Dear Amy: You recently ran a question from “Ghosted by a Friend,” about how it feels when a friend dumps you without explanation.
I have a friend whose best girlfriend of many years ghosted her for no reason.
The woman, who had cut off all ties to friends and family, surfaced several years later.
It turned out that she was in an abusive relationship with a man who beat her. She was embarrassed and ashamed. She finally reached out after she got out of the relationship. The two women are best friends again.
So there CAN be a happy ending.
Dear E: The insight I’ve gained – both from my own life and also from the many questions I’ve fielded about ghosting and estrangement – is that the person being ghosted most often assumes the blame. Blaming oneself is a way of filling the void created when you simply have no idea of why someone has suddenly left you.
It helps to understand that someone who changes direction suddenly might have something important going on in their own life influencing their behavior.
So yes, the scenario you describe presents a very happy ending. This friend managed to escape an abusive situation, and look what happened: her compassionate friend was there, waiting for her.
Dear Amy: I really identified with the letter from “Ghosted by a Friend,” in fact, I thought that letter could be about me, because I’m the one who does this to others.
I can cut people out of my life, (work or personal), in a heartbeat.
It’s a learned behavior from my parents. My sibling did this to me, too.
For me, if a person has lied to me or has hurt me in any way, they are GONE.
I felt bad about doing this with one friendship; I tried to repair it, but it was not the same.
If this happens to you, my best advice is to ask the person point-blank what happened, to see if there is anything that can be done to fix it.
If they are stubborn and won’t talk about it, let it be. Some of us are just too bullheaded to forgive and forget.
Dear Ghoster: Your folks taught you how to manage your relationships, and so you repeat this pattern whenever things get uncomfortable.
I applaud your insight into your own behavior, and I thank you for sharing it.
Dear Amy: My wife had a male friend who moved away many years ago and broke off all communication with her.
This happened before I met my wife. (He is gay, so it’s not like they had broken off a romantic relationship.)
She still talks fondly of him and is still hurt by him omitting her from his life.
Prior to our wedding 11 years ago, I found him online, and emailed him.
I explained who I was and said that we were getting married in February. I thought it would be a wonderful surprise if he attended. He eventually replied.
He said he couldn’t make it to our wedding, but that he would contact my wife soon.
A couple of days later I got another email from him, saying that due to circumstances, he won’t be able to contact her.
All these years later my wife still wonders what she did to make him not talk to her. It’s still very painful for her.
– Helping Husband
Dear Husband: I hope your wife understands that this is not her fault. My theory is that this friend might be caught up in a relationship with a controlling partner.
Dear Amy: I had a similar ghosting experience with a friend of mine, and decided to take your advice to get in touch with the person in a warm and nonconfrontational way.
I wrote and sent this to the friend: “Today’s LA Times had a letter from a woman who had lost contact with a friend. (I didn’t write it, but I could have). She didn’t know whether to reach out or just let it go. She was advised to send an email saying ‘I think of you often and would love to hear how you are doing. I hope you’ll be in touch.’ ”
I got an immediate positive response and a plan for the resumption of our friendship.
Thank you so much for giving me the tools to correct something that had been bothering me for a long time.
Dear Grateful: What a joyful outcome! Thank you for letting us know what worked for you.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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