Distinguish between the two
Healthy venting helps you to heal and move forward. By reasoning things out with someone else, you gain clarity on what’s happening. Confiding in someone often lessens the pain because you feel supported. You avoid getting stuck in all that negativity. But when venting becomes toxic, it creates a cycle of negativity that’s hard to repair.
Identifying the differences between “healthy venting” and “emotional dumping” can allow us to communicate our frustrations more effectively and find clarity in our issues.
Does not blame others
Sticks to one topic
Overwhelms the other person with multiple issues
Owns up to their mistakes
Does not own up to their mistakes
Does not self-victimize
Plays the victim
Works on a solution together
Not open to finding a solution
Open to constructive feedback
Defensive to constructive feedback
Does not take up unnecessary time
Repeats the same issue over and over. Inconsiderate of time.
Listens and acknowledge other’s perspective
Does not respect or listen to other’s perspective
How to protect yourself when people dump their problems on you?
It is important to create boundaries when someone is emotionally dumping on you. Especially when you are an empath or a sensitive person, you can easily neglect your needs and feel drained after experiencing emotional dumping. Here are a few tricks to help you protect yourself when you feel stuck with a toxic venter.
Acknowledge what they say and validate how they feel
Say something to acknowledge that you heard the person, such as, “It makes sense that you’re angry because you are frustrated with the situation...” Then, pause to let him/her accept your acknowledgment and respond to you. It will weaken their defense.
Detaching instead of escaping
Escaping is an automatic reaction that happens when you cannot handle or solve something. It seems to be the easy way out, but it carries victimhood energy with you. You will have feel low self-worth and powerless. Detachment, however, is a choice that you make intentionally and mindfully.
Creating scripts to help you respond
“Thank you for letting me know. How can I help you feel more supported?”
“I know you’re frustrated, and it’s really understandable that you are. My approach is a little different. May I share it with you?”