Experiencing Ghosting as a Caregiver

The slang word 'ghosting' applies to the act of a person disappearing from your life for no apparent reason. The once accessible and supportive family member or friend vaporizes into thin air.

Why does this happen? And what are some of the real reasons people silently step away from you as you are knee-deep in caregiver duties?

Caregiving is not easy; sometimes, you need more free time to call your own. If your friend or extended family member is aware of your time commitments to care for your loved one, shouldn't they be understanding and extend grace? Not always.

Understanding ghosting and its impact

You may only be able to be flexible in your relationship if you have walked in a 24/7 caregiver's shoes. You may be asking yourself if relationship ghosting is solely a caregiver issue. It is not.

Many people who have a chronic or critical illness see friendships and relationships change seemingly overnight. Sometimes, conversations- if you are lucky enough to have them over the phone, in email, or in person- revolve around what is front and center in your life.

A person who was once able to offer an empathetic ear may find themselves distancing from those conversations. Sometimes, the response time may lag, not because that person is so busy but because entering that text or email or returning a call may take up more time than they have to spare.

Sometimes, a friend who was in a similar situation with their health or did care for their loved one may find your caregiving situation or illness dredging up unresolved emotions that they are not ready to address.

Coping with emotional distance

Instead of asking for space to establish emotional boundaries, they will just take it without discussion or giving you a heads-up. It is hurtful when a once close friend and support are no longer an option.

It hurts on a different level when the family of your shared loved one shows that same distance. No one likes to be around sick people, in hospitals, or someone going through a rough time. It is our nature to try to avoid those situations. To withhold visiting a loved one in a hospital because being there makes you uneasy can be considered neglect and is downright cruel!

Finding alternative support networks

Regardless of your shifting or ghosting relationships, it cannot deter you from living your best life. Easier typed than done, I know.

Seek other ways to obtain support: online communities like ours here, online therapy, in-person support groups, and church and local interest groups to keep you plugged in.

You may be surprised at the people who will enter your life at the right time, and although it may be painful, sometimes a person leaving your life is for the best.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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