Living ghosts, the unconscionable art of irresponsibility

You are having a great time at the festival and are catching a bite at a lovely restaurant that serves the best angel hair pasta with herbs in the city. You share the wine and weave flowers into each others hair. Energy passes between you, and the magic moves throughout the room. Your eyes reflect the wonder and spark that comes the beginning of a new relationship sparking up into those first wisps of foundation as you gaze at your partner. You go to the restroom and return to your table.

Photo credit: Pexels

But you have made a mistake, somehow. You have found your way to the wrong table. You know this, as your date is no longer there. Clearly, this is the wrong space.

Your plate and half consumed cider give a different testimony. Right there, to the left, you can still see your napkin as you left it. The semi circles you traced in the salt by your butter bear your marks plain as day. The feeling that is pouring over you feels like cold pearls of sand in your aura.

You have just experienced ghosting.

Your face feels hot, and you feel that shocky temperature shift that accompanies cognitive dissonance. Every eye seems to be on you right now, though you know that cannot be true. You return to your seat, and look around, hoping it is a mistake.

The server comes over and has a sympathetic look on their face, yet tactfully does not address your situation. They leave to secure your bill for the evening. You search your wallet and hope you have enough left on you to cover the bill. Thankfully, you do. But it will hurt your budget.  What was supposed to be a split treat becomes a burden that spells ramen for lunch for the next week.

Awkwardness ensues. You feel uncomfortable in your skin, and all your motions to finish your meal and leave the tip feels forced and theatrical. Stiltedly, you walk out of the place with a plastic smile. The pantomime of normalcy completed, you return to your home and try to make sense of what makes no sense.

Feelings of self-doubt consume you for the next few days. You try to contact them via social media, only to find yourself blocked. The number rings thru to their phone, but no connection ever happens. Messages are unanswered, and at last you surrender. No longer entertaining the hope of some miraculous explanation that would make it all reasonable, you move on with your life….a little more wary, a little more jaded.

This is what ghosting does. This is how toying with someone’s emotions may play out in their lives. There are as many scenarios as there are people, of course. But the essence is the same. A person has refused their responsibility as a mature adult to end an association in a healthy and clear way.

Regardless of the ghoster’s intent, ghosting is a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic that can leave psychological bruises and scars. –Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D.

This practice is not only childish, it denotes a lack of courage. It takes a measure of cowardly self centered world view to do this to another person. Unfortunately, it is on the rise and climbing to social acceptability … and it is ultimately an act of emotional violence.

This must stop. Unkindness is not what we need more of in our society. We must do better.

No one deserves to be treated this way. It is unhealthy and damaging. As thinking feeling emanations of spirit, we can do better.

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