4 Ways Ghosting Affects Your Mental Health
Ghosting is selfish, cowardly, and just plain immature.
If you've been lucky enough to only go on dates with considerate people (or just haven't spent much time on the internet), ghosting is the practice of suddenly cutting off all communication with someone in order to end the relationship.
It's become more and more common in the past several years due to society accepting it as an OK way to treat other human beings.
The reality is, it's not. In fact, the harmful impacts of ghosting can affect both the ghost-er and the ghost-ed more than we realize.
Elite Daily spoke with some experts to find out just how ghosting impacts mental health. It's no joke.
1. It'll Make You Overanalyze Everything
Marriage therapist Nicole Richardson says that ghosting can make the person who has been ghosted spin, looking for answers that aren't there.
“When we get ghosted by other people, we have no idea what went wrong,” Richardson says. “Did I have bad breath? Did I say something wrong? Did the other person have a death in the family? Did their ex come crashing back into the picture?”
When someone just leaves out of the blue with no real justification as to why, it makes sense that we would get in our own heads and begin to question everything and anything.
Anita A. Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, agrees, saying she has witnessed what happens to people post-ghosting.
“My clients struggle with moving on after their date ghosted, especially when they felt that they had a connection with the person,” says Chlipala. “They overanalyze their actions.”
Ghosting can be difficult to get through, especially when you have no idea why it happened.
2. You'll Wonder If There's Something Wrong With You
When you're ghosted, your self-esteem can take a huge hit. Besides just wondering what happened, you'll also start to wonder if there's something actually wrong with you as a person.
Richardson says that when we don't have information about what happened, we start to blame ourselves for the situation.
“We often seek fault in ourselves because we are the only people in the equation we have control over,” says Richardson. “It is so much easier (although far less pleasant) to tell yourself that it was something wrong with your like your weight or your humor instead of just sitting in the unknown.”
This may be an effort to feel like you're getting it together, but this isn't the best way to get a handle on the situation.
Blaming or shaming yourself about a perceived fault is typically an effort to get control over a hurt you never had control over.
Chlipala agrees, saying, “It's hard not to take ghosting personally.”
It's important to remember that ghosting is more about the person that did the ghosting. They're responsible for their own actions, and although it's hard, remember that it's not about anything you did.
3. It'll Sit On Your Conscience For A While
Think ghosting is only bad for the person that was ghosted on? Think again.
Ultimately, no one wins when it comes to a ghosting situation.
“Ghosting is bad for both the ghoster and the ghosted,” says Richardson. “The ghoster knows they did not behave with integrity and that they did not treat someone the way they would like to have been treated.”
Your conscience will make sure you feel the repercussions of what you did. You may even develop bad habits for your future relationships.
In fact, those who frequently ghost others are often not happy in the relationships they end up in. “People who are conflict avoidant aren't as satisfied in their relationships because they don't speak up for what they need and want,” says Chlipala.
Even if you think ghosting is the easy way out, it'll hurt you in the long run, whether you're the ghoster or the ghosted.
4. It Can Leave You Feeling Obsessive
If you're ghosted, you'll probably want to forget the person as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it may also leave you feeling a little obsessed with knowing what they're doing without you in their life.
Stef Safran, a Chicago-based matchmaker, says that ghosting may make the person who was ghosted want to check-up more due to being so hurt and confused.
Relationship expert April Masini agrees, being direct in saying that “ghosting creates stalker behavior.”
“When people are ghosted, they tend to become sleuths to figure out what happened,” says Masini. “They stalk social media, and even real life offices and homes, trying to suss out what happened — if there is someone new who's taken their place, a car accident or illness that has caused the silence, or something nefarious they hadn't picked up on. Basically, when a ghosted person tends to be a little neurotic, this ghosting can be a catalyst for increased neurotic behavior.”
Sitting and scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feeds will only continue to wreck havoc on your mental health in the long term.
If you're the person doing the ghosting, it'll only leave you feeling bad about your actions, and with the label of immature. Plus, just because you ghosted someone doesn't mean it'll never happen to you one day.
Safran says that it's best to “consider that your actions have a big impact, and the choices you make now can impact your relationships in the future.”
Think before you ghost. Or better yet, just don't ghost. Ever.
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