The current trendy phrase for folks not getting back to you is “ghosting.” As in, “We went out a few times, and then they ghosted me.” But let’s not limit it to just dating – it happens in all sorts of relationships, be it professional, family, or friends. You might even be guilty of a little ghosting yourself?
If you ghost, you probably learned it as a kid
Back when I was a small child, about 2 or 3 years old, my parents went through a nasty, hate-filled divorce. My dad took off across the country and settled in a small town, where he eventually remarried and had a son.
In those days long before the concept of “joint custody” was widespread, my dad had custody of me only during the summers. He’d come to pick me up, and I’d spend 3 or 4 weeks at his new place before being returned to my mom. The next time I’d hear from him was on my birthday in December. A card, some money, and books – that was the extent of our interaction, just two “touches” a year.
If you applied the term back then, Dad “ghosted” me
As a result of the years-long disappearing act my young mind buzzed with rationales… but always interpreted as:
- “I’m not good enough to deserve more attention from him.”
- “If only I could discover how to make him want me,” the little girl (in me) imagined, “I’d get the attention (hence, love) that I so badly want.”
Maybe you recognize a kernel of your experience in my childhood story?
Perhaps less intense but still traumatically impactful? Maybe your parents or caregivers were busy and distracted with their work or their own emotional pain – and couldn’t give you the attention and love you so longed for. This is when ghosting can feel a lot like painful abandonment.
Personally, to this day I have an antenna for feeling marginalized or ignored when someone chooses to ghost me. Even after all the work I’ve done on myself, people ghosting me can be a trigger (“What did I do to cause this?”). Maybe they don’t return texts, phone calls, or emails or avoid having clarifying conversations – despite earlier experiences that seemed cordial and grounded.
However that “trigger” for me is now weaker and more distant – more like a sharp pang that serves to remind me how much I’ve healed and how emotionally resilient I’ve become. I now simply dismiss it as, “It’s about them, not me!”
With the Emotional Liberation work I’ve personally done, I no longer question my sense of worthiness and value. I don’t have to yell and scream and jump up-and-down to get attention and seek approval (anymore). This is because I understand and accept my value – and ghosting by others doesn’t matter much. (This extraordinary healing process is one of the reasons I teach Emotional Liberation today.)
Oh yes, we need relationships to help us grow and mature – we want to invite healthy interactions with others. But if you’re experiencing a pattern of people coming into your life who are regularly ghosting you, it may be time to reset what you want in friends and relationships and begin putting firm boundaries in place. Often their avoidance of interacting or having a heart-to-heart conversation with you is a strong sign that you are no longer a vibrational match with them.
If you’re the one who’s ghosting…
If you’re the one who’s ghosting and you recognize this pattern in yourself and want to change it, now is the time to begin raising your awareness around it. When you catch yourself avoiding interaction and are going to ignore the other person – ask yourself, “Why? Why am I avoiding this interaction? Why do I not want to be honest and transparent?”
When people work with me in their emotional and trauma recovery, they learn the value and skill of having heart-to-heart “difficult conversations” – a term for when you need to consciously speak your Truth. Most likely if you are still reading this you are on your own path of awakening and it’s vital that the inner work you do is integrated out into the world – into your relationships. And re-setting yourself around ghosting would be a major step forward in respecting those you’re in relationships with.
What are your thoughts on this… are you a ghoster or do you find yourself frequently being ghosted? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. A big part of recognizing your patterns is doing things to heighten your awareness. A through-line in my emotional and trauma release work are the ambitious practices (we often call them neuro-workouts) that put you in touch with your deep inner knowing. Want to try it? Go to this page, pick an emotion you want to lighten and do the practice! (Note these practices suggest canna enhancement, but do it as you please – and let me know how it goes!)