Going Ghost & Hypervigilance

How do you guys feel about going ghost on toxic peeps?

I have been evaluating my role in dysfunctional relationships and perhaps it's an act of hypervigilance, but genuinely curious to hear others' thoughts.

I'll give an example, two girls I had started to become friends with, well I pretty quickly noticed what I felt like were red flags...one would say things and never follow through, came with a lot of drama and I quickly felt her intention was just to use me...then the other girl, while she didn't do anything directly toward me she backstabbed our other friend completely slandering her reputation publicly and that was enough for me to withdraw my friendship because sorry not sorry,...if you do that to one person, you'll do it to me.

I went ghost on both and I don't feel sorry about it. IMO going ghost was explanation enough that I have no interest in being your friend, but curious how others feel.

While I don't feel sorry in that situation, I don't want to see myself as someone that becomes hypersensitive and lacks communication skills.

Do you feel that you owe some people an explanation before going no contact? What's your criteria before going no contact?
 

Friday

Moderator
How do you guys feel about going ghost on toxic peeps?

Somewhere along the spectrum of Nothing/Nada…to…Vitally important to do it well.

Depends on exactly how toxic we’re talking about. Simple personality differences? Pfft. I’d have to take Valium to care less.

Do you feel that you owe some people an explanation before going no contact?
Only to people I love/respect/admire & want to secure the possibility of them still being in my life… and or that I liked them enough to let them know their assholery ended things. Which won’t change anything for me, when I’m done I’m done, but might change things for them, or the next person. Or not. But that. Is On them.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I have been evaluating my role in dysfunctional relationships and perhaps it's an act of hypervigilance, but genuinely curious to hear others' thoughts.

for sure, my own hypervigilance is a HUGE factor in my own dysfunctional relationships. the more i like you, the more likely i am to reject you before you can reject me. my hypervigilance tells me the rejection is inevitable. take charge of the inevitable as far as possible.

then we get to the perfectionist aspect of my hypervigilance. . . i prefer my humans with no assholes, thank you kindly. no daily bowel movements allowed.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Yeah, I do write something when I feel it's important to delineate what went wrong because I care for the person on some capacity... Or like to be able to reread my letter signed in letters of fire lol and prevent myself of being inconsistent. I tend to need some closure for myself but if I don't feel it then even better.

Generally the person will get it and not say anything, but if someone enters back in contact with me I might send some definitive explanation and that's it. So the door is locked. Some don't need to have security keys, some do.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I did it when I didn't know it was a 'thing'- just 'me' and seemed relevant/ the right thing to do. It was never malicious. (And this is different from no contact, e.g. toxic family. I kind of laughed yesterday- I heard it suggested to phone family we are seperated from- reminded me of one of the last calls in person with one member I remember was her telling me she had paid for a hitman for 2 of us, or another where it was time to give our other palliative sister "a push to the other side.." .. Think I'll text!!! )

I don't see it really as relevant in this case: there is either communication why you no longer want to be friends, and some reconciliation or not, or to discuss or clear the air, or you are so little friends it doesn't matter/ acquaintances. I would expect if it mattered the other person would contact you eventually, or keep some contact. If not, you're just going seperate ways.

Some is maybe just manners, or closure, or maturity, or importance (of the person). But all relationships are 2-way, anyway. Might be important to you and not at all to them, too. To me, if a person (including family) doesn't put in any effort or does not contact me I am not of value, use or priority to them. In what you described I do think they probably wouldn't even have an inkling why you disappeared. But also doesn't sound like the same affinity/ values for developing a future friendship.

I am too hypervigilant and more relate to @arfie . But I also don't want to 'be' an as*hole.

Not sure if that's helpful at all, if not just disregard. Good luck with it.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Yes @arfie that is true. (Though it took twice reading for me to get it! 🙄)

I was thinking, I always felt it was in the other's best interest when I left.

But I thought of something else, it is really maddening to me that this is a disorder- not just something I can choose to overcome and it's solved. That is, it's the level of a disorder. So I know it is up to me to manage it, but it takes a lot of practise, over and over. I always 'feel' I will manage it better than I often or usually do. I have to keep trying over and over. I have to accept being resolved to improve at it has never been enough.

Not to offend anyone, speaking only for myself- I think ghosting if nothing else however is also disrespectful for me to do. And maybe in a way ~abnormal? It is not 'normal' (compared to the public). or at least self-defeating at best, because of the feelings I have, literally and about myself, when I've done it.

Hope that makes sense!
 
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Sideways

Moderator
If a relationship has become too negative for me (dysfunctional, toxic, unhelpful - there's a long list of reasons), I pull back. I stop reaching and contacting the person.

Very often? That's sufficient. Because it's hard for a relationship to sour without that being felt by both people. It's not 'ghosting', it's more like moving them further out and away from me.

If a person continues to contact me when I don't want them to? Then for me, it's usually worth a brief heads up to them that this relationship isn't working for me anymore.

Why? Meh, I just like being polite. Treating people with dignity (even if they don't deserve it, because it protects my humanity). And it puts an end to those painful moments of them contacting me, and me getting resentful or uncomfortable because they're doing that.

Maybe I'm just old school, but 'ghosting' to me? Is about not managing relationships and communication. And that's not something I'm going to deliberately lean into. Mostly because of my relationship with myself, but also because managing relationships well? Makes life a lot less stressful. And that applies equally to both good and bad relationships.
 
Not to offend anyone, speaking only for myself- I think ghosting if nothing else however is also disrespectful for me to do. And maybe in a way ~abnormal? It is not 'normal' (compared to the public). or at least self-defeating at best, because of the feelings I have, literally and about myself, when I've done it.
Maybe I'm just old school, but 'ghosting' to me? Is about not managing relationships and communication. And that's not something I'm going to deliberately lean into. Mostly because of my relationship with myself, but also because managing relationships well?
yes - I do see both of your points. I realized partly what got me to this point is not speaking up/setting boundaries early on in the relationships and then just overextending myself to where I feel like explaining myself is more trouble than it's worth/will negatively affect my emotional/mental health. Since I have no desire for their presence in my life it's like what's the point...but to me, it also shows that I don't feel safe to speak honestly in those relationships which confirms even more that it's not a healthy friendship for me, hence my guilt-free ghost.

That being said, I have some relationships that are not overtly abusive, but I am always the one making the effort and if I dropped dead they wouldn't know for months. Some days I'd love to ghost those people too, but as @Sideways said, I feel in that situation I would be leaning into habits that aren't necessarily helping me manage helpful communications skills in my relationships. I have more care and it feels better to have a conversation with those people first or just communicate more stringent boundaries.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
That being said, I have some relationships that are not overtly abusive, but I am always the one making the effort and if I dropped dead they wouldn't know for months. Some days I'd love to ghost those people too, but as @Sideways said, I feel in that situation I would be leaning into habits that aren't necessarily helping me manage helpful communications skills in my relationships. I have more care and it feels better to have a conversation with those people first or just communicate more stringent boundaries.
I think if you'd prefer more contact (and there's nothing wrong with that necessarily) that would be expressing a need or want, vs a boundary. (Boundaries are your limits or choices in respect to the other person's behaviours or demands). (Just how I understand it.)
 

Friday

Moderator
I think if you'd prefer more contact (and there's nothing wrong with that necessarily) that would be expressing a need or want, vs a boundary. (Boundaries are your limits or choices in respect to the other person's behaviours or demands). (Just how I understand it.)
Yep yep.



A boundary is “If they don’t contact me in XYZ minutes/ hours/ days/ weeks/ months/ etc. I’m going to

- Call them to chat
- Call them and invite them out/over
- Call them to yell at them
- Go to their house and bring cookies
- Go to their house, pour gasoline on their loved ones, and set them on fire
- Call someone else to (chat, invite over/out)
- Call someone else to vent, seek advice, about their not calling & my thoughts/feelings around that
- Seethe in anger and resentment
- Bawl in lonliness & despair
- Cancel all my plans and “wait by the phone”
- Distract myself with something else
- Distract myself with someone else
- Reward myself with something/someone else
- Punish myself with something/someone else
- Destroy anything in my hands / my path / my house
- Change how I view myself / my self worth positively
- Change how I view myself / my self worth negatively
- and a great big fat whopping ET CETERA... 😉 because this is maybe 2% of possible actions in response to their not calling me.
IF they do this, THEN I am going to do that.

Boundaries are often based in/around feelings. If you’re hurt & feel rejected when a boundary is crossed? You actions are probably going to be VERY different than someone who feels resentment and anger, or worry and concern, or feels relieved or exited, (or all of the above), or is attempting to change old patterns, or feels ______ when someone isn’t calling you, before you call them.

Where those feelings come from? Is a wicked complex cocktail of personality, past experience, expectations (both personal and cultural), needs/wants, ethos, ethics, morality, sobriety, lifestyle, life choices, what’s going on in your life at precisely that moment, etc. <<< Most of those things are “just” who we are, as individuals, and not only do we NOT want to change them? We’re largely unable to change them, by more than a few degrees; either at all, or without a helluva lot of work.
Unsurprisingly, how someone feels about something usually changes how they act.

A lot of people confuse boundaries with
- Requests (including warnings & other alerting people to be aware)
- Demands
- Obligations
- Negotiation
- Manipulation

4:5 of which are “getting someone else to do something the way I want them to”.

And the 5th transcends personal desire, obligating ALL of us to do things following cultural rules or legal rules.

Which makes sense because Most of the people we become close to? At least generally follow the same cultural/legal rules we do (do wear clothes in public, except in XYZ circumstances; do not kill people, except in ABC circumstances) …and after a few missteps, get used to working inside our boundaries, playing by our rules; the same way we get used to working inside theirs, and playing by theirs. Because we don’t like the consequences (their actions/reactions) that happen when we cross their boundaries. But that’s simply a learning curve. Coming to know what rules are in play, and the consequences of breaking the rules? Doesn’t create the rules themselves, nor the consequences.

The rules/consequences are one persons.
The decision to play by those rules, or not, are the other persons.

The boundary is where those 2 things meet.

Where they / their responsibility ends (to make and enforce their own rules), and me / my responsibility (to make and enforce my own rules) begins. Each of us responsible for our own.
- Requests (including warnings & other alerts)
- Demands
- Obligations
- Negotiation
- Manipulation

4:5 of which are “getting someone else to do something the way I want them to”. And the 5th transcends personal desire, obligating ALL of us to do things following cultural rules or legal rules.

But?

Coming to know what rules are in play, and the consequences of breaking the rules? Doesn’t create the rules themselves, nor the consequences.

No matter how much I might WANT someone to be thrilled by (or at the very least abide by) my boundaries? I can ask them to, I can demand that they do, I can attempt to negotiate with them to, I can manipulate them to… but none of those things actually creates where I draw the line, nor what I do when they get crossed. I have to do those things, myself. Decide what is right for me. My boundaries, my responsibility.

The rules/consequences are one persons.
The decision to play by those rules, or not, are the other persons.

The boundary is where those 2 things meet.

^^^
Boundaries are a SUPER common thing to get totally f*cked up in PTSD & PTSD level Trauma, for the simple reason that both personal rules & obligations near universally change during an emergency (just a human thing), and if that emergency goes on long enough? It ceases to be an emergency, and just becomes how things are, and the rules in play account for that (still a human thing).

One bomb goes off? It’s an emergency. Bombs keep going off? People start to adapt and account for it. Bombs go off all the time for years? It’s normal life. (And Americans who leave their bags unattended in London, just waltzing away from them as if that’s an okay thing to do? Are baffled at the enormous response).

So whether one’s boundaries changed in response to living in an ongoing state of emergency, or were written as if it was normal? They often/usually have to be rewritten (or rewritten yet again) to account for NOT an emergency. IE to be/become who we want to be, living life the way we want to.

Clear as mud?
 
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