How to Stop Emotional Dumping

Ever heard of emotional dumping? 5 strategies to curb the habit

Venting is fine as long as it doesn’t affect others’ wellbeing. The trick lies in knowing how to vent healthily.
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When things become difficult, emotions such as anger, frustration and emptiness can takeover and makes us miserable. We are left wondering if there is a way to unload the baggage weighing us down. In such situations, we reach out to our friends and loved ones to relieve ourselves of the pent-up emotions. However, while sharing our pain, sometimes we forget about the person sitting in front of us. Without giving a second thought, we spew all of our resentment onto them, which leaves them feeling exhausted. This coping mechanism is known as emotional dumping.

Unlike healthy venting where you express your thoughts and feelings in a considerate manner, emotional dumping is done without paying heed to the mental state of the other person. As they could be unprepared for an emotional conversation, handling traumatic thoughts, feelings and energy become incredibly difficult for them. While you may feel better afterwards, the person on the other end may feel as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and author of The Empath Survival Guide told USA Today, “people may feel better after trauma dumping, but the person they dump it onto feels horrible.”

Emotional dumping exudes from a victim mindset. It involves blaming others without taking any accountability for your actions. If you remain indifferent, this habit can wreck your relationships beyond repair. However, this is not to say, you should not express your feelings. Venting is fine as long as it is not at the cost of others’ wellbeing. The trick lies in knowing how to vent in a healthy fashion. To make things easier, here are a few strategies that can help you dump the habit of emotional dumping.

Figure out what’s troubling you

Get to the bottom of whatever it is that is making you feel stressed or overwhelmed. But first, you need to be patient and let your anger subside. When you do that, it becomes easier to identify the problem. Once this is done, you won’t have the urge to rant. You can reach out to your friends or your partner and discuss the issue with a sense of awareness. This will not only help you get rid of your troubling thoughts but also maintain your relationships with them.

Keep a journal

As opposed to popular opinion, you don’t necessarily need another person to vent. Journaling is an effective way to curb the habit of emotional dumping. You can pen down all your troubling thoughts instead of bottling them up inside you. Writing down how you feel can also help you figure out what’s exactly that is bothering you. And you can come up with an appropriate response to deal with the issue. Moreover, keeping a journal can improve your mood by helping you prioritise your problems, fears and concerns.

Practice mindfulness

Practising mindfulness is an effective way to deal with your negative emotions such as anger and resentment. When you practice mindfulness, you achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state of mind. You feel relieved from the worries of yesterday as you keep your focus on the present. A clear mind can help you recognise the patterns that you often fall into, especially while discussing your problems with others. This awareness can help you change the dialogue, enabling you to vent in a healthy fashion.

Take permission

It is okay to share your overwhelming feelings, as it can help you cope. It can take the burden off your shoulders and make you feel better. But before you start talking to somebody about how you feel, take their permission first. If they are your friend or your partner, you can simply say, “would it be okay if I talk to you for two minutes about something really annoying that happened to me?” If they say yes, you can go ahead. If they are not okay with it, you can reach out to someone else and try the same strategy. When you tell them what you want, they are more clear about their role. Simply by taking their consent, you’ve cleared all the doubts in their mind and let them know that you just want someone to listen.

Seek professional help

Sometimes, the best way to sort out your deep-rooted issues is to talk to a therapist. Chances are talking to your partner or a friend may not give you the closure you are looking for as they are not the experts on the subject. So, it’s better to stop treating them like one. On the other hand, a session with an expert can help you come to terms with your deep troubling issues and bring long-lasting results.

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