Emotional Dumping: What It Is and How to Stop

Vanessa Garcia, LCSW on Jan 12, 2023 in Mood and Feelings

What is emotional dumping? According to foundcare.org, “emotional dumping is an act of unconsciously sharing your feelings or perspective without an awareness of the other person and their emotional state or needs.” It’s the person that calls and texts you and you already know they want to dump on you. It’s the coworker who spills over to anyone who will listen.

Being emotionally dumped on means you are strictly the listener, and any advice you give is in one ear and out the other. It’s one-sided with only the emotional dumper speaking. The emotional dumper doesn’t accept feedback and gets defensive.

What’s the difference between emotional dumping and venting? Venting can be healthy and normal, whereas emotional dumping can feel toxic. It’s important even when venting to someone to see if they have the capacity for it. You can ask the person, “Hey, do you have the time and capacity to hear me vent?” This sets healthy boundaries and shows respect. 

How to stop emotional dumping:

• Give the stressor space and time

• Utilize grounding techniques (deep breathing, 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique) 

• Write it down

• Save it for therapy

• Go for a long walk

• Take a nap

With these techniques, you're not avoiding the issue; you're just giving the issue some space to methodically handle it.

Vanessa Garcia is a Psychotherapist in Houston, TX.

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