What is the thin line between emotional dumping and healthy venting? Find out now

Published on: 12 March 2022, 10:00 am IST

Do you feel that a friend or colleague vents all the time, without taking your emotions into consideration? You may be a victim of emotional dumping!

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At the end of the day, your happiness is in your hands. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Venting after a bad day at work may feel relieving, but if you find yourself or someone else doing this, without having any consideration for another person’s emotional state or feelings, you are clearly indulging in emotional dumping. It could also be that you are the victim!

In a recent Instagram post, Dr Nicole LePera, popularly known as the holistic psychologist, speaks more about emotional dumping. Here’s what she writes, “
Emotional dumping is an incredibly common (often addictive) pattern of re-living a past emotional experience in the present. Usually, most people aren’t conscious of the reality that they’re doing this. They’re actually seeking connection.”

Being emotionally dumped can feel excessively frustrating and drain your energy. It can also make you feel helpless, because there usually isn’t much you can do. That’s because you want to be there for someone, but it also wears you down. You may want to run away, or in some cases, your body may feel tense.

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Being emotionally available isn’t all that bad. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“This is because emotional dumping isn’t solution-seeking. Authentic connection involves emotional intimacy, not chronic complaining,” she adds.

How can emotional dumping be tackled?

Dr Nicole says that the best way to deal with it is to place boundaries around emotional dumping to protect our own energy, and emotional state. Here are a few things you can say, if you are being emotionally dumped:

1. “I can definitely understand why this is so upsetting. It sounds like this is continuing to happen and honestly, I’m not in a good emotional space to be a soundboard right now. I’ve got a lot going on.”

2. “I really care about you a lot and hearing about this situation makes me feel helpless. Is there a way we can find a solution? If not, I can’t really continue this conversation right now.”

3. “I notice a majority of our conversations revolve around this issue. Could we maybe talk about something else we are both more interested in or connected to?.”

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Who doesn’t need some pillars of emotional support? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is venting?

On the other hand, when you vent, the listener supports another person through his responses, shows empathy, and actively listens. While venting, the person is aware of the listener’s emotional state. The conversation is rather self-reflective than reactive. It also seeks solutions and honest feedback.

Here are a few signs of healthy venting:

  • Your emotional well-being is considered by your friend
  • You are also allowed to decide when the conversation happens, and whether it does
  • You genuinely want to listen and help
  • You can provide feedback, advice, or be an active listener.
  • You feel that your feedback and advice are appreciated
  • You both feel valued and respected after the conversation has ended

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.

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