If You Have Been Ghosted — This Is How You Heal And Move On

If You Have Been Ghosted — This Is How You Heal And Move On

This article is inspired by the In Your Feelings Podcast, a collaboration from Thought Catalog and Bianca Sparacino.
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When we feel a deep connection with someone, when we start to foster a lot of hope within that connection, and we are allowing for ourselves to be vulnerable, and we are allowing someone into our lives and into our hearts, as people who feel deeply — that holds a lot of weight. It stands for something. So when those connections suddenly disappear, when this person or this friend leaves our lives without any explanation, when we have to set that hope down, that is so deeply dismantling. It can leave us feeling hurt, and incredibly confused. When this kind of loss occurs in our lives, when we don’t receive the closure we would so compassionately give to others, the main thing a human being is left to wonder is why? Why do we treat one another like this?

The truth is, when we look at the way we are dating within this generation, when we look at the almost consumerist approach we have taken towards creating connections, and meeting human beings, it really illustrates this reality where there is this loss of value in a connection with an individual person. And what I mean by that is, when you are inundated with options, and choices, and you have the capacity to almost shop around at all times, when you have access to all of those human beings, to all of that potential, the value of each option is diminished. If you just had to choose between two people, just two people to potentially give your heart to, they would hold a heavy amount of value in your life. But if you start adding in hundreds of people to the pool, if you start adding in all of those options, the value diminishes. This isn’t to say that each person doesn’t hold within them deep worthiness, but in the eyes of someone who might be approaching these people, in the back of their mind, they know that they can always find someone new. And I think that that is deeply affecting the way that we interact with one another. I think it is deeply affecting the way we connect, and the way that we stay present in these connections. Because how can you truly be present with someone if you’re also, trying to stay fully, 100% present with a handful of other people? We promise our love, and our time, and our effort and our energy, to so many human beings, and in the end, because of that, because we have always had one foot out the door, it is easy to leave. To just walk away.

The social responsibility of doing something like that has also diminished. There isn’t much of a social cost to walking away from someone in such a hurtful way. Years and years ago, you were often meeting people within your own friend group, or through family, and there was an accountability there, your actions were a direct reflection of your character to people you cared about, and if you weren’t an honest, or thoughtful person, that would affect your reputation. There was more urgency around ensuring that the way you exited someone’s life was graceful and kind. However, now we are dating digitally, and we are entering into so many text based connections, and casual meetings, that our lives don’t often become so enmeshed. Now all it takes is blocking someone to fully sever them from our lives, or unfollowing them on social media, and you don’t have to see the impact of your actions as intimately.

If you’re sitting with all of your feeling right now, if your heart is aching because you just don’t understand why you weren’t given any closure, I want you to understand that sometimes for human beings the difficult conversations are often the ones that are avoided with such intensity because they require a willingness to take responsibility for the way they are are affecting another person, they require this emotional intelligence that allows for them to do the hard thing, even if the impact of their actions or their honesty breaks someone’s heart. And no one wants to do that. No one wants to sit in front of a beautiful, caring, kind human being and tell them that they just want to keep their options open, or that they don’t feel as strongly within the connection as they once did. Those conversations are so deeply hard. They hang heavy in your chest. They take a lot of courage. A lot of human beings avoid these kinds of experiences, and moments, in their lives. In a way, despite the fact that they know someone deserves honesty, despite the fact that they know this person deserved closure, sometimes it is easier to walk away without doing so, because walking away without doing so means that they won’t have to see the impact of their hurt on a person. It’s out of sight, and out of mind, and while it makes them feel better, or while it makes them feel like they have managed to get the point across, it’s unkind. It isn’t compassionate. It isn’t fair to connect deeply with someone, and then to leave them in the dark with the weight of that connection.

For those of you who are dealing with this right now — I know how hard it can be. I know how difficult it can be to care so much for a person, to really believe in what you are feeling with them, to get excited about all of the small and nameless things you have experienced with them, to have this hope in your heart that this time they would stay, that this time your love would be met, that this time you would be given the same kind of care and empathy you so beautifully give to others, that this time, this time, you gave your heart to the right person. To be left holding all of that within yourself, to be left with this mixture of hope and confusion, to have it sitting like an ache in your stomach, it’s uncomfortable. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, and when we are not given the opportunity to understand why something had to end, when we are not given the opportunity to comprehend, and learn from an experience, to learn from a loss in a way that is constructive, and kind, when we are not given that reasoning, we can start to create that reasoning ourselves.

That is why ghosting can weigh so heavily on a human heart. The cruelty of ghosting is that you have to invent the reason for it, because that person has failed to explain it to you. You have to give yourself your own closure, you have to write your own ending.

And unfortunately, we automatically tell ourselves a negative story. We make it about us. We make it about lack. Our deepest insecurities are almost scratched upon. We mull over what we could have done differently. We speak the moments from our minds, we try to lay them out on the kitchen floor, comb through them for signs, for any insight into why we were treated this way by someone we genuinely cared about or could have cared about.

I know what it is like to have to sit with all of that inside of your mind, and your heart. I know what it is like to think that maybe you are hard to love. I know what it is like to wonder why someone just couldn’t respect you enough to be honest with you. These moments can leave you feeling ashamed, and upset, because you realize that you gave so much of yourself to someone who did not value it enough to stay, or to at least exit your life gracefully once they decided that they needed to dedicate their heart, or their time, to something different. I know how heavy it is. To wonder if you were too much. To wonder if you were not enough. To wonder if you just didn’t make that much of a difference in the life of someone you felt a connection with, to wonder if they saw you as someone who was disposable, or if they were just bored, or in need of attention, or validation. It hurts. It can really harden you to this world, it can make you not want to try again, it can make you lose hope in what you are deserving of, and what you are capable of giving another human being.

And so, to anyone trying to move on from being ghosted, from being left in the dark — I firstly just want to remind you that the way you care is something that I am in awe of. You don’t have to apologize for being the person who cares. You don’t have to question if you are worthy of being loved, or chosen, or respected. You have so much love to give that is good, and kind, and honest. And I know that sometimes in this generation that can feel like both a beautiful and burdensome thing. I know that sometimes you wish you can just casually approach your heart, that the way you feel so deeply can sometimes weather you in ways you’d rather avoid. But as I always say, stay open. Please, do not let this convince you that you do not have something beautiful to offer others. People like you exist in this world, people like you are out there, and you will find them. Don’t close yourself off to the beauty because you have felt the pain.

I know that might be hard to sit with right now. I know when it comes to these experiences, it can leave you doubting who you are, and the value of your love. But even on the days that feel darkest, remind yourself that someone’s inability to choose you does not mean that you are not worthy of being chosen. Someone’s inability to respect you does not mean that you are not worthy of respect. Someone’s inability to be honest with you, does not mean that you are not worthy of honesty. Someone’s inability to be kind to you, to exit your life with compassion, does not mean that you deserved for that to happen. This is not about you. This is not about the way you care, it is not about how much more you could have done, or how much cooler, or prettier, or more interesting you could have been. This is not about you. This is a them thing.

Because if someone would rather choose to pacify themselves, if someone cannot take a moment to be deeply honest, even when it is hard, even when it hurts, even when taking responsibility for that hurt is uncomfortable and tough, if someone would rather choose to walk away, to leave another human being in the dark — that is so deeply a them thing.

And how lucky are you to have been shown their character in that way? How lucky are you to have almost been saved from deepening a connection with someone who has to work on how they approach the hearts of others? Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is so deeply hurtful, and dismantling, to be treated in a way that makes you feel disposable, and unspecial, and unworthy. But I hope in time you start to realize that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

Because ghosting is a behaviour that filters people out for you. It truly comes down to that. It is a low-level behavior that teaches us in a very hard way that the person we were dealing with, the person we were placing our hope within, was never going to be able to meet it, because they haven’t met themselves deeply enough yet.

And what I mean by that is — sometimes people hurt us in these ways because they don’t understand the extent of their own hurt. Sometimes, people are avoidant, and they cannot handle closeness or conflict, they cannot handle the consequences to their actions, and instead of sitting with that, instead of learning how to heal that, learning how to accept good love, they choose external validation, they choose flightiness, they choose one foot out the door, they justify their actions, they avoid being deeply honest with themselves, and in turn it justifies them not having to be honest with you. That self-justification is one of the biggest red flags you could ever receive in a connection, or relationship. The capacity to justify any behavior that hurts another soul, just means that you yourself have not met your own hurt.

That awareness comes with time, and that awareness comes with courage, and that is this person’s own journey. In a way, we all have work within ourselves that is deserving of being done, but that we sometimes avoid. Because we don’t want to dig into that difficulty, we don’t want to feel that pain, or admit to ourselves that what we might have done in our pasts, or the mistakes we made, or the way we treated those who were genuine and kind towards us, was hurtful. Eventually in time, we meet those shadows, and we enter into healing those parts of ourselves, and forgiving ourselves, and teaching ourselves how to better approach the human beings we are becoming. But it isn’t easy. I don’t think anyone ever has the intention to deeply hurt another person. I don’t think that is the case at all. We can find compassion within that, as odd as that sounds, and understand that these people are lost and on their own journey towards healing the parts of themselves that choose the easy way out, healing the fear that keeps them avoidant, and from that we can move forward. It was never about you. Repeat that again: it was never about you.

It’s time to give yourself the closure you so deeply want from this person. We spend too long in this life wishing people could be different than they are. But we can’t change people. And we can’t change the way they left our lives. But we can control what we take from the experience. We can take control of the narrative, and remind ourselves that we deserve people in our lives who are kind and gentle with our hearts. We deserve goodness, and compassion. We deserve empathy. We deserve to meet people who honor who we are, and who are honest with themselves, and who know what they want. We deserve that kind of love, that kind of friendship, that kind of connection. We deserve to feel valued, and cared for. We deserve to feel valued. And someone who leaves your life in such a jarring, and uncaring way, is not the person who is going to give that to you, is not the person who is going to be able to hold your heart.

Right now, you might still be mourning the loss of their potential, you might be holding all of that hope inside of you, and that is okay. Feel your feelings, you are allowed to be upset about the way something transpired, about having to set all of that love down, even if you are now aware of how deeply this person is not for you. It takes time. So, for now, whenever you feel your heart ache and bubble over with regret or sadness, remind yourself that you gave something your all, and someone did not value that. Someone could not meet that. You want someone who can.