There are an insane amount of awful dating trends knocking about these days - from submarining to getting 'zombied' - but even more worryingly there’s a new one to add to the list and it sounds like the worst of the lot.
What are we talking about? Ghostlighting.
If it sounds frightening - because it is - and worst still, it may leave you too scarred to ever consider pursuing love ever again.
The term combines the very worst in dating phenomena: ghosting andgaslighting.
For those yet to experience the pain of ghosting, it's essentially when someone you’ve been romantically involved with disappears from your life without a trace.
Much like the dearly departed, you won’t be able to communicate with your former beau as they ignore your calls, texts and any other form of messages.
Imagine then combining this with gaslighting, a dangerous manipulation tactic often used by abusive partners to make their other half question their judgement – often by lying or denying the truth.
Ghostlighting is the horrifying union of the two – essentially if Freddie and Jason themed up to make all your dating nightmare come true.
Not only will the prospective partner ghost you, but they’ll also then come back to haunt you and deny all knowledge of disappearing in the first place.
According to psychologist Dr Rina Bajaj, tactics can also involve withholding information, twisting the truth or love bombing as they control their partner.
It may even see ghostlighters resort to fear or threats to keep the relationship in their preferred state.
Even at the end of the relationship, they’ll take no responsibility and often blame their former partner for things breaking down.
If you think you’ve been a victim of ghostlighting, here are some key ways to exorcise yourself from this horrifying dating pattern, which include:
- First, you need to understand that none of this is your fault as this is a form of emotional manipulation.
- Keep loved ones around you who can provide a safe space and give you validation about your experiences.
- You can even reach out to a therapist if needed and you begin to rebuild the boundaries and refocus on yourself over the coming months.
- Finally, you need to prioritise your own well-being and remember that you are deserving of a respectful partner.
If you follow these steps, you should avoid being haunted by your past relationships – for the most part.
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Topics: Sex and Relationships