Don’t confuse communicating about your emotions with emotional dumping

emotional dumping

There’s a lot of advice about not bottling up your emotions, being vulnerable and telling people how you feel. But when does this cross the line into emotional dumping?

Here are 3 signs of emotional dumping and what to do instead:

1 – Talking about the same issues over and over again

Rehashing something over and over is an indication that you don’t really want to deal with it, you just want to talk about it. Don’t get me wrong, talking about it is good, but the missing piece sometimes can be a be committed to addressing the issue so you can grow through it.

What to do instead: Stay focused on one topic at a time

Make a point to talk through the issue and work towards a solution and then let it be complete for now. Commit to taking action and then if you need to revisit it, go for it.  But if you find yourself going in circles, and back to something you have already communicated or worked through, ask yourself what is the benefit?

2 – You feel worse after talking about it rather than better.

Usually this is because you are flooded with emotion. In a previous post HERE, we explained that feeling your emotions is important so that you can receive its message and metabolize or process it.  But if you begin to feel overwhelmed, or flooded with your emotions, you may need to back away and process it in chunks. 

What to do instead: Pay close attention to what’s happening in your body.

Are you starting to dissociate, feel dizzy, get riled up? Your brain is sending signals to your body and it’s important to listen. If any of that is happening, pause and tell the person you’re talking to that you need to take a few breaths because you’re getting worked up; or tell them that you need to change topics and you’ll talk about it again when it feels more productive.

If you find yourself not being able to talk about something without feeling a lot of intense emotions, this is a great time to reach out for support. One of our therapists can help you find regulation as you work through the intense emotion.

3 – It’s a monologue and you’re not leaving room for feedback.

If you are the only one doing the talking, that’s not communication.  This makes people feel more like you are talking AT them instead of WITH them.  

What to do instead: Don’t just call someone up and unload. 

Sometimes you might need to vent and that’s OK. But if you do, tell the person you’re talking to: “hey, I need to just vent this out and some of what I say might be intense or not where I’m gonna land on this, but I just need to burn through it. Do you have space for that right now?”

The person you reach out to might be in a moment themselves, they might be trying to get somewhere, do work or be exhausted. Give them a chance to let you know if they have the bandwidth at that moment to be that listening ear you are needing.

If you do this, you will get better support and your relationships will be better in the long run. Otherwise you’re gonna start wondering why your calls always go to voicemail.

When you’re done venting and if you feel like you’d like some reflections. Say: “Okay, I think I made it through the emotion, what am I not seeing? Do you have any perspectives on this? How can I grow through this?”


Emotionally dumping doesn’t actually solve anything, it just taxes you and your relationships. If you don’t want a solution and don’t want feedback and want to keep being upset about something that happened, it’s OK, that happens sometimes. But get curious about that. It’s impacting your mental and emotional well being. It might be a time to invest in support so you can complete those emotions and move forward.

We are here to help you learn how to effectively process your emotions and communicate without dumping your emotions on others.  Contact us HERE to get started. 



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