Why Being Ghosted Was The Best Thing To Ever Happen To You

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Why Being Ghosted Is A Good Thing And How To Get Over Someone Who Is Ghosting You
Heartbreak

While it may not seem entirely relevant (yet), you should know that A Christmas Carol was originally written as a ghost story. It’s definitely more gothic horror than cheery holiday tale.

Think about it: Ebeneezer Scrooge is being well and truly haunted by his past, his toxic present, and his fear of the future continuing on in much the same way or even getting exponentially darker.

While Dickens’ tale successfully set the stage for the traditional idea of a Christmas celebration, it also has year-round resonance when we consider that we, too, are often haunted by our pasts, discouraged by our present, and fearful of the future.

We’re unlikely to get hit with all 3 on the same night, but we are all capable of redemption. We don’t have to stay inside of toxic cycles, and if we want to avoid a potentially dark future, there are a multitude of behavior changes we can make to influence outcomes.

I say all of that to tell you that being ghosted might just have been the best thing that ever happened to you, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

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Being ghosted is an opportunity, although it rarely, if ever, feels like one. We can choose to allow it to disempower us, or we can actually choose to take advantage of the opportunity it presents to us.

The experience of ghosting is having someone else disappear from our lives completely and then haunting us with those pesky unresolved feelings. There’s no sense of closure in a ghosting, only feelings of loss and unanswered questions. It’s a horrible experience, one I’m intimately acquainted with. While it’s a terrible thing to go through (and an awful thing for someone to do to us), there’s also an upside:

The trash just took itself out.

Hooray!

Of course, it doesn’t feel like that when we have feelings for the person who just disappeared off the face of the earth (as far as we’re concerned). We want them back, or we want answers at the very least. But the truth is that they did us a huge favor by exiting stage right: They got out of our way so that we can now find a healthy relationship with someone else.

I’m not saying we should be grateful for the way that they handled the situation. Clearly, ghosting involves a great deal of cowardice, conflict avoidance, and disrespect for the feelings of others. But I am saying that anyone who has ever ghosted us clearly wasn’t The One, and now we are available for a healthy relationship with someone else.

We don’t have to stay haunted. While it’s an uncomfortable experience to be left in this way, it doesn’t really matter why they did it. Knowing why rarely changes how we felt about the experience. In fact, sometimes it just seems like making excuses for an inexcusable behavior. While an apology would be nice, we don’t have to stay stuck on the experience. We can, instead, choose to exorcize those ghosts and move on.

Being ghosted really can be an opportunity for us — if we choose that perspective.

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So… Scrooge was haunted by three spirits. Past, present, and future. While it’s unusual for three actual spirits to manifest themselves at the holidays, it isn’t unusual to be haunted by our past, concerned about our present, and fearful about our future — particularly where relationships are concerned. But we don’t actually have to be haunted by any of these things.

I speak from vast experience. I’m the original girl-who-can’t-let-go-of-anything. I’m not hoarders-level, but on an emotional level, I kind of am. I moved around so much when I was young that I became pretty fierce about my relationships. I love people fiercely and miss them fiercely and hold on to them like I was never going to let go. Hell, if I was on the door in the ocean, I would have scooted over to let Jack and at least 5 other people on board with me and would have grieved all the ones who couldn’t fit.

But I’ve learned over the years to let go, although I haven’t quite learned how to enjoy the experience. I have learned that letting go is essential for my peace. I can’t walk around with the past haunting me, the present bugging me, and the future hanging over my head. So here’s what I do:

I make peace with the past, present-tense. It’s an ongoing struggle. I am loving and letting go of people all the time, as the feelings come up. I keep making peace with it and keep finding more areas where I need to soften and be gentle with myself. I find places where I need to practice forgiveness for myself and others. It’s ongoing because I don’t want to let feelings about past experiences trip up my present or sabotage my future.

Sure, I was ghosted. More than once. I was painful. I hated every minute of the loss and the feelings that followed. But I can’t keep dragging around all that old grief. It’s exhausting. It depletes me. And I’m ready to move on to a relationship with someone who actually wants to be with me and would never leave me in that way.

I try to be mindful in the present moment. I try to focus on what’s happening in my life right now. I’m not sitting with the ghost of some guy who didn’t think I was worth keeping, even as a friend. I don’t really have space in my life for someone who is absent from it. It’s pretty full up around here. I have two kids, a full writing career, a ton of interests, a stack of books on my table, and a full Netflix queue. There’s no vacancy for ghosts.

Then there’s the future. I used to worry that I was never going to find a healthy relationship. Now I worry that someone is going to come along and screw up my relationship with myself. Then I have to remind myself that the right relationship would never do that, so I quit worrying about it.

Mostly. After all, I’m not perfect.

The opportunity of being ghosted is an opportunity to deal with our past, make peace with and enjoy our present, and to figure out how to avoid a relationship repeat in the future.

The Past

Being ghosted brings up other, unresolved trauma. When someone ghosts us, it can bring those feelings to the surface, giving us the opportunity to address them. We can use this time to unpack any other baggage we may be dragging around. It won’t feel like an opportunity, but it doesn’t mean we can’t use it as one. It can be the motivation to take the rest of the trash out and move on stronger than we were before.

The Present

Being ghosted is a present-moment experience. There’s not a shortcut to it either. We need to go through all the feelings and experience them. It could take a while. But if we process the full experience, we’ll be able to move on completely when it’s over. It won’t become more baggage to lug around into a future that becomes our present.

The Future

The experience of ghosting can be a revelation. We figure out a lot about ourselves and the other person. Often, we’ve overlooked red flags in that relationship before the ghosting. I knew that the last guy to ghost me was conflict-avoidant, I just didn’t want to see it. Now that we see the red flags, we can make sure that we don’t repeat toxic patterns in the future.

Recognizing the negativity is also a way to prevent ourselves from projecting the past into the future, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can learn how to create new, healthier patterns in our lives. Once we do that, we don’t have to be fearful of the future.

So we were ghosted. We don’t have to stay haunted. We can recognize that those relationships weren’t healthy ones, and why they left won’t change that. It’s an opportunity. A growth experience. A chance to make ourselves available for the right person. It’s our very own ghostly visitation of past, present, and future, and we can use it to our advantage if we choose to.

Yes, it hurts. I’m not trying to minimize the pain of the experience. But I am saying that we can use it to help us. Because I’ll tell you this: the person who ghosted you wasn’t your soul mate. No matter how connected you felt to them; they weren’t it for you. Grieve for it. Love them, but let them go. You have somewhere else to be and someone else to be with. Feel it, heal it, and be free.

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Crystal Jackson is a former family therapist who now spends her days writing. Her work includes blog posts, poetry, short stories, children's books, and literary fiction. You can connect with Crystal on FacebookInstagram or Medium at CrystalJackson.writer. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.