Many of us are haunted by some type of ghost. It may not be obvious because we become adept at ignoring them, but ghosts are persistent buggers that patiently wait for their opportunity to gain our attention. Often they visit us through our dreams when our defenses are down. And they seldom appear ghostlike, more often presenting as menacing monsters, beasts, or bogeymen. But what they all have in common is that they haunt us in ways that make us feel threatened.
If you feel haunted by some kind of ghost the first thing to understand is that you ghost is a part of you, not a supernatural being out to get you. What makes ghosts feel alien and dangerous is that they are aspects of our psyches that we’re rejectinjecting, and rejecting unwanted realities just makes them more desperate, mad, and determined. Like the shadow you cast on a dark night, if you don’t realize that it belongs to you and try to escape it, it will stay right on your heels and scare you even more.
The reason that our ghosts are so distressing is because they are so distressed themselves. It’s like how most dogs growl or bark because they’re afraid, not because they’re some kind of werewolf. A ghost may howl in anger or fury, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is fundamentally distressed and in need of comforting attention. So the way to get a ghost to stop haunting you is to give it the attention it’s needing. Ghosts need love too - often desperately.
Giving a ghost the attention it needs requires understanding its nature and origin. Most ghosts are subconscious echoes of past psychological wounds. It is our scars that scare us. Psychological wounds can disturb us for a lifetime if they don’t get the healing attention they need, especially when they remain infected by the toxic emotions of guilt, shame and self hatred. These are often the hardest emotions to face, feel, and free so that they stop haunting us.
Two clear examples of people often haunted by the ghosts of guilt, shame, and self hatred are traumatized combat veterans and victims of sexual abuse. You wouldn’t think that trauma victims would have any reason for these types of haunting emotions, but they do anyway. For reasons that are not rational their consciences may torment them over these traumas for the rest of their lives. Ghosts are not like reasonable adults, but more like freaked-out and irrational children who need help processing shocking experiences that they mistakenly blame themselves for.
Facing the shock of trauma is terrifying and confusing. That’s why most people’s instinct is to run from their ghosts. Oftentimes outside help is necessary to end the haunting of a psychic ghost, but who are you going to call? Instead of a ghostbuster, a ghost whisperer, aka a psychotherapist, will be most effective in helping you face your ghost, understand it, and help free you and your ghost from your mutual torments.
If you’re feeling haunted by a ghost in your psyche and haven’t found help for dealing with it yet, at least realize that there is no evil spirit out there trying to get you. The howls of anguish and fury are only emanations from a buried part of yourself that’s desperate for attention and healing. Trying to run, ignore, or fight it only makes the haunting worse. The ending of the haunting will begin with the question, “What are you needing?”