Ghosting – ‘the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without any explanation withdrawing all communication.’
Have you ever been ghosted? I have, am, probably will be. It’s a no man’s land of doubt, a limbo of what if, a purgatory where you are left dangling in the wind. It’s a bewildering, baffling set of circumstances. One day you’re happily ensconced in a solid friendship, the next all contact is severed. There is no rhyme, no reason and you are left with nothing but untested theories and endless questions.
Ghosting often manifests itself on your phone. Calls aren’t returned, text messages unopened and e-mails unanswered. You find you’ve been unfriended, blocked or no longer followed. It’s a creeping death leaving you numb and raw. What did I do, say, write? You are left dangling in the wind, hung by your own petard. The sense of confusion and lack of closure can drive a person to the brink.
Those on the other end continue their lives as if nothing has happened. They will find others to replace you and make every effort to show the world that ‘life is great, wonderful, better’ without you in it. There is a sense of malevolent glee in their words and actions. They get a kick from the the power they exert over their hapless victim, who can only watch helplessly from the sidelines. They are gods.
Ghosting hurts, an icy, relentless pain that eats you up from within. For those with an obsessive nature, like myself, it can cause lasting damage. The unanswered questions spin round your head in a never ending loop. The confusion turns to resentment, then anger. How dare they? The hypocrisy and arrogance of those on the other side beggars belief. Let they who are without sin, right?
We limp on, politely fending off queries about the other party. ‘What about so and so?’ ‘Oh we’ve kind of lost touch.’ Awkward silence until the subject is changed. Meanwhile your ears continue to burn. What mistruths are being spread about you regarding this alleged transgression which you are supposed to have inflicted. How many others now eye you warily? ‘Did you hear about him/her?’ ‘Who would have thought it?’
You soldier on, there’s nothing else for it. Life goes on. Ghosting is a growing phenomenon in our increasingly technological age. People don’t have to talk face to face, there is no requirement to meet the other party and explain your actions and rationales. You simply hit the delete button on their involvement in your life. It’s the easy option and, for some, the cowards way out. Confrontation is a dying art.
Reconciliation, mediation, negotiation, compromise, these are also all redundant words in our insular, black and white lives. There is no middle ground any more, just a battle scarred no man’s land where none of us dare tread for fear of being blown to smithereens by sharp tongues and dark looks. We cower in our respective trenches, unwilling to raise the white flag of truth. No quarter is asked or given.
It’s a war of attrition, a fight to the death. Every yard gained is drenched in the blood of broken friendships and dead relationships. The ghosts of the latter endlessly wander this barren terrain, forever restless, always seeking. They will never find release, never know the peace of calm and truth. Theirs is a desolate existence as they haunt the realm of what might have been. We are the walking wounded, the victims of a brutal, invisible war.
Have you been a victim of ghosting? Please feel free to share your experiences?