How often have you met someone, felt a real connection with them, had a couple of great dates, and then never heard from them again? It's happened to everyone. It's easy to take this kind of unexpected rejection personally. My therapy clients often ask questions like,
Did I say something wrong? Was I too available or needy? How could I have so misjudged him/her?
Or, I've had this happen numerous times. Is there something wrong with me?
Taking rejection personally is often a subconscious defense mechanism. It puts you in control.
The belief is "If it's my fault, then maybe I can change, and then this won't happen again. If I can just figure out what I did wrong, then I can fix myself." But what if you didn't do anything wrong? What if the reason the person left had nothing to do with you?
To tell you the truth, that is almost always the case. Next time you get ghosted, look to these seven explanations before you let yourself take responsibility.
1. They are terrified of being controlled.
The stronger the connection, the more intensely their fear of engulfment kicks in and they feel the need to run. Many people are terrified of being controlled in a relationship. They believe they have to give themselves up to be loved, and that's so scary to them that they find excuses to run from the connection.
These people likely came from very controlling parents or caregivers, and they have a deep terror of being controlled. As children, they learned to manage the control in their homes by being very resistant, and this pattern is continuing in their adult relationships. They might back away just because you say you would like to see them again.
2. They are narcissistic and/or insecure, and looking for a conquest.
Some people judge their self-worth by how many people are attracted to them. They might come in fast for the conquest, but proof of attraction is all they want. They wrongly believe it's the conquest that gives them value, so as soon as you appear interested, they get bored and need a new challenge.
A true narcissist knows how to say the right things and come on just strongly enough. But behind it all, they're so deeply in need of approval and so fearful of intimacy that if you accept them, they automatically think they need to go look for "someone better."
3. They fear your rejection.
There are many people who would rather leave than run the risk of rejection — especially if they like you. They're likely projecting on to you their self-rejection/self-abandonment. Emotional pain is likely one of their biggest fears, because they never learned how to lovingly manage rejection. So they reject you before you can reject them.
People often disappear because they're afraid you will discover that they are not enough for you — because they don't truly know and value themselves. They're afraid that if they stick around, you will discover they have nothing to offer.
They might even have addictions they don't want you to know about, or a seedy past they're ashamed of. As soon as they like you, they start to worry you'll discover who they "really" are and reject them.
These are just some of the reasons people might have for disappearing. What they all have in common is that none of them has anything to do with you.
How to know when it's about you:
That's not to say that there might not also be things you are doing that might be pushing others away. Neediness — needing someone else to make you feel that you are okay — is often met with withdrawal. Ultimately, no one wants to be responsible for another person's well-being.
If you love and accept yourself as you are, you can be fairly sure your ghosting experiences say more about the other person's shortcomings than your own.
If you're wondering why you keep attracting people who disappear, it might be as simple as there being so many people who are fearful of intimacy, rejection, or engulfment. But it might also be because, on some level, you also have these fears.
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For more on learning to love yourself and not take others’ behavior personally, check out this free Inner Bonding course.