How do you fix trauma dumping?

Venting out and sharing your feelings and emotions with others is normal. However, when this sharing crosses all the boundaries, and there is oversharing of difficulties, stress, problems, and traumatic feelings without consent, making the other person feel uncomfortable, it is trauma dumping. This behavior negatively affects relationships, communication, and mental health. Therefore, if you feel like you are a victim of trauma dumping, it is best to understand the terms and what can be done to fix trauma dumping. 

What Is Trauma Dumping?
Trauma dumping, as the name explains, is dumping trauma and problems on the other person in an unhealthy way. This involves long, break-free venting sessions about a person’s stressful events or traumatic experiences. 

Generally, this dumping is done to friends, family, loved ones, and acquaintances without consent. In addition to this, posting triggers online is also trauma dumping, and it is common among teenagers. Venting out in this manner for a short time provides relief. However, when this continues for long periods, it negatively affects everyone involved, including those listening, reading, and posting. 

Venting vs Trauma Dumping

Often, people confuse the terms venting and trauma dumping. But they aren’t the same. Venting is opening up about anything that is bothering respectfully to the listening person. On the other hand, in trauma dumping, there are no boundaries involved to safeguard the feelings, time, or needs of the person who is listening. 

VentingTrauma Dumping
Communicating about the specific problem with a person in a two-way conversation. Interacting with a person about several or the same issues repeatedly. 
As trust builds and closeness is established, the person starts to open up and share issues.  Sudden disclosure of information is done in large amounts over short periods.
Everyone is part of the conversation and is an active participant.In a conversation between two people, one person is mostly inactive or unwilling to continue. 
Conversation occurs in times and places suitable for people with a close bond. No attention is paid to the time or place. The person just starts to share without thinking. 
People involved in talking and sharing speak and listen by taking turns, and mutual support is offered.The conversation is often one-sided without giving the listener the chance to respond. 
The information and time spent in sharing is limited. Sharing is often uncontrolled, and there is a lot of ranting.
The person who shares the information is receptive to input, feedback, and solutions. The person doesn’t like to receive feedback or any solution. They are resistant to such things. 
Attention is paid to social cues, other people’s reactions, and feelings.Often, social cues are overlooked, and there is no consideration of how others might feel. 

Why Is Trauma Dumping Toxic?

Sharing problems and emotions helps develop a strong relationship and build a bond. But when this sharing is one-sided, and the conversation is not mutual. This means when one person in the relationship is the only one talking and sharing things, making others uncomfortable instead of healing, toxicity is spread, and relationships are strained. 

Trauma dumping is about speaking with a lot of emotional content, triggering fight-or-flight responses in the person listening. When this is done, the listener’s brain perceives this behavior as a threat, causing a chain reaction in the brain, nervous system, and body, releasing stress hormones and negatively affecting both physical and mental health.

Tips to Stop Trauma Dumping

Before you learn how to deal with trauma dumping, knowing how venting and emotional dumping differ is important. On the one hand, where venting helps deal with emotional turmoil, trauma dumping is the oversharing of negative emotions, making other people feel restless and overwhelmed. If you find yourself guilty of following such behavior, by following these tips, you can prevent trauma dumping.

  1. Keep a journal

If you want to overcome the habit of trauma dumping, journaling is the best way to understand triggers. When you write down what makes you feel negative and positive, you can understand what makes you uneasy and happy. This helps improve mental health and work on triggers. By doing journal writing, you are giving your thoughts an outlet and allowing yourself to read your thoughts to understand things. It even teaches how to stop trauma bonding and understand how others feel when you dump all the problems onto them. 

  1. Do some physical activity

Exercising and being physically active help release endorphins and improve your mood. They also give you time to think independently and deal with stress. Therefore, when you engage in any form of physical activity, do it alone instead of with friends. This way, you will have time to reflect on yourself and why you behave the way you do. As you process your thoughts privately, you can handle things effectively. 

  1. Involve yourself in doing creative things

Even if you think you are not creative, enroll yourself in creative activities like painting, sketching, scrapbooking, etc. This will help reduce stress levels and give you a concrete way to eliminate the anger you feel because of the trains. You can even consider contacting an art therapist, as these people are trained professionals who can help understand and process emotions through art. 

  1. Listen to music

Just like exercising and getting involved in some art, listening to music also helps cope with emotions.  When you listen to music, your stress level reduces, and you feel calm. Also, you get answers to many problems and feel things are getting back in control. Therefore, when you think nothing is working, just play your favorite music to relieve stress and get the solution. 

  1. Place a time limit on the conversation

Another way to prevent trauma dumping is to set a limit before even the conversation starts.  When you find that another person has started rambling about the problems and is just putting all the negativity on you instead of being a patient listener,  tell them I only have 5 minutes to talk; please use the time efficiently. Alternatively you can even say I have an urgent meeting to attend, will catch up with you after that to listen to your problem. This way, the individual will understand that you are not free to listen and might also feel offended and cut you off from the conversation, preventing you from being a dumpster where the other person is coming and dumping their traumas.

  1. Shift the focus of the conversation into a different direction

When responding to trauma dumping, instead of listening to the conversation or the topic the person is ranting about, change the topic. You can do it by saying, ” I am sorry if I am interrupting, but if you could change your thought process, things might work better. ” This will break the chain of thoughts and work as a diversion, helping to change the topic. 

  1. Their problems aren’t your problems

This might sound rude, but if you want to avoid being a victim of trauma dumping, it’s important to understand that it is not your problem to find a solution.  It is the other person’s problem, and they can find the solution independently. Instead of handing out a solution, ask them to create a plan and fix the problem themselves. This will put the ball in their court, making them responsible for their actions and encouraging them to find a solution without making the other person feel miserable because of their trauma.

  1. Talk to a therapist

If nothing seems to work, the most common approach is to talk to a therapist, as they will help you understand what trauma dumping is and how you can stop doing it with your friends and loved ones or anybody.  They will even help overcome the trauma and will also help heal and rebuild the relationships that have been compromised. 

Final Thoughts

Trauma dumping is the pattern of repeating a thing or rambling about a problem in front of the other person without giving them a chance to speak. Usually, it is done unintentionally, but if you know you do it, you should stop it, as it destroys relationships and makes people avoid you. However, if you are a victim of it, you can follow the tips above and prevent yourself from being used as a trauma dumper. Understandably, overcoming a trauma is not easy, and you need support, but this doesn’t mean that you have the right to harm another person mentally. The best way to deal with trauma us to find coping mechanisms or talk to a therapist who can help heal and also make you learn different ways to deal with the problems. 

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