GHOSTING

This week I became aware of the phenomenon known as ‘ghosting’.

For those that don’t know, ‘ghosting’ is the expression for people who decide to disappear out of your life, usually with no explanation, no obvious reason or apparent justification. It is prevalent in relationships conceived online and developed predominantly through digital communication. One moment you’re in constant contact with someone on a daily basis through text message or social media, the next they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth. Or it can be a slow divorce, i.e. the goodnight texts disappear first, then a few days later the good morning texts go too. Then a 24hr period elapses without contact…then your message either gets read and not replied to or not even read at all…and so on, until you start getting more messages from Candy Crush than you do from the person who was beginning to matter to you. Whilst certain resilience can be built up over time to the pitfalls and quirks of online interaction, being ‘ghosted’ is still painful, especially when the previous interactions were so intense and genuine feelings were involved.

The reason for it being painful is because losing contact with someone you didn’t want to or expect to is a form of bereavement. You find yourself mourning not only the loss of that person in your life but also the loss of the potential you could see in front of you. The potential to grow, explore, experiment and experience together is vanquished almost overnight. You had begun to invest in that person and had begun to care for them and their welfare. Now that energy has nowhere to be channelled externally. Instead it can often be channelled internally as negative energy by way of self-reproach. Feeling abandoned, discarded or used leaves a sour taste in the mouth and sense of disorientation.

The very nature of being ghosted means you don’t have the opportunity for closure. You’ll have several unanswered questions and your only choice it seems will be to speculate the answers to them. The destructive part is the self-recrimination; ‘What did I do wrong?’ ‘What’s wrong with me?’ ‘What could I have done differently?’ etc. This is a very painful, confusing and upsetting experience, as the human part of our brains seeks truth using logic, facts and patterns. We are creatures that thrive on being socially accepted, that have the basic need of a sense of belonging and we constantly search for meanings too.

The juxtaposition is that digital communication should make it easier for us than ever before to say things that may make us feel uncomfortable because it offers us a degree of protection. We don’t have to face the person or be in the same room as them. We don’t have to look into their eyes or deal with the ramifications afterwards from what we say. If a person lacks the courage or capacity to be honest in their communication then sending a free text message from long range should provide them with the perfect opportunity to circumvent this. However it seems that choosing to simply ignore the other person and quietly slip away is the preferred choice which is perplexing…and it damages both parties in the process.

I now realise I have been guilty of ghosting in the past and I’ve been on the receiving end. I have lacked empathy for the other person’s feelings. I’ve succumbed to full blown self-preservation mode to avoid making myself feel vulnerable. I have lacked the courage to say something I perceived the other person would struggle to hear. Either way it only served to perpetuate my sense of detachment and isolation. Disappearing on someone is tantamount to ignoring them, and ignoring someone is one of the cruellest behaviours we can inflict upon others. They are burdened with carrying around the unfinished business on their shoulders. Being on the receiving end can cause a potential ripple effect and impact upon how you approach future relationships. I feel ashamed for having done it in the past and that shame offers me the chance for personal growth in order to modify my behaviour.

The truth is, and it is an uncomfortable one, is that endings are a part of life, many of which we don’t want or don’t feel ready for. I guess some other truths of life would also be; you can’t please everyone; life isn’t fair; there’s nowt so queer as folk and when meeting new people, try not to hold them accountable to your own expectations of them.

I think it’s important to say goodbye and to give yourself an ending if the other person hasn’t provided a conclusive or reasoned one for you. You could imagine them sitting opposite you and you can tell them everything you want to say. It’s quite powerful and cathartic. Or you can write them a letter that you don’t intend to send. I’m going to write mine now

Advertisements

NO CONTINUES

I can’t watch them cry
For one more yesterday
They will find out why
Why I couldn’t stay
Rain falls to tell you
Tears in heaven dry
Screened behind the sun
Sits the last goodbye when
Paper covers rock
With words long overdue for
All that can’t be known
Can never be held true
So run into your home
And sell your faith to me
Slip it under time
To last eternally
I can’t hear them cry
It’s too obscene to dwell
The dying earth will tell them
There are no tears in hell
And what is it they seek
To dress naked conceit
Fingers crossing tight
A holy ghost appears
To scare away the night
And chase away their fears

Love’s Executioner

Shining swinging glinting, bring him to his knees
Stolen power snatching, no deafening silent pleas
Cruelty smeared in glitter, hooks the wish to submerge
Turning out of pockets, stamped buried in the dirt

Beware of false prophets, love poisons everything
It doesn’t make the world go round what does is autonomy

The world is yours to lose, all she wants is deletion
The truth will always hurt, she needs extinction as
What the eye doesn’t see the mind makes believe
You promised routine without monotony

Patent trick to bait and switch, point click, coughing vomit hold
Frozen ophaned heart embryo dies buried in the snow
Sick violation, vulture disgust feasting on the bones
Falling through a trapdoor that’s never closed below

BUNDLE OF JOY (SONG)

Get a good education son
And remember to keep your nose clean
Don’t forget ain’t no time for fun
You won’t be heard and you won’t be seen

We’ll sacrifice your dignity

All I ever want to be when I grow up was happy

Concentrate and knuckle down
Just walk away from every fight
Sit down and don’t act a clown
You’re old enough to know wrong from right

Fear programmed by fallacy

The truth appeared too criminal so the lies they told were biblical

Don’t ever get married son
I wish I was your age again
But I forgot where I belong
In the past where men were men

Your tyranny is boring me

Be careful and please take care
Don’t take drugs and just say no
It won’t make you very popular
I’m a hypocrite don’t you know?

Roped in to the family tree

Kept me safe at great expense of me having fuck all friends

The Fire Always Burns (POEM)

It was four years ago today when
I couldn’t find the words to say
Just how much I thought of you
Enough to convince you to
Want to get to know about me
Still the fire burns defiantly
On this our anniversary
Of a world we’ll never see and
A life that could have been but
Starving the flames of oxygen
Again and again and again
Couldn’t make me expire nor
Managed to put out the fire
So I’ll think of you again tonight
Four years since you set my heart alight.

THE GOOD DOCTOR

I used to have the pleasure of working with a guy about ten years older than me. I viewed him as a big brother, the big brother I never had. He accepted me despite all my shortcomings, faults and immaturity. He made me feel safe and included in the workplace. I was such an emotional mess throughout most of my working life with him and yet we shared many moments of laughter together. In the six years since I left that employer I have only seen him a handful of times. Today I bumped into him. He was jogging past literally as I was stepping onto a bus. I managed to hear him say, “It’s Mark,” as a big smile lit up his face. This made me feel very emotional as he seemed genuinely pleased to see me; and that’s not a feeling I experience very often. To be remembered with fondness is one of the greatest compliments I think I could ever be paid, but to believe that of him makes it even more special to me. For he is everything I wish I was in a man. I’m not even half of what he is. To this day I still respect and admire him. And I still tear up that I’m not in his company every day.