What exactly is ghosting? Ghosting is the act of ceasing all communication with a person without providing any explanation.
This action often leaves the other person in a state of wonderment and confusion; uncertain of what they have done wrong.
What are the reasons for ghosting? These are numerous and usually, case and person-specific, but for me, I often ghosted when I felt that a person was no longer worth my time and I didn’t care enough about their feelings to exert the energy necessary to endure their response/reaction to a decision that was predetermined. Like all things, there are exceptions. There were indeed situations when someone had done something so painful that I opted to remove all modes of communication, but I wouldn’t categorize that as the type of ghosting we’re discussing here.
So, why did I stop ghosting?
A friend of mine who can’t understand the way I operate romantically requested that I take an attachment style quiz. She didn’t recommend a specific one, she just strongly urged me to take the quiz. After a couple weeks of her probing, I decided to take it; the results were telling. My results weren’t the category she thought I would fall in (avoidance attachment), but the results demonstrated the correct one.
I have an attachment style that is categorized as an ambivalent attachment. According to Dr. Diane Poole Heller,
“Ambivalently attached people have had caregivers who were on again off again, inconsistently tending and attuning to the child. Because of the lack of consistency the child doubts whether their needs will be met and is on the constant look out for cues and clues to how their behavior may or may not influence the parent’s responses. Over time they find themselves on an emotional see saw of needs being met and not being met. Their object relation is “I can want, but cannot have.”
You may observe that in ambivalent attachment styles there is a tendency to be chronically dissatisfied. First, there is a tendency to project their own familiar history onto their relationship. Secondly, if the other person becomes available, they become unavailable. Unaccustomed to receiving love, having it available doesn’t fit their profile of “still wanting.” Over time partners of Ambivalent people can be discouraged by their love being dismissed and the loss of the relationship can be both the feared and created outcome.”
Upon reading this I was reminded of the Frederick Douglass quote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” and began crying instantaneously.
Unfortunately, as an adult, we can’t go back to our parents/guardians and yell “you didn’t love me properly and now that’s impacting my interpersonal relationships; fix it!” We have to dig in and do the hard work to repair what was fractured ourselves.
I wish I could say that the learning of this information caused me to change my behavior, but the reality is that I have been putting in the work for years. From counseling, to hard conversations with exes and friends, to really asking myself why I was choosing to behave in such a way and being willing to follow the path to find the answers.
My goal is to always leave people’s lives in a more elevated place than when they met me. I can’t do that if I am causing damage and leaving pain in my wake.
As Mooji said, “When you are free, all who come in contact with you will be blessed. Some may run away, but still they run away blessed.”
In short, I stopped ghosting because I just want to continue to be free, I want to continue to be a light, and I want to help others be light givers too.