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The Difference Between Venting and Emotional Dumping

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emotional dumping

Experiencing emotions is a healthy part of life and while it is natural to get upset at times, there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to express emotions like frustration and anger.  

Venting vs. Dumping

Keeping emotions bottled up can lead to emotional outbursts or letting resentments fester. This is why it is important to know how to appropriately communicate those feelings. For example, there is a difference between venting your frustration and emotionally dumping on family or friends. Characteristics of venting include: sticks to one topic, is time-limited, doesn’t blame, doesn’t victimize, shows accountability for their part in the issue, and being open to solutions after expressing yourself. Emotional dumping on the other hand includes: feels toxic, overwhelms the listener with many issues, repetition, blaming others, playing the victim, no accountability, and not being open to solutions. 

Expressing Emotions in a Healthy Way

Communicating emotions like anger and frustrations can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to try to express those emotions in a healthy way. 

  1. Stick to one issue: When you are venting, make sure you are staying on topic. It can be easy for one frustration to roll into another and another, but this can cause the person listening to you to feel overwhelmed. Instead of bringing up past issues that have already been resolved, remember what the goal of your venting is.
  2. Be open to finding a solution: Before you start, think about what you would like out of the conversation. Instead of getting stuck in a cycle of complaints, think of constructive ways you can move forward and find a solution together. 
  3. Try writing it down: Writing down your feelings can help you organize your thoughts and emotions. It can also be used as a tool to help you calm down. Sometimes by seeing it in writing, we can begin to figure out where we need to focus and what work needs to be done on our own end to resolve issues. 
  4. Listen: Be prepared to listen to the other person’s perspective. Your experience of the situation may not be the same as the other person’s. Give them space to talk about how they felt and really listen to try and understand their point of view. 
  5. Set Boundaries: Before going into a conversation know that you’re going to stay on topic and not repeat issues or go around in circles. Be prepared to say what you need to say and then move on to find a solution. 

Journey Home Can Help

At Journey Home, we put an emphasis on building healthy relationships with others. Clients are encouraged to go out into the community and form relationships and friendships. We support clients as they foster new relationships by coaching and mentoring them throughout their time with us.

Journey Home provides a nurturing, sober-living environment with a supportive community. Our relationship-based programming helps clients with therapeutic support, life skills refinement, and personal growth. For more information please call (855) 918-0032.