What does ghosting mean and how to explain this behavior?

What does ghosting mean and how to explain this behavior?

Ghosting, or the art of disappearing, has been explained as the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone suddenly and without any explanation, withdrawing from all communication. 

The word has become popular in the past years, and probably more common ever since the rise of dating apps and social platforms. The dehumanization dynamic of online dating makes it easier to disconnect such as unfriend people, block or unfollow them; but this situation doesn’t belong only to online dating 

What does ghosting mean and what is not ghosting?

Ghosting can be painful and invalidating. It is a cowardly way to avoid an explanation to the other person and this can have consequences on one’s mental health, this imparts a distinct and isolating feeling of shame for those who experience it.

However, when someone wants to take distance from an abusive or dangerous person and decides to change numbers, to move, to block phone calls, this is not ghosting, that is cutting a person out and disappearing for your own wellbeing. 

Some of the reasons speculated behind ghosting might be due to an avoidant attachment style, the fear of commitment, lack of self-confidence, fear of confrontation, or even narcissism and it is different for everyone.

To have an idea about what is causing this, it is important to explore and reflect on one's family background. Nevertheless, in general, the main reason is the difficulty of that person being honest. It's normal to ask for help to understand what could be the reason for this behavior. 

According to research, with different types of aggression practiced over the Internet, ghosting is very common and, maybe, rationalized and minimized by those experiencing them.

A rise in acts such as ghosting could increase the rates of loneliness, hopelessness, and lack of satisfaction with life in those who suffer them.

Suggestions when someone ghosts you 

  • Talk openly to friends about your experience. To isolate or close yourself makes things more difficult since you keep the feeling of being hurt bottled up.
  • Avoid forcing the other person to give you an explanation, remember that interest is not something to beg for.
  • Don’t adopt the same attitude the next time you relate to someone else.
  • Understand there’s nothing you can do when someone ghosts you, except accept it, move on, and work on your confidence. 
  • Focus on self-care and surround yourself with kind and loving people.

If you feel like you need psychotherapy support, please feel free to contact me anytime!

References: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7037474/

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