Learn How To Ghost Someone Who’s Not Healthy For You: Ending Toxic Relationships
By Sarah Fader
Updated March 02, 2020
Reviewer Michele Turner
If you've been seeing unhealthy signs or red flags in your relationship and you're wondering what to do next - you're not alone. Many people in the middle of toxic relationships find themselves wondering how they even got in this relationship in the first place. Oftentimes the unwitting partner in a toxic relationship will blame themselves for not seeing the signs once they realize that they are indeed - in a toxic or abusive relationship. In this article, we talk about some of the warning signs that are often present - before people get into toxic relationships, warning signs for relationships that have the potential to turn toxic, and where to get help if you find yourself trapped in a toxic relationship. Let's start with some of the common warning signs that your relationship may be toxic.
Signs Your Relationship Is Toxic
The term "toxic" refers to behaviors that intentionally cause physical, mental, or emotional harm to other people. These types of actions have a ripple effect and don't just hurt one person. If you're in a relationship with someone who is mistreating you or making you feel like you are the "problem," it's likely that their behavior is toxic. What makes relationships toxic - is when there seems to be no end to problems that arise in sight. If your partner refuses to address important issues in your relationship, won't listen to your point of view, or devalues your opinion, chances are - you're in the middle of a toxic relationship.
Once you realize that you are in a toxic relationship, you have two options. You can exit the toxic relationship as safely and as quietly as you can and not ever breathe another word to your ex. This is called "ghosting." When you ghost someone - you're basically disappearing like a ghost in the night and they never hear from you again. While "ghosting" is not often seen as polite, in cases of ending abusive and toxic relationships sometimes - it's the only way.
Option two is to try to work things out with your partner by getting therapy or another kind of professional third-party intervention. The caveat with this option - is that most people who initiate abusive and toxic relationships don't usually seek therapy on their own. It's up to you to decide which option works best for your safety, the safety of your family or dependents, and what is going to be the best solution for maintaining your sense of well-being and good mental health. Following are a few more warning signs that a toxic relationship is on the horizon.
Boundaries are an integral part of healthy relationships. We need to be able to say, "I'm comfortable with this, and I'm not comfortable with that." If you're not used to setting boundaries, it can seem scary or intimidating, but in reality, it's a way to make relationships work. We all have boundaries that we set with other people, and we hope that they'll respect them. Let's say that someone repeatedly brings up a topic that is personal or painful. Imagine you've asked them not to speak about it, and they keep bringing it up.
Another example could be that they persistently call you early in the morning while you're sleeping after you've politely asked them to stop. Maybe, they make you feel bad about yourself or share things about you that you've asked them not to share. These are examples of someone who might be violating your boundaries. If someone disrespects your boundaries over and over again despite your speaking to them about it and trying to change the dynamic, it might be time to distance yourself.
The foundation of a healthy relationship is honesty. If you aren't telling the truth to your partner or loved one, the relationship is based on a false sense of reality. We want to be close to those we love, and part of that is contingent upon being honest. When someone you love lies to you, you can feel a variety of ways. You may feel betrayed, or like you can never trust them again or take their word at face value. The foundation of the relationship has been shaken. If you find that someone you are close with is repeatedly lying, it's time to create a healthy distance from that person. You want to make sure that people in your life respect you enough to tell you the truth. There's no gray area when it comes to lying. It's toxic behavior that creates chaos in relationships. Lying, whether it's in a friendship or relationship, is not acceptable. Lying is often used to manipulate others. If someone is lying to you, you have a right to stop talking to them, and ghosting them is a way to protect yourself from further manipulation or lies. You don't owe anyone an explanation if someone is lying to you or manipulating you; they are disrespecting you, and it's okay to cut them off.
Physical, Verbal, or Emotional Abuse
There is a difference between an unhealthy relationship and an abusive or toxic one. An unhealthy relationship may mean that it's codependent or that someone is sacrificing their needs for the other person disproportionately. Unhealthy relationships have the potential to be healed through a combination of psychotherapy, and behavioral changes. An abusive relationship, on the other hand, has very little chance of thriving. Being in an abusive relationship means that someone is being treated with disrespect and are receiving some form of abuse, whether it's physical, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, or so on. The abuse may occur on one end or both in this kind of relationship.
Here are some signs of an abusive relationship to look out for:
- Problems with angry outbursts
- Financial abuse
- Telling a person what they can or can't do
- Making someone's social connections limited (whether that's friends or family)
- Coercing or forcing someone into sex
- Physical violence
If you are experiencing any of the types of abuse mentioned above, you have every right to ghost your abuser. There are times when it's crucial to cut off contact with someone, especially if they're prone to fits of rage, physical violence, or sexual abuse. Your wellbeing is of the utmost importance, and you don't owe anything to someone who is hurting you. Ghosting is an appropriate response to someone who is abusing you, whether that's physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. It's okay to stop talking to someone who has abused you in the past or the present. If you're in danger, contact a domestic violence resource center or the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US: 1-800-799-7233
Is It A Fear of Confrontation - Or Something Else?
You may be wondering, "is ghosting due to a fear of confrontation?" Maybe you cut off ties with someone because you're afraid of what they'll say and do if you express your feelings. There's a balance here, and there are situations where it could benefit you to express how you feel. Meanwhile, there are other scenarios where as much as you'd like to say how you feel, it isn't safe. If someone is hot-headed, and you know that because you've known them for a long time, it's important to safeguard yourself from that person and their behavior. You're not doing anything wrong by ghosting someone who has the potential to harm you, or who takes their temper out on you. While ghosting could be attributed to a fear of confrontation, that's not always the case. There are certain situations where it's necessary, and could save a life.
Abuse is a serious issue and abusive relationships are the most toxic of all. If someone is hurting you and making you feel unsafe, you need to stop communicating with that person. There may be several steps to take when it comes to severing ties from an abusive relationship, but the bottom line is that you, and your safety, matter the most. You don't deserve to be treated disrespectfully and made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. If someone you're speaking to is making you feel unsafe or who is verbally abusing you, this is a good reason to stop talking to them. Abuse can leave traumatic scars on families and children that can last for decades. Unhealed trauma from abuse can lead to serious mental health issues like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and other serious mental disorders.
There's nothing good that's going to come out of an abusive relationship. It'll likely just make you feel bad about yourself, and it may make you feel depressed to speak to this person. The relationship is likely to only get more toxic over time, so stop talking to someone who is abusing you - as safely as you possibly can. Abuse is a very legitimate reason to ghost somebody if there aren't any other options and you shouldn't feel bad for doing it. Keep yourself safe and surround yourself with people who want the best for you. In most cases, before we enter into toxic relationships - there are always signs. Want to talk to a licensed mental health professional about how to safely exit a toxic or abusive relationship? Contact a board-certified therapy professional at RegainUS online now.