“All This Time You Were Pretending, So Much For My Happy Ending”: The Psychological Impact of Ghosting
The modern dating scene is unforgiving. One minute you might be talking to someone you like and feel like you’re on top of the world and then the next minute, you’re being ghosted. Even though ghosting is common, it’s emotionally damaging.
What Does Ghosting Mean?
Ghosting is a term that describes the action of cutting off contact with a potential partner, a friend or even an employer/employee. When someone ghosts you, they suddenly stop responding to your messages and phone calls even though you didn’t fall out. They vanish, leaving you wondering if they’re still alive (hence the name).
Can Ghosting Cause Trauma?
Many people decide to disappear from someone’s life without an explanation because it’s easier; they might not be great communicators or they’re afraid of confrontation. Unfortunately, ghosting shows a lack of respect for the other person and can leave or reopen emotional scars. Here’s why ghosting can be traumatic:
1. Ghosting can make it more difficult to trust others
Even though being ghosted might not necessarily lead to nightmares and feeling depressed, it can impact the way you approach relationships. Since ghosting doesn’t provide closure, it might make you afraid of being vulnerable with future partners. You might become more sensitive to potential signs of rejection or even reject people to prevent them from abandoning you first.
2. It can trigger deeply-rooted fear of abandonment
A lot of people have unresolved childhood feelings they aren’t aware of and experiencing something emotionally damaging like ghosting can make them resurface. For example, if your parents divorced or if they neglected your needs, you might be more sensitive to rejection. When someone ghosts you, it makes you relieve all those feelings again and even subconsciously seek someone who will ghost you again to understand what went wrong.
3. It can impact your self-esteem
While ghosting is more damaging to people who already have low self-esteem, it might lower your confidence regardless. Since the person who ghosted you won’t explain why and since you didn’t have an argument that would lead to it, you might start looking for faults in yourself. Eventually, you might even start believing that you aren’t worthy of love.
How to Cope With Being Ghosted
When someone ghosts you, the best thing you can do for your mental health is to move on, which is easier said than done so firstly you have to allow yourself to grieve. No one deserves this kind of treatment and even though you might not have been dating yet, getting rejected and losing a relationship hurts. At the same time, forget about getting an explanation – ghosting happens because the ghoster refuses to communicate so any attempts to receive closure will be a waste of your energy.
Lastly, focus on healthier relationships and make plans to see your family and friends; this will remind you that even though things didn’t work out between you and the ghoster, there are always people out there who care about you.
If you feel like you can’t cope with being ghosted, don’t be ashamed to reach out for help. Contact My Family Psychologist to see how we can help