Learn the key signs that your partner is emotional dumping and why this could be an issue in your relationship.
There are lots of unhealthy actions and habits that can impact your relationship. One example of this would be emotional dumping. This action is also known as trauma dumping or toxic venting. It refers to when someone expresses their feelings and thoughts often unconsciously, without thinking about how they are impacting the other person. Emotional dumping can be a reaction to a triggering event, taking the form of a reactive response. The act will often be repeated multiple times during one conversation.
While emotional dumping can be used as a coping mechanism, this is a one-way street. Essentially, an individual will unload their emotions and thoughts on someone else, without fully engaging in a conversation. Emotional dumping has been related to childhood attachment patterns that have previously helped individuals feel secure or safe.
One of the main problems of emotiional dumping in a relationship is that it reduces levels of intimacy. It fails to take into account the emotional state or the capacity of the other person. As such, you will be kept at a distance from your partner. Emotionally dumping also allows an individual to avoid taking any responsibility for their previous actions.
It is important to recognize the signs of emotional dumping in your relationship so that you can ensure it does not continue to have a negative impact on your own mental health.
They Are The Victim
Regardless of the situation they are describing or the topic they are discussing, someone who is emotionally dumping will always view themselves as the victim. They may even make the point that they are in a far worse situation than you. For instance, the conversation could start with you explaining something that has upset you. However, the person who is emotional dumping will quickly turn the conversation around to something that has upset them and that they deem as worse than your issue.
A Cyclical Conversation
As mentioned, during emotional dumping, an individual will keep returning to the same issue that they are dealing with or the problem they are facing. They will do this multiple times during the conversation, to the point where you may begin to notice the conversation circling back in a loop. This can be exhausting because you will be listening to the same topic repeatedly with little to no input.
There’s No Solution
Someone who is emotional dumping will not be open to a solution to the issue they are struggling with. They will often make the point that there is no solution and will adamantly reject the idea that there could be. When your partner engages in emotional dumping, they are not looking for you to help with an issue. Again, this is about unloading everything that’s happening without ever tackling it head on. They want you to know their pain without you ever fully understanding how they feel because you have to remain at a distance.
During emotional dumping, an individual will not think about whether you have the time or energy to listen. They will not consider whether you are interested in listening to their thoughts and feelings. You won’t have a choice in the matter. Instead, they will push forward and continue to unload until you try and end the conversation. They may even continue beyond this point and will often keep talking until they have finished dumping their feelings and thoughts onto you. This is another reason why emotional dumping will often be exhausting for the other person.
Remember, if your partner is emotional dumping, then they will not be open to suggestions or criticism. Instead, they will take a defensive stance throughout the act and ensure that they never provide any leeway. For instance, you might suggest that they are partially or slightly to blame for the situation that they are struggling with. If you do this, then someone who is emotionally dumping is likely to get angry and even more defensive. They will claim that you don’t understand or that you’re not listening before circling back to the same point.
You Avoid Interacting With Them
While you may not know that they are emotionally dumping, if you have the desire to avoid interactions with your partner, then there is a good chance this is exactly what they are doing. You might find that you avoid conversations altogether. Subconsciously, you are probably aware that a conversation with your partner tends to cause you stress. This is likely because they are not listening to your needs or feelings when you have a conversation. Emotional dumping could leave you feeling exhausted, anxious or sad. This can lead to avoidance and you may ignore calls and texts to dodge a situation like this. Healthy conversations are a two-way street. You should feel recharged instead of drained.
They Won’t Ask How You’re Doing
If your partner is emotionally dumping on you, then they won’t ask how you’re doing or check that you’re okay. They won’t be interested in anything going on in your life. Subconsciously or consciously, they will be completely focused on their own troubles. This can also lead you to minimize your issues as much as possible. Bringing up your issues with someone like this will only cause them to toxic vent further and provide them with an opening.
How Is This Different From Healthy Venting?
Venting can be healthy. This is different from toxic venting because:
- Your emotional well-being will be considered
- You have control over if the conversation occurs
- You want to listen to that person and can provide feedback or resolutions
- You’ll both feel valued as well as respected by the end of the conversation.
As you can see, there are clear signs that emotional dumping is an issue in your relationship. If you are worried about this, be proactive. Let your partner know that you understand they are struggling and you want to help but in a healthy way. Active listening can also help someone vent healthily instead of engaging in emotional dumping.