Have You Ever Been Ghosted?

Ghosting is Not New – Only Its Name Was (in 2015)

This is an updated archive post from 2015:

Have you been Ghosted? Do you know what that means?

I had never heard the word until, one day with on the phone with my dear friend Serena, after she’d seen it used in the New York Times. In particular, the article mentioned Charlize Theron and Sean Penn. (She was ghosted by him, allegedly) – calling it “the ultimate silent treatment” – which it is.

Ghosting is the act of being the victim of the disappearing ex. It’s when you’re dating someone or even in a full-blown relationship – happy texting, emailing and speaking to this person daily – only to one day have all communication stopPoof! They’re gone.

For those who have ever been ghostedc

Radio Silence from an Ex

From that point on, all texts, voicemails, letters or emails go unanswered. Not a peep. And you’re left wondering what went wrong.

In some crazier cases you may even be wondering if they’re still alive? (Surely they must be dead if they’re not calling you back?)

Your brain can’t work out how you can go from constant contact to no contact in the blink of an eye. Well, unfortunately you’re not alone. In fact, I’ve had it happen to me on more than one occasion over the last twenty years.

It’s always been baffling to me how you can be so close to someone one day, and yet have radio silence the next.

Ghosting may be a new name but it is certainly not new. People have been pulling the vanishing act for decades now – or longer. It’s just that now that it has the catchy title: ghosting
SYBD You will be happy again

Here are a few of my tips to dealing with being ghosted.

1) Don’t Make it About You

Is it your fault? Did you behave badly? Did you love them too much? Did you not communicate your feelings well enough? Was it something you did or didn’t do? Said or didn’t say? The questions can be maddening, I know. I’ve asked them all myself.

Maybe you did or said something wrong and maybe not – but whatever the case may be, when someone does this sort of vanishing act, it often says much more about the one who chooses to disappear than it does the one being disappeared on.

Do you know what? Hear me when I say this:

This is probably not about you!!

Hard as that is to believe right now.  More likely it’s about their ability to be in a relationship right now (or a lack of ability). 

Some exes may assume they’re doing us a favor by opting to take the easier option – the coward’s way out? They mistakenly think it will hurt less that way.

In the old days, I’d get so angry, hurt, indignant when things like this happened to me. I’d literally want to scream “you f***ing coward” in their face (well, if they could be found)…but now I tend to try to see things from both sides.
Instead of simply reacting now to these ghosts, I try to imagine the situation from the dissenter’s shoes.
Why has he or she gone away?
Before I actually understood people more, I’d blame myself for being not good enough in some way…(my self-perceived shortcomings varied from relationship to relationship). But then I actually had some of my “Ghosts” come back…sometimes it was weeks, others it was months (or longer) later but return they did.
And each time, when they did come back, they explained reasons that had nothing to do with me. I’d wasted so much time trying to figure them out, trying to work out how I’d screwed it up, and then, more often than not, it turned out it had nothing to do with me. 
It was work, or health, or family issues – or some other conflict that wasn’t really anything to do with me. I was just the easiest one to cut from their lives (temporarily).

2) Don’t Be a Ghost Chaser

Don't be a ghost chaser - let your ex go

It’s a natural reaction to want answers. You feel like you need closure so you hound them with texts, emails, or voicemails etc. If they haven’t replied to one or two – then back off. If someone is pulling away – let them go. If there’s a reason to apologise then do so once and be done with it.

You don’t need to chase anyone who’s walked away from you.

Look in the mirror and remind yourself you are worthy of love and if someone can’t see it they’re not right for you. You don’t have to chase them down and beat them until they succumb. If someone can’t see your worth they’re not worthy of your love.

Every week someone would come to SYBD or to the SYBD Facebook page to tell me their story about the ghosting ex. They often start out the same – things were great, all kinds of communication and then BAM – nothing. Crickets.

Usually at this point they have already reached out one – or a dozen times – with no response. And they’re asking for my magical advice to say “just the right thing” that will illicit a response. The perfectly composed message to bring the ex back. I wish such words existed but the fact is they don’t.

3) Remember Your Worth

Remember Your Worth - you're still worthy of love and belonging even if you've been ghosted
A Course in Miracles‘ famously talks about how there are only two emotions ever: Love and FearAll of our behaviour stems from one or the other, at least in its simplest form. So if we take that theory – that says when an ex disappears it’s likely stemming from some sort of fear. Well it’s certainly not out of “love”, is it?

It may be they’re afraid of how you’ll react if you’re told “it’s over” face to face. They may be worried they’re not worthy of love on some level (not good enough, smart enough, sexy enough or worthy of love). A lot of people feel that way at the deepest core.

So the fact is you have to remember that you’re still worthy regardless of what any else does or says. Because you are. I refer you to point number one.

Conclusion: Tell Your Own Ghost Story Here

Again as hard as it is to not taking something like being ghosted personally, it’s quite probably not personal. It’s worth doing some self-exploration about whether or not you could have done anything different in the relationship, but if someone is capable of ghosting you, they probably aren’t mature enough to be in a healthy, loving and committed relationship with you anyway.

Please share your story in the comments below, or if you prefer more anonymity then join the Exchange, the SYBD forum for more privacy.

PS: And by the way if you have things left to say to your Ghost of an ex, use our Dead Message Diary. Available on Amaon’s around the world in a few different sizes! Like this one on Amazon US

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