The Ghost in Me



»He walked down a busy street
Staring solely at his feet
Clutching pictures of past lovers at his side
Stood at the table where she sat
And removed his hat
In respect of her presence
Presents her with the pictures and says
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you,
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you«



»Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
It’s not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love«


11 years ago the song »Ghosts« by Laura Marling was released, a singer I admire very much and who I feel close to in a certain way. Poetically she talks about past ghosts who make it hard to fall in love again, ghosts who break hearts and won’t disappear ever since.


A few years later a new trend term emerged: »Ghosting«. Ghosting means a complete breakdown of contacts in relationships, friendships and dating stories, which has developed into a pronounced phenomenon thanks to the spread of SMS, chat services and digital dating platforms. Have you ever experienced something like this? I haven’t so far, but of course I am also inhabited by ghosts who I carry around with me from bygone days and who sometimes make it difficult for me to get involved entirely. But I have not yet experienced a complete breakdown of communication during a relationship, in whatever form. At least there was always the announcement that it would be better not to see each other again, because you are not on the same wavelength or because your feelings might get hurt.

 Obviously, we all belong to a modern society that communicates a lot via Whats App but the question remains – why? Have we gotten so used to it that we’d rather hide behind the screen with attackable, emotional texts than just make a quick phone call or even meet up in person, if possible without digitally unleashing conversations? In the past, calling was normal, short appointments were made and the rest was not discussed any further. Today people find it strange when their mobile phone suddenly rings after sending a message. It could hardly be more direct and almost everyone describes this move as violent. Then you’d rather listen to a voice message, you can take your time and consider how you want to react to it. Just recently I talked about it with my good friend. He is absolutely not feeling this trend, he doesn’t want to identify himself with the medium SMS any longer and therefore he has a very hurtful effect on his environment, especially on his current lovers. And indeed, I had the feeling that especially women react very sensitively to unexpected behavior when it comes to messages. When suddenly no more emojis are broadcast and the familiar choice of words is becoming rather tight.


Why do we find it easier to write certain things rather than discussing them directly with the other person?

I remember my childhood and the first beginnings of my very expressive form of writing, triggered by my parental home, where it was sometimes impossible to address and discuss opinions openly. So I started to put my emotions on paper at an early age and sent them to my parents in the form of letters. On the one hand my writing talent unfolded and the fascination for the written word came to light. On the other hand, I often withdrew when it came to a clarifying conversation in delicate situations. A curse and a blessing, but I am able to put it in context. Later I taught myself to not only communicate my feelings through writing, but also to talk directly to the people who are important to me. I wanted to change something, my inner demons brought me salvation. An open attitude towards deep rooted feelings has become indispensable ever since, but that is also something that not everyone likes. Several times I have caused panic with my openness, because most people prefer to keep their ghosts in check. With some distance time is gained and the explanation is given, how could it be otherwise, mostly in digital form.

Nevertheless I was very shocked by the term and the phenomenon that goes along with Ghosting. If you imagine that today we are so easily interchangeable and can manipulate a fresh soul with just one swipe, a soul life that is perhaps much more sensitive than its environment perceives it. Ghosting perpetrators imply non-commitments and randomness to an extent of damage, which they themselves cannot estimate. It’s clear that Ghosting victims suffer from a deep feeling of insecurity and pass this on as trauma to their next encounters. »Fears of loss« and »psychological disorders« are the names of the future ghosts who make it difficult for new partners to get involved because they, too, carry their own experiences of past relationships with them. How does someone become a ghost? How does someone come to do something so creepy to another person when you consider that no one wants to suffer, even if it may have happened to you the same way before; especially when this has happened to you the same way before, you know how bad it feels. This reminds me of a movie scene in which the protagonist whispers into her lover’s ear:

»Damaged people are dangerous because they know how to survive.«

Somehow this has stuck with me.

»These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you,
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you«