What My Therapist Told Me About Ghosting Changed My Whole Perspective

You'll never think of ghosting in the same way again.

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If you have ever been ghosted, you know that it’s one of the worst ways to get rejected.

Processing the experience of being ghosted can take a while, even if the situation-ship or relationship lasted only a few months.

If you haven’t been ghosted, think about this feeling like talking to a room full of people from a podium, while everyone just looks away as if they can’t hear you.

Like you’re invisible. Like your needs don’t matter. Like you don’t deserve their energy or attention. Not one bit.


Regardless of which camp you fall into, we all know that ghosting is not healthy, both for the ghost and the ghosted.

It shows emotional immaturity on the part of the ghost, and it can stir up a lot of unhealed emotional wounds for those who have been ghosted.


RELATED: My Husband Ghosted Me —​ I Haven't Heard From Him In Months

One day, I was sitting on the metaphorical therapy couch — because most therapy is done over Zoom now — explaining to my therapist how I felt when I got ghosted.

It felt like I was getting emotionally abandoned again; something deep from my childhood came up for me.

He didn’t seem to care about my feelings and that had me questioning if the connection I felt with him was even true.

I know that logically I need to put this to rest and get on with my life, but emotionally it’s really hard. It’s like there’s an internal conflict in me.

I may have done something that triggered him to ghost me. But still, I know that I didn’t deserve to be discarded like that.


I had looked at the ghosting from many different angles: his trauma, my trauma, and the general dating landscape.

I had made my way through reconciling the jarring effect of ghosting and learned to celebrate the heartache. And as a recipient of therapy and a coach myself, I had a fairly good grasp of my patterns and how I was evoking my past involuntarily.

But there was one important thing that I had missed.

That day as I was sitting on the metaphorical therapy couch, my therapist told me something that gave me a new and very valid perspective.

Looking at me carefully with her kind, large eyes, she said, "Ghosting is technically emotional abuse. Do you want to be with someone who’s emotionally abusive?"



I had never considered that. All the while, I’ve been analyzing his attachment style and wondering how my inner child had been impacted.

RELATED: I Confronted The Guy Who Ghosted Me — It Was Fascinating

Psychology Today defines emotional abuse as:

"A pattern of behavior in which the perpetrator insults, humiliates, and generally instills fear in an individual in order to control them. The individual’s reality may become distorted as they internalize the abuse as their own failings."

Sure, there were no outright insults or humilities in my case, and I wasn’t scared of him in any way. But I did feel insulted and humiliated by the ghosting. And he was trying to control me and my interactions by ghosting.


My reality got distorted in some ways as I questioned our connection and wondered what I did to deserve such rash disrespect.

Furthermore, according to Psychology Today, warning signs of emotional abuse include "instilling self-doubt and worthlessness."

Subtle signs that emotional abuse may be occurring in an important relationship include regularly judging a person’s perspective without trying to understand it and relying on blame rather than improvement.

I did doubt myself and my worth. I did feel like my perspective wasn’t being understood and I was judged unfairly.

All of this applied to me and I believe they do for most cases of ghosting. So, let’s call it what it is.


Ghosting is a form of emotional abuse.

It took me a while before I realized that my therapist was waiting for an answer. That her question wasn’t rhetorical at all.

No, I definitely don’t want to be with someone who is emotionally abusive.

Not being seen and heard was an age-old wound from my childhood, but back then, I was powerless over my abusers.

With a guy I dated for a few months, I was not powerless; I could move on and limit his access to me.

RELATED: How To Apologize For Ghosting Someone

Why don’t we see ghosting for what it really is?

How can we see ghosting for what it is when being quiet and being nice are overly appreciated by society? Who actually said that if you can’t say anything nice, don't say anything at all?


Look, I’m not advocating for spewing hateful verbiage all around. But maybe some of us are taking this idea of being "nice and polite" too far by shutting down when we don’t know how best to communicate negative information or ask for what is needed in a relationship.

I believe the main problem here is that as children, we have mostly seen aggressive, arrogant communication or a complete shutdown when adults have been displeased. This applies to both at home and at school.

So, it’s not surprising that this is all we know to do as adults in conflict — communicate with aggression or build a big wall around us, i.e., ghost.

Learning a more balanced model of assertive communication is much healthier, but it takes much practice and reprogramming.


I’m fully aware that I cannot control the actions of others. Oh, if only I could.

But what I can do is see others’ actions for what they are, technical definitions and all.

Then, I can react to these actions from a fully informed point of view, versus a half-baked opinion that has selective bias sprayed all over it.

RELATED: Why You Should Absolutely Ghost The Love Of Your Life

Sabrina Sourjah is a writer and executive coach currently living in Toronto, Canada. Her bylines appear on Thought Catalog, P.S. I Love You, Mind Cafe, Better Humans, The Startup, and Kidspot.