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Ghosting comes from avoidance. Avoidance of expressing negative feelings, avoiding hurting other people, avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of being transparent.


Ghosting, Anxiety and Trauma

When someone “ghosts” someone, it means that they cut off all communication with their friend or significant other with no warning or notice beforehand. This of course leads to confusion and anxiety for the person being ghosted, especially if they are a trauma survivor. What is it that makes people get into relationships/friendships then disappear as if the connection created between two people, no matter how short, did not matter? People ghost others for two reasons; either the person doing the ghosting wants to avoid watching themselves put someone through pain, or because they simply do not want to experience any uncomfortable situations or emotions. Ghosting is avoiding all negative feelings that come along with ending a friendship or relationship

While some people may be able to shake it off and feel that they are better off anyway, for trauma survivors it is not that simple. There is an emotional toll it takes on you because it brings you back to your childhood trauma and pain you may have felt at that time. For those with relational wounds and a fear of abandonment, being ghosted is going to affect you a lot more than it would someone without those same relational wounds. Maybe it will bring you back to a mother or a father who was not there for you, or who would ignore you when you didn’t behave the way you were expected to as a child. There are plenty of experiences that you could have gone through as a child that would cause more anxiety and increase the emotional toll of ghosting on you, your response makes sense.


Ghosting: Coping with Anxiety

So, How do you cope with ghosting? The first thing to remember is that ghosting doesn’t reflect poorly on you. It says more about the ghoster, who is unable or unwilling to have a difficult conversation. The ghoster is the one avoiding conflict, not you. It can be incredibly difficult ending a friendship or relationship without the answers or closure that you want. Like many situations in life, it is out of your control. You cannot force someone to have a conversation with you, especially if they are determined to avoid it. The key here is acceptance. Accepting what is out of your control and knowing that the only thing in your control is how you decide to move forward. Dating is difficult, but you will meet new people. You will eventually find a person who is willing to have those difficult conversations with you and who is willing to put in the work to have a happy and healthy relationship. So accept your feelings with compassion and remind yourself that each and every feeling that you have is valid.


Trauma and Ghosting: Are You A Ghoster?

Avoidance is also a trauma response and may lead to someone actually being the “ghoster”. If you are the one who “ghosted,” please know that while your fear of emotions is understandable, it’s not an excuse to behave without integrity. There are ways to heal the past fears fueling your actions now. Let’s shed some light on this fear of emotions that makes otherwise good people ghost and act out of integrity with others. “If I tell you, the consequences will be too painful, scary, uncomfortable and I don’t know how to deal with that.” “I don’t know what to say if you get angry or start crying”. “It reminds me of when my mom/dad got angry and I did not have an answer then either. I didn’t know how to make things better.” Does this sound familiar? These are the fears behind “ghosting.” However, if you never face the pain and discomfort of having vulnerable, honest conversations it will only get worse and become a source of more trouble. This is an example of being in denial, pretending that you don’t have a problem or that you don’t have to face the consequences of your behavior. Now disclosing something painful isn’t easy. I hear you. And you probably had negative experiences with that. But here’s the truth: research shows that 90% of partners want to be told the truth regardless. Let’s live with integrity and value human connection.

Healing Traumas: Therapists in Your Area

Whether you are the person experiencing the emotional toll of ghosting as a trauma survivor, or a trauma survivor who has become someone who ghosts, know that there are options for healing. Reach out to a therapist in your area to address these relational wounds through a trauma-focused therapy modality, such as attachment therapy and attachment-focused EMDR. You deserve to heal.