Ghosting someone with abandonment issues can be a real kick in the gut – not only for them but for anyone who cares about them.
Sure, ghosting is a horrible experience for anyone.
But when it happens to someone with abandonment issues? It’s a nightmare.
It can leave the person feeling isolated, hopeless, and like no one will ever show them the love and respect they crave.
Even though ghosting has become increasingly common, it doesn’t mean we all get a pass.
So let’s talk about what happens when you ghost someone with abandonment issues, what ghosting is really about, and what you can do if you catch yourself on the receiving end of ghosting.
- What Does It Mean To ‘Ghost’ Someone?
- What Does Ghosting Do To Someone With ‘Abandonment Issues’?
- Do People With Abandonment Issues Ghost Other People?
- Do People With Abandonment Issues Suffer From Borderline Personality Disorder?
- What Happens When You Ghost Someone With BPD?
- Healthier Alternatives To Ghosting Someone:
- Which Attachment Style Is Most Likely To Ghost Someone?
- What If I’m The One With Abandonment Issues?
What Does It Mean To ‘Ghost’ Someone?
Ghosting is basically what it sounds like – disappearing suddenly and completely without explanation. It usually happens in the context of dating, but not always. People ghost in friendships and even professional situations.
What it looks like in practice:
- Blocking on all social media accounts
- Ignoring/blocking texts
- Ignoring/blocking calls
- Taking unnecessarily long to reply to messages
- Only replying with emojis or reactions
- Fading away without an explanation
- Being “busy”
That last few bullet points are called “soft ghosting,” but the effect is the same.
The ghoster hopes this sudden (or gradual) disappearance will do the job of ending their involvement with no further contact from either side.
Why Has ‘Ghosting’ Become So Common?
Ghosting seems to be the preferred breakup method these days, no matter what stage in a relationship. Sadly, technology makes ghosting almost too easy.
We’ve never had so much access to complete strangers.
Without shared friends or community keeping our behavior in check, it’s much easier to digitally cut someone off and expect you’ll never run into them again.
So that’s what people do.
A 2019 study tried to see how prevalent ghosting has become among people aged 18-29.
Interestingly, the study revealed that many people are on both sides of this fence: they ghost and get ghosted.
Here’s a breakdown of how respondents reported their relationship with ghosting:
- 29.3% were the initiator (ghoster)
- 25.3% were non-initiators (ghostee)
- 44.2% were both
- 4.2% were neither
But why do people do it?
We already mentioned how easy technology makes ghosting. We meet strangers with whom we have no friends in common, date, change our minds, and then vanish – digitally and physically.
But it also points to a trend toward conflict avoidance. Ghosting allows people to get off easily.
They can leave an undesirable situation without ever having to confront the other person or (god forbid) have to engage in a difficult conversation.
But what so many people fail to realize is that when you ghost someone, there is a human being on the receiving end who has to guess what happened and figure out how to trust people again.
What Does Ghosting Do To Someone With ‘Abandonment Issues’?
Before you think about ghosting someone, think about how it will impact them. If this person has abandonment issues, your disappearing act can tear the fabric of their psychological well-being.
They’re common in people who had a parent or other important adult walk out on them.
When you ghost someone with abandonment issues, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box, unleashing a thousand anxieties.
It can leave them in an agitated state, sometimes severely so.
They’ll search for answers that aren’t there, blaming themselves and fixating on the abandonment. Who will do it next? Can they trust again? Is this evidence that they are innately disposable?
To learn more about abandonment issues, watch this short video:
How People With Abandonment Issues Act After Being Ghosted
For someone with abandonment issues, being ghosted can be a real blow. Here are a few reactions that can happen:
- They may obsess over dissecting every interaction, wondering if their connection was ever meaningful or authentic.
- It can trigger flashbacks to a time when a parent or caregiver left them as a child.
- They might also adopt a hermit attitude, retreating from the dating world and proactively guarding their hearts against further abandonment.
- Additionally, they may fall into rumination traps, wondering if their ex-partner is still thinking of them or feels guilty for ghosting.
- They may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like binge drinking or engaging in risky behaviors.
- Ghosting can exacerbate pre-existing depression or anxiety.
Do People With Abandonment Issues Ghost Other People?
It’s a cruel paradox – people with abandonment issues are also likely to ghost another person before they become the one who gets left.
For some adults, abandonment issues look like putting up a wall so that no one can get too close to them. This makes it hard for them to form healthy bonds with others.
It’s a defense mechanism. If they don’t allow anyone to get close, they don’t have to worry about rejection and abandonment.
Someone with abandonment issues might ghost a partner if they feel the relationship is becoming too close or if they suspect their partner might be pulling away.
They would rather get a clean break before they are the one who gets left.
You don’t have to figure this out on your own.
Do People With Abandonment Issues Suffer From Borderline Personality Disorder?
While abandonment issues are not a disorder in and of itself, there is a correlation between people who experience abandonment issues and those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
People with BPD often struggle with feelings of abandonment, even when they haven’t been directly neglected or rejected by others.
These fears manifest in a many ways, including:
- Constant demand for attention or reassurance
- Unhealthy relationship cycles
What Happens When You Ghost Someone With BPD?
As you can imagine, ghosting someone with BPD is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.
Individuals with BPD interpret abandonment as the ultimate rejection, one they internalize mightily.
Ghosting someone who has severe abandonment issues, as often happens with BPD, is extremely triggering. It can lead to a wide range of emotional reactions and impacts, like:
And in extreme cases:
- Suicidal ideation
- And intense mood swings
People with BPD have expressed something akin to a trauma response after being ghosted.
Ghosting is hard for most people to process, but when you struggle with a personality disorder like BPD, it can feel cataclysmic.
There’s no easy way to break things off. This is especially true when you’re involved with someone with BPD. But, at the very least, you should aim to reduce harm.
One way you can do that is by having a difficult conversation and letting people know you aren’t interested anymore instead of ghosting them.
Healthier Alternatives To Ghosting Someone:
Instead of taking the easy way out and ghosting someone, try having an honest conversation to tell them why the relationship isn’t working out.
You don’t even need to have a long, drawn-out conversation.
But at least tell them it’s over.
You aren’t obligated to engage in a dramatic back-and-forth, but you can reduce harm by letting the other person know you’re out.
Even better would be to explain why.
It won’t take away the sting, but it will at least ease the pain of not knowing. At a basic human level, isn’t that the least we can do?
Which Attachment Style Is Most Likely To Ghost Someone?
People with an avoidant attachment style are notorious in the world of dating for their tendency to ghost someone after getting close.
But why do they do it?
Avoidant people are fiercely independent, so once a connection grows too deep, and their freedom is threatened, they feel suffocated – which explains their need to run away without warning.
Hyper-independence is a trauma response, and this is one of many ways it manifests itself.
What If I’m The One With Abandonment Issues?
If you struggle with abandonment issues and have been on the receiving end of ghosting or other bad dating behavior, there are things you can do to process things in healthier ways.
How To Recover From Being Ghosted When You Have Abandonment Issues:
If you’re struggling with abandonment issues and just got ghosted, there are things you can do to process and heal in a more constructive way.
This can be really hard, especially when you’re in the emotional thick of it. But taking a few steps back to breathe and see the situation from a rational perspective can help pull you out of that emotional spiral.
- Do not blame yourself. People ghost for a lot of reasons, but they don’t have anything to do with you. They ghost because they’re immature, cowardly, or terrified of forming genuine connections with other people.
- Know that you didn’t deserve it. Nobody does. Basic human decency says the least you can do is send a text to let the other person know it’s over. That’s not great either, but it’s the least you can do. Vanishing into thin air? Even worse.
- Reach out to your support network. Talk to friends, families, or a counselor about your experience.
- Take time for yourself. Focus on your mental well-being. Exercise, meditate, eat healthy foods. Do things that naturally boost your mood and confidence.
- Find healthy distractions. The last thing you want is too much time to ruminate. Keep yourself busy with friends, hobbies, or any other healthy distraction that takes your mind away from the situation.
- Get help if you need it. If you feel like this experience impacts your quality of life and can’t seem to get past it, reach out to a counselor or therapist. They can provide you with insights and strategies to move forward.
- Remind yourself that healing takes time. You are not going to feel better right away. This is a gradual process, but you will get there.
How To Date In a Digital Age As Someone With Abandonment Issues:
Dating in a digital world is hard, especially for those of us with abandonment issues.
Ghosting is so prevalent, especially as we turn to online dating as a primary means of meeting people.
But there are things you can do to safeguard your well-being. It starts with being a strong communicator upfront and taking small steps when getting to know someone.
- Starting small with non-committal activities like simple video dates or virtual museum visits to get to know someone can help take some of the pressure off and make you feel more secure in your connection.
- Setting clear boundaries by communicating your expectations is also important; don’t be afraid to express what abandonment looks like to you before getting too deep into any relationship.
The most important tip, though?
- Make sure to prioritize yourself above all else! Knowing you’re safe and taken care of should come first before venturing into a digital dating landscape. Make your long-term relationships, like friendships and family bonds, a priority. You’ll have a good group of people there to lift you up if you run into another ghost in the future.
Abandonment Issues Or Not, You Deserve Respect:
Dating is hard, but it’s important to remember that if someone ghosts you, it says more about them than it does about you.
I know this type of rejection is incredibly triggering for folks with abandonment issues, and there is a very real and emotionally visceral aftermath you have to contend with.
This is not to diminish any of that.
But you can get past it. Every situation will not go this way. And if you are struggling, there are people out there who want to help.
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