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Trauma dumping is the oversharing of traumatic experiences without asking permission or considering the receiver's capacity to hear or interact with that information, according to Psychology Today. It can be triggering, lead to secondary trauma, and even PTSD for some. This can easily occur with people you know but is also prevalent on social media. And while it might be good to share your issues and pain, The Doctors say trauma dumping can inflict harm on the dumpee and the dumper.
Dr. Ish explains trauma dumping is different from venting, noting when someone vents they have the permission of the other person, but when someone dumps, it can end up just being an avalanche of trauma that the receiver did not ask for or give their permission to hear. He also says it is a form of "emotional terrorism."
"I took you hostage. I didn't have your permission. I don't care because I am hurting, and you need to deal with it," he says of trauma dumping, noting it can last for hours and even all day.
So how can you address a trauma dumper?
Dr. Ish suggests acknowledging and validating what they are going through and then asking, "Who do you have helping you through this?" This approach will communicate to the dumper that you are not the person to take on their trauma, while still being supportive. As for social media trauma dumping, Dr. Ish has a message for online dumpers.
Another problematic behavior running rampant is toxic positivity, which happens when someone refuses to acknowledge that it is okay to not be okay. Dr. Ish says if someone is dealing with an issue or a major life hurdle, they need to address it and properly process it. If someone is always trying to put a positive spin on a bad situation, the psychiatrist explains this can lead to a "perpetual state of denial."
He also says if you are someone who is attempting to make someone see the bright side of a bad situation, you are guilty of committing the ultimate form of invalidation. In extreme cases, toxic positivity can become gaslighting (making someone question their own reality).
Dr. Ish says in the majority of cases, this behavior is not meant in a harmful way and the receiver should try to accept the positivity in the spirit it was given, but he says to not lose sight of your issue and not sweep it under the rug.