Therapy Digest 09
Therapy Digest 09
Ghosting arrives in the workplace while deviant sex and violence are played out in the virtual world of video gaming or in our own head. Plus simple steps to accountability.
The ghost in the machine
Ghosting as a term originated in the world of dating and specifically online dating where people might be more likely to hedge their bets and be communicating online with several potential suitors before making their romantic choice.
In the early stages of online getting-to-know-one-another technology acts as both a facilitator to communications and a barrier. It is the same dynamic that people feel gives them permission to behave badly whilst driving even though they would be less likely to ever behave in the same way in face to face situations.
When you are ghosted you are unceremoniously dropped and usually blocked from all previous ways of communicating. This happens without warning in most cases and without recourse to an explanation and that can feel extremely distressing and confusing.
Ghosting is now showing up in the workplace too as increasing numbers of job candidates suddenly block all communications with their potential employer during the latter stages of negotiation.
In India, for instance, a prime example of where talent is in the ascendency and skilled candidates are in demand about 35 per cent of potential hires end with the candidate ghosting themselves from the talent acquisition pipeline. That means that out of every 10 hires, about 3-4 people ghost their potential employer.
In the workplace ghosting costs, money and time invested in a recruitment process ending in a disappearing act and how business is handling this provides some interesting strategies for the world of romantic dating too.
Business is having to recalibrate its approach to corporate formality by increasing the number of contact points in their recruitment process. Human resource experts are of the view that a mix of technology-led interventions and regular human interactions could be a solution.
The new approach means that the recruitment of a new employee from the acceptance letter onwards will take a more holistic approach and include reference to the softer aspects of the candidate’s life including profession of their spouse and permanent residence considerations among others. The will also use the past incidence of where ghosting happened in the recruitment process to implement a contact point to reinforce the connection.
It can take weeks, sometimes even months for a large corporation to put in place all the minutiae required before a start date can even be set, so it’s important to ensure the candidate is kept ‘warm’ and isn’t tempted by other offers. Checking in on voice calls is more effective to determine if a candidate is still interested in the job role. Any signs of weakening interest from a potential hire can hopefully be countered early by communicating and reinforcing the company’s commitment to the candidate.
Getting the candidate to come in for an informal meet up after the job offer has been made gives would be employers a chance to look at the body language as well as how enthusiastic a potential hire is and can provide an idea of whether they will ghost the company. Reinforcing connection means that people behave better with each other making ghosting less of a problem.
Workplace ghosting also happens within internal communications and can cause an unsettling train of reactions for the person being ghosted and ignored. The emotions this may spark can follow an arc similar to that of grief beginning with feelings of shock and denial through to overwhelming sadness.
Initially, a person can feel confused and even doubt that they are being ghosted so keep making repeated and sometimes more intense efforts to contact the person. It’s not unusual for the ghosted person to feel excessive and increasing levels of anguish as the whole scenario of being sidelined keeps being played over and over in their mind.
The idea that multiple communication platforms in the workplace are an aid to improved communications has become the accepted wisdom of the day, but the reality is very different.
If you are reliant on multiple platforms, accept this is far from ideal and that you could encounter ghosting.
What the majority of these platforms have in common is that they are reductive from the optimum form of communication which is face to face, eye to eye, preferably in the same room. Anything else is a compromise and provides the connection gap that encourages people to behave disrespectfully. This brings me neatly back to the world of dating where a connection is even more vital to minimise the distress of relationship ghosting.
A few guidelines can really make a difference to the quality of connection you have with a potential suitor or whether you are considered just another disposable candidate in the ‘talent acquisition pipeline’ to use the corporate parlance.
In all communication keep uses of tech platforms for minimal logistical information – What time and where are the ideal extent of these sorts of interactions. Nothing nuanced. Nothing that can be misinterpreted.
Establish clear lines of expectation concerning a reply and feedback framework. Agree when to be in touch again as part of each communication. If this is in place, you’ll know quickly if the other person is reliable or not.
Convert from online communication to real life, eye to eye meeting preferably in the same room as soon as possible.
In love don’t waste time communing online. Most people will know in 125th of a second – the speed of a camera shutter – whether they like the look of someone romantically in the flesh or not.
Be pro-active and include as much structure as you can with your own communication but remember their absence of response says more about them than you.
And in your romantic life consider that anyone who ghosts you is not your soul make.
Are you struggling with your communications either at work or in your private life? Does miscommunication impact on you, or perhaps you feel you’re the cause of some? Reach out to book a call with me to explore your communication dynamics and find ways to transform how you can speak your truth and be properly heard.
Shining a light on dark sex & violence
Immersive video games can be so convincing that the players become so engrossed that their physiology reacts with pupil dilation, a faster heart rate and increased sweating. It is as if they are fully present in their imaginary world.
Advances in technology and artistry have come a long way in achieving this level of realism. Computer game industry insiders indicate that soon the technology will become even more convincing and mainstream. More people will be enticed to spend their leisure time checking-out from their day to day reality into an enhanced virtual one of their own choosing.
For all the millions of gamers who play by the rules, there is already an emerging trend with players in virtual worlds who are relishing breaking society’s rules and taboos instead.
Some players wilfully direct their virtual characters to rape or murder one another or act out cruelty and violence on an epic scale. Within the confines of their secret virtual world, they demonstrate behaviour entirely at odds with who they are in their real lives.
Another secret world where some people play out deviant sex scenarios and violent fantasies in their mind is during consensual sex or while they self-pleasure.
Just like virtual gaming, some sexual fantasies are filled with all kinds of degrading or violent acts most people wouldn’t contemplate or agree to as part of their own vanilla sex lives.
Some people are distressed that a part of their psyche finds it exciting or even sexually satisfying to conjure up the dark sex and violence from their imagination. It makes them question themselves and ask if there’s something wrong with them in taking pleasure from acts that society as a whole doesn’t approve of or sanction.
Fantasies played out during video gaming or during sex are often extreme in nature. There is a duality where many people will view cinema or reading books created by others that explore the dark underbelly of our psyche are okay to explore but who remain secretive and ashamed of their own fantasies.
Sex once a private reserve is now fed by a billion dollar industry to give people what they want – even if what they wanted had never crossed their mind before. The pornography industry provides material for every ‘ism’ imaginable and themes of voyeurism, exhibitionism, violence and sadomasochism represent our internal emotional conflicts – to control or be controlled, to dominate or be dominated, to live within the light and yet access the dark.
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence with one’s dark side, and therapeutically the journey into ones’ unique secret fantasies is vital to understanding the inner workings of our mind.
Humans are massively complex creatures. For the most part, they comply with the social norms of the society in which we live. To be able to do that effectively people repress their violent urges and some of their erotic impulses too.
Our technicolour self can get reduced to a socially acceptable mono-tone, and by embracing our underbelly, we allow ourselves to indulge and delight in the forbidden.
It is genuinely healthy for us explore our dark fantasies of sex and violence.
Psychologists agree that there is no correlation between conscious desires and sexual or violent fantasies. The ability to fantasise and explore internal worlds of imagination is a valuable, even vital component of the human mind. It reflects our ability to manipulate thoughts, ideas, perceptions and reality, all within the private confines of our own minds.
What does it mean, that some of our own fantasies and thoughts frighten us or disturb us?
Do people who have these thoughts and fantasies ultimately act upon them?
Do these fantasies become burning desires that must be satisfied in the real world?
Do they take over a person’s mind and life, such that eventually, fulfilling the fantasy becomes the most essential thing in a person’s life?
Will these secret imperatives translate to real life mayhem and destruction?
The answer is it’s all about context. If exploring our dark side is just one activity within a balanced, creative, socially connected and fulfilling life then most likely the part-time fantasists in us all will remain emotionally stable and healthy.
Relax, sexual fantasies and the dark scenarios played out in virtual worlds are just a pressure valve release for most people. A word of advice. Most couples are curious about the sexual fantasies of their partners and what fantasies they indulge in during sex. Is it a good idea to divulge all? Probably not seems to be the consensus from my couples therapy work. Best draw a veil or lie and tell them you just fantasise about them…seems to be a better option.
If you feel your life is out of balance and want to transform how you think and feel about yourself, then you can reach out and book an obligation free call with me on this page.
Steps to being accountable
People generally aren’t accountable and they become experts at the blame game. They blame other people, themselves, and quite often the world.
They wonder why things aren’t happening for them the way they wanted them to. It’s a mystery to them and will remain a mystery until they have the revelation that gives them an insight into their predicament. The one that goes something like this – they are the only one that can make their life better. Them and only them.
So to hold yourself accountable for perhaps the first time ever is at once not just empowering but totally liberating.
If there is one person on the planet who you can trust your life’s dreams and aspirations to, it is you, so finally you are in the best hands to succeed and thrive.
Once you’ve had the realisation that the buck stops with you, then all the excuse making for what had or hadn’t happened is irrelevant.
It’s so easy to blame everyone else for our problems without looking inward at what negative limiting beliefs or self-sabotaging habits are really to blame.
Now imagine if you were to put the same amount of effort for excuse-making into servicing your goals?
Imagine how different life can be from now on if you were always conscious of those times when you were making excuses and just stopped yourself.
Don’t judge yourself, just simply ask yourself what you could do differently to get better results.
Taking responsibility means you allow yourself to be accountable.
If amazing stuff is happening, you are responsible for part of it or all of it. If challenging stuff is happening, you are responsible for part of it or all of it.
Being accountable puts you in the driving seat, and you get back ownership of your life.
Shift your focus
Is your glass half empty or half full?
Do you focus on the obstacles in your life instead of seeing the possibilities?
Shift your focus from the rearview mirror to the present, and you’ll notice how everything looks different.
By focusing on the present, you can work on changing your reality. Focusing on past failures and disappointments creates a present of regret and unhappiness, and that’s disempowering.
By focusing on what you can do now, you can align with the fantastic possibilities life has to offer you.
Life knocks us all down at times. No-one escapes however blessed they may seem. The variable is how long we stay down before being able to bounce back from adversity.
So ask yourself what is my focus right now? Am I focusing on something I want or am I focussing on something I don’t want? Am I seeing the possibilities and opportunities or only the obstacles?
These questions help you get clarity and create awareness.
Who is speaking to you?
Change how you speak to yourself.
Take a moment to listen to your inner voice. You may be surprised how detrimental it is and how it puts you down.
Find a new way of dealing with your disappointments that do not involve beating yourself up emotionally.
Listen and be aware of the stories that you tell yourself. You may realise you’ve been living with a script in your mind for a long time. It could be a story about your self-worth or what failure says about you as a person but all of these are constructs, and they’re not real.
Becoming aware of your stories means you can let go of those negative judgements that have been running on auto-pilot. It can help you shift from a result-at-all costs focus to one where you relish the experience and learn to enjoy the moment more.
Choose instead to refocus on the present and be accountable for how you can move forward.
When you are accountable for your own life, everything changes from the way you talk to yourself about how you think and feel about yourself.
Having this increased self-awareness means you can deal more effectively with any situation you find yourselves in.
The day you chose to be accountable for your own life is the day you take back control and step into a more empowered and satisfying role.
Most people believe that their emotions are beyond their control. However, where they focus their attention is their choice. It is also everyone’s choice in how they speak to themselves and the language they use. It is also everyone’s choice to be accountable and to take responsibility for their own happiness.
If you are struggling to get to the point where you are ready to change the reach out and book an obligation free call with me. Change itself takes a moment but to get to that point can be hard on your own.
Sally Baker is Senior Therapist, published Author and Speaker in private practice in London for face to face sessions and the world over via the internet.
With almost twenty years of professional experience, she employs cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to help one person at a time to transform their lives.
She has extensive experience working with people to alleviate their anxiety, depression, anger issues, eating disorders as well as conflicts within relationships and the family.
To find out more about Sally Baker, her books and her work visit her website, www.workingonthebody.com