehow time was going to soften things. In my wiser years, I have learned the procrastination doesn’t help, and usually, I pull the bandaid off as quickly as possible.  Sometimes I experience  uncertainty and/or overwhelm, and I may shut down temporarily resulting in a lag in my reply. Maybe you can relate? This is not ghosting!

It is really a wonder any of us are willing to be vulnerable enough to go into a relationship with the possibility of this social rejection. Apparently, it is a fairly common practice, Psychology Today states that 31% of respondents have been ghosted in friendship and about 25% by a partner. About 20% of those respondents admitted to ghosting someone else.  Fortunately, and not surprisingly most people find ghosting an unacceptable way to end a relationship.

There are many factors that likely influence the whole ghosting phenomenon, including length and depth of relationship and destiny vs. growth relationship beliefs. Some characteristics that may predict ghosting include attachment style, insecurity, narcissism and just plan poor communication skills. Regardless of the relationship itself; or the reasons involved, being ghosted can sabotage one’s self-worth and self-esteem. 

Recently I have become intimate with the concept; as a girlfriend, and a romantic interest both ghosted me last Fall. 2019 has been my year of extreme self-love exploration, super self-care, and personal development; it is no doubt I was presented with these beautiful opportunities for growth. I was fortunately resilient enough to quickly realize that the behavior is much more about them and not me. I also realized, as a coach it is important for me to add this to my arsenal of learned experience to share with others. So, I actually welcomed the experience as emotionally cruel as it can be. 

Once I got past the initial, “Are you OK?”; could something terrible have gone wrong, could X be in the hospital? I came to the realization that everything was just fine, and I was simply being ignored. Next, I resisted any analysis of what I did wrong. In an emotionally healthy relationship and the only kind I want to be in at this stage of life, communication is the main foundation, so if there was anything I would have been made aware of it.

As for the girlfriend, I continued to reach out hoping that she just needed space and would come around… it didn’t happen. We finally had a very brief closure text and I just sent her love and still do. I miss that relationship very much. 

The guy deal was fairly casual, yet trending to more. There has been no contact since the date stand-up and no reply to my one call, “are you ok, this is out of character?”.  I could make up stories all day long, but it would be just that- my story. Stuff happens and who knows, just glad it happened so early. The hardest part of this one is that I was so off on my radar as to picking a man of integrity. So I weathered the storm and came out stronger than ever. I know I deserve more sincere relationships and I truly thank and bless my ghosts for the gift of learning!

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