I’m here to say yes it is and both can be dangerous and harmful.
The term is generally used in reference to a romantic relationship, but it can technically refer to any scenario where contact unexpectedly ceases, including friendships and family relationships.
The History of Ghosting
The term “ghosting” became mainstream about eight years ago, alongside the trend in online dating and popular app dating. It became an official entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2017. This goes way back though. I can remember this happening in high school and after. It made a huge comeback and not a healthy one that’s for sure.
Why has ghosting become so popular now? I believe because of the new phone app dating, you know the ones where you swipe left or right. I don’t want to name any because I think they do more harm than good, and I don’t want to promote them.
You’re in a relationship and suddenly you’ve been shut out. For me, it was people very close to me, and suddenly without any notice or communication, I was shut out. This can happen to anyone and maybe without any warning at all, your partner, family, or friend seems to have disappeared. No calls, no text messages, no connection made on social media, no responses to any of your messages, or maybe you’ve been blocked. You start to worry thinking something has happened to them, but to your surprise, they are just now living their lives without you, they have simply ended the relationship without bothering to explain or even let you know. You’ve been ghosted.
Why would someone choose to simply disappear from another person’s life? What happened to common courtesy or communication. Look I’m not a Dr, but I have researched this a lot as of late, and there are plenty of studies out there on why people do this to others, the causes range from personality disorders, shock to being triggered and not wanting to deal with it, the list goes on. The person who does the ghosting is simply walking away from the relationship has a quick and easy way out. No drama, no noise, no questions asked, they don’t need to provide answers or justify any of their behaviors, and it’s way easier than dealing with someone else’s feelings or pain. Unfortunately, while the ghost-er may benefit from avoiding an uncomfortable situation and any potential conversations, yet they’re doing nothing to improve their own potential and relationship skills for the future. Not to mention a karmic hold they have placed on themselves.
What I read in my research is that the ghost-ers by ghosting have often been ghosted themselves. In that case, the ghost-er knows what it feels like to have a relationship end abruptly, with no explanation, no room for discussion. Yet they seemingly show no empathy toward the other person, and may or may not experience any feelings of guilt over their ghosting behavior. They may also be afraid of a negative response or outcome from the person they need to end the relationship with. They may wish to punish another person, teach them a lesson or inflict emotional pain in response to pain they have experienced at the hands of the other. A person ghosting to punish may do this in order to feel powerful and in control of the relationship. Ghosting may also be a result of feeling in danger or to protect emotions and avoid any deeper feelings.
Why does ghosting hurt?
For many people, ghosting can result in feelings of being disrespected, used, and disposable. You can lose sleep and it can affect your health to the point of no return because it consumes you with trying to figure out why or second guess yourself. If you have known the person for a long time, it can be even more traumatic. When someone we love and trust disengages from us it feels like a very deep betrayal. And it is. You are completely validated.
You may never know for sure why you were ghosted, it might be hard right now, but rest assured you will get through this and while you heal from such a painful experience, you now know how harmful it is and you will not do this to another human being. For me, I have empathy for people and I would never want to intentionally hurt someone. There is no way to know how to react to being rejected, but I can tell you first hand it’s like experiencing a death and you go through all the emotions.
I have asked myself should I be angry, sad, grateful, or even relieved?
What is even more serious is when one person gets more people involved. It’s now called Gaslighting, and that my friend, this is the most dangerous part of it all. This is all emotional abuse and rejection.
Extreme ghosting can be considered gaslighting, which is the practice of manipulating others to be on the same bandwagon psychologically so that they doubt their own sanity or understanding of a situation. Gaslighting is psychologically abusive and often goes undetected within relationships.
How is ghosting abusive?
Ghosting can be equated to the silent treatment, and any adult or child knows that the silent treatment is considered to be one of the most serious forms of emotional cruelty.
All I can say is after doing all my research, I am blown away by how anyone could do this to someone. Especially if they know what they’re doing and the impact it has on someone.
Be kind and if you feel you don’t want someone in your life, think twice about how you treat them. Think to yourself, do you want that person to suffer in any way shape, or form. Be a better person and communicate no matter how hard it is. It releases you from any energetic holds. It allows you to evolve and move forward.
In a comfortable state of gratitude,
Kerry Romano Zall