Trauma Dumping: Are you Hurting Others by Oversharing?

Trauma Dumping: Are you Hurting Others by Oversharing? trauma dumping: are you hurting others by oversharing?
Photo by Ilona Frey on Unsplash

When you’ve had a traumatic experience, sharing about it normally offers some sort of relief because it’s a release but when does it jump into trauma dumping territory? Trauma dumping refers to the act of sharing or unloading a traumatic/emotional experience in a way that ends being hurtful and disrespectful to the parties who are listening to your story.

It is where you find yourself sharing your painful life experiences without considering the effect it will have on the other party. The other party may be your family, friends or even your coworkers. It may a bring a slight sense of relief to you but the receiver may feel frustrated, triggered, drained, helpless or even taken advantage of. You’re not really ‘bad’ for engaging in trauma dumping because it’s a coping mechanism but the long terms effects for you and other parties may be detrimental.

How Do You Know if You’re Trauma Dumping?

The best way to determine if you’re trauma dumping to pay attention to why you are sharing your story and the effect that has on the listening party. Below are some of the signs you may be trauma dumping: –

· Constantly bringing up your traumatic experiences into casual conversations

· Sharing extremely graphic details of your traumatic situation

· Repeating the same stories over and over to the same party or to different parties

· Sharing to listeners who feel obligated to listen to you (e.g. to your family or friend who really can’t say no or tell you to stop)

· Sharing you dark hurts with people you don’t have close relations with

· You don’t leave room for feedback from the receiving party

· There is no mutual sharing and the conversation is always one-sided

· You don’t consider the feelings of the other party (even when they clearly show feelings of discomfort listening to your story.)

· Posting comprehensive accounts of your trauma on social media to a general audience

Trauma Dumping Vs Venting: What’s the Difference?

There is a thin line between trauma dumping and venting but the best way to differentiate is by looking at the intensity and purpose of the conversation. Venting is more of releasing your frustrations and emotions in a constructive and respectful manner.

You’re mindful of who you’re sharing with, what you’re sharing and your intention for sharing while taking into consideration the receptivity of the other party. On the other hand, with trauma dumping you overshare a lot of details without really caring so much about how the other party feels. It can be triggering to the listener and it’s more self-centered because you’re ‘prioritizing’ your own well-being over those of your loved ones.*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

Why Does Trauma Dumping Happen?

Trauma dumping can be caused by various reasons and it is often as a result of unhealed trauma and emotional distress. Below are some of the possible reasons for why trauma dumping happens: –

· Lack of Proper Coping Mechanisms — Trauma dumping is just an unhealthy coping mechanism for releasing those painful emotions especially when you’re not deeply aware of the best way to regulate those emotions. You are ‘dumping’ those emotions to someone else or really using them as an emotional crutch.

· Need for Validation — You may feel isolated or that no one is really understanding you. You resort to trauma dumping because at least you’re sharing it with someone (regardless of the effect it has on them). Your trauma dumping may have also made your friends isolate you.

· Trust Issues — Because your trust has been betrayed by your loved ones or those close to you in the past, you may resort to trauma dumping because you can’t really trust those close to you. You find that oversharing with strangers is more comfortable and safer.

· Conditioning — You may also find yourself trauma dumping because that’s how you’ve been conditioned since childhood. You were raised in an environment where you were on the receiving end of your caregiver’s trauma dumping. They overshared with you and you just view trauma dumping as a normal way of communication.

· Denial — You may also find yourself engaging in this habit because you’ve not yet come to terms with the severity and impact of your traumatic experiences. You’ve not yet acknowledged the need to address your unresolved trauma in a healthy way.

Impact of Trauma Dumping

Trauma dumping has long term effects on the dumper and the listener. Trauma dumping can damage your relationships with those close to you. You may find your friends, coworkers and loved ones isolating you. They will isolate you not because they don’t want to listen to you, but because they are feeling helpless or uncomfortable when you share your story. They may not have the answers you’re seeking and they’ve been listening to that same story for a very long time.*et9czc*_ga*MTkxNjcxMDU2NC4xNjg1MDA1MjYw*_ga_6LJN6D94N6*MTY5ODczNDU3OC4yMjQuMC4xNjk4NzM0NTc4LjAuMC4w

For example, say you’re in a toxic relationship, you might share traumatic situations which your partner has put you through. Your loved ones will of course offer you advise like, leave or file for divorce but because you can’t just do it (because of a number of realistic reasons) your loved ones will think that you’re not listening. They may start avoiding you because they just don’t know what to do and they might also be getting triggered by what you’re sharing.

The secondary impact of this is you’ll feel more pain because those close to you are isolating you and your mind is now getting the ‘evidence’ of your deep unworthiness or being unlovable. So, trauma dumping is self-sabotaging because it ruins your support network and pushes away your loved ones which leads to more pain.

Moreover, trauma dumping may look like a temporary relief but it will just keep you stuck and prevent you from dealing with your unhealed wounds in a healthy way. When we continuously share our traumatic experiences in unhealthy or unproductive ways, it reinforces those negative thought patterns (e.g. ‘no one loves me’ or ‘no one listens to me’) and emotions associated with the trauma. It may keep you stuck in eternal victimhood because your actions are more of preserving the pain instead of fully looking at healthy ways of dealing with the pain. There’s no problem with sharing your story but always strive to reach the point where your story does not really define you as a person.

Is Trauma Dumping Abusive?

Trauma dumping is not really abusive or toxic because it mostly done unintentionally. We may not be aware we’re trauma dumping and hurting others by oversharing but it can jump into emotionally abusive territory when you use it to control or to get something from someone. It can be manipulative especially when you pull it as a victim-playing card while intentionally ignoring the boundaries of the other.

Psst! Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve done it or you’ve been doing it, we’re all learning and unlearning in this life, we’ll get to healthy ways of doing it.

How to Share Your Story Without Dumping Your Trauma

Learning about trauma dumping doesn’t mean that you stop sharing your traumatic experiences. It just helps us find healthy ways that will promote your general wellbeing and that of the receiver. To share in a healthy way that is not hurtful you can practice the following: –

· Consider whether the environment you’re sharing is the most appropriate before sharing e.g. workplace setting may not be the best place to share

· Ask the listener if they’re comfortable before sharing your story

· Consider the effect of what you’re sharing will have on the other person

· Be objective on why you really want to share your story

· Find healthy ways like therapy or a talking to a professional who can listen and provide a safe space for your ‘trauma dumping’

· Use social media and online forums where people share those experiences with others (the members at least know what to expect and can be validating of your experiences)

· Always leave room for feedback when you share your story

· Understand those things or emotions that trigger your oversharing


Trauma dumping is when you share your traumatic experiences in a way that is not really constructive or healthy. It will keep you stuck with pain and you will even inflict more pain on yourself because your actions are just reinforcing those negative beliefs. You developed those negative beliefs because of those traumatic experiences and you’re trauma dumping because of those negative experiences. It’s a just a never-ending loop of ‘clinging’ to your pain (or ‘story’), a place where your mind (your ego) wants you to be.

Another thing is, never beat yourself up (more self-inflicted pain = a bonus to the ego) when you finally realize that you’ve been trauma dumping or even when you find an article online that conflicts with your current perception of reality but instead just treat yourself with compassion and look at how you can grow out of the pain instead of burying yourself with more pain.

When you’re trauma dumping (or even venting), it simply means there’s a deep underlying problem that needs to be resolved. So, you can address it by going to root of the problem (unhealed wounds and unresolved trauma) that’s causing you to trauma dump. When you process those past hurts, there will be nothing to trauma dump about because you’ve made peace with those past hurts.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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