Trauma Dumping: Is It Happening to You?

Understanding the dynamics of 'wild vulnerability' and how to manage it.

12/2/2021 3:17:00 AM

How to set healthy boundaries so that you don't bear the brunt of other people's problems

Understanding the dynamics of 'wild vulnerability' and how to manage it.

literallyfreeze by remaining still, humans freeze their own needs and beliefs so that they can fully focus on the other person—which feels like the safest thing to do when we feel fear. Unfortunately, threat brain strategies such as fighting, fleeing, and freezing rarely support good relationships and, in the case of trauma dumping, help neither party.

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Discovering that you may be caught in a threat brain freeze loop is your first step in learning how to deal with people who take advantage of you. Ask yourself:"What did I do as a child to secure approval,attention, and love from my parents?"

and consider where you fall on the continuum from submissive (e.g., people-pleasing) to dominant (e.g., competitive and achievement-oriented). Then taking small steps towards becoming compassionatelycan help. This means learning to say no in a non-defensive way. headtopics.com

Three ways to say no to trauma dumpingLearn about your threat brain and share with your friend/partner how trauma dumping increases threat brain activity and creates anxiety and stress in both of you.Let your friend/partner know that when your threat brain is activated, it makes trauma worse, and research shows that breathing slowly and regularly is better than talking when we are feeling fearful. Invite your friend to stop talking and to breathe—you can do this together.

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Don't see this person when you are tired or. When you do see them, rehearse beforehand how you will say"no"—perhaps by telling them that you will listen for 10 minutes only.Trauma dumping is not the same as having post-traumatic stress disorder.

Trauma dumping describes people in the general population who have a tendency to over-emote. It is not an appropriate term to describe people who have experienced genuine trauma and find themselves overwhelmed because of it.Post-traumatic stress disorder is a potentially serious problem where flashbacks and potent memories disorganize the mind and the ability to relate to others, and it is more likely to require a serious effort on the part of the listener to assist with finding help. Trauma dumping, on the other hand, requires the listener to manage the impact on themselves and the relationship.

ReferencesWickremasinghe, N. (2021) Being With Others: Curses, Spells and Scintillations. Triarchy.Wickremasinghe, N (2021) Beyond Threat. Triarchy.

Read more: Psychology Today »

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