Are you venting or emotionally dumping?

Are you venting or emotionally dumping?

Do you know the difference between venting and emotional dumping? 

Venting is verbally expressing thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. It involves two people: the processor and the listener. Healthy venting occurs when the vent is heard by another person. The listener discusses difficult emotions and provides a positive social experience. 

Emotional dumping is when you're unaware of both your own emotional state and the state of the listener. The emotional dumping does not include the consent of the listener and ignores containment within time, topic, and objective. Emotional dumping occurs as a heightened, reactive response to a triggering event, and is used as a coping mechanism for stress. The person emotionally dumping is typically unable to receive feedback or see another person's perspective.

Remember to consider your listener's emotional labor and ask before venting to avoid emotional dumping. Not sure how to ask? Here's a few tips:

  • Send context in a message. Example: I need to vent, do you have the capacity for that right now, or maybe later?
  • Give options for if and when the receiver can talk/listen
  • Let them know what you need. It could be an open ear, or a response to the emotional reaction.
  • Let them know how long you need, or an estimated time frame 
  • Be okay with receiving a no, and don't take it personally. 

Maybe the roles are reversed and you're being asked to become a listener. Here are some tips before diving into the role:

  • Respond with information. Example: Unfortunately I don't have the mental/emotional capacity for this right now. 
  • Re-schedule the time. The additional processing time can help. 
  • Let them know you want to be there to help, but you're unable to at the moment. 

Remember, emotional consent from all parties is key to create a better tomorrow. 

  • Stay silent. You don't always have to answer that call/text. Use silence as a boundary form. You are always the priority. 

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