It is not an emotion that I am comfortable with, nor can I say that I have felt it often… but this morning I woke up feeling, well, rage-y.
You see, someone who used to be in my life (who shall definitely remain unnamed) ghosted me a few years ago. What’s that? You don’t know what ghosting is? Oh. Well, let me tell you. Ghosting is an act of bullying. It is when someone in your life completely stops talking to you, calling you, texting you or whatever the deal was between you for seemingly NO REASON AT ALL. They just cut you out of their lives. No explanation. No answers. Nothing. I believe it is a form of bullying because it is all about power and control. The “ghost” is using absence/silence (as opposed to aggression) in order to feel powerful by inflicting pain on the other person.
And HOLY MOTHER OF GOD is it painful.
I have been ghosted now exactly twice in my life, both times by people who I would have called my “best friend”. Even now, every time I see the word “bestie” attached to some beautiful Facebook photo of women friends I feel like someone just sucker-punched me in the stomach.
Because of these ghosting experiences, I have a HUGE WALL when it comes to close friendships in general, but especially friendships with women. I am finding myself absolutely dead set against the idea of letting any woman ever get that close to me again. Like HELL-TO-THE-NO.
The first time I was ghosted, I mourned for that person/friendship for a good ten years. Actually, I still miss her. It was like a death in my life. But more like an “unsolved missing person” kind of death. To this day, almost twenty years later, I have no idea what I did wrong. The worst part about this is that I feel like I am someone who, when given the opportunity, takes full accountability for my actions. The problem with ghosting is that you have no idea what you need to take accountability for, so you are simply left wondering (and wondering and wondering)… and that just plain sucks.
With this latest ghost, I have spent many long hours over the past two years in mourning as well, my grief mixing in with denial, confusion, hurt and eventually a lot of shame and guilt. (By the way: It is NOT lost on me that this is now officially a “pattern” and that I am responsible for calling it in and creating it. But, due to the lack of feedback that is inherent in ghosting, I can’t seem to figure out what exactly I am doing wrong and therefore how to fix it!)
Anyway, today for the first time, I woke up angry. No. I woke up enraged.
Now, I need to tell you that it is extremely rare for me to feel vengeful, but that is exactly how I feel. I want for this ghost to hurt the way that I hurt. I want them to feel like they want to melt into the floor every time we have the god-awful “pleasure” of running into each other (which is, unfortunately, way too often).
I know that this is wrong. And the farthest thing from “spiritual”. But it is honest. It is real and raw. It is transparent, and transparency is something that I truly believe in and that I am good at.
Ironically (or probably not), I just finished reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong, in which she describes feeling similarly rage-y towards another human being (or beings). She then moves into realizing that “everyone is just doing the best that they can”. So, this morning, mixed in with my feelings of rage and revenge, was this underlying thought, “What if Person X is just doing the best that they can?”
I know that this is true. I know this because I truly believe that that’s what we are all doing: the best that we can…. which (unfortunately and absolutely) precludes me from doing anything to retaliate against this person, or confront them, or hold them accountable or anything at all probably.
This idea that everyone is just doing the best that they can is an important one. When you can call it in to your being, even a just a little bit, it can transmute these shadow emotions. It inspires and cultivates compassion, something that is vital to our survival as an interdependent species. Even as I write this, I can feel the rage ebbing, its edges are softening as the compassion starts to seep in.
One of my favourite quotes is by Ram Dass - “We’re all just walking each other home.”
I guess we don’t always get to choose who we walk beside, or why and when they leave when they do.
Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman