Trauma dumping is the oversharing of horrible and uncomfortable events with others. Usually, people who trauma dump have the tendency to share traumatic events with people who they don’t know well, and it can become draining and toxic over time. Here are some signs of trauma dumping and the impact it can have on others.

Sharing At Inappropriate Times

In relationships, boundaries are very important. If a person is sharing intimate details of their life randomly, it can be awkward and uncomfortable. Oversharing can become even more jarring when the person telling you something is not particularly a close friend or family member. Over time, people who dump their heavy feelings on others, it can be an invasion of their privacy, and often happens because they are lonely or don’t have anyone in their lives to talk to. This can become draining over time, and when it does, it is appropriate to call them out and address it.

Photo by Christina Morillo
Photo Credit: Christina Morillo

Venting v. Sporadic Dumping

There is a difference between venting and randomly dumping baggage on another person. Trauma dumping walks a fine line between the two, and can often be blurry. Although being vulnerable and opening up can be a good thing, it is important to have a mutual level of vulnerability with who you vent to. In the case of sporadic dumping, people don’t often have a mutual understanding of vulnerability and it ends up showing up as one person sporadically dumping their problems on another person without allowing the second person the opportunity to also share. This second scenario can trigger resentment and make the other person start to avoid the person who is doing the trauma dumping.


A One-Sided Transaction

Relationships are all about give and take, and that is the beauty of the human connection. In trauma dumping situations, the person who is doing the trauma dumping is often talking about their experience alone without giving the other person an opportunity to open up. This can quickly become toxic as the listener can feel taken advantage of. If you have someone in your life who is always dumping on you, it is okay to show empathy and validate their feelings, but also set firm boundaries by saying you are not comfortable. If you tend to be the one doing the oversharing, then make an effort to think critically about who you are opening up to and why. Also, it is important to ask if whoever you are sharing with is okay with listening. In general, human relationships thrive on trust and vulnerability, but we have to do it the right way.