Every week the Internet and social media are buzzing with new jargon around mental health. Now that you are familiar with gaslighting and quiet quitting, the past few weeks have had the online world up in a frenzy with the new word of the town – trauma dumping.
Trauma dumping has been going around on social media since a therapist, @sidequesttherapy, shared in a viral Tik Tok video about her patients trying to trauma dump on her during their first sessions. The now-deleted video racked up millions of views and had the Internet scratching its head, asking a question they were probably too afraid to say openly. What is trauma dumping? How is it different from normal venting and sharing out problems?
In case this whole discourse has you worried, thinking, what if you could be crossing the boundaries while sharing your problems, we are here to help you find answers. Let us dive deeper into what is trauma dumping, its impact on both – the individual doing it and on the receiving end of it, and effective ways to stop doing it.
First of all, what exactly is trauma dumping?
Have you felt like being trapped in an uncomfortable situation with a person who was sharing some painful memories from their past? If yes, you have been through what psychologists term trauma dumping.
Trauma dumping is the process in which a person overshares their problems and trauma with someone else to gain a sense of validation or sympathy. It emerges from avoidance, where the said person tries to push their emotional burden on a different person to alleviate their anxiety and feel better.
While trauma dumping, an individual brings up traumatic life events in often unsuspected and regular conversations. The person on the receiving end of trauma dumping does not get the opportunity to consent to listen to such experiences, leading to significant harm to their mental well-being.
What is the difference between trauma dumping and venting?
While trauma dumping and venting might sound similar, there is a significant difference between the two. Especially with close friends or loved ones, the line between trauma dumping and venting can get pretty thin, yet there are some strong differentiators.
The best way to deduce trauma dumping vs. venting is to understand the intensity or intent of the conversation. Venting is the process of releasing emotions and stress respectfully and constructively. It gives both parties a space to open up about the issues in their life. In short, venting does not cross someone’s personal boundaries. There is an unsaid but mutual understanding between both parties.
On the other hand, trauma dumping is mostly one person talking at someone rather than having a back-and-forth conversation. During this, one person shares their traumatic experiences with an unconsenting person who can, in turn, cause trauma or harm to the other person’s well-being.
What are the signs of trauma dumping?
While the signs of trauma dumping in conversations can be significantly diverse, some common indicators exist for them. These include the following:
- constantly and regularly sharing personal life details that include shocking, traumatic, and painful experiences and leaving the other person uncomfortable,
- one-way conversations, i.e., not allowing the other person to share their perspective, and
- an anxious and lonely person who is desperately seeking outlets to share their pain.
Is trauma dumping bad?
Trauma dumping is sharing your problems and painful experiences at an inappropriate time or place. For instance, while waiting for the lift with your new colleague, you ask them how they are doing. In turn, they end up telling you about their painful divorce proceedings going on currently. Now, you might feel bad about your colleague, but this conversation is bound to leave you a little disheveled. This is because this new colleague is like a random stranger to you, and they just shared a significantly personal detail with you, something that you clearly weren’t ready for.
To be clear, there is nothing to be ashamed of being on either side of a trauma-dumping experience. People go through different traumatic experiences, and it is rarely their choice. The only problem is that while sharing these problems, one needs to be mindful of the other person’s well-being. The issue arises when you start using trauma dumping as a coping mechanism. This way, you can end up harming yourself and the people around you.
How to stop It?
Avoiding trauma dumping does not mean you need to become stoic and refuse to share your emotions with others. Being vulnerable and sharing what you are feeling is essential. Done in the right context and manner, this process can be incredibly healing and comforting.
Therefore the best way to deal with trauma dumping is to find a safe outlet for your emotions and feelings. This means trying different activities like art therapy, journaling, gardening, and pretty much anything that feels like an outlet for your emotions. You can also use professional help in the form of therapy to find a safe and constructive environment for dealing with your emotions and traumas.
Read more: Best Online Therapy Platforms
Sharing traumatic life experiences is a complex and difficult process. Often if not done with the right context or person, it can lead to trauma dumping. Trauma dumping can cause significant harm to the mental health and well-being of the other individual. We hope this post puts things into the right perspective and helps you understand the concept and impact of trauma dumping.
Now that you know of trauma dumping, let us take you to another jargon around mental health doing rounds on social media recently. Quiet Quitting is a Tik Tok trend talking over workplaces globally. Read to learn more about it here.
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