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Ghosting – The Dreaded Disappearing Act

August 15,2018 By: Mansi poddar

You know what’s harsher than words of rejection – utter silence. It’s one of the hardest arguments to refute and spells a death knell for any relationship. Halting all communication so your date or partner ‘gets the hint’ is a cowardly way out of a relationship. This seemingly innocuous act is known as ‘ghosting’ – a fancy term that gaily floats in the dating pool which is anything but; when at the receiving end, it becomes a cruel reality that leaves you feeling hollow and abandoned.

Have you ever been ghosted?

Cut off cold despite your incessant attempts to communicate? Your texts and phone calls go unanswered? You wonder why the person you laughed and had a good time with refuses to acknowledge you anymore. Questions plague you night and day, in the middle of work, when in bed trying your level best to fall asleep nursing your hurting heart.

“Why me?”

“What did I do?”

“Did I say something wrong?”

“Was I easy? Should I’ve waited a bit longer to have sex?”

“Am I not good enough?”

You begin to question your very existence and your self-esteem takes a severe tumble. The moments you spent together flash in your mind on a loop, and you constantly try to figure out how you could have done better, where you went wrong.

Newsflash: You didn’t. The ghoster did, when they decided to take the easy, lazy way out instead of saying the crucial few words to end the relationship. It could be the cliché, ‘it’s not you, it’s me,” line, atleast you would know where you stand with that person. It’s the not knowing bit that’s quite painful and hard to digest.

Knowledge is the kindest gift anyone can offer in this situation. You would want to know. Period. Doesn’t matter if the words that signal the end, aren’t the right ones – well, are there any ‘right’ words at all? Would you feel better if rejection came gift wrapped with toffees stuck to it? Not a chance, but is any day preferable to your partner doing a Copperfield on your tender heart without a bye your leave.

Why do people Ghost?

Giving some explanation for wanting out of a relationship is the adult thing to do. This selfish, immature, and cowardly act can be done for any number of reasons.

  •  To avoid confrontation, which could be a habitual escapist tendency exhibited by the ghoster in all tough situations.
  •  To avoid being the ‘bad guy’ by breaking up, which is ironic considering, you end up being worse when you mete out the silent treatment.
  •  Some ghosters genuinely believe it is much more polite to not say anything than to utter words of rejection they know is bound to break someone’s heart.
  •  Simply because it is much easier to not say anything than to rack your brains for the right combination of words and the perfect way to break up.

Why does Ghosting hurt so much?

Done knowingly or unknowingly, ghosting has the same effect on the ghostee. The person ends up feeling a surge of emotions that could severely affect their mental health. The symptoms are akin to those caused by abandonment.

Feeling Disrespected and Disregarded: Ghosting signifies an utter lack of respect for a person’s feelings. It is humiliating to be disregarded in such a blunt way. The act negates all the effort, love, and energy you have invested in the relationship.

Feeling Used and Abandoned: Did you pour your heart into it only to be thrown away without a backward glance? When you are made to feel like garbage, your sense of self-worth takes a severe beating. You lose self-confidence, and it becomes a hard climb from there.

Feeling Anxious due to Unanswered Questions: When a person disappears from your life, you are left with a slew of questions the answers to which could mean the difference between agony and solace. Having those questions swirl inside your head indefinitely without a hope of being answered can lead to anxiety.

Craving Closure: Have you ever watched a movie in which the ending is a ‘let the audience decide’ fade out? How annoying not to have a definitive ending – even a vague ‘lived happily ever after’ signifies closure. Relationships are no different. You would want to know the hows and what nots of why it didn’t work out.

Gives Rise to Trust Issues: Ghosting is a kind of betrayal that is hard to get over. It gives way for a lot of self-doubt and compels the ghostee to withhold trust. The person could well begin to question their sense of judgment.

Ghosting is a tragic reality of this modern society wherein social interactions mean everything and nothing at the same time. Most of the relationships exist online – in a digital world where disappearing acts are unfortunately the norm. It’s time to ‘see’ this issue and deal with it with the seriousness and sincerity it warrants.