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  • Christy Alfaro

How To Handle Ghosts Coming Back Into Your Life

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

This week I want to talk about ghosts. And I don’t mean the guy you talked to for a month on bumble and then never heard from again. I’m talking about the people who really meant something to you, who you considered a friend, but for one reason or another isn't in your life anymore. Those ghosts. I want to talk about how to handle the feelings that come up when these ghosts re-appear in your life.

When I started this blog I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted to inspire and support others to live their most authentic & happiest lives through the honest accounts of my crazy, messy, perfectly imperfect life but I realize that I haven’t really been sharing honest accounts of my crazy, messy, perfectly imperfect life. Partially out of fear but also partially out of self preservation. The idea that strangers (or even worse, my family) could read some intimate details of my life that might make me look like a bit of a mess sounds really scary to me. But that’s not fair to you my reader, and it’s not fair to what I had set out for this blog.

So, strap in because it’s story time!

When I was 17, my senior year of high school, I was a horny as hell teenager that had absolutely no prospects or romantic interests in any way. Well, being horny with no prospects, I started to flirt with a good friend of mine, things progressed and we ended up exchanging nudes. (I'll pause here for the collective groan of realization on what's about to happen next.) We promised each other that we wouldn't screenshot eachother's photos, but unbeknownst to me there are apps that allow you to screenshot on Snapchat without notifying anyone, and screenshot them he did. Now, this story isn't about this guy. What he did was pretty shitty, but I've made peace with that and that ghost hasn't contacted me in years.

This story is about another guy, another ghost, a ghost that I considered a very good friend. So this ghost, let's call him Brad, and I were pretty good friends and one night near the end of my senior year I got a text from Brad telling me that someone had send him my nudes. I mean, at first I didn't believe him, he's a year older than me so he'd already graduated so how could he possibly have gotten this. Also, I didn't get a screenshot notification on Snapchat so it's impossible. But, alas, he did get sent the nudes and while I felt violated that he'd seen the photos he swore to me he didn't look at them and that he only knows because they were sent in a group chat with all the baseball team, who he was still friends with. I mean, I felt super grateful to him for telling me ahead of time and I felt like I was able to go in to school, still incredibly mortified, but prepared for the day because he gave me a heads up.

The next couple weeks were a complete nightmare, I pretty much only had 3 people in my corner (including him), and it really felt like my life was falling apart. It turns out that the photos had somehow spread from the baseball team to the soccer team and outwards from there. Brad was working behind the scenes to defend me against the spread of the photos... or at least so I thought. A guy in my homeroom, who was always pretty nice to me, came up to me about a week after everything happened and asked me if I was still talking to Brad since he knew we were friends. I said yes I was and then he told me that Brad was the person who sent the photos to the soccer team. So, not only had he seen them but he contributed to my humiliation and lied repeatedly to me. To say I felt betrayed was not even remotely close to what I felt in that moment. Those next couple weeks are a bit of a blur, I don't remember exactly what was said when I confronted Brad or how the falling out really happened but I haven't talked to him in 7 years, so I know that it did happen. Honestly, I had pretty much forgotten all about it, that was all until New Years this year.

On New Years I got a message from Brad, that went as follows:

Brad: Hey stranger how are you? Long time no talk!

Me: Dude. It's been 7 years

Brad: In my defense, I've tried reaching out to you a couple times!

Brad: But yes it's been a very long time. And I'm sorry it has been so long. I've seen you grow though. And I'm proud of you.

Brad: Let's catch up some time soon. Happy New Years and have a good night!

So, yeah. I never responded to Brad's messages, for multitudes of reasons. First, I had a really great happy buzz on New Year's and taking the time to actually go into Brad's messages would 100% ruin that buzz. Second, Brad's messages pissed me the fuck off. I mean... (let me rant for a second) what does "I've tried reaching out to you a couple times" even mean, you follow me on instagram and have for a while and you've never DM'd me so I don't know what that means. "I've seen you grow though. And I'm proud of you." I don't need your pride Brad, yes I did grow but it wasn't to make you proud, in fact it was despite everything you did in high school. Thirdly, and the real reason that I didn't respond to Brad's message, I realized I didn't have to. Just like I didn't have to message any of my ghosts back, because I didn't and don't owe them anything.

You see every time a ghost like Brad pops back in to my life I'm thrust back into the mental place I was when I knew them. I had a pretty rough emotional upbringing, and while I honor the person I used to be because without that person I couldn't be the person I am today, it's always rough for me to be thrust back to those places mentally and emotionally. The worst part is, that it all feels very one sided. These ghosts decided to step back into my life without any thought as to whether or not I'm in a place to handle them. Now, I'm not saying that reconnecting with people is bad! I actually think it's great! I have friends that I don't talk to for months and then we'll both randomly exchange "hey stranger" messages and catch up. My issue with the ghosts that have popped back into my life is that these ghosts never seem to acknowledge our past and the reasons that we both lost contact with each other.

But at the end of the day I can't control other people's actions. I can't stop these ghosts from popping into my life and I can't control what they say to me, but I can control how I handle these situations.

So, how should we handle ghosts that come back into our lives and the emotions that these ghosts bring up. Accepting the emotions that come back is a great first step. It's never easy to be surprised by negative memories of the past, but instead of fighting them and then eventually dwelling on them (because negative emotions never truly go away) working through any residual feelings that the negative memories bring up is important. Your feelings are always valid, whether it's anger or sadness or joy or whatever it may be and accepting these emotions as they are and when they come is healthy. Secondly, decide the right course of action for you! This is something I always struggle with, thinking I need to have conversations with these people from my past that I know won't actually be productive and most likely won't give me the outcome I need and will in turn only cause me more stress and force me to dwell in the past. I always feel guilty deciding that not responding to them is the right course of action for myself, but at the end of the day I know that it's what I need to maintain the peace I have in my life. If the right course of action for you is to have the conversation with your ghost and lay it all out there then you should do that because that is what's right for you and that's what will give you the peace you need!

Lastly, whenever a ghost comes back into your life I want you to know that it is for a reason. It's to remind you that you are fucking amazing and you are thriving! If you weren't they wouldn't be popping back into your life. People are attracted to positivity and light and happiness and if a ghost pops back into your life it's because you are radiating all those things! Don't let them take that from you, just bask in the knowledge that you have cultivated something so beautiful within yourself that people can't help but want that around them. But remember, just because someone wants that around them doesn't mean they're entitled to it, you've worked hard for that positivity and you shouldn't let your ghost take that from you.

Quick note to ghosts and Brad (if you happen to read this): I don't think you're bad and I in no way am trying to stop anyone from reaching out to people, I'm only imploring you to ask yourself two important questions before you do so. 1. Why are you reaching back out to this person? and 2. Did you do something in the past that you need to make amends for before you could (possibly) reconnect with this person? If the answer to number one is altruistic and not self serving than great move to question 2. If your answer to question 2 is yes I did do something in the past, apologize and be okay if the person decides they don't want to reconnect with you. If the answer is no then more power to you, but again it's okay if they don't want to reconnect.

Time is such an interesting thing, and people can change so much in a short amount of time. Some people are only meant to be in your life for a short period of time and some are meant to last a lifetime, it doesn't make any relationship (platonic or romantic) any less important. All in the same, sometimes some relationships are meant to stay in the past where they belong.

That's all for today! Hope everyone has a great week!


A Whelmed Christy

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