we all have Friend, Those who constantly talk about their problems without stopping to consider how others are feeling. And sometimes, an innocent conversation about relationship troubles will suddenly turn into something much darker about childhood trauma or toxic parents.
“You might see someone at a party… and all of a sudden you’re talking about a horrible date, and how it reminds you of when you were molested as a kid,” says Carla Manly, a clinical psychologist and author “Pleasure out of fear.”
Although talking openly about your trauma is not an issue in itself, Manly says that a problem arises when serious information is shared “without permission, in inappropriate places and times, and inappropriately, by someone who for those who do not have the capacity to take in this information.”
This is what experts call trauma dumping.
Unlike venting, trauma dumping is done in an “unwanted, unprepared manner, where a person dumps painful thoughts, feelings, energy on an unsuspecting person,” whether it is a close friend or social media. But a stranger.
“We often have so much frustration, irritation, and anger buried inside us, and we just need a place to vent it, but trauma dumping isn’t the best way to do it,” Manly says.
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What is Trauma Dumping?
Many people engage in trauma dumping without realizing it, but it is not necessarily because they are selfish or narcissistic. Judith Orloff, psychotherapist and author “The Empath Survival Guide,” These trauma victims are said to use it as a coping mechanism.
“It’s usually the unconscious worry that they are freaking out and start dumping on another person as a way to release energy and frustration, and taking it out helps the victim of some sort of trauma.” can be found,” she says.
There is a fine line between venting and dumping. Experts say the latter is “toxic” and “harmful”, because trauma dumping does not involve or respect the listener’s consent and often seems one-sided.
In any healthy friendship, “it’s always important to express yourself and ask someone if they’re willing to listen to your problems,” Orloff says.
Manly notes that it’s healthy to tell friends about superficial and minor inconveniences, such as your work or social life. However, casually dropping information about your trauma in a brief conversation is unproductive and problematic, she says.
“Someone who inflicts their trauma on others—they are really taking away that trauma. A trained therapist will help you understand the story, learn from it, and move on. Trauma dumping doesn’t do that.”
‘We can be helpful but we can’t bear the trauma of others’
Everyone should feel comfortable talking to friends about their frustrations, but few conversations take place for a therapist.
“Not everyone has the capacity to bear the sufferings of others, because their own lives are full of stress,” Manly explains.
According to Orloff, most people at the end of trauma dumping will feel anxious, stressed, helpless and even depressed after the conversation.
“People may feel better after trauma dumping, but the person they dump it feels terrible,” she says. “They usually start to feel drained and that’s a lot of serious, unexpected information all at once.”
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Says Manly: “For someone who is not psychologically stable, absorbing someone else’s trauma is usually about listening to it instead.”
Experts say it’s okay to set boundaries with frequent trauma dumpers. It’s important to emphasize that while you still care for them, you also need to protect their peace.
“As a psychotherapist, people always dump me on me when I’m at a party. Always. So I just smile and say ‘Hey, I’m sorry you’re in pain. Wanting to talk about a more appropriate time and place, I’m here for you,” Orloff says.
“It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person,” Manly reminds. “It means that you love yourself enough to create that boundary to protect yourself.”