Ghosting can be a painful, excruciating experience for people who are cut off from someone they are connected to. It may be a friend, colleague, dating partner, or a long-time friend. Sometimes, even family can ghost someone after a while, with no contact or reason why. The reasons people just ‘disappear’ varies, but it can be painful to be on the other side and never find out why they were left in the dust. There are healthy ways to approach being ghosted, even if takes some time to get there.

What Hurts the Most

Even though it can be intensely painful to be ghosted, the most painful part is generally the interruption of a relationship that seemingly was going fine. Until it wasn’t. The hopes and dreams for the relationship die and the rug feels pulled away. If that person really liked you, wouldn’t they want to stay friends or in a relationship?

Often, the person being ghosted ends up questioning what they did wrong and how they could have changed the outcome when there was likely never anything they could have done to stop it from happening. Shame is inevitable, along with embarrassment. Once that wears away, a person can decide if there was anything they could have done to prevent it from happening or notice some warning signs along the way.

What Happens with Ghosting

Ghosting behavior has both mental and physical ramifications. A person can feel physical and mental pain from the experience. In fact, emotional and physical pain share neural pathways that come from social rejection. The brain is interpreting signals and trying to read them but it is possible a person can misread cues or have a misunderstanding because of the lens through which they see that person.

Maybe it is a new relationship and they want to see that person as loving and kind towards them. It may be a long-term friendship that seemingly ends out of nowhere, but the truth is they were slowly drifting away over a period of time. Ghosting is painful but not always inevitable. When it does happen, it helps to think of it this way:

  • Own the feelings of hurt and rejection. It is okay to let it hurt, but don’t let it get the best of you for too long
  • Offer some grace for the moment. It is going to hurt for a while, but not forever
  • Try not to ruminate on ‘why,’ and deal with underlying feelings of rejection. They may be a trigger to something deeper that can help you grow, even if it’s hard
  • Talk it out. Find a therapist, friends, or sober buddies. Don’t let the feelings linger, especially if they are triggering other feelings

Don’t forget in the midst of it all to do some self care. Be exceedingly kind to yourself right now and find positive, healthy people, food, and exercise to get through. In time, the wounds will heal and it will become easier to deal with given patience and self-compassion.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, we teach life skills like dealing with rejection and finding hope in the midst of difficult circumstances. We will help you navigate addiction recovery and heal. 866-457-3843.