As we heal more every day you may find it new when connecting or interacting with people whether in relationships, friendship or family. At times wondering if this is what it feels like to have “normal” interactions with people. The need for an explanation of people’s actions and behavior may be present even as those who love and find you valuable are supportive. This need in my experience comes from the ghosting or as the new trend goes; “ghost lighting” . The fact that society is having to come up with new psychological terms to describe how you have been treated means that perhaps we are just realizing how the abuse clings to people.
Ghostlighting is a term used when you have steady positive interaction with someone for days, weeks or even years and then suddenly the person ignores you or disappears. When confronted finally with these actions they diminish the experience or convince you that you are being over reactive or irrational. Truthfully it is them who has lacked the ability to communicate a decision or reason for disconnecting from you. This level of abuse may seem normal within a world of ever changing relationships and for some even intimate partners. If it is an ongoing occurrence within your life you may wonder what is actually wrong with you that people choose to suddenly disappear within your life. I’ve chosen to discuss this on a broader range because I know many people navigate through this very thing even on a small scale level. There is a solution and benefit to even this type of treatment that I will get to.
In a long term relationship or one in which you are near the person who decides to use these manipulations then it can be quite mentally disruptive to your self image and even reality. You may find it happens in different times and is used as a punishment or way to express the beginning of further abuse. Studies have gone to show that in a prolonged event when someone we have been intimately attached to chooses to use “ghosting” as a tactic that it can eventually force our mind to substitute what they have interjected as a replacement or excuse for this silence. In most severe instances when added to alienation from all others (this I have not experienced completely) that individuals may actually begin to grasp hold of even invisible supports or fabricate spirits to see or interact with. Scientists will argue that clinging to a spiritual being such as God is also a possible result of such abuse but as a believer and having experienced the Holy Ghost I feel it has been at times the one real thing I held onto.
I wrote once that as I felt all of who I was rejected, every word ignored, my very presence did not seem real. The ghost like feeling of existence near someone that decided to act as if you were literally dead. Regardless of the importance of the conversation or need I have found myself in that event. When tables are set and your place is the only one left empty, when plans are made and carried out and you realize this by suddenly knowing everyone is leaving, when calls, text, verbal communication all go unanswered. A empty feeling of feeling you are more than transparent but actually wonder if you have ever existed. You connect to anyone just to see if you have some sort of record of who you are or have been you try to remember when the person last acknowledged you for anything at all. Years of this practice do play a role in feelings of need to be in constant connection with others as you recover and this level of need is not wrong as long as you are healing and not allowing yourself to chase after those who may possibly use the simplest of these things without knowing how you have been affected in the past. In these new instances it is most likely if you share how you have been to feel and why, you will either have an explanation or know that it is time to move on. I am sure you may have tried to explain this emotion and feeling to the very person in the past that made you feel it over and over. When finally gaining the courage to speak up you were then told that they couldn’t help you, that you were crazy and needed help, that you were imagining the way you were treated. Most likely as with abuse you just try to gather yourself back together, hold onto that invisible thing you have or have created and do it all over again.
In my nights, feet planted on cold floor standing in the dark, hand pressed against my chest of this person I created to seem strong to show confidence and beauty. I clung to God, swung Him recklessly into the darkness, fighting, faking strength. I am no longer faking.
As a place of my own transparency I feel it needs saying that the way I finally broke free of my own relationship was through what I would call a self ghosting. This term is one I have come up with my own and for an explanation it is where you allow someone else into your life that you know at some point will end up needing to remove there self from your life due to circumstance or safety. It was the last year of my 10 years in a marriage that I allowed someone else to begin to give me the affection that they noticed was not taking place. Even though the majority of this was emotional I knew it would eventually be enough to cause enough disruption and anger from my part to finally be completely rejected and removed. When we are so dedicated to a relationship that we accept and show the acceptance of the hurt we are going through then it is known we will not be going anywhere no matter how much we are hurt. This empowers the person that inflicts these things on us. So with that being said I am giving caution to others who may feel there is no way out of a relationship but through finally breaking the trust that has been our ground for so long. Generally it is a fact that most individuals who stay within a relationship that is destructive would never think of being unfaithful in any way. From fear of retaliation, outburst or further even more severe abuse. It has taken me a long time to use that word even, and was not until the last 3 years that I realized what was happening to me was in fact a lot of abuse. I had called a helpline for those who support or are in a relationship with someone with addiction or mental instability. So even now as I am trying to be open with this, I cringe at the thought of being so honest as to how I came to know of what I had not accepted as mistreatment towards myself or using these words. My emotional state I feel is often different than others in regards to love. I feel it is wrong to take the hurts and move them onto someone else and leave the love of someone else behind, so historically I have gone into a relationship giving fully that love and not withholding due to fear. The tough love that as a man I thought I was supposed to carry on and try to heal or pray about was not anything how it was supposed to have been. Damage towards me or my reputation has been pretty much shot so I have set post to automatically post on particular dates. For the sake of anyone hopefully healing and moving towards a better life my post will never give full details of people involved, only of my own faults or experiences. But regardless my self ghosting I knew that whatever kind of relationship I allowed would lead to damage, regret, further retaliation, manipulation and all together a penalty of some sort to my heart and emotions over love. I deal with a great deal of anxiety and questioning when anyone I speak to will be contacted or manipulated into simply disappearing, but that feeling I grew so accustomed to it was as committing Serpico on my own heart. There was no honor within my actions, simply the knowledge that it would not take long for everything else to end and finally disappear. As most Ghost do though, make no mistake, it sticks around just as someone else choices for me my own choices also will have to finally find closure before moving on.
My goal is to let others know that this is a real thing. You have not died and gone onto a land that looks like the one you have lived in. My regret is that I did not hang onto what my most valuable stand was regarding love, that it endures all but can have the strength without betrayal or remorse to leave. The most important part is being able to find support to move on and the strength from wherever possible to get to the point of healing. Be encouraged and hang onto your future regardless of how hopeless it may seem. -J