Giving Up The Ghost

Author: Yvonne Crolla

I once had a client, and her biggest fear was being ghosted. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term as it has really entered our vernacular over the past few years but in case you don’t know, it’s means that someone has disappeared from your life without trace. Vanished, like a ghost. Possibly easier today with so much initial communication taking place over text, messages and apps before you ever meet in real life. Decided you no longer want to speak with someone or hear from them again? Just block them. Job done.

Does it happen? Yes, of course it does. Does it happen as much as some of us think it will? No. The issue we see with some clients that we’re coaching is that it does happen to them over and over again … so why does it happen to those clients and not others?

Let’s take Julie. She has been ghosted a few times during her online dating journey, and it is a real fear that this is something that is going to happen to her again. It has knocked her confidence, and now she is constantly on the lookout for this happening to her once more.

She meets a man online and they chat. It’s going well. They are getting on. He asks her to move their conversation off the dating app onto text or What’s App, and she readily agrees. They spend the next week or so messaging daily. He sends her a little message in the morning and she replies. He checks in with her throughout the day, and in the evening they spend a pleasant hour or so chatting back on forth on messages. She is enjoying this. It feels good to be getting to know him. Taking it off the dating app, makes it feel more real. He is attentive, and tends to reply pretty quickly when she messages him.

She gets up one morning, and he sends her the usual “Good morning, how are you?” message. She feels all tingly when her phone chimes to let her know she’s had a message, because she knows it’s probably him. She replies and with a smile on her face, gets on with her morning. Half an hour later, she realises he hasn’t replied. Checking her phone, she can see (isn’t technology wonderful?) that her message was not only successfully delivered, but he’s read it. And not replied. Somewhere deep inside, something stirs. This is what she’s been waiting for. He’s going to vanish. She’s never going to hear from him again. Ghosted, once again, just like she knew.

She panics. Gets triggered by this lack of response. Her mind goes into overdrive, and she remembers all the times it happened to her before. She KNOWS that its going to happen again. She feels defensive, and angry. He’s just like all the others. Just like every other man that she’s met on here. She spends the day getting more and more angry. Furious, even, that he has led her on to then just drop her. Her energy has changed.

Later in the day, he finally responds. She is now in a real state of fury, anger, self-righteousness. She responds coldly. He senses the change immediately, however he’s unsure of where this has come from. He isn’t aware of having done anything wrong. He responds cautiously. He’s feeling unnerved. Their messages continue in the same vein, and he is beginning to wonder if she really is the great woman he thought she was. Her messages continue to be snipy and cold, and the colder she gets, the further he retreats. Until he thinks “I don’t want to do this anymore”. He stops responding and she never hears from him again.

She was right! She knew it. Knew that this would continue happening to her. She has once more proved that there are no good men out there. This just keeps happening to her. The men are awful. Toxic. She’s done with it.

How could this scenario have been played out differently? Let’s rewind. Julie sees her message has been delivered, and read, and he hasn’t replied as quickly as he normally does. She pauses to wonder what might have happened for him not to reply like he normally would, and then she goes about her day. Her focus is on her day at work, and she has a couple of other messages from men she’s been talking to on the apps. She does wonder a few times why he hasn’t replied from earlier, but she doesn’t waste too much time on wondering why, because she acknowledges that she doesn’t know why.

Later that evening her phone chimes, and it’s a message from him. He doesn’t mention the fact that she hasn’t heard from him since that morning. She responds warmly to his message, and they continue to chat. He then shares with her that his day has been hideous, he was called into a meeting first thing that morning where he had to select three members of his team for redundancy. He was in there the whole day trying to make the awful selection, and now he’s home and feeling utterly despondent. Ah, she thinks, that’s why he didn’t contact me earlier. She tells him that she understands how awful that must have been and reassures him that she feels sure he’ll make the right decision. He appreciates that. They talk for a little longer, and they make plans to meet up that weekend. She ends the day with a smile on her face, looking forward to her date with this man. 

Same situation, two very different outcomes. In the first scenario, Julie believes from the moment she starts talking to this man that he will ghost her. This belief shapes her to such an extent that she will actively look for evidence to support this belief, to prove herself right. At the first opportunity, she finds the “evidence” she has been searching for. This man is just like all the rest. Her attitude towards him changes, her energy towards him changes and he retreats. She believed she was going to be ghosted and ultimately she was. Or was it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

In the second situation, Julie doesn’t believe that she’s going to be ghosted. The thought hadn’t crossed her mind, so she doesn’t see evidence of it everywhere. When he doesn’t respond immediately, her first thought isn’t “Yes, it’s happening just as I predicted it would”. Her first thought is “That’s unusual” and then she doesn’t really think about it. When he does get in touch later that day, she is happy to hear from him, and he senses this. He shares what has happened in his day, and she completely understands. Totally different outcome from the first scenario.

The beliefs that we have can shape everything in our lives. Some are life enhancing, such as “I know there is someone out there for me”, and some are life limiting, such as “all men on the apps will ghost me”. When you work with a Michelle Manley coach, this is one of the first things we look at. We work with you to suspend those life limiting beliefs, the ones that are holding you back, and making finding your own Happy Ever After nigh on impossible. We work with you to shape those beliefs into something else, so that when a good man does come along, you don’t self sabotage simply because you know you’re right.

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